When you’re looking for diamonds for your engagement ring you’re likely going to look at a lot of round brilliants. These are the most in-demand diamond cuts on the market, but they are also the most expensive. About 30% more expensive than any other diamond cut, which can be a lot when you’re working with a tight budget.
So why are round brilliants more expensive ? Are they worth the extra cash ? What determines a diamond’s price in the first place ? And are lab grown round brilliants a good option ? Let’s discuss all of this.
Why are round diamonds more expensive ?
Round diamonds are more expensive because they lose more diamond rough than other diamond cuts, they are the most popular and in-demand diamonds so they are priced higher, and they also sparkle the most out of all other diamond cuts. These three factors combined make for a diamond that will always cost more than any other cut.
Of course, not all round brilliants are the same and one of the most important things is the cut quality. An excellent cut princess will sparkle and look far better than a well cut round brilliant, and that’s simply the way things are. However since the round diamond is highly popular they will usually come in very good cut quality so it’ll be hard to fid a poorly cut one.
Round diamonds lose a lot of rough
The first thing you should know about a diamond is that it does not come out of the earth looking like that, all sparkly and clean. Rough diamonds have very rough shapes and it’s the job of a lapidary to find the perfect shape cut each and every diamond nugget. Some nuggets would look best as emerald cuts, some would look best as oval cuts, and some can take any shape.
Whenever a diamond is cut into any shape, some amount of rough is used, which cannot be turned into another diamond. For round brilliant cuts, these cuts lose the most amount of rough due to the very specific shape and many facets. The result is that diamond companies have to inflate the price to cover their costs.
What happens to the leftover diamonds ? They are usually in the form of diamond dust of very small rough shapes. They are later used for diamond-head underground boring machines, or line the sanding machine top be used for other diamonds. After all, the only thing that can cut and scratch a diamond is another diamond.
Round brilliants are the most popular, so priced premium
Round brilliant diamonds are extremely popular, they are the #1 selling diamond cut. This means pretty much everyone want them and there is room for exaggerated prices. We’re not just talking engagement rings, though those usually feature a solitaire round brilliant. We’re also talking about tennis bracelets, earrings, eternity rings, necklaces, diamond chokers, brooches, anything at all. If it can be diamond studded, it’ll probably be full of round diamonds.
Round brilliant diamonds are also the easiest to set, and they are the safest to wear since their only weak point is protected, their girdles are well protected, and they can be incorporated into any design.
Round brilliant diamonds sparkle the most
If there’s one thing round brilliants are excellent at, it’s sparkle. A round brilliant is a type of diamond cut that was designed specifically to maximize the sparkle of a diamond, by taking into account the refraction index of a diamond (2.42 for anyone interested). What this means is that the many facets of this diamond cut are calculated to be aligned at such angles as to return as much light as possible to your eyes, and provide a balance between the fire (rainbow colors) and the brilliance (white color) in a diamond.
So this diamond cut is tailored for diamonds (and not other materials), the way light enters a diamond and behaves within it, and it’s all calculated to maximize light return. Of course, at the end of the day, this all depends on the skill of the lapidary since theory is one thing and practice is another. This is why cut quality is amazingly important for a diamond, even a round brilliant.
Do round diamonds look bigger ?
No, round diamonds don’t look bigger than their carat weight nor do they look bigger than other diamond cuts. In fact most other diamond cuts look larger than a round brilliant. This is because a lot of the weight in a round cut is carried in the pavilion, so in the part you do not see. Most other diamond cuts have a lot of weight evenly distributed along their length (such as ovals, radiants, or emerald cuts) or are simply a shallower cut or are just a very different shape.
Read also: Diamond Colors Explained
For example a princess cut carries most of its weight in its underside (pavilion) but it looks a bit larger than a round cut because it has those 4 sharp corners that trick the eye into thinking it’s a bit larger. The same goes for emerald cut diamonds. They carry a olot of weight in their pavilion but it’s evenly distributed across its length, and this is an elongated cut so a 1 carat emerald cut will look larger than a round cut simply by appearing taller.
What determines a diamond’s price ?
A diamond’s price is determined by a combination of how much rough is lost during the cut and polish process, the cut quality, the color and clarity of the diamond, and the final carat weight. In short two roughs that look exactly the same and have the same quality will end up as two different prices because one may be turned into an Ideal cut round brilliant while the other a Very Good princess cut.
A lab grown diamonds are good alternative for value ?
Yes, you can get lab grown diamonds at about half the price of a natural diamond, which makes getting round brilliants much more reasonable in price this way. The 30% price difference is still there, as even lab grown round are more expensive than other shapes, but they will still be more affordable.
Overall we think that lab diamonds really are a great alternative to natural diamonds in many ways. It’s much easier to get a high color grade and high clarity grade diamond when it’s lab grown.
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.