The classic 1 carat Round Brilliant cut diamond. It’s been a timeless and favourite size for decades and certainly ever since 1947 when DeBeer’s launched the famous slogan – “A Diamond is Forever”. But have you ever considered what diamonds offer the best ‘1 carat value’ for your money? And why?

Of course, if you are among the fortunate who can do diamond shopping with a “blank cheque” then stop right here and let your emotions dictate your buying decision.  

How important is 1 carat?

The first question you should ask yourself, is the 1 carat ‘magic number’ really important?

Take a look at the following two diamond certificates.

The certificate shown on the left is for a Round Brilliant diamond, 1ct, F colour, SI1 clarity.

And the certificate shown on the right is for a Round Brilliant diamond, 0.81ct, F colour, SI1 clarity.

Both the diamonds are of the same quality: F colour, SI1 clarity.

The 1ct diamond is bigger than the 0.81ct diamond by a miniscule 0.37mm x 0.40mm (that is less than 1mm). But the 1ct diamond is more expensive by 49.5%!

Description Dimensions Dimension
Price Price
difference (%)
Round, 1.00ct F/SI1 6.35 x 6.40mm A$14,390.00
0.37 x 0.40mm 49.5%
Round, 0.81ct F/SI1 5.98 x 6.00mm A$7,260.00

Diamonds are cut for weight – the heavier the diamond (1ct) the more expensive it is. And secondly, it is a demand – supply factor. There are a lot more consumers in the world who want a 1ct diamond relative to its availability.

So, we go back to our original question. How important is it that you have a 1ct diamond?

If I were to offer you a diamond that will give you the “look” of a 1ct diamond when it is worn on your finger and save you 49.5% in price would you consider that? Or is it an important “branding” issue where you need to make a statement – “I’m wearing a 1ct diamond ring”?

I love 1 carat, so what other options do I have to get the best value?

The Round Brilliant diamond is by far the most classic and popular shape which as we have seen can become a very pricey option in a 1 carat size (or for that matter, any of the other ‘magic sizes’ such as 0.50ct, 1.50ct, 2.00ct and so on).

Let us look at other options.

Princess cut

[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqbgpj0kx6w” html=”false” headline=”p” img=”” question=”Why is a princess cut diamond cheaper than a round diamond of the same size?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]The Princess cut diamond is a very beautiful shape and has amazing sparkle. I accept there are those who do not like linear geometric shapes and hence, steer clear of this shape. But for those who are open to consider this shape, you will find that it has a ‘big spread’ on the finger and looks amazingly sparkly. How does it compare in price with a 1 carat Round Brilliant?[/sc_fs_faq]

Take a look at this Princess Cut diamond:

Its specifications are:

Size: 1.25ct
Colour: D
Clarity: SI1

Price relative to the 1ct Round Brilliant we saw earlier is:

Round Brilliant, 1ct, F/SI1

Princess Cut, 1.25ct D/SI1

For the price of a 1 carat Round Brilliant, you can get a significantly larger Princess Cut diamond, and as seen in this case, of better colour as well.

Cushion cut

This shape is a personal favourite of mine. It comes in two types, a rectangular cushion and a square cushion. Both are slightly bevelled on all 4 sides and have rounded corners, thus giving an overall ‘softer’ and more ‘feminine’ look. Historically it has also been a popular shape in many celebrity diamond rings.

1.01ct F/SI1 Cushion cut diamond certificate

I would like to show you the following cushion cut, which has the same specifications as the Round Brilliant we saw earlier.

Its specifications are:

Size: 1.00ct
Colour: F
Clarity: SI1
(Note: this is a square Cushion)

Price relative to the 1ct Round Brilliant we saw earlier is:

Round Brilliant, 1ct, F/SI1

Cushion Cut, 1.00ct F/SI1

This 1 carat Cushion cut is 46% cheaper than the same quality and weight Round Brilliant. As a general rule of thumb, any of the fancy diamond shapes offer a lot more in terms of value when compared to an equivalent Round Brilliant.

I suggest you Google “celebrity diamond rings”. You will see that almost every celebrity has chosen a diamond that is not a Round Brilliant. The most popular shapes have been: Cushion cut, Tear drop (Pear cut), Heart shape and Emerald cut.

Check out the following article from Vogue magazine – the best celebrity engagement rings of all time.

Time and space restrictions prevent me from exploring all these diamond shapes, but the concept is the same. You will get much more ‘bang for your buck’ with a fancy shape diamond than a Round Brilliant.

However, if you prefer the classic and timeless look, then stick to the Round Brilliant and as I showed you earlier, you can still get a “1 carat look” with a slightly smaller diamond such as 0.80ct. The same applies for all the other weight ranges, 0.35ct versus 0.50ct, 1.30ct versus 1.50ct, 1.80ct versus 2.00ct and so on. It does need careful selection by an expert because a poorly selected stone can make a 1 carat look like an 0.80ct as well!

Of course, comparing size and price are not the only factors that should be considered when choosing a diamond. One does have to consider sparkle (cut grade) and colour and clarity and so on. I also believe that choosing a diamond is only half the battle. Manufacturing it into a beautifully and designed ring is what will make the diamond stand out. Otherwise, it is just a rock on a finger.

For these reasons, it is important to consult a diamond expert who can help you to select a diamond that offers the best value and maximum sparkle for your money.

Disclaimer: The prices quoted in this article are true and correct at the time of publishing. However, prices and availability of the diamonds are subject to regular fluctuations. These prices are not a substitute for a genuine quotation from Radiant Diamonds or any other jeweller.

This article was submitted and published in the British online magazine