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Cost Per Carat: A Guide to Diamond Prices

Q Report Team
Updated on October 06, 2022
4 min read

You’re well-acquainted with the prices of products you buy regularly. You know if you’re getting a good deal on shoes or dinner or even a car. But when it comes to diamonds, most of us don’t know what to expect.


That’s why it’s helpful to know the factors that affect diamond prices before you start shopping. Instead of facing difficult choices or unpleasant surprises while you shop, learn what you can ahead of time so you can narrow down your options.


Shop like a pro. We’ll arm you with crucial knowledge about diamond pricing. Let’s get started.


Supply and Demand

As with any other product, supply and demand affect diamond prices, and the most popular diamond shape remains the round brilliant.


Most Expensive

The round brilliant’s popularity is hardly surprising. Cut with 57 (sometimes 58) facets, this shape reflects light like no other, making it an instant favourite with engagement ring shoppers everywhere. Because it’s in such high demand, the round brilliant is more expensive than other shapes. Additionally, this cut is more costly to produce because of higher manufacturing costs.


As you shop, expect to pay 10-20% more for a round brilliant diamond than for another cut with the same carat weight and quality.



After round brilliants, the next most popular shapes include cushion, princess, radiants and Asscher cut stones. You can expect to pay less for these shapes, even though they’re perennially popular. They don’t have as many facets as round brilliants, but they each have their unique charm.


If you’re looking for a lower price per carat, consider one of the fancy cuts such as marquise, heart, oval, pear or emerald. Ovals and pears have been trending for several years. Therefore, you can find plenty of attractive settings for these shapes. If you’re hoping to squeeze a more substantial stone into your engagement ring budget, a fancy-shaped diamond is a great way to go.


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Another Factor: Colour

Shape affects a diamond’s cost per carat more than any other factor, however a diamond’s colour helps to determine its value as well. Colourless diamonds cost more per carat than diamonds with yellowish or brownish hues. If a transparent diamond ranks high on your list of priorities, expect to pay a little more. 


In reality, colour preference is a personal matter. Some people prefer the golden glow of a yellowish diamond set against yellow gold. Others love a colourless diamond, either contrasted with rose gold or complemented by white gold or platinum.


Polish and Symmetry

A stone’s polish and symmetry can increase its cost per carat as well. Polish refers to the smoothness of a diamond’s surface after cutting. An expertly polished diamond produces crisp reflections and undistorted transmissions of light. Poorly polished diamonds have a duller appearance.


Symmetry refers to exactness of shape and alignment of the individual facets. The overall outline of a diamond will appear exact when high-level symmetry has been achieved. Asymmetrical diamonds, lack brilliance due to misdirected light transmissions.


Treatments and Enhancements

Treated stones have been enhanced to diminish noticeable flaws on the surface. They cost less per carat than natural stones that haven’t been treated or enhanced. 


Treated and enhanced stones are a better match for a buyer who wants a lovely stone for a lower cost than someone looking for a natural stone that will serve as an investment or family heirloom.



Rarity goes back to supply and demand, but let’s explore the concept a bit further. In 1990, a Brasilian farmer found a deep red diamond in the rough. It turned out to weigh an incredible 13.90 carats. The William Goldberg Diamond Corporation purchased the diamond and cut it into a brilliant triangular cut. After cutting, the diamond weighed 5.11 carats. Because of its incredibly rare cranberry red colour and it’s enormous size, this diamond, now known as the Moussaieff Red Diamond, is one of the world’s most expensive. 


But colour and size aren’t the only factors that make diamonds rare. Some diamonds are expensive because they’re found in unique and highly-coveted areas, like the Golconda mines in India. Until 1730, when diamonds were discovered in Brazil, Golconda was the only known source. Renowned for their purity and transparency, Golconda diamonds often fetch higher prices even today.


Armed with knowledge about diamonds’ cost per carat, you can evaluate your priorities and shop with purpose. Consider your preferences regarding shape, polish and symmetry, colour, treatments and enhancements, and rarity. And once you find the perfect diamond, insure it with Q Report jewellery insurance. We’ll make sure it’s protected from theft, loss and damage, no matter how far you travel.


Get a free quote for Q Report jewellery insurance, and discover how affordable it is to protect the things you love.


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