What Are Fancy-Shaped Diamonds and How Can They Help Save You Money?

A diamond's price is affected by many factors, including the 4Cs–cut, color, clarity, and carat. The most expensive diamonds will have high grades in each of these four categories. Many people are aware of the 4Cs and how they influence the overall value, but you may not be aware that a diamond's price is also affected by its shape.

Diamonds are cut into many different shapes, such as round, emerald cut, and princess cut. Every shape has its own standard price range, with some diamond shapes costing significantly less than others. Specifically, fancy diamonds (emerald cut and princess cut) are more affordable than round-cut diamonds.

Why are some shapes more expensive than others? There are a couple of different factors, including less raw diamond waste and market demand. We'll go over what fancy-shaped diamonds are, the different types available, and how selecting a fancy-shaped diamond can help save you money.

Round Cut Vs. Fancy-Shaped Diamonds

Diamonds can be cut into different shapes. Round diamonds are typically the most popular and most expensive out of all cuts. The market demand for round diamonds is high, so jewelers are typically able to charge more for these types of shapes due to their popularity among consumers. Round diamonds are quite brilliant and reflect light well, which contributes to their popularity, as they are very beautiful. 

People often opt for round-cut diamonds for engagement rings, necklaces, and other kinds of jewelry due to both the brilliance and the timeless style of the diamond shape. This type of cut has been popular for decades, so it's safe to say that round-cut diamonds will not be going out of vogue anytime soon.

Every shape except the round cut is referred to as a fancy-shaped diamond. Though round diamonds are more popular, many people are choosing to break from the traditional round cut in favor of different styles. If you or the recipient of your diamond care about expressing a unique personal style or want to cut costs, you might want to consider a fancy-shaped diamond.

If you decide to go with a fancy-shaped diamond, you'll need to consider the effect the diamond's shape has on the finger and how it impacts the appearance of size, clarity, and proportions. 

Types of Fancy-Shaped Diamonds

Basically, anything besides a round-cut diamond is considered a fancy-shaped diamond. From sharp geometric shapes like emerald or princess cuts to soft circular shapes like pear or oval cuts, fancy-shaped diamonds are infused with individuality and uniqueness. Even if you aren't looking to cut costs when picking out a gem, fancy-shaped diamonds are perfect for those looking to forgo the traditional round cut in favor of something more suited to their personal tastes.

There are many different types of fancy-shaped diamonds, and depending on the shape, they will have differing points of clarity, color, and brilliance. 

  • Princess: This cut is one of the most popular fancy-shaped diamonds. It has a square shape but will have better brilliance and fire than some other square cuts. Though it strongly competes with round-cut diamonds in terms of brilliance, it will cost significantly less than it.
  • Emerald: This type of diamond is usually seen as a rectangle with a large face. It's also commonly a larger size than other cuts with the same carat weight. Because of its large face, light is easily reflected off of it. But the large face also means that any flaws will be readily apparent. It's a good idea to go for a high clarity grade so that flaws won't be too visible. 
  • Asscher: The Asscher cut is similar to the emerald cut, though it has a smaller face. Plus, the Asscher cut has deep steps that draw the eye toward the inner stone. It is usually cut into a square shape and in such a way as to emphasize shininess and improve clarity. Because of this design, it has a lot of brilliance but doesn't hide flaws well.
  • Cushion: This kind of cut resembles a cushion because of its square shape and soft edges. Its rounded parts allow the diamond to really sparkle. 
  • Marquise: With its long slender shape, the Marquise cut resembles a grain of rice. Due to its long shape, this type of cut elongates the wearer's finger. It will also appear larger than other cuts with the same carat weight thanks to its shape.
  • Radiant: The silhouette of the radiant cut is shaped similarly to the rectangular emerald cut, but its facets are more similar to the round-cut diamond. Because of its similarity to the round-cut, radiant-cut diamonds generally emit a lot of brilliance and sparkle. The way the facets are cut also ensures that flaws are easier to hide than other shapes.
  • Oval: Oval cuts look very similar to round-cut diamonds but are a bit more elongated. They have the same fire, brilliance, and scintillation as the round-cut but are often sold at a lower price. Because of their elongated shape, oval diamonds can appear larger than round-cut diamonds of the same carat weight.
  • Pear: Similar to the other round shapes, the pear cut is a unique and rare cut. It will generally cost less than the round-cut because it wastes less diamond material. The pear cut will also appear larger than the round cut due to its elongated shape and tapered end. 
  • Heart: With its definitive symbolism of love, heart cuts are a unique and romantic choice. The proportions of every cut will vary, so it's up to your own personal tastes to pick out the diamond that speaks to your preferences. 

The Effect Diamond Shape Has on a Hand

Often, people concentrate so much on how the diamond looks in a photograph or on its other features that they don't think about how the shape will look on their hand. While you may love the look and style of a diamond ring on someone else's hand, when you go to try on the same kind of ring, you may not love it as much. That's because diamond shapes can appear differently depending on the size and shape of the fingers and hand. 

If you have small hands, then a round-cut, princess, or Asscher cut will look complement your hand well. These shapes have less surface area and more depth than other types of cuts, which looks proportional on small hands.

If you are looking for a ring that will elongate your fingers, then you might want to go with the Marquise, oval, or pear shapes. All three types of rings have a long shape and appear large, which helps to elongate the fingers for a slimming effect.

Radiant and Emerald cuts tend to look good on wide fingers and bigger hands. Because of the large surface area, these cuts appear larger than others of the same carat weight. Larger stones look more proportionally balanced on bigger hands.

How Shape Impacts Size

Though round-cut diamonds are generally more expensive than fancy-shaped diamonds, round cuts typically appear smaller in size than other shapes. However, because of their depth, round-cut diamonds typically have a lot of sparkles that can make up for the lack of surface area.

Certain shapes like the Marquise, oval, and pear cuts all appear to be quite large due to their elongated shapes. The Marquise cut is pointed at both ends with a full middle. The oval is an elongated version of the round shape. And the pear cut has one full end that tapers to a point at the other end. 

Other fancy-shaped diamonds with a rectangular shape can also appear larger than the round cut. The emerald, radiant, and Asscher cut all can seem larger than the round-cut diamond due to their sharp corners. 

If the size of the diamond is important to you or to your intended recipient, then you'll want to consider what shape will look the largest for its carat weight. When it comes down to choosing the final shape, however, it's all a matter of preference. Size doesn't necessarily determine beauty. If you think a smaller stone looks best on your hand, then you'll want to avoid any fancy-shaped diamonds that seem big for their weight. 

How Shape Affects Clarity

Because fancy-shaped diamonds tend to have more surface area than round-cut diamonds, you'll want to watch out for low clarity grades. Diamond shapes such as emerald or Asscher don't hide flaws very well. Emeralds, in particular, have a large surface area and face. This exposes any inclusions or imperfections easily, so it's important to opt for an emerald diamond with a high clarity grade.

Proportions on Fancy-Shaped Diamonds

Some fancy-shaped diamonds have greater variability when it comes to proportions. Emerald cut, Marquise cut, and heart cut all have a wide variety of proportions. Ultimately, choosing the shape with the correct proportions will come down to preference, as these cuts will have varying proportions.

Saving Money with Fancy-Shaped Diamonds

Round-cut diamonds can have all the same characteristics as a fancy-shaped diamond–same carat weight, clarity grade, cut grade, and high-quality color–yet still cost way more. The cost difference can even range in the thousands, depending on the shape. If you've never considered a fancy-shaped diamond before, you should take a look at all of the options available. It may save you a lot of money while retaining other desired characteristics, like sparkle and fire.

Why are fancy-shaped diamonds less expensive than round-cut diamonds? There are a couple of reasons that round-cut diamonds typically fetch more than other shapes. The first reason is that there is more demand for round cuts. Their brilliance, fire, and scintillation are absolutely stunning, making them extremely popular as engagement rings. If many people have their hearts set on a round diamond, then they'll be willing to pay a higher price for it set by jewelers. 

Do less expensive shapes mean that less skill went into the diamond-cutting process? No, there are quite a few shapes that require extensive skill to create, such as Marquise, oval, and cushion cuts.

The other reason that fancy-shaped diamonds cost less than round cuts is that there are fewer materials wasted during the cutting process. To cut a round diamond shape, a professional would have to use more raw material than a fancy-shaped diamond. Fancy-shaped diamonds use less overall material for the carat weight. Therefore, they are priced lower than round cuts.

If you or your recipient has decided on a diamond that is large, you may have to look at ways to cut costs in other areas. Choosing a fancy-shaped diamond can get you the large appearance that you are after without sacrificing beauty. A pear-shaped diamond is a beautiful, brilliant cut that will appear larger than a round cut with the same carat weight, plus it will cost significantly less too.

Buying a diamond can be a fun yet stressful time since you want to make sure you choose the right ring at a reasonable price. Fancy-shaped diamonds can be a great way to save money while prioritizing other characteristics of the diamond. With a lot of variety in shapes, fancy diamonds are the perfect alternative to the traditional round-cut diamond to infuse a bit of individuality and style into the ring. If you are looking for a beautiful diamond within your price range, you might want to consider perusing all of the different fancy-shaped diamonds to determine whether any catch your eye. Going with an alternative shape may even end up being your preferred choice over the common round cut. If you want to get started comparing shapes, we have a full selection of diamonds in varying fancy shapes.