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5 Reasons Not to Buy a Round Diamond

By Stephanie Dore

We get it. You came here looking for a round diamond ring. And you’re not alone. In fact, some 75% of diamond sales are round diamonds. A round diamond is really an unflinching choice, an easy choice, a safe bet. But what if we told you there were so many other delightful diamond shapes to consider that could actually be better than a round diamond? What if we told you that despite the nearly-guaranteed sparkle of a round brilliant cut diamond, you could have so much more? Think: romance, intrigue, mystery, adventure… not necessarily words that a round diamond ring conjures. Rounds are really just, well, round. But if you’re not quite convinced to explore the wide world of diamond shapes, here are our top 5 reasons why you really shouldn’t buy a round diamond ring.

Round Diamonds Are Too Sparkly

We know. This one sounds like a bit of a stretch. After all, who’s going to complain about having too much sparkle? But hear us out. Round diamonds are the only diamond shape to have been studied so closely, for so long, that they have a standardized cut pattern. And because of this, they are the only diamond shape to have a standardized cut grading system. Literally no other shape has an official cut grade, y’all. 

Sure, that cut grade makes it easier to determine if your round diamond will sparkle, which you can go ahead and put on your “pros” list. But one for the “cons”? Round diamonds are so standardized that their sparkle doesn’t have the kind of fire and life that other shapes have. There’s no je ne sais quoi, darling. And part of the charm of diamonds is that they have an undeniable life force in them. They shine unlike anything else, and throw rainbow fire around like nobody’s business. But round diamonds just kind of scintillate their sparkle back at you like, well, every other round diamond. Speaking of which…

round diamond three stone engagement ring
While the solitaire is the most popular round diamond setting, the classic three stone is a close second.
round diamond half bezel engagement ring
A sleek half bezel takes a fresh take on the stuffy round diamond.

Everyone Has a Round Diamond

Like we mentioned, about 75% of all diamond sales are round diamonds. Which means there’s a pretty high likelihood that your friend, your mother, and your cousin too will all be rocking round diamond engagement rings. Sure, the design of your rings might be different, but you could probably exchange one round diamond for the other and no one would notice the difference. Don’t you want to stand out from the crowd?

Round diamonds are totes classic and we love them for that, but other diamond shapes can lend massive personality to an engagement ring, even when mounted in a classic solitaire setting. Like a gorgeously elongated cushion cut diamond, for instance, with its soft curves and major finger coverage. Or an east-west set oval cut diamond that feels modern and offers plenty of spread (i.e. your diamond will look way bigger for a lot less cash). Whether you go for something supple and curvy or Art Deco-inspired with crisp, clean edges, fancy shaped diamonds are a great way to express your personality. But if you must choose a round diamond, please let your ring setting do the talking here. 

Round Diamonds are Basic

When you’re purchasing a round diamond ring, it’s all too easy to fall into the bland, boring, and just plain basic trap with the setting design. Round diamonds are so classic that it can feel like you have to go with a super classic engagement ring, but that’s not at all the case. If you’re going to go round, look for ways to keep your diamond from being too basic by setting it in something more unique. 

Some of our favorite ways? A cool cluster engagement ring gives you the opportunity to play with gemstone colors and shapes. A two-stone, toi et moi ring means you get double the fun. Or go for some secret side stones with a hidden halo (underneath the mounting facing out instead of up!). If you want to really stretch your creativity, rose cut round diamonds offer a vintage feel that’s still technically round but doesn’t fall into the same look at all. And they’re more affordable too!

round and pear diamond toi et moi ring
If you are looking for a modern take on the classic round, pair it with a fancy shaped diamond for a unique toi et moi!
round brilliant diamond solitaire ring
Their popularity and precision will always make rounds the most expensive diamond shape!

Round Diamonds are Overpriced

And affordability is definitely one of the downsides of round diamonds. Many folks even think they’re egregiously overpriced. But the fact of the matter is that round diamonds are in high demand and take a lot of rough diamond to cut to perfection (which means carat loss). Because of the way the market works, this means round diamonds will cost you a premium over every other diamond shape out there. Which is why we’re so often asked for alternatives.

If you want to get something that gives you a similar look but for a lower price tag, many folks turn to the cushion cut, and specifically the modified cushion cut or “crushed ice” diamond shape, which has tons of little brilliant facets. If you get one with a 1:1 ratio (meaning the cushion’s length to width ratio is even) then it’s basically a soft, rounded square. And in smaller diamond sizes, these stones can easily be mistaken for a round.

Round Diamonds are Smaller than Other Shapes

While round diamonds might cost more per carat than other shapes, they’re not really showing up when it comes to size. Sure, a well-cut round diamond’s massive sparkle can actually make it look larger than lower cut grade rounds (which is why cut grade is so important when purchasing a round diamond ring). But other shapes can give you much more finger coverage for a lot less money. 

Oval diamonds, for instance, are cut more shallowly and face up significantly larger for their weight, with what we call “spread”. Other shapes that do the same? Try elongated marquises, pears, emeralds and cushions on for size. You’ll often find these shapes at a lower cost (all other things comparable) than a round diamond but they’ll give you more look, if that’s what you’re after.

round diamond bezel ring stack
Round diamonds are cut to maximize their brilliance for their size, so you’ll be getting the most sparkle for your buck!

Rounding the Bases

If your heart’s still set on a round diamond ring, check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds (including countless round cuts) and don’t forget to zoom out (because size can be deceiving), or book a virtual or offline appointment at our New York or San Francisco studio to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person. 

Not finding what you’re looking for? Email us with what you’re looking for at We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.

Or take the ring quiz and design a custom round brilliant cut diamond engagement ring that’s unique to you.

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