KP: You can make cluster rings, which is something I do quite often. Smaller diamonds are far less expensive than one big diamond, but you can set smaller diamonds together in a way that mimics a large diamond – it’s the same effect but a fraction of the price.
Round diamonds are also about 25% more expensive than other shapes, as it's the most sparkly cut. Going for a different shape will bring the price down.
You can also get cheaper diamonds by taking one with inclusions [tiny imperfections inside the diamond]. Diamonds with fewer inclusions are more expensive, but a lot of the time you can only see inclusions under a microscope. How much are you going to be looking at your jewellery under a microscope? A stone with a few inclusions can still look amazing.
EO: Smaller or “champagne” diamonds are much cheaper. Also, be sure to work with someone who will cater to your needs and create a ring to suit your budget.
DR: Diamonds are priced in brackets: Each time you hit a whole carat the price jumps up. Imagine two diamonds next to each other, with the exact same colour and clarity grades. One of them weighs just under a carat, the other weighs exactly or just over a carat. Those two diamonds will look identical to the naked eye, but the latter will be priced significantly higher than the other, just because of the prestige that comes with it being one whole carat, rather than 0.98 of a carat. Fly just below the radar and you’ll get a better price.