An engagement ring is one of the most important pieces of jewelry a woman will ever own. The fact that it is purchased without our help can seem like a daunting task for the lucky man in our lives. So, let me start here. Guys, you cannot go wrong with a 1 carat diamond! No matter the setting or the shape, a 1 carat diamond will never let her down. Naturally your next question will be, “How much is a 1 carat diamond?”.
While there are many factors that determine the price of a loose diamond, Shape, Color, Clarity and Carat have the most impact.
The shape of a diamond is a defining characteristic since the contours and outlines have a significant impact on a diamond’s appearance. The round diamond has been long sought after due to it’s light refraction properties and unrivaled brilliance. Round diamonds tend to lose more carat weight during cutting and processing than other shapes, often making this shape more expensive. If her heart is set on a round 1 carat diamond, you can expect to pay between $3,500-$5,500. Conversely, princess diamonds tend to be less costly, as they retain more carat weight during the cutting process. The typical price range for a 1 carat princess cut would be between $3,000-$4,500 (a savings of 15-30%). While the princess cut is relatively new, it is often desired due to the unique cutting and polishing techniques that hide inclusions and show color more clearly.
The Many Faces of a 1 Carat Diamond:
If you are looking for a more classic diamond shape, the emerald cut diamond is calling your name. Similar to princess cut, an emerald diamond loses minimal carat weight during cutting. This allows you to get a beautiful diamond at a lower price! Keep in mind that the emerald diamond’s large step facets make inclusions easier to detect, which can call for a higher grade of clarity.
If an emerald cut diamond speaks to you, you should expect to spend between $2,750-$4,350 for a 1 carat (a significant savings compared to a round cut diamond).
To learn more about the most popular diamond shapes, check out our Diamond Shape Guide.
Color is an important factor when shopping for a diamond, as it is noticeable to the unaided eye. The most valuable diamonds have little to no detectable color, which will reflect the different spectrums of light like fire. The Diamond Color Scale is ranked from D to Z, with “D” being colorless. While the presence of color will decrease a stone’s value, it does not mean that stone won’t exude brilliance! Going with a near colorless diamond (G through J in color) can save you thousands on the perfect ring. With all other factors being equal, you can save 30-55% on the cost of a 1 carat diamond that is in the near-colorless family (G-J) versus a colorless diamond (D-F). A quick tip when it comes to color: Yellow gold settings compliment diamonds with lower color ratings.
Once you are comfortable with the shape and color of your diamond, you need to decide on the clarity. The clarity of a diamond indicates the presence or absence of inclusions and blemishes within the stone. Just like color, clarity has a scale, ranging from Flawless (FL-IF) to Included (I1-I3). Those of you looking for a high quality diamond without the high price should look to the VS (Very Slightly Included) clarity range. VS diamonds will contain inclusions that are not detectable to the unaided eye. The budget minded man can also save a bundle by going with a diamond that has slight inclusions. SI1, SI2 and SI3 (Slightly Included) are your best bet to save money while keeping a high quality diamond. Still not clear on clarity? Check out the Diamond Clarity Guide.
Now, we are back to our original question: How much does a 1 carat diamond cost? Diamond carat can be deceiving because it does not indicate the actual dimensions or millimeter size of a stone. For example, a 1 carat marquise or oval cut diamond may appear larger than a 1 carat round diamond due to its elongated shape. While they both may weigh 1 carat, the elongated shape creates an illusion of a bigger diamond. Choosing a diamond shape that is elongated can save you 20-35% on the price of the stone! In addition, opting for a diamond just under 1 carat can also save you thousands. For example, a 0.92 carat diamond could be the same size (millimeter dimensions) or bigger than a similar quality 1 carat depending on the depth of the stone.
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Lastly, you should also consider her finger size. A finger size 5 will make a 1 carat diamond appear bigger than if it was set on a finger size 8 for example. To see an exact sizing chart based on diamond shape, check out the Diamond Carat Guide. This amazing guide shows the measurements of a diamond based on the carat and shape!
Now that you understand shape, color, clarity and carat, you are ready to get out there and find the perfect 1 carat diamond!
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