How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?

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In the minds of many diamond buyers, the carat weight of a diamond is one of the biggest factors when choosing an engagement ring. Going with a full carat is a statement: big enough to make an impact and dazzle you and your partner’s friends when you show off that rock. But with dazzle comes the drawbacks: that price tag.  

You can expect a relatively inexpensive 1 carat diamond ring to cost between $6,500 to $7,500 in retail stores, while the same diamond ring will only cost about $3,000 - $4,000 online. On the other hand, a high-quality diamond can match the price of a mansion!

Before investing in what seems like the bargain deal, it’s best to dig deeper into the heart of that budget-friendly one carat darling. Size isn’t everything when looking at a diamond’s pricing, and there is almost always a good reason for a low price tag. There’s also the ring setting to consider: your choice of metal, metal purity, band design, and any additional diamonds can all drastically affect the price.

Diamond, Cut, Color & Clarity

Diamond Cut

A diamond’s cut is graded in many areas: symmetry, depth, the proportions of the table (the top facet of the diamond) as well as other measurements. Each part of the diamond—and how each area is cut—also affects how light refracts, reflects and disperses within the stone. While ‘good’ cuts are perfectly fine, don’t ever purchase a poorly cut stone…even if the price seems like a steal.

Diamond Cut

Diamond Color

The color of a diamond, on the other hand, is very much a personal preference. Colorless diamonds are the most desireable (outside of intense fancy colored diamonds), but some buyers prefer a warmer diamond. Others are willing to sacrifice color for other qualities, particularly carat size and clarity.

Diamond Color

Diamond Clarity

Inexpensive 1 carat stones often have glaringly obvious imperfections, such as visible chips, clouds, or carbon deposits, which look like black spots in the stone. Eye clean diamonds are rated SI (“slightly included”) and above; these stones will only have imperfections that are visible under magnification.
Stay away from “I” grade stones, which indicate that the diamond has clarity flaws that are visible to the naked eye

Diamond Clarity

The Market of Metal

A ring isn’t a ring without the setting. And the metal type will affect the cost of the ring. Gold settings are less expensive than platinum, as gold purity may be adjusted to fit the budget. Diamonds may also be set in palladium, tungsten, or other metals, but gold (white, yellow and rose) and platinum are the favorites in engagement ring settings. Of course, the size of the band also affects the cost. A thin platinum setting may be less expensive than a thick band of gold. When selecting a loose diamond, all 4Cs impact the price—some more than others. One-carat flawless white diamonds are incredibly expensive, and buyers who want the ideal one-carat must make concessions if their budget is a bit more constrained.

The Market of Metal

The style of the ring—and the setting metal—also greatly impact the overall price of a one-carat diamond ring. Choosing to add more diamond or gemstones or selecting platinum or purer forms of gold will make the price jump substantially. And the bigger the ring, the higher the cost. So if you want to sacrifice size, choose slimmer bands without extra diamond accents to budget more money for the diamond centerpiece.

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