In the minds of many diamond shoppers, the carat weight (or size) of a diamond is one of the biggest factors when buying engagement rings. Going with a full carat (or slightly above) 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 drawback: that price tag. So, how much does a 1-carat diamond ring cost? Read on to find out!
A good quality 1 carat diamond ring costs between $6,500 to $7,500 in retail stores, while the same diamond will cost about $3,000 - $4,000 online! On the other hand, the highest quality 1-carat diamond (D color and Flawless) will set you back $10,000 or more (add 40-70% when purchased at a jewelry store).
So what determines the cost of a 1 carat diamond and what factor should you consider when buying a ring? Size isn’t everything when it comes to a diamond, and there are multiple factors such as cut, color, and clarity that determine the price of all diamonds.
The Cut of a diamond directly influences its beauty; if a diamond is cut and polished correctly, it will have a much more desirable appearance, even when compared to diamonds of higher color and clarity grades.
So why isn't every diamond cut ideally? In one word, cost. The better the cut, the more material is used (wasted) in the manufacturing process. That's why a diamond's cut quality can impact it's price by up to 60% when compared to diamonds that have a cut grade of 'good' or 'fair.'
Diamond color is actually a lack thereof. The absence of color determines its color grade and has a significant impact on the price and value of a diamond. Diamond color grade is typically identified with the diamond face down set against a pure white surface, following a grading scale of D (colorless) to Z (faint yellow).
Typically rings feature a center stone that's in the colorless (D-F) or near-colorless range (G-J). While these color ranges can look remarkably similar (particularly when viewing the diamond from the top), opting for a colorless diamond can be much more pricey than going with a near-colorless stone.
A diamond’s clarity grade is determined by analyzing the inclusions and blemishes it has (or lacks). The fewer inclusions or characteristics in the diamond, the higher the clarity grade will be.
While diamond clarity doesn’t have the same impact as diamond color in terms of appearance and cost, it’s still a significant consideration when buying a diamond.
So what’s the best clarity rating in terms of value? Any diamond that is rated ‘SI’ (Slightly Included) or better will have microscopic inclusions that are not visible with the “naked eye.” (It is advisable to stay away from an ‘I1-I3’ clarity rating as flaws will be visible without magnification.)
A diamond ring isn’t a ring without the setting, and the metal type chosen will impact the cost. Gold (white or yellow) settings are usually less expensive than platinum, as they weigh considerably less. Of course, the size and thickness of the band also affect the cost. A thin platinum setting may be less expensive than a wide gold band.
Looking to stay within a budget but still get the look and feel of platinum? Choose a white gold setting and opt for 14k instead of 18k. 14k is a stronger choice versus 18k and has a whiter appearance.
Last but not least, consider the type of diamond you are purchasing. If the diamond is lower on the color scale, yellow or rose gold might be more complimentary than platinum or white gold.
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.