Anything You Need to Know About Shopping for Diamond Carats
The four C’s that determine a diamond’s quality and price are cut, clarity, color, and carat.
There should be a balance of these four qualities without straining your budget when you purchase a diamond.
Choosing the perfect diamond requires balancing your budget, style, and expectations carefully. Know that there are wonderful alternatives for savvy savers with smaller budgets.
This article will focus on diamond carat, one of the 4C’s, and alternatives that you can work on with your budget in mind.
Is There Such a Thing as a Rare Carat?
Carats measure the weight of a diamond. More carats does not necessarily mean bigger size, but you can get an idea of the size of a round diamond by its carat.
The higher the carat, the higher the price of the diamond. Larger diamonds with a higher carat weight are rarer and more desirable.
“ Did you know?
The largest diamond in the world is The Cullinan, found on January 25, 1905, at Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa. The diamond has 3,106 carats and weighs 1.33 pounds. “
Carat is abbreviated as “ct”. A 1 carat diamond ring equals 0.2 or one-fifth of a gram, so 1 gram equals five carats. Each carat is subdivided into 100 ‘points’ to allow very precise measurements.
With this baseline, a diamond jeweler can also describe the weight of a diamond below one carat as ‘points’, thus a 0.25-carat diamond may be referred to as a ‘twenty-five pointer’.
A diamond carat chart can help you clearly visualize or give you an idea about carats and points.
Choosing Diamonds Based on Carat
- Select an uncommon size carat — saves you money without sacrificing quality.
- Get great deals with carats less than the magic weight. The most common carat or ‘magic weight’ for engagement rings: ½ carat, 1-carat diamond, and 2-carat have a higher price.
Diamonds just below the magic weight like 0.98 carats can have a significantly lower price than a 1-carat diamond. So you can get a great deal with diamonds right below the 1.00-carat mark because you get a diamond that appears the same as 1-ct diamonds but at a significantly lesser price.
- What size does the recipient prefer? Some women prefer many carats while some do not. Others prefer size to quality for a more noticeable diamond.
- Consider the size of the recipient’s hand. Smaller diamonds may look better on more petite hands where larger diamonds may look overwhelming. Larger diamonds may look better and maybe preferred by those with larger hands because smaller diamonds will not be noticeable and the size of the hand will drown out the smaller-sized diamond.
- Focus on getting a well-cut diamond. It is something you should not choose to compromise. Opt for the best diamond cut since the sparkle of a diamond is it’s the most outstanding feature.
For example, an excellent cut 1.20-ct diamond sparkles so much better than a good cut 1.20-ct diamond that you purchase for only $2,500 less. Do not settle for anything less than an excellent cut diamond.
- When buying online, choose sites that have close-up or magnified videos of different diamonds in all sizes so you can make a clearer decision.
How to Choose Diamonds Based on their Carats
Carefully choose a diamond stone and a designer setting for an engagement ring.
It is recommended that you choose an engagement ring setting first before picking your diamond because the ring setting itself will cost you money.
More intricate designs with additional accent diamonds will increase the price of the ring setting. Simpler ring settings are cheaper.
When choosing a diamond stone, it is important to note that even small diamonds can show elegance and sparkle.
Fancy shapes, though not as popular as the traditional shapes, can still be very sparkly and are 20-40% cheaper than the round ones at the same carat weight.
Here are popular diamond carat choices with their corresponding diamond carat prices for engagement rings:
- 0.50 Carats – a popular choice that will cost about $1,000. With this weight, a solitaire setting will stand out, but a halo setting will also add great sparkle.
- 0.70 Carats – a great engagement ring stone with a diamond budget of about $2,000
- 0.90 Carats – an appealing and budget-friendly popular choice if you want to save on a 1-carat diamond
- 1.00 Carat – more expensive for round diamonds with this weight, thus, choosing a fancy shape can give you the most savings. A budget of $4,500 can give you a great 1 Carat diamond
- 1.25 Carats – a noticeably larger and more stunning diamond than the 1 Carat; costs $6,500 for a diamond with excellent performance
- 1.5 Carats – an attention-drawing well-cut round diamond that costs $9,000
- 2.00 Carats – with a round diamond, this will be a little over 8 mm in diameter but a little less than 1 cm. Expect a $16,000 spend on a diamond with great sparkle for this diamond weight.
- 3.00 Carats – A big rock with a big price. An excellent cut and color diamond with this weight costs $35,000
- 5.00 Carats – A rare carat diamond with tons of sparkle that is difficult to find. A well-cut diamond with this weight will need a hefty $60,000 – $100,000.
Diamond studs are sold by the total carat weight (ctw), dividing the weight in half to know the average weight of each diamond for each ear.
- 0.10 – 0.25 ctw – for the minimalist and is great for a child’s gift that costs $100 to $400
- 0.30 – 0.50 ctw – costs $300 to $800
- 0.75 ctw – over 4 mm in diameter and more noticeable; costs $1,000 to $2,000
- 1.00 ctw – has the ideal size for diamond studs which is 5 mm. Well-cut diamonds with this weight are $1,500 to $4,000
- 1.50 ctw – nearly 6 mm in diameter; best with laboratory-graded diamonds; costs at least $4,000
- 2.00 ctw – each diamond weighs about 1 ct, and will cost at least $7,000
Shopping online will give you savings if you prefer a larger diamond for your pendant. Also familiarize yourself with necklace lengths and names keeping the setting style in mind, unless you are purchasing a diamond solitaire pendant.
Diamond pendants can be as small as 0.05 carat that adds sparkle and elegance to any outfit and costs $150 to $500. As the carat weight increases, the price increases as well.
The best size that can match any casual outfit is the 1.00 carat that costs at least $4,000. The more formal outfit would look best with a 1.50-carat diamond.
A Carat of Diamond is Worth a Certain Price
It is a general rule of thumb in the diamond industry that as the carat weight increases, so does the price. Diamond experts recommend only “Ideal/Excellent”, “eye-clean”, and GIA- and AGS- Certified Diamonds with any diamond carat purchase at online diamond vendors.
Remember that carat alone does not indicate the true value of a diamond because bigger is not always better. Carat is only one of the 4C’s in determining the quality and price of a diamond.
But you can always get a diamond within your budget that has excellent cut, clarity, color, and carat.
To know more about carats, our folks at Shira Diamonds can help you out. We offer a variety of diamond shapes and sizes.