Updated March 9, 2017

1 Carat Diamond Price: Get Maximum Value

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Can you afford a 1-carat diamond for your engagement ring? This article will help you figure out how much you can expect to pay.

For most, carat is perhaps the most important aspect of a diamond because the size is the most visible factor. Many see it as a symbol of both wealth and affection.

A 1-carat diamond is the goal most people try to reach. It's a nice whole number, and it's a good size that you can show off and feel proud of without breaking the bank.

Learn about 1 carat diamond prices, so you don't get ripped off. In this guide, you'll learn:

HOW MUCH DOES A 1 CARAT DIAMOND COST?

A 1-carat diamond generally cost between $2,000 and $16,000.

It's a pretty wide range as the price also depends on the other 3 Cs - cut, color, and clarity. A diamond with a higher grade in color and clarity will cost more. A diamond with an ideal cut will cost more. If you're after an ideal perfectly flawless and perfectly colorless 1-carat diamond, you'll be closer to the $16,000 range. A 1-carat diamond with more flaws and a yellow tint will be in the $2,000 range.

The best value is somewhere in the middle. An ideal cut diamond of H color and VS2 clarity could look flawless and colorless. And it'll cost you just about $6k.

The shape of a diamond greatly affects price too. Round, brilliant diamonds are always the priciest. The roughest material is lost when cutting them. Shapes like emerald cut and cushion cut tend to be the least expensive.

1-CARAT DIAMOND PRICE CHARTS

To help you get a better idea of what you can expect to pay, we put together some price charts for 1-carat diamonds.

This chart below shows the price ranges of a 1-carat, ideally-cut diamond. Based on the color and clarity grades, you can easily see the vast pricing difference.

1 Carat Diamond Round - Ideal Cut

IFVVS1VVS2VS1VS2SI1SI2
D$13-$16k$10-$13k$8k-$11k$7-$10k$6.5-$9k$5.5-$8k$4.5-$7k
E$11k$9-$11.5k$7.5-$10k$6.5-$9k$6-$8k$5-$7k$4.3-$6k
F$10-$11k$9-$10k$7.5-$9k$6-$9k$6-$8k$5-6.5k$4-$5.5k
G$8-$9.5k$6.5-$9k$6.5-$8k$6-$8k$5.5-$7.5k$5-$6k$4-$5k
H$6.3-$7.3k$6-$8k$5.5-$7k$5.5-$7k$5.3-$6.5k$4.7-$6k$4-$5k
I$5.7-$6.3k$5.2-$6.3k$5-$6k$5-$6k$4.7-$6k$4-$5.5k$3.5-$4.3k
J$5k$4.5-$5.5k$4-$5k$4-$5.3k$4-$5.3k$3.7-$4.7k$3.3-$4.3k

The highlighted boxes show our recommendations for best value. Color H and clarity of VS2 will get you a white-looking diamond that appears eye-clean. If you can find an eye-clean diamond at the SI1 clarity level, even better.

You'll also notice a pretty big range, even within identical grades. How can diamonds of the same size, cut, color, and clarity be so different in price?

For one, labs can grade the same diamonds differently. We recommend GIA and AGS, as they have the highest standards. Diamonds are also priced based on value. For example, two diamonds could both have a clarity grade of SI1, but one of them might have a visible black dot smack in the center while the other has a flaw at the edge that you can't see with the naked eye.

Below is the chart for fancy shaped diamonds.

1 Carat Diamond - Fancy Shaped

IFVVS1VVS2VS1VS2SI1SI2
D$8-$13k$6.5-$10k$5.4-$8.5k$4.5-$7.5k$4-$7k$3.5-6k$3-$4.7k
E$7k-$9k$5.5-$8k$4.8-$7.5k$4.3-$7k$3.8-$6.5k$3.4-$6k$3-$5k
F$5.5-8k$4.8-$7.5k$4k-$7k$4k-$6.6k$3.7-$6.3k$3.2-$6k$2.8-$5k
G$4.3-$6k$4.5-$6.5k$4-$6.3k$3.6-$6k$3.5-$6k$3.1-$5.5k$2.7-$4.5k
H$3.8-$5.8k$3.5-$5.3k$3.5-$5.2k$3.3-$5k$3.2-$4.5k$3-4.5k$2.5-$3.8k
I$3.3-$4k$3-$5k$3-$4.5k$2.7-$4.5k$2.5-$4.3k$2.5-$3.7k$2.3-$3.5k
J$3-$3.3k$2.7-$3.3k$2.7-$3.3k$2.5-$3.3k$2.5-$3.5k$2.2-$3.2k$2-$3k

For just about all shapes, a safe choice is a color grade of H and clarity grade of VS2. If you're setting the diamond in a yellow gold or rose gold band, you can even go down to a color grade of I or J.

You can see that fancy shaped diamonds cost much less than round diamonds overall. Different shapes will affect the price too. See our article for a rundown of all the shapes and purchasing tips for each one.

HOW BIG IS A 1 CARAT DIAMOND?

A 1-carat diamond is a good size that stands out. It's large enough to get noticed, yet small enough not to get in the way.

Did you know: The largest price jumps are at the half-carat and whole-carat points. To get a better value, look for a diamond just slightly under the whole number.

Here's a chart that shows how a 1-carat diamond looks compared to other sizes:

(Click Image to Enlarge)
Round Diamond Carat Size Chart
Round Diamond Carat Size Chart © CreditDonkey

And here's a look at all 1-carat diamonds in all shapes:

1 Carat Diamond - Different Shapes Illustrated
1 Carat Diamond - Different Shapes Illustrated © CreditDonkey

You can see that not all 1-carat diamonds look like they're the same size. Round and asscher cuts are notorious for looking the smallest. If you want to maximize size, marquise, pear, and emerald cuts often appear the largest.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of what you can expect to pay for a 1-carat diamond. Before you start shopping, make sure you understand how diamonds are priced, so you don't overpay for features that you won't even be able to see. Our beginner's guide to best value explains what to look for and what you can "go cheap" on.

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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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