December 16, 2016

1 Carat Diamond Price

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Can you afford a 1-carat diamond for your engagement ring? Learn why there is such a huge price difference in diamonds and how much you can expect to pay.

To most diamond shoppers, carat is perhaps the most important. Most people prioritize the size of the diamond. Size is the most visible factor, and many see it as a symbol of wealth and affection.

A 1-carat diamond is the magic goal that most people try to reach. It’s a nice whole number. It’s a good size to show off and feel proud, while not breaking the bank.

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

HOW MUCH DOES A 1 CARAT DIAMOND COST?

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

The price depends on the other 3C’s – 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 diamond, you’ll be looking at that $16,000 range. A 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 run you just about $6k.

The shape of the diamond greatly affects price too. Round brilliant diamonds are always the priciest. The most rough 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 these price charts for a 1 carat diamond.

This chart shows the price ranges of a 1 carat ideally cut diamond. Based on the color and clarity grades, you can 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

There is still a pretty big range even for diamonds with identical grades. How can diamonds of the same size, cut, color, and clarity be so different in price?

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

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, that’s even better. And if you’re planning on setting it in a yellow gold or rose gold band, you can go down in color to J and save even more.

And here’s 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

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

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.

HOW BIG IS A 1 CARAT DIAMOND?

A 1 carat diamond is a good size that will still stand out on the finger. It’s large enough to get noticed, yet small enough that it won’t get in the way.

Here’s an illustration to show 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 now, let’s take a look at all 1 carat diamonds of all the 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 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 you have an idea now of what to expect to pay for a 1-carat diamond. Before you start shopping, make sure you understand how diamonds are priced. This way, you don’t overpay for features that you cannot even see. Our beginner’s guide to best value explains what to look for and what you can “go cheap” on.

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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