November 19, 2016

2 Carat Diamond Ring: How to Get the Maximum Value

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Looking to purchase a larger diamond for an engagement ring? Find out how to get the best value for a 2-carat diamond.

A 2-carat diamond ring is a true showstopper. It screams, "Look how beautiful and sparkly I am!" It's the centerpiece of her hand and a status symbol that she will proudly show off for forever.

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Princess Diamond Carat Size Chart
Princess Diamond Carat Size Chart © CreditDonkey

If you're on this page, we're going to assume that you've got a higher budget for this large of a purchase. And we want to help you make the best possible decision so you get the best diamond for your money.

Ultimate Guide

In this guide, we're going to go over what to look for when purchasing a larger diamond. We will be illustrating with examples from James Allen, an online diamond retailer.

Tip: James Allen is our top recommended online diamond retailer because it has an HD 360-degree video for every single diamond in its collection. This way, you can examine the actual stone from every angle so you can purchase with confidence.

In this guide:

How Big Is a 2-Carat Diamond?

A 2-carat diamond is guaranteed to stand out. But it is not large enough appear garishly huge. Here's an illustration of how different sized diamonds look.

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Round Diamond Carat Size Chart
Round Diamond Carat Size Chart © CreditDonkey

A 1-carat diamond is about 6.5mm across (an area of 33.2mm2), while a 2-carat diamond is about 8.2mm across (an area of 52.8mm2). So as you can see, a 2-carat diamond is not twice as large as a 1-carat. It's actually about 60% larger face-up. The other 40% of the weight happens under the surface, which nobody sees.

Did you know that "carat" actually refers to weight and not size? Carat comes from "carob," which is a tree whose seeds were found to have a very uniform weight. So in the ancient days in Europe and the Middle East, they were used as a weight reference for traders - especially for gemstones to determine very slight differences in weight. A diamond carat is the same weight as a carob seed.

Now let's look at how much the price is affected by carat weight.

How Much Does a 2 Carat Diamond Cost?

You'd think that a 2-carat diamond with all the same characteristics of a 1-carat diamond would be double the price. But that's not how it works.

Diamond prices increase exponentially as carat weight increases. This is because it's becoming harder to find larger rough diamonds. It's rare to find a piece of rough material good enough to be cut into a single, larger-sized diamond.

Did you know? Only about 1 in every 15 million stones is good enough to become a 2-carat diamond.

Here's an example of how diamond prices increase (all diamonds in this example have color H, VS2 clarity, and excellent cut):

Screenshot from www.jamesallen.com

In the diamond industry, the magic numbers for carat weight are 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and every half carat thereafter. These are the points at which there is a significant jump in the price. You can see that at each point, the price approximately doubles (which means a 2-carat is about 4x the price of a 1-carat!).

But the carat weight isn't the only thing that determines price. In fact, on James Allen right now, I'm looking at 2-carat round diamonds that range as low as $7,000 to as high as over $70,000!

Screenshot from www.jamesallen.com

This jaw-dropping price difference is due to the other 3C's (cut, color, and clarity). The four C's work together to determine the final sticker price. The $6,570 diamond has a multitude of visible flaws (I1), while the $72,510 diamond is internally flawless and completely colorless (a super rare diamond!), and has an excellent cut.

Of course, these two examples are the most extreme cases and we wouldn't recommend either one. We'd say that a reasonable price for a good-looking, 2-carat stone that appears flawless would run you somewhere between $18k and $25k.

Here is a price chart based on an ideal cut, round 2-carat diamond:

IFVVS1VVS2VS1VS2SI1SI2
D$65-$73k$45-$60k$35-$55k$30-$50k$25-$40k$20-$30k$15-$25k
E$45-50k$35-$50k$30-$45k$23-$43k$20-$35k$17-$30k$14-$23k
F$35-$45k$30-$40k$26-$40k$22-$35k$20-$32k$17-25k$13-$22k
G$30-$40k$25-$35k$25-$32k$22-$32k$18-$28k$15-$25k$12-$20k
H$23-$30k$20-$30k$20-$30k$18-$28k$17-$25k$15-$23k$13-$21k
I$18-$22k$17-$24k$16-$22k$15-$22k$15-$20k$13-$20k$11-$18k
J$15-20k$13-$18k$13-$18k$13-$17k$12-$16k$10-$16k$10-$14k

The highlighted boxes show where we recommend you stay for the best value. This means getting a diamond that appears white and eye-clean. And keep in mind that for fancy shapes, you can knock an extra 10-40% from these prices too.

In the next section, we’ll go a bit more into detail how to balance all 4C's and get the best 2-carat diamond for your money.

Tip: If you see an inexpensive, larger diamond and it seems too good to be true, that's because it is. Deals on diamonds do not exist. So if you're seriously considering buying a diamond of this size, be prepared to spend accordingly. If you have a smaller budget, we have some tips at the end for making a diamond appear larger while staying within budget.

Buying Larger Diamonds for the Best Value

Buying larger diamonds gets trickier. Because of their larger size, it's easier to see flaws and slight tints. So unfortunately, this means that you'll also have to pony up for slightly higher in color and clarity than you would for smaller diamonds.

We recommend that you stick with these guidelines when shopping for larger diamonds.

  • Cut: As we always stress, don't try to skimp on cut. This is the most important of the 4C's, as cut is what makes a diamond brilliant and beautiful. Yes, an excellent or ideal cut would drive up the cost significantly, but it's better to "go cheap" on the next 2 areas instead (or go for a smaller diamond).

    In other words, do not sacrifice cut just to meet this 2-carat mark. You do not want to end up with a large diamond that is dull.

  • Color: Larger diamonds reveal tints of color more easily, but it doesn't mean you need to splurge for a colorless diamond. If you prefer a white look to your jewelry, we recommend that you don't go below a G (or H if you're not too color-sensitive). If you don't mind a warmer look or plan to set the diamond in a yellow gold band, then an I or J could look beautiful in that setting.

  • Clarity: Larger diamonds also show more flaws as their facet sizes are larger, so it becomes more important to make sure that it's eye-clean. But as most flaws are miniscule and can only be seen under 10x magnification, there is no need to go for flawless or VVS. All you need is a diamond that appears eye-clean.

    Usually, we'd say that if you're buying from an online store without photos and you feel really unsure, stick with VS1 clarity to be on the safe side. But in reality, you can go down to VS2 if you are able to see actual photos/videos of the diamond to verify that it's eye-clean (such as on James Allen).

    See: Why VS2 Gives the Most Bang for Your Buck

    Tip: For purchasing larger sized diamonds, we really like Whiteflash because they will label a diamond as eye-clean if their experts have verified it to be the case. So you don't have to wonder if the inclusions will be noticeable to the naked eye.

    To give an example of a 2-carat diamond that is a great value, here's one from James Allen.

    Screenshot from www.jamesallen.com

    The diamond above has a color of H, clarity of VS1, and an excellent cut. It'd be a good option for those looking for a beautiful, 2-carat diamond on a "smaller" budget.

  • Certification: It is important that your diamond is certified by a reputable lab (notice how the above diamond has a GIA certification). We only recommend GIA or AGS. Diamonds with these lab certifications tend to be pricier, but they have the highest standards. Another lab that grades a diamond as VS1 may actually be an SI1 if graded by GIA.

  • Request to see Idealscope images: For a statement diamond, you definitely want it to shine. The only way to absolutely know for sure how it performs is to ask to see Idealscope and/or ASET images (both show the light performance of a diamond). A poorly-cut diamond will leak light and appear dull, while a well-cut diamond will return all the light to the viewer.

    Screenshot from www.jamesallen.com

    Here is a brief lesson on reading Idealscope images. The super ideal cut diamond (on the right) is all red, which means no light leaking out through the bottom. But diamond on the left, while still an excellent cut, shows some white in the center. This indicates areas of light leakage.

    If your vendor claims that the diamond has an excellent cut, but refuses to show you the light performance imaging, do not buy from him. Whiteflash provides Idealscope images for all their in-house diamonds, and James Allen will provide up to 3 upon request.

Tip: If you want to buy a 2-carat diamond, it's best to search online for a better selection. For example, James Allen has over 800 diamonds that are exactly 2 carats, ranging from poor quality to flawless in every way. I guarantee you that your local store will not have such a huge selection.

What If You Don't Have the Budget?

If you would really like to get your girl a large rock, but you just don't have the budget, don't worry, here are some tricks you can use.

Screenshot from www.jamesallen.com

  • Set a smaller diamond in a halo. The halo setting has a ring of small diamonds around the center diamond. This popular setting gives off serious bling and makes it look as if the diamond is huge.

  • Set it in a band with small diamonds. The pave setting has small diamonds on both sides of the band. A thin band will make the center stone pop and is another great way to draw attention.

  • Look for a diamond slightly smaller than 2 carats. A diamond just under 2 carats can be as much as 25% less just because it no longer hits the magic 2-carat mark. And nobody is going to be able to tell the difference between 1.9 carats and 2 carats.

  • Consider a fancy-shaped diamond. We focused on round diamonds, but one of our favorite suggestions is to go for another shape. Fancy-cut diamonds often appear larger than they are (so you could go for a slightly smaller one) and they're cheaper than round too. And plus, they are more unique and will appeal to the girl who likes to stand out in a crowd.

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

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    Cushion Diamond Carat Size Chart
    Cushion Diamond Carat Size Chart © CreditDonkey

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    Emerald Diamond Carat Size Chart
    Emerald Diamond Carat Size Chart © CreditDonkey

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

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    Marquise Diamond Carat Size Chart
    Marquise Diamond Carat Size Chart © CreditDonkey

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

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

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

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how much you can expect to shell out for a 2-carat diamond and what to look for. Our goal is to give you guidelines so that you get the best value for your money. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to your budget, which areas you're willing to sacrifice, and your personal preference.

And lastly, as always, we suggest that you and your beloved talk about it and agree on your expectations. If she really wants a 2-carat diamond, and you've considered all the options and genuinely cannot afford a diamond of this size, you've got to discuss it. Remember, you have the rest of your financial future to think about!

Good luck!

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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