Updated March 9, 2017

1 Carat Diamond Price Guide

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What is a 1 carat diamond worth? The 4C's can greatly affect price. Read this guide to avoid overpaying for your diamond ring.

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.

If you're interested in going a bit bigger, be sure to check our guides for 2 carat and 3 carat diamond rings.

A 1 carat diamond costs between $2,000 to $16,000. The cost depends on the quality of the stone and how well cut it is. In general, we recommend the best value to be somewhere between $4,500 - $6,000. This is where you can find a good balance of quality, beauty, and price.

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


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.


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

Here are the current retail price of 1 carat diamonds, based on diamond shape.

Round 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Princess 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Cushion 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Oval 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Emerald 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Asscher 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Pear 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Marquise 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Radiant 1 Carat Diamond Prices

Heart 1 Carat Diamond Prices


For just about all shapes, H color and VS2 clarity will get you the best value. 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. See our article for a rundown of all the shapes and purchasing tips for each one.


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:

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

Not all 1-carat diamonds look like they're the same size. Asscher cuts are notorious for looking the smallest. If you want to maximize size, marquise, pear, and emerald cuts often appear the largest.

Here are the surface areas of 1 carat diamonds of different shapes:

ShapeSize (mm)
Round6.5 x 6.5
Princess5.5 x 5.5
Cushion6.5 x 5.5
Oval8.0 x 5.2
Emerald6.7 x 5.0
Asscher5.3 x 5.3
Pear8.0 x 5.2
Marquise10 x 5
Radiant6.0 x 5.5
Heart6.6 x 6.6

Natural vs Lab Created 1 Carat Diamonds

Lab created diamonds have gotten very popular in recent years. It's a great choice for smaller budgets. Lab diamonds are now 60% cheaper than natural mined diamonds.

Lab diamonds are real diamonds with identical chemical and physical properties as those created from the earth. The lab replicates the creation process.

Here are some examples of pricing differences between natural and lab 1-carat diamonds.*

Natural DiamondLab Diamond
1 carat round, H, VS2, Ideal$5,530$1,630
1 carat, round, F, VVS1, Ideal$7,510$2,910
1 carat, princess, G, VS1, Ideal$4,320$1,800
1 carat, oval, H, VS1$4,110$1,660

*Pricing information from in-stock diamonds on James Allen as of 8/27/21. James Allen is one of our favorite online diamond retailers. It offers competitive pricing and a large selection of certified diamonds.

1 Carat Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to how many flaws are in the diamond. But you don't need the perfect flawless stone. All you need is an eye-clean diamond.

We recommend VS2 clarity as the sweet spot. At this clarity grade, the flaws are usually small enough that they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

If you are able to see actual photos/videos of the diamond, you can go down to SI1 to save more money.

For emerald and asscher cut diamonds, we recommend upgrading the clarity to VS1. These step-cut diamonds have a large open table that easily reveals flaws.

1 Carat Diamond Color

The human eye can't differentiate color that well. You don't need a premium colorless diamond.

An H diamond offers best value. It's priced lower, but will still achieve the icy white look. I color is even okay for some extra savings.

If you're setting the diamond in a yellow or rose gold band, then you can even downgrade to a J or K diamond. These diamonds have a warmer tone, which will complement the color of the ring well.

1 Carat Diamond Cut

Diamond cut is the most important of the 4Cs. It's what makes a diamond brilliant and beautiful. We recommend no less than an Excellent/Ideal cut.

A well cut diamond can hide flaws, so you don't need as high of a clarity grade. It also makes the diamond well proportioned and bright, making it appear larger. This is one area you don't want to compromise.

How to Save on a 1 Carat Diamond

If a 1 carat diamond is out of your budget, here are some savings tips to get the best 1 carat diamond for your money.

  • Shop online
    Buying your engagement ring online is the biggest money saving move. Online jewelers can be as much as 40% cheaper than traditional jewelry chain stores.

    Plus, they have much larger selections, so you have more options to choose from. It's easier to find the right diamond within your budget.

    To give you an idea, a 1-carat solitaire in white gold on Zales costs $7,000. We designed a higher quality similar ring on James Allen for $5,170.

  • Consider lab created
    If your budget is smaller, go for a lab created diamond instead. Lab diamonds are identical to natural diamonds. But because they're made in a lab, the price is a lot lower. You can get a good quality 1-carat lab diamond between $1,500 - $2,000.

    Lab diamonds are also ethical and eco-friendly. If you don't need a diamond from the earth, lab diamonds are a great all-around alternative.

  • Go just shy of 1 carat
    Don't get stuck on the 1-carat goal. Go for a 0.9 carat diamond instead and save over $1,000.

    And guess what? Visually, there is no size difference between a 0.9-carat and 1-carat diamond. But the savings are insane.

    A 1-carat round diamond is 6.4-6.5 mm in diameter. A 0.9-carat round diamond is 6.2-6.3 mm in diameter. This is literally just a difference of 0.2 mm - the thickness of a piece of paper. So don't spend the money on something you can't even see.

    We urge you to check it out for yourself. You will be blown away by the price difference.

    Search 0.9 carat diamonds Search 1 carat diamonds

  • Go for an alternative shape
    Round diamonds are the most expensive because of demand. Other diamond shapes cost as much as 40% less. And some even appear larger.

    Consider shapes like oval, emerald, and pear for unique engagement rings that will really stand out.

  • Use a halo setting
    A halo ring is the best choice to make a huge splash on a smaller budget. It has a ring of small diamonds around the center stone, so from far away, it looks like one big sparkly diamond.

    With a halo, a 0.50 carat diamond can look as large as a 1 carat diamond. Compared to $5,000+ for a 1 carat diamond, a 0.5-carat diamond costs around $1,300.

Quality Recommendations for a 1 Carat Diamond Ring

Round, Princess, and Cushion
Aim for a color of H and clarity of VS2 for an eye-clean diamond that appears white. If your budget is smaller, you can go down to SI1 clarity and color I.

Oval, Pear, and Marquise
These shapes have elongated ends, which trap more color. We recommend you don't go below H in color.

Emerald and Asscher
These step-cuts have a large window straight into the depth of the diamond. Any flaws or color are more easily seen. We recommend you go with clarity of VS1 and color H. Only get VS2 if you can verify that it's eye-clean.

Yellow Gold or Rose Gold Band
You can afford to go for a warmer-toned diamond to complement the band. You can go down to a K in color.

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.

James Allen

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Shop for diamonds at Whiteflash, a CreditDonkey recommended partner for super ideal cut diamonds.

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Read Next:

Diamond Prices: What You Need to Know

Diamond Prices

2 Carat Diamond Ring Price Guide

2 Carat Diamond

VS2 Diamond: The Best Value in Clarity

VS2 Diamond

James Allen

Search for Diamonds

Shop for diamonds at James Allen, a CreditDonkey #1 recommended partner for the best online experience.

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