Updated January 27, 2023

3 Carat Diamond Ring: How to Get the Perfect Engagement Ring

Read more about Diamond Size Chart
Ad Disclosure: This article contains references to products from our partners. We may receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site. You help support CreditDonkey by using our links. (read more)

Shopping for a 3 carat diamond engagement ring? Learn how much you can expect to pay and smart tips you need to know to get the best diamond for the money.

A 3 carat diamond is the ultimate showstopper. And as long as you know what you're doing when buying one, you can end up with a diamond truly the center of attention in any room.

That's where we can help. We're going to show you how to get the best 3 carat diamond for your budget.

In this guide, you'll learn:

How Much is a 3 Carat Diamond?

In general, you can expect to pay $40,000 - $50,000 for a good value 3 carat natural diamond. If you're okay with a lab diamond, you're looking at the $7,000 - $11,000 range.

The price per carat increases exponentially. A 3-carat diamond is not simply three times the price of a 1-carat diamond. It's more like 10 times the price.

This is because it's extremely rare to find a piece of rough material good enough to be cut into a 3-carat diamond. If you're deciding between a 2 carat or 3 carat stone, check out our guide for 2 carat diamond ring.

A 3-carat stone can cost anywhere between $20,000 to $240,000. The price depends on the quality of the stone.

A flawless and colorless 3-carat diamond will cost over $100k. While a diamond with visible flaws and a yellow tint will be on the low end of the spectrum.

Luckily, you don't need to spend six figures. For the best value, we recommend ideal cut, VS2 clarity, and color H. This gives you a good balance between price and beauty. You'll get a sparkling, eye-clean diamond that looks just as good as a perfect stone.

Keep reading for more details on how to choose a 3 carat diamond.

Did you know? Only about 1 out of every 7 million diamonds are completely flawless and colorless. Most diamonds used for jewelry have some flaws and color. This is completely fine because you cannot see slight tints of color or flaws with the naked eye.

Here are some prices to keep in mind for the most popular shapes:

  • Round: $40,000+
  • Princess: $35,000+
  • Oval: $32,000+ (note: cut not graded)
  • Cushion: $31,000+

What about looking for a 2.9 carat diamond? Usually, we recommend that if you're shopping for a 1-carat diamond, you can buy a 0.9 carat diamond to save a lot of money. But this isn't the case with 3 carat diamonds. You won't save much (if any at all) by trying to buy a 2.9 carat diamond. A lot of people are searching for 2.9 carat diamonds, and this raises the prices to be on par with full 3-carat diamonds.

How much would you pay for a 3-carat diamond?

3 Carat Diamond Price Charts

Here are detailed price charts of the current average retail price of 3-carat diamonds. Just click on the tabs for the shape you're looking for.

Round 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Princess 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Cushion 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Oval 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Emerald 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Asscher 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Pear 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Marquise 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Radiant 3 Carat Diamond Prices

Heart 3 Carat Diamond Prices


Fancy shape diamonds can cost as much as 40% less than a round diamond. Oval, asscher, and marquise cuts are pricier, but they are still as much as 15% less than a round diamond. Emerald and cushion cuts tend to be the least inexpensive. This may help you afford a 3-carat diamond on a smaller budget.

Did you know? About 50% of the rough is lost when cutting a diamond. It is estimated that about a 3-carat rough is needed to make an ideal-cut, 1-carat round diamond. Just imagine how large the rough needs to be to be cut into a perfect 3-carat diamond.

Natural vs Lab Created 3 Carat Diamonds

As you can see, a 3 carat diamond is quite a splurge. If you don't have the budget, opting for a lab created diamond is a more affordable way to get a large stone.

Lab diamonds are real diamonds with identical chemical and physical properties as those created from the earth. But because they're made in labs, lab diamonds are now up to 80% cheaper than natural mined diamonds.

Here are some examples of natural vs lab 3-carat diamonds prices.*

Natural DiamondLab Diamond
3 carat round, H, VS2, Ideal$45,000$7,800
3 carat, round, G, VVS2, Ideal$58,500$11,700
3 carat, princess, G, VS1, Ideal$50,000$9,100
3 carat, cushion, F, VS2, Ideal$41,000$9,000
*Pricing based on typical market price of online diamond retailers as of 2023.

For the same gemstones with the same properties, lab diamonds are the way to go if you want a big stone on a small budget.

What type of diamond do you prefer the most?

How Big is a 3 Carat Diamond?

A 3-carat diamond can cost almost 10x more than a 1-carat diamond of the same specs. But its surface area is really just about double the size.

Here's an illustration to show how a 3-carat diamond looks on a finger compared to other carat weights:

The size also depends on the shape of the diamond. Some shapes appear larger even if they're the same carat weight. Here's how 3-carat diamonds of different shapes compare:

Round and asscher cuts tend to look the smallest. Elongated shapes like oval, marquise, pear, and emerald cuts are known for appearing larger.

Here are the dimensions of 3-carat diamonds of different shapes:

  • Round: 9.3 x 9.3 mm
  • Princess: 8 x 8 mm
  • Cushion: 9 x 8 mm
  • Oval: 11.5 x 7.5 mm
  • Emerald: 9.5 x 7 mm
  • Asscher: 8 x 8 mm
  • Pear: 11.5 x 7.5 mm
  • Marquise: 14 x 7 mm
  • Radiant: 8.5 x 7.5 mm
  • Heart: 9.4 x 9.4 mm

Tip: A 3-carat diamond is meant to be a statement piece. So it's best to show it off in a simple solitaire setting. This allows the stone to be the center of attention without any other distractions.

Color for a 3 Carat Diamond

Larger diamonds reveal tints of color more easily. But it doesn't mean you need to splurge for a colorless diamond.

If you like icy white jewelry, we recommend that you don't go below an H. Any lower color grade will have a more noticeable yellow tint, especially against a platinum or white gold ring.

Some people want to splurge on a colorless diamond, which is great if you have the funds. But unless someone's really comparing your stone against a D color diamond, H diamonds look perfectly white.

If you're getting a rose gold or yellow gold ring, then you can go down to a J or K diamond. The warmer diamond color will look beautiful with the ring (and you can save a lot of money).

See: Best Diamond Color for Your Money

Clarity for a 3 Carat Diamond

Larger diamonds also show more flaws as their facets are larger. So, it becomes even more important to make sure that it's eye-clean. Usually, we recommend VS1 clarity to be on the safe side if you're buying from an online store without photos.

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.

For emerald and asscher cut diamonds, we don't recommend going below VS1. These step cut diamonds have a large open table that reveals all flaws. So we suggest upgrading the clarity.

Cut Quality for a 3 Carat Diamond

Cut is the most important factor. It's what makes a diamond brilliant and beautiful. Cut refers to the angles and proportions that affect how light is reflected back.

A well-cut diamond reflects almost all the light back. The diamond will be sparkly and bright, making it appear larger. On the other hand, a poorly cut diamond will "leak" light and appear dull.

With a showstopper like a 3-carat diamond, the last thing you want is a large stone that doesn't sparkle. So always get the best cut possible.

A very sparkly diamond can hide flaws and mask color. So if you're going out of budget, you can downgrade color and clarity to save money. (Or consider a smaller diamond or a different shape that looks larger.)

In other words, do not sacrifice cut just to meet this 3-carat mark. You want a rock this large to dazzle.

Related: Why Cut Is the Most Important of the 4Cs

Request to see Idealscope and/or ASET images of the diamonds. This is the only way to be sure of the light performance of the diamond. Whiteflash provides Idealscope images for all their in-house diamonds, and James Allen will provide up to three upon request.

Recommendations for a 3 Carat Diamond Ring

  • Round, princess, and cushion: Go for a color of H and clarity of VS2 for an eye-clean diamond that appears white. If your budget is a bit smaller, it's okay to go down to color I.

  • Oval, pear, and marquise: These shapes have elongated ends, which trap more color. We recommend you go up to G 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 up to clarity of VS1 and color G.

  • 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.

Lab Certification for 3 Carat Diamond

Lab certification is so important that it's often called the 5th C. A lab report verifies the quality of the diamond. So you know that you're getting what you paid for.

We recommend diamonds that are GIA or AGS certified. These two laboratories have the highest, most consistent grading standards.

While GIA and AGS certified diamonds are more expensive, this is an area you should not compromise on, especially for such a valuable stone.

Shop Online for the Best Value and Selection

To truly get the best deal on a 3-carat diamond, we recommend that you shop online. First, buying a diamond online can save you as much as 40% compared to physical retailers.

Second, 3-carat diamonds are very rare. We can pretty much guarantee that your local jeweler will not have a ton in their collection. You may be stuck with just one or two choices, and neither may be within your budget or preferred specs.

On the other hand, online stores have a much bigger selection. For example, currently on Brilliant Earth, there are hundreds of good quality 3-carat diamonds (H+ color, VS2+ clarity). You have much more options to pick one that's exactly what you want.

Do you prefer to buy a 3-carat diamond online or in-store?

What If You Don't Have the Budget?

Ok so maybe you wanted to get your sweetie the large rock of her dreams, but realized it's not quite financially feasible. Here are some suggestions to make a large diamond more affordable.

  • Consider a lab created diamond.
    Lab created diamonds are identical to the ones mined from the Earth - just that the diamond creation process is sped up in a controlled lab environment.

    Besides being more eco-friendly, lab diamonds can cost as much as 80% less. A good quality 3-carat lab diamond costs around $7,000 - $11,000.

  • Use a halo setting.
    The halo setting is best for making a splash with less money. It has a ring of small diamonds around the center stone, so from far away, it looks like one big diamond.

    A halo can add 2mm width to the overall diameter. So this means that a 1.5-carat diamond with a halo can have the same surface area as a 3-carat diamond. Compared to $30k+ for a 3-carat diamond, a 1.5-carat diamond costs around $10k.

    If your budget is even smaller, you can do a double halo. You can now get just a 1-carat diamond, which costs around $5,500. And with 2 halo rings around it, it'll look as big as a 3-carat diamond (on much, much less).

    Warning: Before you go this route, make sure your girl will appreciate this style. Make sure she's the type of girl who loves showing off flashy jewelry, as some girls may think this is too over the top.

  • Go for a cluster ring.
    A bunch of smaller diamonds is a lot cheaper than one single large diamond. A cluster setting is when a bunch of small diamonds are placed together to give the appearance of one diamond. This style looks especially good with vintage designs.

  • Look into three stone rings.
    Certain three stone designs also give a ring major bling. You can choose a setting that comes to a total of 3 carats. For example, you can get a 1.5-carat center, with two 0.75-carat diamonds on either side.

    The three stones represent the past, present, and future of the relationship. This setting is good for the sentimental girl.

Bottom Line

We hope this guide gave you an idea of what you can expect to pay for a 3-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 more about what to look for and what you can "go cheap" on.

Write to Anna G at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website 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. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

Get Diamond Shopping Tricks That Jewelers Don't Want You to Know
Blue Diamonds

Blue Diamonds

Blue diamonds look too stunning to be true. So just how real and expensive are they? Find out what to look for and how to own one yourself.
More Articles in Diamonds

Next Page:

About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a diamond jeweler comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

About Us | Reviews | Deals | Tips | Privacy | Do Not Sell My Info | Terms | Contact Us
(888) 483-4925 | 680 East Colorado Blvd, 2nd Floor | Pasadena, CA 91101
© 2024 CreditDonkey Inc. All Rights Reserved.