Thinking about buying a 1-carat diamond ring for your ride-or-die? Not sure how much dough you’ll have to shell out to get it? Thanks to the power of the internet (and guides like these), you don’t have to be a gemologist to find out!
In this post, we’ll give you some hard stats on how much a 1-carat diamond ring costs in 2022 across the 4C spectrum. We’ll also explain why 1-carat diamonds vary in price and show you how to find a breathtaking ring without re-mortgaging your house.
What Is a 1 Carat Diamond Ring?
Simply put, a 1-carat diamond ring is a ring that features a diamond weighing one carat. (Or 200 mg.) It’s important to note that while they may be the same weight, one-carat diamonds don’t always look the same size. The same 1-carat gem may look larger or smaller depending upon its setting, cut, color, and more.
How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?
There are also matters of how the ring setting, shape, brand, and more may influence the price of your ring, but we’ll talk about that more in-depth later in this post.
Let’s take a look at how very slight adjustments impact the cost of a 1-carat diamond ring in the real world.
Obviously, carat weight affects the price of a diamond ring. But a word to the wise: it may be difficult to tell the difference between a full-carat diamond and one that falls a fraction below the 1-carat mark.
This is a good thing for the consumer looking for a deal because even though the difference in weight may be slight, the difference in price between such a marginal variance can be significant!
For instance, this 1-carat round ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile (below) with flawless clarity and a D rating on the color scale goes for $19,849. (It may sound counterintuitive, but a “D” is the highest rank on the color scale- more on how that works in a minute.)
This .95-carat round diamond from the same jeweler with the same cut, clarity, and color will cost you $14,906. That’s $4,943 less for a diamond that no one will know isn’t a full carat. Really, no one.
Diamonds come in many colors (even black); however, most ring shoppers are looking for colorless diamonds. It’s important to note that the clearer a diamond is, the higher the diamond price. But a slight variance in the color scale can mean savings for you.
For instance, this 1-carat round ideal-cut diamond from Blue Nile costs $21,209. It features a flawless clarity rating and a color rating of D. (Remember, D is the clearest you can get and, therefore, the most expensive.)
Compare this 1.02-carat round diamond from the same retailer with the same cut and clarity rating. Its color rating is an F, one point below a D but is still considered in the “colorless” category. Its price? $11,975.
That’s a $9,234 difference for something no one aside from a trained jeweler with the best equipment will be able to tell.
The clarity of a diamond refers to how many flaws it contains. Of course, the more flawless the diamond, the more you’ll shell out.
So let’s say we want an ideal cut 1-carat round diamond from Blue Nile with a D color rating and flawless clarity. It’ll cost you $14,878.
Take the same ideal cut 1-carat round diamond with a D color rating but this time, we’re looking at a clarity rating of “IF,” or “internally flawless.” It falls just one spot lower on the GIA clarity scale but costs $11,136.41. That’s $3,742 less.
A diamond’s cut doesn’t only refer to its shape within a setting- it’s all about how it’s cut to reflect the light. You’ve noticed those diamond commercials selling rotating gems that sparkle with a magical inner light? You could have pristine color and clarity, but without a quality cut, a diamond won’t glimmer like that.
So how much is a perfectly cut 1-carat diamond? This 1-carat round diamond from Blue Nile features an “E” rating on the GIA color chart (pretty middle of the road) and “VVS1” clarity. (Well above average.)
With the highest cut rating, it’ll cost you $12,841. The exact same diamond one notch lower on the cut rating costs $8,274. That’s a whopping $4,567 difference.
In fact, Blue Nile features a pricing chart on their site that shows how diamond shape impacts the price for a 1-carat diamond.
Other Cost Factors
The diamond isn’t the only factor when it comes to the cost of a diamond ring. The type of metal used for the brand will influence the overall price of the ring. For instance, the price points between a rose gold and a white gold 1ct diamond ring will be different. This 1-carat Petite Solitaire ring comes in at $6737 with a platinum band while the same ring in 14k white gold is only $6337.
The brand name is also a factor when it comes to ring prices. A comparable ring with almost the same diamond as above from a large brand such as Tiffany & Co runs $17,400. That’s over $10,000 different for similar rings between different brands.
A final factor that impacts the price of a 1-carat diamond ring is whether it’s a lab grown diamond or natural. Lab-grown diamonds are more ethically made than natural diamonds and come in at a lower price point.
A lab diamond in the first ring is priced at $1,438, over $4,000 less than its natural counterpart.
How Big Is a 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?
If you’re curious about the difference in size between different carat weights, Blue Nile has this handy size chart.
A diamond’s size actually has little to do with carat size. A carat is a weight measurement, with 1 carat equalling 200 mg. (That said, the visual difference between a .25-carat ring and a 2-carat ring will be noticeable, regardless.)
Most of your diamond’s weight will be at the bottom of the stone, beneath the setting, and out of sight. (Kind of like an iceberg.)
Clarity Rating for 1 Carat Diamond Rings
Diamond clarity is measured under 10x magnification, and grades range as follows:
- Flawless (FL)– No inclusions or blemishes
- Internally Flawless (IF)- No visible inclusions
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)- Inclusions that are difficult for a skilled appraiser to see, even under magnification.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)– Minor inclusions that can be seen with effort by a skilled appraiser.
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)– Noticeable inclusions.
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) Obvious inclusions.
Because diamonds are scrutinized so closely under high magnification, identifying the difference between grades isn’t usually easy with the naked eye.
For instance, determining the difference between a 1-carat diamond graded as FL on the clarity scale and one graded as VVS1 will likely be impossible, even for a skilled jeweler. (Provided they’re the same diamond color and cut.) That’s good news for those looking to save a little money on a diamond without compromising sparkle!
How to Get the Best Value for a 1 Carat Diamond Ring
Getting a ring you love at a great price doesn’t have to mean compromising quality! There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a 1-carat diamond ring. Weight affects clarity, so we recommend a rating of VS2 for diamonds under 2 carats.
Prioritizing a higher quality diamond cut, such as excellent or ideal, will help your ring reach its maximum sparkle power. A rating of G or H grade for color is your best value but keep in mind that setting color will impact the way the color of your diamond is perceived.
A 1-carat round ideal cut diamond with a VS2 clarity and H for color is your best value and will cost around $5,500.These are just a few humble suggestions for choosing that diamond; feel free to follow what makes sense for your unique situation:
One of the most dramatic ways to cut that price tag is to opt for a lab-grown instead of a natural diamond. Elementally speaking, they’re identical. Practically speaking, they’re more ethically made, eco-friendly, and easier on the wallet.
A round 1-carat lab-grown diamond with an “F” color rating and “VS1” clarity rating will run around $1,500. Visually, lab diamonds are also stunning, sparkly, and look amazing.
Buying a diamond from a brick-and-mortar store (particularly one with a fancy name) is apples-to-apples more expensive. Plenty of online stores offer diamonds of the same quality at a fraction of the cost.
Like we mentioned earlier, there can be a huge difference in price between brands—like $10,000 between Blue Nile and Tiffany & Co. Compared to your local jeweler, shopping online stores will give you a larger variety of 1-carat rings and allow you to shop around for the best ring in your budget.
Choose a Tiny Variation in Size
Ok, we know; the whole point of this post is to help you pick the perfect 1-carat diamond ring. BUT if you want your money to go farther, you’d be surprised at how much you can save when choosing a small fraction or two below 1-carat (like 0.9 or even 0.8).
The result? Zero discernable difference for a lot less. For example, a 0.9-carat diamond is priced at $4,569 while its 1-carat counterpoint is priced at $6,277. A 0.1-carat difference can save you over $1,500.
Choose the Cut and Setting Accordingly
As mentioned before, a diamond’s cut strongly influences its price tag, with round diamonds being the priciest. Another way to stretch your budget is to look for a halo setting. The small diamonds surrounding the center stone will make a smaller center stone look larger.
A 1-carat diamond may be priced around $6,000, but a 0.5-carat diamond is much more budget-friendly at $1,200.
Be a Little Flexible With Color and Clarity
Differences between color and clarity gradings are so minuscule that only a trained pro with a jewelry loupe can tell the difference. And sometimes, they won’t even be able to without a lot of time and equipment.
No Stress Required!
Choosing a diamond ring for the person you want to be with forever is an exciting endeavor you should enjoy, not something to stress over.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you avoid the shopping stress by explaining how much a 1-carat diamond ring costs in 2022 and providing some helpful pointers on choosing an amazing ring at the perfect price!
The look on your sweetheart’s face, when they open the box, will be almost as rewarding as the hugs and tears you’ll get! Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the ride, and remember, engagement rings are forever!
Check out our guides for choosing diamond rings of all sizes: