Ultra rare, immediately noticeable, and a true statement piece of jewelry, a 9-carat diamond is a diamond lover’s dream. If you’re looking for a ring with a big legacy, this could be your ideal match.
However, because this is an uncommonly large diamond, blemishes, inclusions, and undesirable colors are much easier to spot. So, it takes a smart and savvy shopper to find the perfect one.
Luckily, you have us!
We’ve assembled the ultimate buying guide for 9-carat diamonds. We’ll walk you through the tricks and facts on cut, color, clarity, and everything else you need to know to find a stunning 9-carat diamond that appeals to your taste and your bottom line.
What Is a 9 Carat Diamond Ring?
Usually, a 9-carat ring will have a single stone weighing 9 carats. The 9-carat diamond will typically be the center stone or the one that is most prominently featured on the ring.
Don’t confuse this with a total carat weight (TCW) of 9 carats, which means that all the stones in the setting have a combined carat value of 9! They mean quite different things.
Metric carats are the standard measurement for diamonds. It’s a measurement of weight, not visual size, where every carat accounts for 200 mg of beautiful bling. So, 9-carat diamonds can all look different, especially when cut and set uniquely.
However, every one of these beauties will weigh in at 1.8 grams. That may not sound like a lot, but it is, and 9-carats is a hefty diamond. It will look big and also feel big on your finger.
You may have seen diamonds for sale with carat weights that look like this—9.05 carats. In addition to full carats, diamond weight is further broken down into “points.” Each full carat consists of 100 points, allowing for more accuracy when measuring diamond weights.
Sometimes, a diamond can be the same carat in weight as another but look smaller because it has a deep cut—carrying the bulk of the stone below the girdle within the setting. You’ll still be getting a beautiful 9-carat piece, it will just be cut differently.
It should also be mentioned that diamonds can come in different colors and, therefore, have different values. Red diamonds, chocolate diamonds, canary yellow diamonds… you name it! The term, 9-carat diamond ring, doesn’t exclusively apply to traditional, colorless, or white diamonds.
How Big Is a 9 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?
There are no two ways about it—9-carat diamonds are big. As we mentioned earlier, the shape of a diamond can affect its physical parameters and visual size, even though it retains the same 9-carat weight. However, a classic, round-cut 9-carat diamond will be about 13.2 millimeters across.
The standard lady’s finger width is about 16.5–17 millimeters. Some will have even thinner fingers. So, 80% (or more) of the finger will be obscured by a 9-carat diamond. That’s a lot of diamond! If there are multiple stones in the setting, even a fine halo of small diamonds, it may be larger than your entire finger!
It’s worth remembering that with this impressive size comes a lot of weight and, perhaps more importantly, height. How “proud” your 9-carat diamond will stand does depend on its overall shape, but these diamonds will be a lot taller than the common 1-carat and 2-carat diamonds, and so can be tougher to wear for day-to-day activities.
This is why it’s common to find non-round shapes in 9-carat diamonds. An elegant and elongated cut, like a marquise (eye) shape or pear/teardrop, can make a visually slimmer stone—with the same magnificent sparkle and carat value. Due to more of the stone sitting below the setting, it can also make it feel lower on the finger.
How Much Does a 9 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?
While there are other factors that will affect the pricing of a 9-carat diamond ring—think the specific metal in the band, or other diamonds/precious gems in the setting—the bulk of the value of your 9-carat ring will come from the beautiful big diamond.
Why then, can the price of a ring with this diamond vary from $13,000 to $200,000 per carat?
All diamonds, from little to large, draw the core of their value from the famous “4Cs.” Namely, carat, cut, clarity, and color. These aren’t just arbitrary terms! Each of these categories has specific standardized parameters that are recognized by jewelers on globally recognized criteria.
There are several certification systems for diamonds. Of these, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society) are the most respected and recognized. We urge all buyers, especially of high-value diamonds like this, to look for these certifications.
This assures you, the buyer, of exactly what you’re purchasing, and also helps you prove it to a future buyer if you ever decide to sell. The GIA, which gives a little more detail, is typically the best to opt for.
We’re going to power you up with some in-depth knowledge about these diamond criteria below, but let’s first crunch some numbers. Why are some 9-carat diamonds cheaper than others? Obviously, the carat value is consistent in 9-carat diamonds.
Cut, while a very important part of the overall package and a contributor to the cost (we’ll show you how in a moment), is also standard, based on what you want—if your heart is stolen by a brilliant round diamond, the classic cut, then there’s no point comparing apples with pears and throwing some princess or marquise prices into the mix.
So, that leaves us with color and clarity as the “wriggle room” to find the perfect match for your preferences and budget. Both of these, under those GIA standards, have fixed parameters. We’ll explore their specifics below, so don’t let the jeweler jargon overwhelm you just yet!
The highest-graded type of 9-carat diamond you will find is the coveted D-color and FL (flawless) clarity. In 9-carat diamonds, already a rarity due to their size, you probably won’t even find one of these for sale, and certainly not easily!
The best quality 9-carat diamond you will find for sale will probably have a G-grade and VVS1 (very, very slightly included) rating. This is an exceptional piece that won’t visually look any different from a top-end diamond and will retail in the $400,000 range. Luckily, you don’t have to budget that much to get a fantastic 9-carat diamond!
Set in a crisp and clean white gold or platinum setting, you should aim for a diamond with a color rating high enough that it doesn’t appear yellow to the eye—which I-rated colors will achieve.
If your heart is set on an FL rating, you’ll be shelling out $280,000. However, the VS1 category (very slightly included) looks near indistinguishable, and you could snag a great 9-carat diamond with those parameters for about $230,000.
If you love the look of yellow gold, which is even more forgiving with diamond colors, you can try a J or K-grade color. The gold will help it look crisp and clean, and with a super solid VVS1 rating, you could pay as little as $160,000 for this fantastic diamond.
While you will find even cheaper 9-carat diamonds out there, slipping below these clarity and color grades will lead you into a poor-quality territory, so it’s worth paying the extra to receive something truly exceptional.
Clarity Rating for 9 Carat Diamond Rings
So, we’ve already seen how clarity can have a huge impact on price. But what is clarity?
In the world of diamonds, clarity refers to how many blemishes, or inclusions, are within the diamond. This isn’t something you’ll notice visually all that much. Even professional jewelers assess this under 10x magnification.
Why do these blemishes occur? Naturally formed diamonds occur when carbon is subject to tremendous forces within the Earth’s mantle. As this pressure shapes your gorgeous stone, little air pockets or other impurities can form deep within the stone.
While it is very difficult to notice these with the naked eye, a lot of inclusions can dull the sparkle of the stone a touch, so the more inclusions, the lower the stone is graded.
Some of these inclusions and blemishes are visible to the naked eye, resulting in the lowest clarity grades. No diamond is perfect, but those with very minute or very few inclusions receive the highest grades. Ultimately, the clarity scale takes into account the number of inclusions and each one’s size, position, relief, and nature.
The six clarity rating categories, from best to worst, are
- IF—internally flawless
- VVS1 and VVS2—very, very slightly included
- VS1 and VS—very slightly included
- SI1 and SI2—slightly included
- I1, I2, and I3—included
Stones of lower clarity may be eye-clean, meaning you cannot see their inclusions with the naked eye. However, that doesn’t mean that you should assume a stone’s clarity grade. It is always important to have an expert grade it for you to establish its value and authenticity.
Due to the large mass of a 9-carat diamond, they can sometimes be more prone to inclusions, simply because there is more space for them to occur. Regardless of the size, it’s always a good idea to prioritize clarity when choosing a diamond. In clarity, a 9.02-carat round diamond rated as SI2, with a color rating of K, and an ideal cut will cost $148,650.
A 9.07-carat round diamond with the same color and cut ratings but with a clarity rating of SI1 will cost $142,020. The marginal variance in sparkle will save you over $6,000. The VS1 and VS2 grades represent a great balance of price and visual beauty.
Note: All pricing examples are current as of 11/17/2022 and apply to in-stock diamonds.
9 Carat Diamond Ring Cuts and Shapes
So clarity is pretty easy to understand, right? Cut gets a little more confusing—but only because we mix up two key concepts here. Let’s break both down.
The 4C’s of Diamonds: Cut
In the jewelry world, the “cut” refers to how the facets, or flat sides, are created in the stone. Facets are what help a diamond sparkle by scattering and refracting light that enters it. You can identify facets by looking at your diamond closely and noticing the smooth, flat sides cut into the stone. They’re not cut at random but are strategically determined based on the diamond’s size and symmetry.
A diamond cutter knows exactly where to put facets to help the diamond scatter and return light best. Achieving this optimal brilliance isn’t easy either, especially when you consider that fifty-eight facets are cut into a standard round brilliant!
This part of the 4C’s is assessed by professional jewelers on three criteria
- Brightness—how much light is reflected externally and internally
- Fire—a check for the coveted rainbow appearance of white light being scattered
- Scintillation—the sparkle effect created by patterns of light and dark areas
Diamond shapes can swing from in-fashion to outdated, but their cut grading will not change. Expert diamond graders evaluate and analyze diamonds based on a standard GIA scale for round-brilliant diamonds and the stone’s symmetry and polish for fancy shapes.
As the shape is created from the stone, and its cuts are decided, some of the raw diamond is lost. A round brilliant results in the most stone weight loss. In fact, nearly 60% of the stone’s original weight will be shed during cutting. More square shapes, which follow a stone’s natural structure, like cushions, result in less waste—usually closer to 20%. Fancy shapes with less waste can, therefore, be less pricey.
Unlike clarity, buyers can usually assess the cut to some extent as it will make the diamond look more or less brilliant and sparkly, depending on the facets.
The Shape of the Diamond
Speaking of round brilliant, it’s the most popular diamond shape. It’s the iconic round diamond that we see in most rings. However, you do have other choices! Any diamond not possessing a round cut is called a “fancy” shape. Some fancy shapes are cushion, pear, Asscher, and trilliant. There are ten popular fancy shapes in all.
We, as lay people, sometimes call these shapes the diamond “cut”, but they’re actually called its shape. Your 9-carat diamond can be cut into these different shapes, and this will determine a few things.
The popularity and difficulty of the cut, as well as how beautiful it looks in the overall setting, can affect the stone’s value and price. In-demand or trendy cuts can cost more; that’s just the way the market works.
Pro tip: these shapes may look smaller too. This is only apparent size, as their carat weight will still be 9 carats. Their deeper cut leaves the bulk of the stone below the girdle, or under the flat surface that you look at when the ring is on your finger. This means that they may look smaller and will require a more prominent and higher setting. This isn’t always a bad thing for such a big diamond, especially if you want to wear it regularly!
9 Carat Diamond Ring Color
For most of us, the iconic diamond is the “white,” or clear, traditional diamond. At their best color, these look like sparkling chunks of ice, dazzling in their brilliance. In the 4Cs, the “color” being discussed is how clear these classic diamonds are.
Yes, there are different colors! Canary yellow, pink, and black are all popular, and chocolate diamonds were popular a few years ago. The rarest and most expensive are the elusive red diamonds.
These fancy colors (i.e. anything other than traditional white or colorless) aren’t assessed on the classic diamond color scale. However, they can have different levels of color value or desirability. Generally, vivid and rich colors are preferred, while murky, pale, or blended colors are less popular. This loose scale is rated fancy-vivid to fancy-faint.
The Classic Diamond
Only white or colorless diamonds can be graded when it comes to true color grading. And, unlike fancy colors, the fewer tones or hues, the better. Traditional colorless diamonds are graded based on their lack of color. We often think of these diamonds as white, sparkling, icy, pure, and other adjectives that describe how little color they contain.
If the diamond is yellow or brownish, it’s less desirable. Diamond experts in the industry want it to be as clear and colorless as a drop of the purest water.
The diamond color scale created by the GIA and used to grade diamonds begins at D (odd, we know) and ends at Z. This grading doesn’t happen any-old-how. It’s done in a strictly controlled environment with precise conditions, and always while the stone is loose—band metal can influence how we perceive colors.
To grade a diamond, experts will use a stone that they know for a fact is a certain grade, and then compare the two. Each letter in the scale has exact specifications of characteristics. The grades are listed below from best to worst.
- D (colorless)
- G to J (near colorless)
- K to M (faint)
- N to R (very light)
- S to Z (light)
It can be tough indeed to tell these apart, especially once the diamond is mounted in a ring. This can work to your advantage! In many cases, you can pay less for a lower color grading while still getting a fantastic-looking 9-carat diamond. An ideal cut 9.32-carat round diamond with an IF rating for clarity and an F for color will cost you $577,840.
A marginally smaller 9.22-carat round diamond with the same clarity and cut, but with a G for its color rating, you’ll pay $485,150. The barely noticeable difference will save you over $90,000.
Some individuals prefer the warmer, near colorless or faint stones to the icy colorless ones. Furthermore, pairing a near-colorless diamond with a yellow-gold setting can help improve its color appearance and make it look whiter. A great way to save and splurge in one!
The Shape of a Ring
Does the shape of a 9-carat ring, or the style of the setting, impact its price? A little, but not in any way that matters. The price variances here are mostly driven by trends, and trends come and go.
We wouldn’t recommend buying a sentimental piece, like a wedding or engagement ring, just because a certain type is trendy and more expensive right now. Instead, choose something you love and can truly treasure!
But we will add a fun fact to help you here. While the center of the ring is always shaped round for your finger, you can get different styles of ring bands on the outside.
A square cushion band has all of the “corners” of the ring squared off. A squared shoulder ring leaves the circular shape at the bottom of the band but squares the upper two corners known as “shoulders.”
Some jewelers prefer to set larger diamonds, such as 9-carat stones, in a European shank. In this band style, the top of the ring has the signature circle design, while the bottom two corners are squared.
Squaring off the lower corners makes the bottom of the band thicker and flatter. This helps offset the weight of hefty diamonds and prevents them from rotating around your finger. But, at the end of the day, pick a style you love.
How to Get the Best Value 9-carat Diamond Ring
We’ve already seen how tweaking your desired parameters in the 4Cs can have a massive impact on the price of your 9-carat diamond ring, enabling you to net a beautiful piece and a great deal. Looking at VS1 or VS2, with a G to J color grading, will ensure you a fantastic ring that’s visually impressive without breaking the bank.
On average, for a 9.02-Carat Round Cut Diamond with an ideal cut, VS1 clarity rating, and H color rating, you’ll pay $295,926.
Did you know that there is, quite literally, no difference at all between lab-grown and natural diamonds? One is mined from the earth, the others are created under simulated pressure in a laboratory. Even skilled professionals can only tell the difference by looking at the certification number of the diamond (with a laser—cool, right?) and looking it up!
Some people have a sentimental attachment to the idea of “natural,” or mined, diamonds. Others see lab-grown diamonds as the future of gemology, offering a more ethical alternative. Plus, lab-grown diamonds often have higher clarity ratings than mined diamonds!
Plus, because there’s no scarcity in their production, they are cheaper than their mined counterparts. Much, much cheaper! At low carats, they will be at least 50% cheaper. With a stone as large as 9 carats, you could be looking at an 80% discount! That’s an awful lot of bling for less.
For example, an ideal cut lab-created 9.33-carat round diamond with an F for color and SI1 for clarity, you’ll pay $52,940. For the same cut, color, and clarity rating, a natural 9.01-carat round diamond would cost you $273,720.
Brick-and-mortar stores carry higher overheads than online stores and they have to keep their stock smaller. So, for an unusual diamond like 9-carats, you can get a better deal online. However, always make sure you’re always dealing with a trusted, reputable seller that offers certified stones.
Size and Shape
You can sometimes score a great deal by looking for a carat value that’s a point or two under your desired size. No one will be able to tell the difference—not even you, we promise! And you might get a great steal. Likewise, the shape you choose can impact the price, as we’ve seen.
Don’t forget, to truly know the value, verify that your diamond is certified by the GIA or AGS and that it has received excellent gradings. Any reputable seller should be able to help you with this.
Where to Buy a 9 Carat Engagement Ring
Speaking of reputable sellers, carefully consider where you purchase your diamond from. Do they have excellent ratings and reviews? What is their return policy? Buying a diamond online can offer you a wider and more diverse selection.
However, you won’t always be able to view everything in person. If that’s the case, closely review their photographs, check the size specifications, and pay attention to the diamond grades. If you’re curious about where to start, check out this list we put together.
Whether you’re searching for a 9-carat engagement ring or a beautiful piece to be a part of your collection, hopefully, this guide will provide you with valuable insight! A 9-carat diamond is a statement piece that will look gorgeous and increase in value over time. We hope you now feel empowered to pick the very best diamond for you!
Curious about other carats? Check out our guides for diamond rings of all sizes: