How Much Does a 3 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?
What is considered a big diamond engagement ring? Well, this differs depending on the country. What is the average carat size engagement ring in the United States? Surprisingly, the average carat size for engagement rings bought on ItsHot.com in the U.S. is around 1 carat, which is the largest carat average in the world.
So, what is considered a big diamond in an engagement ring to most people in the U.S. is a diamond size ranging from 2.5 carats to 3 carats. If you want a big diamond engagement ring that’s flashy, bold, and stunning, you might consider buying a 3-carat diamond ring. There’s a reason that you don’t often see 3-carat diamond rings, however—not everyone can fit one into their budget.
What is the cost of a 3 carat diamond ring, anyway? Is it possible to buy an inexpensive diamond ring with a large diamond? To help you figure out if 3 carats is the best carat size for your diamond ring, we’ve put together a guide to understanding the reasons behind the 3 carat diamond ring price, and how you can find the biggest diamond ring that’s affordable for your budget.
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Engagement Ring Carat Size Comparison
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Many people judge the excellence of a diamond engagement ring by its carat size. However, there are many things that can affect the appearance of a diamond engagement ring.
Engagement rings for women in the United States are typically considered big and flashy, especially by other nationalities. In Europe, the most common carat size for diamond engagement rings is about 0.5 carats. In the U.K. specifically, the average is 0.6ct. But in the United States, what is considered the best carat size for an engagement ring?
1 Carat vs 2 Carat vs 3 Carat Diamonds
How does a 1-carat engagement ring compare to a 2-carat engagement ring in terms of size and price? What are the differences between a 2-carat diamond and a 3-carat diamond ring? For reference, the eraser on a standard #2 pencil measures 6.5 mm in diameter—about the size of a 1-carat diamond.
1-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring:
- Average diameter: 6.5 mm
- Average cost: $3,500 to $5,000
- Most common carat in the U.S.
2-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring:
- Average diameter: 8.2 mm
- Average cost: $11,000 to $17,000
- Most common desired carat by brides
3-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring:
- Average diameter: 9.1 mm
- Average cost: $15,000 to $90,000
- The ultimate “big diamond” engagement ring
Larger diamonds with high grades are rare, so as carat size goes up, the price of diamonds multiplies. The average cost of a 3 carat diamond ring is around $30,000 for mid-point quality diamond engagement rings.
How much bigger does a 3-carat diamond look than 2 carats?
There is a noticeable size difference between every ½ carat, due to how the diamond looks when it’s mounted on a ring. A 2.9-carat diamond might not look too much smaller than a 3-carat diamond, but the difference between a 2-carat diamond ring and a 3-carat diamond ring is significant, especially when wearing the ring on your hand.
The cut of a diamond, the setting, and the ring design also plays a large role in how big a diamond looks. That said, let’s get more into the factors that determine a diamond engagement ring’s worth and appearance.
Factors that Influence a Diamond Ring Cost
Why do some 1-carat diamond engagement rings cost twice as much as some 3-carat diamond engagement rings? It comes down to a variety of factors. The cost of 3 carat diamond engagement ring is determined by a range of qualities—from the diamond’s grade to the craftsmanship and materials of the ring.
Carats specifically refer to the weight of a diamond, not the size. As we’ve seen above, higher carat diamonds have bigger sizes—however, the cut and shape of the diamond can affect its size, so carat is based on its weight. One carat weighs 200mg. Cluster designs use smaller diamonds for higher total carat weight so that the individual diamond carat doesn’t drive the price way up.
- Carat weight refers to the weight of a single diamond.
- Total carat weight refers to the sum of the individual carat weights of all the diamonds on a piece of jewelry. As carat weight increases, so does the price.
The higher the carats of the individual diamond, the more dramatic the price increase. Because of this, you can buy two smaller diamonds cheaper than one diamond of the equivalent total carat weight. (For example, two ½ carat diamonds may be cheaper than a solitaire 1-carat diamond).
The popularity of a carat weight can also affect the price. For example, a 1.25-carat diamond might have a slightly higher price if there’s a lower supply but an increasing demand.
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Different diamond shapes and cuts can raise or lower the price of a diamond engagement ring. Certain diamond shapes require higher expertise in cutting and take longer to do.
Why do some diamond shapes cost more than others? The reason why some diamond cuts and shapes cost more than others for a diamond of the same carat is that some shapes are harder to achieve and end up losing more of the diamond in the cutting process.
Shapes that remove more of the rough diamond, such as the round brilliant cut (which removes about 60% of the rough diamond in the cutting process), cost more per carat than other shapes such as the emerald, radiant cut, and princess cuts. Popularity is another factor that plays a role in the price of different diamond cuts. More popular shapes are typically more expensive.
The Most Expensive Diamond Shapes per Carat:
- Round Brilliant
The Cheapest Diamond Shapes per Carat:
These diamond shape prices are based on the average price per cut for 1ct diamonds of the same grade. The prices change according to the carat weight of the individual diamond—some shapes are easier to achieve at larger sizes, or are more or less popular.
Diamond color is another factor that affects a diamond’s value. The slightest difference in color might not be very noticeable to the buyer, but it impacts price nevertheless.
In white diamonds, the less color, the better—and the more expensive. D is the most valuable color grade (on a D-Z scale), as it is absolutely colorless.
- D, E, and F – colorless diamonds (all appear colorless to the untrained eye)
- G, H, I, and J – near-colorless (most common diamond choices; they still appear colorless to the eye)
- K, L, M – faint (these diamonds have a slightly visible tint)
- N, O P, Q, R – very light (a more noticeable tint)
- S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z – light (brown or yellow tint is very noticeable)
Even more valuable than D color is fancy colors: with reds, blues, and green demanding the highest prices. Fancy colored diamonds are graded on a different color scale than white diamonds. Popularity and rarity play a role in the price of fancy colored diamonds. For example, a black diamond is a very rare color, but its demand is lower than white, so black diamond engagement rings are cheaper per carat.
The clarity of diamonds is a straightforward factor in determining price. The more inclusions (or imperfections) a diamond has, the lower the clarity grade, and the lower the value.
Most people want their diamond engagement rings to appear clear to the naked eye. If a diamond appears clear, it’s usually desirable, but it may have inclusions that you can’t see without inspecting it closely.
To find the precise clarity grade of a diamond you need to have a trained gemologist or jewelry inspect the diamond with a loupe or other equipment.
Many sellers will try to push their more expensive engagement rings, rather than their cheaper 3-carat diamond engagement rings by overemphasizing the importance of clarity. If you care most about the appearance and meaning of an engagement ring, it won’t make a difference if it has inclusions that no one will see without intense magnification.
- FL – Flawless No internal or external flaws; incredibly rare and valuable in natural diamonds.
- IF – Internally Flawless No internal flaws, but some surface flaws; still very rare and valuable.
- VVS1, VVS2 – Extremely slight inclusions Slight internal flaws; difficult to see even with 10x magnification.
- VS1, VS2 – Very slight inclusions Slight internal flaws that are just barely visible with 10x magnification. Flaws are not typically visible to the naked eye.
- SI1, SI2 – Slight inclusions Slight internal flaws that are visible with 10x magnification; they may be visible to the naked eye.
- I1, I2, I3 – Inclusions You can see these inclusions with the naked eye. These Inclusions may affect the diamond’s brilliance and clarity. Less valuable.
The more flawless a diamond is, the more it’s worth. That said, many people don’t care about flawless diamonds for their engagement ring—you can save money by buying a lower clarity grade diamond that has inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye.
However, if you’re looking to invest in a diamond ring for resell value, higher clarity grades are important.
The type of metal in a diamond engagement ring setting plays a role in its price. The most desirable metals for engagement rings are gold (yellow, white, and rose gold) and platinum. Other popular choices for engagement ring metals are sterling silver and palladium. Alternative metals, such as titanium and tungsten, are more popular in wedding bands.
Platinum is the most expensive metal for jewelry, followed by gold, then other metals, including sterling silver. The price of gold is determined by its purity. Higher karat gold, such as 24K and 18K are more expensive than 10K gold or 14K gold. When investing in a diamond engagement ring, experts recommend buying 14K gold or higher to assure longevity for your diamond ring.
Tips to Choose the Right Metal for a Diamond
- Diamonds graded D-J: Colorless diamonds are enhanced by silver-tone metals such as platinum or white gold. White metals bring out the beauty of such diamonds. You can opt for white metals for diamonds graded G through J as well, which are nearly colorless. Yellow gold doesn’t bring out the quality of the diamond color as well.
- Diamonds graded M through Z: These diamonds have a noticeable yellow tint to them, so putting them in a yellow gold setting makes the diamond appear to have a higher color and clarity grade. For diamonds in the color range of K or L, you can use either white metal or yellow gold to suit your preferences. Diamonds from K-L also look really good in rose gold engagement rings.
- Fancy-color diamonds: Fancy-colored diamonds (blue, brown, black, pink, yellow, green, etc) are currently really popular for engagement rings, and you can bring out the color the best by picking a band color that accentuates the diamond. Choose white metals for chocolate brown and canary yellow diamonds. You could also choose rose gold to complement colored diamonds in a unique way. The most popular metal for pink and blue diamonds is white gold and platinum.
Of course, these are just some useful guidelines for pairing diamonds with metal bands. You can always break the rules to create a personalized or custom engagement ring.
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How to Save Money When Buying a Diamond Ring
A 3 carat diamond ring cost can vary wildly depending on the aforementioned qualities of the diamond engagement ring, but if you look in the right places and do your research, you can get a great deal on one. Here are some tips for buying a diamond engagement ring on a budget.
- Shop online. This is a great way to compare prices of 3-carat engagement ring prices. Shopping in stores is a good way to see engagement rings in person and try jewelry on, but it’s harder to compare prices side-by-side, and narrowing your selection. Shopping for engagement rings online can help you filter your search by carat, metal, and price range - so you won’t have to look at rings that don’t fit your needs.
- Consider total carat weight. If you want a 3-carat engagement ring or one with a high carat weight, you will save money by opting for diamond engagement rings with cluster designs that feature multiple smaller diamonds for a total carat weight of 3ct. You can buy a 3-carat total weight diamond engagement ring with multiple diamonds for cheaper than a 2-carat solitaire diamond ring.
- Get a diamond certification. GIA offers diamond grading reports to better determine what a diamond is worth based on its grade. Some stores offer diamond certificates with their engagement ring, which saves money so you won’t need to get one in the future.
- Check clearance sections. You can find good diamond engagement rings cheap in clearance sections and closeout sections. Again, your selection will typically be better online than in-store, and it’s really helpful to narrow your search filters to fit your budget and style preferences.
Where is the best place to buy a 3-carat diamond ring? Right here at ItsHot. That might sound over-confident, but being experts in the diamond jewelry business as long as we have, we confidently stand by our prices and quality. It’s hard to compete with a store that updates its inventory as frequently as us—we regularly add new jewelry to our closeout section as we keep up with demand.
Located in New York City’s diamond district, we monitor the trends, update prices when the market drops, and provide expert-crafted bridal jewelry designs and customization. You can even snag a men’s wedding ring here too so you can both enjoy the best diamond jewelry at unbeatable prices. We provide a 30-day return with a money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty.
Founder of ItsHot.com
Denis Stepansky is a founder of ItsHot, a diamond jewelry and watches store based in NYC. He has been in the jewelry business for about 20 years and owns such high-end jewelry brands as Luccello and Luxurman. As a jewelry expert, he has citations on well-known magazines and newspapers like Insider and Daily Mail.
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