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1 Carat Diamond Ring Buying Guide

Get the perfect 1 carat diamond ring at the perfect price

By Michael Fried,
1ct round cut diamond in a yellow gold petite side-stone setting
1ct round cut petite side-stone diamond ring in yellow gold from Blue Nile

A wide range of 1 carat diamonds exist both in online markets and local diamond jewelry stores. Not only are there significant differences in beauty among these diamonds, there are significant differences in price as well. Not to mention the differing markups charged by retailers. That’s why we have an article for the best place to buy engagement rings.

This guide to 1 carat diamond engagement rings can help you make the best purchase. To find an extraordinary, head-turning 1 Carat Diamond ring, read on.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

How much does a 1 carat diamond ring cost?
How large is a 1 carat diamond?
Where should I buy a 1 carat diamond ring from?
What qualities get me the best value for a 1 carat diamond ring?
How can I get the best value in a 1 carat diamond?
TL,DR: What are some quick tips when buying a 1 carat diamond?
Bottom line recommendation

How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?

Based on analyzing market prices, a 1 carat diamond costs between $1,800 and $12,000 (depending on the current market situation). The price depends on factors such as the Cut quality, Clarity, Color and Shape of the diamond. Cut quality is the aspect that most greatly impacts a 1 carat diamond’s price and its beauty. (diamond prices for one carat round diamonds average between $6,800 to $8,500 for natural diamonds and less for lab-grown diamonds)

This was the cheapest 1 carat diamond I found on James Allen, that does not seem to be something you would want to put on your finger. On the other hand here is a that is as perfect as can be. But is this the best way to spend $22,000? We recommend finding a balance between the two to maximize value and size. 

And then of course there are the 1 carat diamond rings that money can’t buy! As reported in JCK Online in 1967 “..the first ring was awarded in the NFL to the Green Bay Packers, featuring a one-carat diamond”.

Each 1 carat diamond price tag comes down to more factors, as mentioned above, which determine the beauty of the diamond. But size is a huge driver of diamond price, and although Carat is not explicitly a measurement of size, it is correlated.

Carat simply refers to the weight of the diamond. 1 carat equals 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. To put it in perspective, a 1 Carat Diamond weighs roughly the same as a quarter of a raisin.

All diamonds are priced per carat. For example, a 1/2 carat diamond may have a price of $1,400 per carat. The diamond’s price for the stone would be $1,400 x 0.50, equaling $700.

Average engagement ring cost

1 Carat Diamond Price Broken Down

Diamond prices per carat increase as you reach higher weight ‘categories.’ Diamond prices increase exponentially with weight because of the diamond’s higher weight value and the higher price per carat for the increased weight category. For example, a 1 Carat Diamond might be priced $5,880 or more per carat like this one from James Allen, while a similar 2 Carat Diamond might be at $10,425 or more per carat like this diamond from James Allen.

We stress the word ‘categories,’ as prices per carat do not continually increase as weight increases. Diamonds are retail products driven more by emotion than reason.

Pro Tip: Don’t focus on the GIA diamond clarity grade too much. Yes, the vast majority of SI2 clarity diamonds are not eye-clean. Who cares? You aren’t buying 100 diamonds, you are buying one. Selecting an eye-clean SI2 diamond like this one from James Allen, you get a better looking diamond (in this case) to this VS2 diamond from JA for significantly less money.

Although it may seem advantageous to look for a diamond that’s just below a new weight category—such as a 0.90-0.99 Carat Diamond—that really isn’t the case. The search for an “almost” 1 Carat Diamond has become incredibly popular. This popularity elevates the price for those particular diamonds—making the cost savings minimal.

Ultimately, you can search for a 0.90ct+ diamond, but we suggest not trying to find one specifically, as you’re limiting your search potential without really saving anything.

Diamond pricing is often subjective–because with diamonds, it’s all about feelings. This quirk of “feelings” within the diamond business is the sole reason there are many poor cut diamonds on the market.

We’re here to help you avoid purchasing one of those diamonds.

How Big Is A 1 Carat Diamond?

A 1 carat diamond is approximately 6.5mm in diameter. This is the size of a round diamond, cut to ideal proportions. Other shapes may have a larger or smaller surface area. Oval, pear and marquise diamonds have a larger surface area, while princess and asscher cut diamonds are smaller, with just around 5.5mm table size.

While this may seem small, a 1 carat diamond is absolutely big enough to draw attention. Size and carat weight should be a consideration for your ring, but you should also focus on choosing a well-cut diamond. A stunning 1 carat diamond that sparkles brightly will be more brilliant and eye-catching than a poorly cut 2 carat diamond.

Picture of a 1 Carat Diamond Ring Size Vs 0.5 ct Vs 2 ct

Remember that carat is a measurement of weight, rather than size. So two diamonds of identical carat and shape may not be the exact same size. Depending on how the diamond is cut, its proportions, and thus its visible size, may be slightly different to another despite being the same carat.

Where To Buy a 1 Carat Diamond Ring

The world of diamond dealers is vast, but don’t let that intimidate you. Many high-quality and honest diamond jewelry sellers can be found online and in stores.

For a 1 Carat Diamond ring, we recommend finding an online seller as they tend to have a larger selection of quality 1 Carat Diamonds than local stores. They’ll offer beautiful settings as well, made of 18k or 14k white gold, yellow gold, rose gold or platinum. With the online option, you have a greater chance of finding an exquisite diamond at an exceptional price.

With our years of experience in the diamond industry, we’ve been able to vet several diamond dealers. We have a consistent pulse on which companies you can trust and which companies produce the best diamond cuts at an excellent price point.

1 carat diamond ring
Beautiful 1ct diamond in a simple yellow gold solitaire setting next to an intricate wedding band.

We highly recommend the following sellers for a 1 carat diamond ring:

  • James Allen: 18+ years of experience in the diamond industry, high quality certification (GIA & AGS), focused on customer experience, attractive prices, best in class diamond imagery.
  • Blue Nile: 17+ years of experience, high quality certification (GIA & AGS), largest inventory of diamonds and ring settings, exceptional diamond quality and refined jewelry.
  • Brian Gavin Diamonds: 20+ years of experience, high quality certification (GIA & AGS), unprecedented dedication to offering the best cut diamonds, offers super-ideal cuts with “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows.

If you’re using these diamond dealers or any others, keep the following in mind:

Tips When Selecting a Jeweler

  • Only purchase diamonds that come with a GIA & AGS certificate.
  • Run comparisons for price and beauty across various websites before purchasing.
  • Ensure that the Diamond Cut is an ideal cut, or a GIA grade quality of Excellent. This level of Cut maximizes the sparkle, brilliance and fire of your diamond. Diamond Cut is the single greatest element that impacts a diamond’s overall beauty and sparkle.
  • Opt for a high-quality setting for your engagement ring, like one made of 14k white gold, yellow gold or rose gold
  • Consider asking a diamond expert to help you review diamonds or aid in your search of high quality 1 Carat Diamond Rings.

Think You’re A Diamond Pro?

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Choose the diamond that you like better.
Is it the J color for $4,082 or the G color for $5,500?

There is No Such Thing as Diamond Carat Size

There is no such thing as a Diamond Size. People often mistake diamond carat for diamond size, but this can be easily avoided by knowing a few basics. Diamond Carat refers specifically to the weight of the diamond. It does not impact table surface area, depth or other shape features. Higher carat weight does not mean a larger sized diamond.

Size, on the other hand, has to do with the visual appearance of the diamond. For example, a Marquise Shaped Diamond will likely appear larger than a Round Brilliant Cut in the same carat only because of its elongated shape.

Various components, such as surface area and depth play into the diamond’s size. Thus, two diamonds of the same carat usually appear different in size depending on shape design and cut quality.

Carat is weight not size

Clarity Rating for 1 Carat Diamonds

When looking at the 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight) of a 1 Carat Diamond, an important area to consider is diamond clarity. This factor dictates how many inclusions, surface defects (or blemishes) and extra facets are present in the diamond.

Similar to our recommendations for Diamond Color, we suggest reviewing the Clarity of a diamond yourself or asking for assistance from an expert. What the naked eye can see is more important than simply a GIA Grade rating.

The GIA scale of diamond clarity ranges from best to worst: Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1), Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2), Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1), Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2), Small Inclusions 1 (SI1), Small Inclusions 2 (SI2), Inclusions 1 (I1), Inclusions 2 (I2).

Diamond Clarity Chart

For a 1 Carat Diamond, we generally recommend a minimum of a VS2 grade, as most inclusions and blemishes will be invisible to the naked eye. You may be able to find a SI1 with inclusions near the edges of the diamond–that, depending on shape, may be covered by the setting prongs.

The maximum Clarity rating, within a reasonable budget, will usually be a VVS2, which provides no inclusions or blemishes to the naked eye.

Eye-Cleanliness is Paramount

In our opinion, a consumer’s goal should be to find the cheapest (in regards to clarity; other factors matter as well) “eye-clean” diamond you can find. We use “eye-clean” to describe diamonds that may have inclusions if you look at them with a magnifying glass (or microscope or loupe), but the typical person can’t see the inclusion with their naked eye.

We Have Recently Developed Ringo

Ringo, a patented artificial intelligence model, that can examine videos of diamonds and determine if they are eye-clean. Ringo will also filter for other parameters like making sure the diamond is well-cut, doesn’t have fluorescence issues and will match the style setting you choose.

Ringo Approved Eye Clean Diamonds

What is Ringo?

Be sure to review it yourself or have an expert assist you.

1 Carat Diamond Shapes

A well-cut 1 Carat Diamond with a beautifully designed setting will look stunning in any Diamond Shape. As such, Diamond Shape is primarily selected based on personal preference and style.

For those concerned with the size appearance of the diamond, there is a surface area difference amongst 1 carat diamond shapes. Depending on their differing table sizes (the top, flat leveled surface of a diamond), the 1 Carat may seem larger.

Our chart below gives you insight into surface area differences among diamond shapes:

Diamond ShapeApproximate Table Surface for 1 Carat
Round Brilliant Cut6.5×6.5mm
Princess Cut5.51×5.51mm
Emerald Cut6.68×4.95mm
Asscher Cut5.61×5.61mm
Radiant Cut5.78×5.78mm
Cushion Cut5.83×5.83mm
Oval Diamond8.12×5.41mm
Pear Shaped Diamond9.05×5.45mm
Heart Shaped Diamond6.56×6.56mm
Marquise Diamond10.38×5.19mm
Trillion Diamond7.74×7.74mm

You can also look at this image that gives you a better idea about the 1ct diamond sizes compared to a US quarter and to each other.

1ct all cut diamonds size comparison

1 Carat Diamond Ring Colors

When looking at a range of 1 Carat Diamond Rings, one of the 4 C’s to note is Color.

The GIA grades color on a scale from D to Z, with D being the clearest, colorless diamond, and Z being a diamond with easily noticeable yellow or brown tint.

In addition to the GIA Color Grading, review the diamond’s pictures and videos yourself–or have an expert assist you.

James Allen states it well in their article about diamond color, saying:

“Most people find it very difficult (if not impossible) to tell the difference from one color grade to another. The difference in price, however, can be significant.”

For this reason, looking at the diamond carefully is usually the best indicator of Color quality. Most importantly, ensure the diamond looks white in relation to its setting. For example, normally a K color diamond would have a yellowish tint–but if it’s contrasted to something darker (e.g. a yellow gold solitaire setting), it appears clear and vibrant.

If you put that same K color diamond in a halo setting, on the other hand, you will notice a warmish, yellow tint to the diamond. In general, we recommend a 1 carat diamond be in the nearly colorless G-I range. To the naked eye, it will appear just as colorless as diamonds in the D-F range and since diamond prices go up steeply with as diamond color increases it will cost far less.

The better a round diamond’s cut is, the harder it is to discern color. For this reason, it’s more important to focus on Cut quality than on Color.

Diamond Color Scale

For more detail on Diamond Color and our recommendations, be sure to check out our Diamond Color Guide.

How To Get The Best Value For a 1 Carat Diamond

Our main goal is to help people find radiant, high-quality diamonds at an exceptional value. We want you to find a stunning diamond engagement ring without paying more than you should.

To ensure your diamond is exactly what the diamond dealer is stating, ensure the diamond comes with either a GIA or AGS certificate. The GIA and AGS are the two renowned and well-respected diamond grading entities that issue accurate and consistent reports for diamonds.

If a diamond seller is trying to convince you to purchase a diamond with a different lab grading entity, politely decline their invitation. The actual quality of those diamonds are much less than what they’re portraying to be “true.”

To select an exquisite 1 carat diamond ring at the best value, follow our expert recommendations:

  • Cut: Maximize the fire and brilliance of your diamond by choosing only an Excellent cut diamond. Cut is the number one factor of a diamond’s beauty and value.
  • Color: Choose a diamond in the nearly colorless G-I range, as to the naked eye, it will appear just as colorless as diamonds in the D-F range (and cost far less).
  • Clarity: Diamonds with a VS1 and VS2 Clarity grade offer the best value for what can be seen with the naked eye. Most inclusions and blemishes will be unnoticeable at these grades.
  • Shape: Select a Diamond Shape that is personally and aesthetically appealing. Ensure the type of setting you want is complementary and physically secure for the Shape.
  • Online Diamond Dealer: Choose a well-respected diamond seller with years of experience, such as James Allen, Brian Gavin Diamonds, or Blue Nile.

This article focuses on buying a natural 1.00 carat diamond. Over the last few years there has been a pickup in sales of lab grown diamonds and many people are opting to purchase larger diamonds with their budget. This trend is is reported in a March 2022 article on which quoted Beryl Raff as saying “The 2-carat lab-grown diamond has become the new 1-carat mined diamond”.  In this article, we discuss the issues we have with LCDs as well as advice on how to get the best LCD diamond if you decide to go that route. 

Frequently Asked Questions About a 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

Here our experts answer some of the top things readers want to know about 1 Carat Diamonds and engagement rings.

How Much Is A 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?

Your typical one carat engagement ring should cost about $8,000. You can get one for cheaper if you stick with a gold solitaire setting and search for a diamond on the lower end of the quality spectrum. Or you can spend over $20,000 if you go with an intricate setting laden with diamonds and a D color flawless diamond.

Rather than aiming to get the cheapest price and product, you want to find a high-quality engagement ring at a great price. After all, this is a gift that will last a lifetime. Follow the tips in this guide to find the best value for a 1 Carat Engagement Ring, or reach out to our experts for personalized advice.

How Much Is A 1 Carat Diamond Worth?

Figuring out the value of a 1 Carat Diamond should be done on a case-by-case basis. Depending on how well cut the diamond is, how many inclusions it has, and how colorless it is will all impact how much the stone is worth.

In general, diamonds make for beautiful and meaningful pieces of jewelry. They shouldn’t be considered as an investment, though. If you were to sell your diamond, you wouldn’t break even on the original price. Where you purchased the diamond and where you’re reselling it makes a difference in the value you’ll retain. If you buy and sell your diamond online — the best option — you could retain approximately 60-70% of the diamond’s price.

What Is The Most Popular Size Diamond For An Engagement Ring?

The average size of an engagement ring in the United States is 0.90 Carat. With this carat weight, the diamond is substantial, but not too large and expensive. Many people will pair that diamond with a setting that has sidestones which will bring your total carat weight over one carat.

What’s A Good Carat Size For An Engagement Ring?

A 1/2 carat engagement ring and above is a good size in general. At 0.5 Carat, the diamond will be noticeable but not overpowering. At 1.0 Carat, the diamond is more eye-catching. With a 2 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring or 3 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring, you’ll be turning heads, especially if you select an excellent cut diamond with plenty of brilliance.

Most importantly, aim for a diamond that has brilliance and fire. Choose one that’s eye clean and looks white in relation to its setting. By focusing on these basic elements, you’re ensuring that your diamond is beautiful and has sparkle—which is more important than carat weight.

What’s A Good Carat Size For An Engagement Ring?

A 1 Carat diamond is not overly big – at least not significantly above average. From 2 Carats and above, diamonds begin to enter the territory of big and noteworthy. A 2 Carat diamond ring will look big in just about any room (though it won’t be a one-of-a-kind ring like Kim Kardashian’s 15 Carat engagement ring).

A 1 Carat engagement ring is, however, more than enough to catch the eye. An eye-clean 1 Carat diamond with an excellent cut can be extremely valuable, and a stunning choice for an engagement ring.

1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring Inspiration

There’s a wide variety of styles available for 1 carat engagement rings. Here we offer you inspiration for everything from vintage designs to modern solitaire engagement ring settings.

1 Carat Solitaire Engagement Ring

  • Solitaire Engagement Ring in 18K Yellow Gold from James Allen
1ct Round Diamond solitaire engagement ring

1 Carat Halo Engagement Ring from Blue Nile

1ct round diamond in a cushion halo setting

1 Carat Pavé Engagement Ring from Blue Nile

1ct Emerald diamond pave engagement ring

1 Carat Vintage Engagement Ring

  • Vintage Oval Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold from James Allen
1ct oval vintage diamond engagement ring

1 Carat Side-Stone Engagement Ring

  • Side Stone Engagement Ring in 18K White Gold from James Allen
1ct princess diamond side stone engagement ring

If you’re looking for a colorful alternative or compliment to a 1 Carat Diamond Ring, consider gemstone jewelry for your engagement ring, such as choosing a pink sapphire or emerald.

Quick Tips for Buying a One Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

Bottom Line Recommendation:

When you’re buying a high-priced item like a 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring, you want to make sure you’re getting the maximum value for your money — and the most beauty.

Everything you need to know about 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Rings is right here. Which qualities you should focus on and which to avoid. We cover pricing  and where to buy a one carat diamond. And much more.

1 Ct Diamond Price
Tips to Buy a 1 Ct Diamond
One carat round diamonds can cost anywhere from $2,500 on the low end of quality all the way up to $18,000.
We recommend purchasing from a reputable online retailer like Blue Nile or James Allen.
A beautiful 1 ct diamond in the range we recommend would be about $5,000.
A diamond in the G-J color range and an eye-clean diamond within VS2-SI2 clarity will be the best bang for your buck.
A fancy shape diamond (not round cut) will usually be cheaper. You can get a nice 1 ct cushion cut for $3,300.
Pay close attention to the diamond cut. The better cut a diamond is, the more fire and brilliance you will see once it is mounted in a ring.
Having trouble navigating the diamond buying minefield? We are happy to help. CONTACT US

Here are more carat size topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online. For a limited time Save 25% during James Allen Holiday Sale!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Blue Nile have generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to save $100 off $1000 purchase)

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Michael Fried Michael Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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