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The Expert Guide to Buying a 3 Carat Diamond Ring

Everything you need to know about the price and qualities of a 3 carat engagement ring

By Michael Fried,

Bottom Line Recommendation:

A well-cut, stunning 3 Carat Diamond like this one from Blue Nile will capture the heart of the receiver—and all those who view it. Because of its significant carat weight, a 3 Carat Diamond offers extraordinary capacity for brilliance, sparkle and fire.

But buying any 3 Carat Diamond will not get you the results you want. You could buy a poorly cut 3 Carat Diamond like this one in yellow gold setting from James Allen, or an exquisite 3 Carat Diamond like this one from James Allen. As you can see, diamonds of the same carat weight differ dramatically in their overall appeal and brilliance.

What to Look for
What to Avoid
When purchasing a round cut, limit yourself to Excellent or Ideal cut only.
Avoid diamonds that do not have a GIA or AGS certificate.
For 3ct diamonds, you are better off focusing on VS1 or VS2 clarity diamonds. Its possible to find an eye-clean SI, but it is rare.
Avoid diamonds that have strong or very strong blue fluorescence. For diamonds this size it will drop the value of the diamond quite a bit.
For a 3 carat diamond, focus on GH color. Depending on the setting, you can drop to IJ color.
Avoid diamonds that have worriesome notes on the certificate. E.G. "clarity grade based on cloud not shown".
Having trouble navigating the diamond buying minefield? We are happy to help. CONTACT US

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

How much does a 3 carat diamond ring cost?
How large is a 3 carat diamond?
What quality to look for in a 3 carat diamond?
Where should I buy a 3 carat diamond engagement ring from?
Which diamond shape works the best with a 3 carat diamond?

A 3 carat diamond was the diamond of choice for former Olympic athlete Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens. According to National Jeweler Magazine the ring is an “F-color with VVS2 clarity, set on a 14-karat white gold shank with diamond pavé for maximum sparkle”.

3ct Cushion cut diamond in a simple halo ring
3ct Cushion cut diamond in a simple halo ring from Abe Mor

What is a 3 carat diamond?

When referring to 3 Carat Diamonds, we are specifically discussing the weight. 3 Carat is equal to 600 milligrams, or 0.6 grams. From another perspective, a 3 Carat Diamond weighs approximately the same as a raisin.

Diamonds are all priced per carat. As an example, a 2.50 carat diamond may have a price of $12,280 per carat. The diamond’s price would be $12,280 x 2.50, equaling $30,700.

Diamond prices per carat also increase with higher weight categories. For example, a 2 Carat Diamond like from James Allen might be priced at $8,380 per carat, while a similar 3 Carat Diamond from Blue Nile is $10,920 per carat. The price increases exponentially with weight due to the diamond’s higher weight value and higher price per carat within the weight category.

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Weight ‘category’ should be noted, as prices per carat do not continually increase as weight increases. Diamond prices are often driven more by emotion than reason.

While it may seem advantageous to search for a diamond that’s just below a new weight category, such as a 2.90-2.99 Carat Diamond, that really isn’t the case.

The search for an “almost” 3 Carat Diamond has become quite popular. This popularity props up the price of those specific diamonds—making cost savings minimal. In addition, diamond cutters have become more efficient at their job, and it’s incredibly rare to find a well-cut 2.90 Carat Diamond.

Ultimately, you can search for a 2.90ct+ diamond, but we suggest not trying to find one specifically, as you’ll severely limit your search potential without really saving anything.

If you’re looking for a 3 Carat Diamond, we suggest reading this post to learn how to select a remarkable diamond instead of a dud. The time it takes to understand a few basics will payoff tremendously with your final purchase.

If you’d like assistance in your diamond search, please reach out to our diamond experts who would be happy to help you source diamonds and review them.

How Much Does a 3 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?

A three carat diamond based on our recommendations with a nice setting will cost $55,000. You can drop in quality a bit to save some money, but you don’t want to drop too far. Other shapes will give cost less than a round diamond.

Generally, the price of a 3 carat diamond is between $19,000 and $95,000, though some are priced at more than $100,000. The cost of a 3 carat diamond engagement ring depends on a number of factors including Cut quality, Clarity, Color and Shape. On the low end, you can get a well cut K VS2 round diamond that will look stunning in a yellow gold setting for $19,000.

4Cs of diamond chart

Cut quality is the factor that most greatly impacts the price—and beauty—of a 3 carat diamond ring. That’s why we recommend only considering Excellent and Ideal cut 3 carat diamonds. A lower cut grade results in a diamond without brilliance—making such a large purchase worthless. So paying more for Cut quality is certainly worth it. Color and Clarity also impact the price of a 3 carat diamond, but not as much as Cut.

As Carat weight increases, so does the cost per carat. Diamonds with a higher carat weight are more rare, especially in a high-quality cut. For instance, the average cost of a 3.5 carat diamond is between $24,000-$110,000, with some priced as high as $165,000.

How Big is a 3 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?

A 3 carat diamond weighs 600 milligrams and has a diameter (if it is round) of 9.2 millimeters. Standard dimensions for a round diamond are 9.20 X 9.20 X 5.73mm. In this chart you can see the relative size of all 3 carat diamond shapes.

All diamond cuts comparison of 3ct

Diamond Size and Diamond Carat are often mistaken as meaning the same thing. Diamond Carat, however, refers to the weight of the diamond—whereas Diamond Size refers to the visual appearance.

A larger sized diamond does not mean it is of a larger carat. The table surface area, depth and other shape features are not impacted by the diamond’s carat weight. These aspects are dependent on Diamond Shape and how the diamond is cut—both of which contribute to how big a diamond appears.

As an example, a 3 Carat Oval Shaped Diamond ring like this one on James Allen will likely appear larger than this 3 Carat Round Brilliant Cut in a solitaire setting from James Allen. Both are stunning choices, but the size appearance differs even though the carat weight is the same.

When it comes to carat weight and size, review several options and diamond shapes to determine which diamonds are most appealing to you.

You can also get inspired in the celebrity world. Not eveyr famous person has a ring that no one can afford. Some opt for a reasonable size with a lot of elegance, such as JWoww’s 3ct oval engagement ring.

To help you decide, we created the graphic above to make it easier to compare the actual sizes of common shapes. Each diamond represents the average measurements of a 3ct stone with a US quarter for scale. Click the image to enlarge it and get a better look.

Where To Buy a 3 Carat Engagement Ring

We have an article dedicated to the best places to buy engagement rings. But as the diamond size goes up and the number of options narrows, its much more useful for you to contact us directly. We will be able to help you navigate the different options and determine the path where you will maximize your value while getting the best possible ring.

diamond sizes comparison on a finger
Comparison of different diamond carat sizes on a finger

With a 3 Carat Diamond Ring, you have increased flexibility and options because of a larger budget and carat weight. While Blue Nile and James Allen still have amazing advantages built into their business model, with the increased budget, other factors come into play.

By looking online you have a tremendous chance of finding an extraordinary 3 Carat Diamond at an excellent price point.

Through our many years of experience, we’ve vetted several diamond dealers and have a consistent pulse on the companies you can trust.

For the best diamond cuts at an exceptional value, we recommend:

Blue Nile: 17+ years of experience, high quality certification (GIA & AGS), largest inventory of diamonds and engagement ring settings, exceptional diamond quality and refined jewelry.

3ct pear shape diamond in a three-stone yellow gold setting
3 carat pear shape diamond in a three-stone yellow gold ring from Blue Nile

Abe Mor Diamonds: If you live near New York City or have the opportunity to travel there, Abe Mor is a unique option. Specializing in larger diamonds, Abe Mor is an actual wholesaler who works with boutique jewelry designers in the city. He has provided unique diamond and jewelry options for many of our readers. When pursuing this route, it is best to contact us first. When working with a wholesaler its best to have a more focused idea of what you want before asking to see options.

James Allen: Focuses on customer experience, appealing prices and incredible diamond imagery, and provides high quality certification (GIA & AGS) on all diamonds.

When using these diamond dealers or others, follow these expert recommendations:

  • A GIA or AGS certificate should accompany any 3 Carat Diamond you are considering.
  • Look at comparable diamonds across online dealers to ensure an excellent price.
  • Only consider diamonds that are of an ideal cut or GIA grade quality of Excellent. Diamond Cut is the largest indicator of a diamond’s brilliance, beauty and fire.
  • Ask for the help of a diamond expert with reviewing and searching for high-quality 3 Carat Diamonds. Missing one minor detail can be very costly when purchasing a diamond of that size.

Brian Gavin Diamonds: Presents super-ideal cuts with the “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows collection, offers only the best cut diamonds and provides high quality certification (GIA & AGS) on all diamonds. As the size of the diamond increases, the added brilliance of a Brian Gavin Black or Signature diamond really comes into play.

Bespoke Diamonds by Brian Gavin: Brian Gavin Diamonds’ distinct advantage is that he is one of the premier diamond cutters in the world. If you are looking for something rare, Brian will custom cut a diamond to your exact preferences. Pairing the diamond with one of their custom engagement rings will result in an exclusive experience.

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Is it the J color for $4,082 or the G color for $5,500?

Clarity Rating for 3 Carat Diamond Rings

A diamond’s 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight) impact its beauty and brilliance in varying ways. Clarity indicates how void the diamond is of imperfections. When reviewing a diamond for Clarity, we are looking for surface defects, blemishes, inclusions and any extra facets that are present in the diamond.

The GIA Clarity scale 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).

While the GIA grade carries validity and consistency, it’s not the only element that should be considered in regard to a diamond’s Clarity.

The differences between two grades, such as VVS2 and VS1 are rarely noticeable to the naked eye—yet the price can differ significantly. For example, an eye-clean diamond that’s graded lower than a flawless diamond will look identical—assuming all else is equal. The difference you’ll notice is just in the price.

That’s why we recommend reviewing the diamond yourself or having an expert assist you. We can help you avoid spending too much on a feature that will go unnoticed to the naked eye.

eye-clean diamond

Properly reviewing Diamond Clarity can sometimes be challenging when looking through online inventories. For this reason, we recommend using James Allen as they are the only vendor to offer sufficiently high-quality images on all of their diamonds. With their best-in-class technology, you can find a beautiful SI2 diamond that saves you 15% over a mediocre VS2.

For 3 Carat Diamonds, our general recommendation is a minimum of a VS2 for Clarity. Most blemishes and inclusions are invisible to the naked eye at this grade. It is possible, though, to find an S1 with inclusions close to the edges. Once the diamond is placed in a setting, these inclusions may be hidden.

To maintain a reasonable spend in the area of Clarity, the highest we usually recommend is a VVS2, as there are no blemishes or inclusions visible to the naked eye.
Most importantly, an eye-clean diamond is what you should be looking for. Enlist the help of an expert if you’re not confident in this area.

Be sure to check out our Diamond Clarity guide for more information.

3 Carat Diamond Ring Shapes

An exquisite 3 Carat Diamond can be found in any Diamond Shape. Based primarily on personal preference and style, Diamond Shape is often the first decision to make.

If size appearance is important to you or the receiver, it may be helpful to note the surface area difference amongst 3 Carat Diamonds of different shapes. Depending on table size (the top, flat surface of a diamond), a certain Shape may appear larger.

Elongated shapes, such as Oval and Pear Shaped Diamonds, most often have a larger visible appearance than other shapes, such as Round Brilliant, Princess and Asscher Cuts, of the same carat weight.

The chart below shares the different surface areas based on Diamond Shape:

Diamond ShapeApproximate Table Surface Area for 3 Carat
Round Brilliant Cut9.37×9.37×5.65mm
Princess Cut7.95×7.95×5.72mm
Emerald Cut 9.64×7.14×4.64mm
Asscher Cut8.1×8.1×5.27mm
Radiant Cut 8.33×8.33×5.33mm
Cushion Cut 8.4×8.4×5.38mm
Oval Diamond11.7×7.8×4.76mm
Pear Shaped Diamond 13.05×7.86×4.79mm
Heart Shaped Diamond9.46×9.46×5.68mm
Marquise Diamond 14.98×7.49×4.57mm
Trillion Diamond11.16×11.16×4.46mm

3 Carat Diamond Ring Color

Diamond Color is graded from D to Z by the GIA. D grade signifies the most clear, colorless diamond and Z indicates a diamond with easily noticed brown or yellow tint.

It’s important to note that the difference between each single grade is largely unnoticeable. James Allen states in their Diamond Color article, “Most people find it very difficult (if not impossible) to tell the difference from one color grade to another.” The difference in price, though, may be quite significant.

Because of the minute differences between color grades, we recommend reviewing the diamond yourself. What you see with the naked eye is more important than the GIA grading. Most online diamond dealers will offer detailed pictures and videos for this purpose.

You can also ask a diamond expert for assistance if you’re not entirely confident.

When looking at a 3 Carat Diamond’s Color, be sure the diamond appears white in relation to its setting. A beautifully colorless G grade diamond will maintain its white appearance in a yellow gold, white gold or platinum setting.

On the other hand, a K color diamond will likely only appear white in darker settings like a rose gold solitaire setting. Usually K color diamonds have noticeable yellow tint, but the contrast with the jewelry makes it appear clear and radiant.

Remember that a diamond’s cut is the most important element of a diamond’s beauty and value. When you have an exceptionally cut diamond, like those in the Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond collection, the harder it is to notice Color. We always recommend spending more in the area of Diamond Cut than Diamond Color.

Our general recommendation is to consider 3 Carat Diamonds in the nearly colorless range of G to I grading. These diamonds will appear colorless to the naked eye and will cost much less than those in the D to F range.

For more detail on our Color recommendations, check out our Diamond Color guide.

3.12 Carat E Color VVS2 Clarity Emerald Cut Diamond Ring
3.12 Carat E Color VVS2 Clarity Emerald Cut Diamond Ring

3 Ct Engagement Ring Inspiration

Here we’ll show you some examples of beautiful rings in a few different shapes and settings, to give you inspiration for your 3 carat diamond engagement ring.

3 Carat Round Diamond Ring

The solitaire setting with a round cut diamond is the most popular diamond ring, giving you a classic, elegant look that is truly timeless.

3ct solitaire round cut diamond ring

3 Carat Oval Diamond Ring

A 3 carat oval diamond ring has the potential to take over any room, with the elongated shape giving a larger surface area and a sleek, elegant appearance. Add a delicate three-stone setting and you get a lovely ring everyone will adore.

3 carat three-stone ring

3 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond Ring

Emerald Cut diamonds, with an elongated, rectangular shape and straight linear facets, provide a large surface area and an understated, sleek appearance.

3ct emerald pave diamond ring

3 Carat Princess Cut Diamond Ring

The Princess Cut diamond is a square shape, offering more fire and brilliance than almost any other fancy shape. A 3 carat princess cut diamond ring is a sleek alternative for a round brilliant, when you want something a little different, but with similar fire.

3 carat princess cut diamond ring

How To Get The Best Value For a 3 Carat Diamond Ring

Our goal is for you to find the most exceptional 3 Carat Diamond—at a price that’s excellent within the market. We want you to spend your engagement ring budget in the areas that greatly affect a diamond’s beauty, and scale back in the areas that won’t be noticed by the naked eye.

Above all, we recommend reviewing the diamond yourself or having an expert assist you. We also advocate that all diamonds you are considering have either a GIA or AGS certificate. This ensures that what is stated is validated by an esteemed grading entity.

If a seller is suggesting you purchase a diamond with a different grading entity, it’s best to steer clear. No matter what the lab report states, the actual quality of the diamond is far less than what they are stating.

Pro Tip: If you are visiting a retailer, don’t buy on the spot. Pushy salesperson aside, the diamond likely won’t be sold while you think about it for a few days. Write down all the details and be sure to research the characteristics and do a price comparison. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to give you our opinion on the diamond.

To ensure your 3 Carat Diamond is radiant and brilliant, and will maintain its value, follow our experts’ recommendations:

  • Shape: Choose the Diamond Shape that is most appealing to you and the wearer. Shape is primarily decided on personal style. Pick a setting that provides stability to the Shape you choose.
  • Cut: Be certain your diamond is an ideal cut or an Excellent grade on the GIA scale. An exceptionally cut diamond will maximize the fire and brilliance above any other feature.
  • Clarity: Narrow your search to diamonds of VS1 and VS2 Clarity grade. They offer the greatest value for what can be seen by the naked eye. At these grades, blemishes and inclusions will go unnoticed.
  • Color: Consider diamonds in the nearly colorless range of G to I. To the naked eye, these diamonds will appear just as clear as diamonds in the D to F range but will cost much less.
  • Online Diamond Dealer: Select a diamond from a prominent diamond seller with high-quality cuts and years of expertise. Diamond dealers of this caliber include Brian Gavin Diamonds, James Allen and Blue Nile.

Prices of 3 carat diamond rings

TypeTotal CostDiamond CostSetting CostSpecs
3.55 Carat Round Pave from Blue Nile$53,281$22,730 ($7,576/ct)$8303.00ct Round J color SI1 clarity
3.02 Carat Cushion Cut Classic Solitaire from Blue Nile$31,563$27,460 ($8,346/ct)$1,3103.29ct Cushion Cut J color VS2 clarity
3.01 Carat Princess Cut Side Stones Ring from James Allen$25,560$23,690 ($7,870/ct)$1,8703.01ct Princess Cut I color VS2 clarity
3.01 Carat Oval Pave Rose Gold Ring from James Allen$29,250$27,590 ($9,166/ct)$1,6603.01ct Oval Cut I color VS2 clarity

3 Carat Engagement Ring FAQs

Now we’ll answer some common questions our readers come to us with regarding 3 carat engagement rings.

How Much Does a 3 Carat Diamond Cost?

3 Carat Diamonds can cost anywhere from $19,000 to $95,000, and in some cases even more than $100,000. 3ct diamonds are rare, above average in size, and extremely sought-after, thus they command a high price per carat.

The exact price of a 3 carat engagement ring depends on the diamond’s Cut, Color, Clarity, Shape and, of course, setting. Low-quality diamonds command a lower price point, but in diamonds of this size, imperfections and poor-quality cuts are more easily spotted than with lower Carat weights.

How Big is a 3 Carat Diamond?

A 3 Carat Round Diamond on average will have a diameter of 9.1mm. This may be different from diamond to diamond, however, as Carat is a measure of weight, not size. Two diamonds, both 3 Carats, may have slightly different dimensions and thus one may appear larger, however both will weigh 0.6 grams. 

Is a 3 Carat Ring Too Big?

3 Carat Diamond Rings are much larger than your average engagement ring. Whether it is too big depends on your budget and opinion. However, consider that a big diamond, such as a 3ct diamond, will show any imperfections or inclusions easier. So instead of getting the largest carat weight that your budget allows, it may be a better idea to focus on a smaller diamond with higher grades in Cut, Color and Clarity.

We’re Here To Help, Contact Our Experts

Make your search for a 3 Carat Diamond Ring easier with the information in this guide. Consider saving our link as a bookmark so you can refer to it while looking online at different diamonds.

If you’re not confident in selecting an ideal cut diamond at an excellent price, contact our experts and they’ll be happy to assist you. With our years of experience and having looked at thousands of diamonds, we can easily distinguish a luxurious, high-class 3 Carat Diamond from a less than outstanding choice.

With a 3 Carat Diamond, your options expand. We have helped many of our readers work directly with diamond importers and boutique jewelry designers. If you’re unsure about carat weight, we have buying guides for 2.5 carat engagement ring2 carat engagement ring and 1 carat engagement ring as well.

Reach out to us today and we can begin the complementary search process for you.

Here are more carat size topics to browse:

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What we love about them:
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  • Lifetime Warranty
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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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