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1 Carat Diamond Ring – Buying Guide for Beginners

If your heart’s set on a 1 carat diamond ring, here’s everything you need to know before getting one. A loose diamond worth a carat holds value but its the cut that makes it all the more exclusive. You can put a solitaire diamond into a halo setting or engrave a cushion cut that weighs 1 carat – remember the 4 Cs.  

How big is a 1 carat diamond?

Since diamond is a precious stone, you’d want to determine its worth based on size, color and clarity. The most likely pick on an average is a 1 carat diamond that measures 6.5mm in diameter and features a 33.2mm square crown. It is the length and width of a diamond that denotes exactly how large the stone is. The shape of a diamond has an integral effect on its materialistic value. Owing to the cut proportions, two diamonds will still appear different from above even if they are of the same weight. 
For e.g. a 1 carat round cut will appear smaller than a 1 carat marquis; round diamond cuts are incredibly popular but high priced. Other shapes like the radiant, oval, or the cushion cut help save on the additional cost without compromising on size and weight. Based on the way they’re cut, these diamonds have the same carat weight but by proportion they vary. Modern cuts include the princess, asscher, emerald, cushion, marquise, pear, oval, radiant, and heart shaped diamonds.

1ct diamond ring

What is the cost of a 1cts diamond ring?

Calculating the cost of a diamond is complicated. The true value of a 1 carat diamond depends on many factors. The average price per carat for a 1 carat diamond ranged between $1,600 – $15,000 approximately. For e.g. a 0.50 carat diamond priced at $1400 per carat would be worth $700 while a 1.06 carat diamond priced at $1500 per carat amounts to $1590. However since the prices per carat increase as you the weight increases, many consumers look for loose diamonds weighing 0.90-0.99 carats.  

My Diamond’s Worth – 1 ct diamond ring

The ideal size of a 1 carat solitaire diamond ring with a round cut is approximately 6.5mm in diameter. This is equally proportioned symmetry but for diamonds that have larger surface areas like marquise diamonds, the price of the diamond will fluctuate accordingly. Other shapes that have smaller crowns or surfaces like the princess cut or asscher diamonds featuring 5.5mm table area. Such diamonds are big enough to draw attention as long as the cut is precise. Only diamond experts and premium jewelry stores help you evaluate your diamond properly.

1 carat diamond

What is the price per carat for my diamond?

Price per carat is the actual cost of the diamond divided by the weight. For e.g. if a cushion cut diamond is priced at $4500 per carat and you want a 1.20 carat diamond then 1.20 * $4500 = $5400 (total cost). But always remember this price per carat is calculated based on how rare the diamond is or grading factors like a colorless D grade diamond with flawless clarity. Diamond prices however don’t increase linearly but exponentially on the basis of supply and demand. 

Keep in mind that the diamond carat doesn’t mean size so even if you settle for a lighter diamond or less carat stone than the intended, this doesn’t mean it’s smaller in size or appearance. For e.g. a 2 carat D VS1 costs between $40k to 45k, approximately $20k per carat. Now if a 1.90 carat D VS1 costs between $30k to $35k, this is approximately $15k per carat with more than 20% less per carat and you can save $10,000 in total.   

For a 1 carat wedding ring you can also find beautiful settings made of 18k or 14k white gold, rose gold, or platinum. The standard way to narrow down the cut quality is by picking out the diamond shape first. A well cut diamond weighing 1 carat will look stunning in any kind of shape but this based on personal preference. Many people assume a bigger diamond is a better buy, that’s not true all the time. A 1ct diamond ring is the best choice for most since it offers – price, utility and style.

carat solitaire diamond ring

But to know the actual look and worth, here’s a great way to start –

How to make a 1 carat diamond ring look big?

With a 1 carat stone you can add more dazzle and radiance to a ring without focusing too much on a centrepiece. Always go for excellent stones which means the cut needs to be high grade and one that doesn’t affect carat weight. Some stone shapes might weigh a carat but when you look at them, based on the shape alone, they appear larger. A thinner metal band can make a solitaire appear larger in size or a halo setting for a cushion cut that increases carat weight and shape. The easiest way to achieve 1 carat ring without spending extra on the carat weight is by changing the shape, setting or clarity.

What cuts should I avoid for a 1 carat stone?

You should avoid a cushion cut in this case because they’re deeply set and that means most of the carat weight is right under the surface. Fancy cuts of a 1 carat stone feature differing table measurements for e.g. oblong cuts like the opal or marquise – they give the impression that your diamond is larger than the actual carat size. A pear shaped diamond looks big and bright on a solitaire versus a round cut. You don’t want to choose a diamond shape where most of the weight lies under the surface. Always think below the weight size so for e.g. if you’re looking for 1 carat gem, you should consider 0.95ct that’s already been cut and polished. 

What color suits my 1 carat engagement ring?

Apart from the weight of the 1 carat, the color of the diamond matters as well. White diamonds are or colorless diamonds are costlier compared to diamonds with lower color grading. The IGI & GIA scale for white diamonds is graded between D – Z – D being the most valuable and expensive. D also signifies the clearest diamond that has minimum inclusions. If you’ve decided on a 1 carat diamond, another great way to decrease costs is by choosing the right color. 

While most people find it hard to tell the difference between two distinctly colored diamonds, the price, however, is not the same. For e.g. a stunning diamond with color grade K set into a gold band should have a yellowish tint – but in contrast to the yellow gold, it looks vibrant and clear. If you have grade K diamond in a halo setting, the yellow tint is easily visible. 

1 carat ring

What clarity is suitable for my 1 carat ring?

Clarity means you’re checking for imperfections or inclusions in the 1 carat stone. Even a lower carat diamond can have blemishes that are visible to a naked eye. An eye clean diamond that comes within VS1-VS2 clarity range is a great pick for a single carat diamond. Since diamond inclusions can be anything from clouds to fractures, as long as it isn’t visible. 

GIA Diamond Clarity Scale

  • Flawless (FL)
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2)
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2)
  • Slightly Included (S1 & S2)
  • Included (I1, I2, I3)
CARAT WEIGHT1.121.201.09
COLORJJG
CLARITYVS1SI2VS1

To determine the color grade range or clarity, pick a 1 carat stone that appears white but not entirely colorless. You don’t need a D or E grade diamond but can consider a G grade diamond with VS1 clarity such that the inclusions are limited, is almost colorless and the carat weight remains the same. While comparing different 1 carat diamonds you’ll want to consider brightness as another factor while making the right choice. There are cushion cut 1 ct diamonds costing $3500 while round cuts costing $6000 and more. 

How to compare 1 carat diamond rings?

CARAT WEIGHT0.96ct1.12ct1.21ct1.10ct
COLORJJJK
CLARITYVS2SI2VVS2VS2
SHAPERoundPearCushionPrincess 
CUTGOODVERY GOODVERY GOODEXCELLENT

Based on the above chart, a single carat diamond may very well be of any cut, color, clarity or shape but it’s a choice you’ll have to make. You should always consider the overhead cost of the metal and setting before picking the diamond. But it’s safe to say that a flawless (F) 1 carat D color grade diamond would cost you approximately anywhere between $12000 – $15000. On the other hand you can get a 1 carat G color diamond with S1 clarity between $8000 to $6000. This is easy savings! Even if you’re only looking for princess cut engagement rings 1 carat is a decent weight to start with.  

What Kind of 1 Carat Ring Should You Get?

Now here’s something every consumer needs to know – don’t rely too much on a diamond price chart. You can easily get two diamonds weighing 1 carat, with excellent symmetry and G grading but when you look through it, you may find certain inclusions that stand out. What if one of these diamonds has a black inclusion right at the center, or under the surface? Even when you try to remove the inclusion, it may just lead to carat weight loss. While the color or clarity of a poorly cut diamond defines its worth to a certain extent, the symmetry and polishing adds on the sparkle. 


EXCELLENT
This grade provides the highest level of precision, brilliance and diamond fire. The diamonds are cut in a manner where incoming light is reflected through the table, and the radiance causes a massive sparkle.

VERY GOOD
This grade provides an exceptional brilliance and fire with the majority of the entering light reflecting through the diamond’s table. To the naked eye, these diamonds feature a similar sparkle as an Excellent cut.

GOOD
This grade provides diamonds with certain brilliance and sparkle, where most of the light is reflecting through the table. These diamonds showcase a stunning brilliance at a lower price point.

FAIR
This grade provides little brilliance, since the light inside passes out through the bottom and sides of the diamond. Such cuts are a perfect choice for halo diamonds.

POOR
This grade yields nearly no sparkle, or brilliance since the entering light escapes completely from the sides and bottom of the diamond. Such diamonds may have black lines or imperfections. 

The value of a 1 carat G color diamond having VS2 clarity is its poorly graded cut that limits brilliance and fire. If the initial value of the 1 carat stone was $4000, it will drop down to $3000 after a poorly done polish and cut. If the diamond shows fluorescence, that’s another imperfection that drops the value down by 10-20%. The most important thing to consider is the diamond certification without which – don’t trust any dealer’s word. 

1 Carat Diamond – Current Trends (based on clarity and color)

 IFVVS1VVS2VS1VS2SI1SI2
D$17000$14000$12000$10500$9500$7400$6000
G$10000$9000$8800$8000$7250$6000$4900

Here’s everything you need to consider before buying a single carat diamond engagement ring:

  • Don’t confuse carat with size

Even though a bigger diamond is considered a better choice – it’s honestly not. Diamonds are sized in both millimeter and carat weight. The true size of the diamond is the millimeter size chart. Carat weight is not as accurate because two diamonds having 1 carat weight can showcase different faceting that directly affects brilliance, clarity and color. Even though carat is the standard measurement, it is used to weigh a diamond denoted by milligrams. So a single carat diamond will weigh 0.2 grams. Two diamonds of the same weight can have unique prices  depending on many factors. A 1 carat diamond on hand will be labeled as per the carat weight but a round cut diamond can be 1 carat as well as a princess cut but the price tags will vary depending on the 4Cs, brilliance and fire, symmetry, and polish. 

one carat diamond ring
  • Don’t only rely on GIA grading report

A GIA grading report alone cannot assess the quality of your diamond. If you’re reading through the grading report, stop. Two diamonds can have similar ideal proportions and comparable carat weights. The logical conclusion is that both diamonds have similar light properties but the cut quality shows significant differences. You can’t figure this out through a grading report. The cut quality of the diamond controls reflection – well cut diamonds appear bright and brilliant while poorly cut diamonds appear dark and lifeless. This is because a good cut allows reflection to happen around the facets instead of the light directly exiting the stone. 

  • Don’t forget to observe the stone in person

Without checking a one carat diamond ring on hand, you can spot the difference between a real or fake diamond. Lab created diamonds look similar to mined diamonds so on print or online, you’ll not be able to cross check. An engagement ring isn’t a regular purchase or an everyday thing you’d consider buying. If you’re choosing to buy a finished ring, you need to first compare the cost of the diamond. Making the purchase in person means you can see the diamond up close and do a little bit of analyzing on your own. While checking the diamond’s brilliance you’d want to be under neutral light to make the right estimate. 

  • Don’t obsess over D grade color

D color grading means your diamond is colorless, white and completely transparent. Anything beyond that means there’s a hint of color visible to the naked eye. However what most consumers don’t realize is that color grading less than D doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll catch a colorful hue. The differences in the top most color grades are hardly distinguishable so it’s best to choose diamond with K or J color grading. If you’re experimenting with yellow or rose gold as the main metal, you can choose diamond with lower color grading for e.g. H

  • Don’t grade on invisible impurities

This is a must! Don’t ignore a perfect 1 carat beauty just because you see a few imperfections or know about them. You’re looking for clarity that hides away most imperfections or remains invisible. Diamonds always have impurities so these carbon inclusions should be left ignored. Important thing to understand is that F or IF clarity levels will cost you hundreds of dollars more so pick something budget friendly. Since the clarity scale accounts for subtle differences in VVS and VS graded diamonds, these are the preferred choice for most couples.

Diamond Settings for a 1 Carat Diamond

For a one carat stone, the ideal setting for a diamond engagement ring is the prong setting or a halo diamond ring. For a large solitaire, a thin metal band can be used to hold the diamond in place. If you’re using white gold or platinum the metal band adds to your stone’s brilliance and sparkle. Whether you’re using a four or six prong setting, make sure you choose this on the basis of your 1 carat stone’s shape. Emerald cut diamonds weighing 1 carat sit well with flat prongs while a v-shaped prong perfectly suits a marquise cut. 

You should avoid the bezel setting for a one carat diamond ring especially since a bezel can either be a partial or full setting. A pave setting or halo stones work great for carat rings since this bead setting embeds smaller diamonds together to form rows around the central stone. If you’ve purchased half a carat diamond, this setting can increase the size of your stone and make the diamond appear larger. It also gives a less sparkly diamond or low clarity stone added brilliance and radiance. 

What is the true worth of a 1 carat diamond?

1 carat diamond solitaires are an average choice for consumers in the US. The actual carat weight is 0.9 which is considered average, not too expensive and easiest to cut. A 0.9 carat 14k white gold ring may cost $5200 while a 1.12 carat 14k rose gold ring with halo diamonds will cost a whole lot less – why? Because rose gold is less expensive and while the actual weight of the central diamond may be 0.9 carat, the halo diamonds contribute to the extra weight but for a reduced cost. Always choose a one carat diamond that has a white coloration versus absolute transparency to save on the added costs. 

While a good carat size for an engagement ring is 0.5 carat, many consumers prefer a single carat since it gives them the liberty to design the ring according to their preferences. If you spend more on an excellent cut diamond, you’ll be turning heads when you choose the setting, cut and clarity. You should never ignore the brightness and fire of the diamond since this value doesn’t depreciate over time. If you were to sell your diamond ring tomorrow, a good investment means you can retain 60% to 70% returns on the actual price. 

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