How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Cost?

How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Cost?

Curious about the price tag attached to a sparkling 1 carat diamond? Well, look no further!

Within the confines of this captivating Twirl Weddings handbook, I shall explore a myriad of intriguing topics, such as:

  • The four pivotal elements influencing the cost of diamonds
  • The correlation between diamond shape and its impact on cost
  • Handy pointers to economize while acquiring a 1 carat diamond

What Determines Diamond Pricing?

Numerous factors influence the price of a 1-carat diamond, and the majority of these factors revolve around the 4Cs, which serve as the foundation for evaluating diamond excellence. This evaluation system encompasses four essential dimensions: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat weight.

The Gemological Institute of America, renowned as the authoritative entity on jewelry and gemology, introduced the concept of the 4Cs in the early 1940s. Presently, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) stands as the preeminent global authority in the realm of jewelry and gemstones.

Diamond Cut Quality

A plethora of information surrounds the realm of diamond cut quality, necessitating a concise summary of the crucial aspects that directly impact its price. The cut, out of all the 4Cs, reigns supreme as the paramount determinant.

The quality of a diamond’s cut serves as the very bedrock of its existence. Diamonds are categorized into five distinct cut grades, namely Ideal/Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.

diamond cut quality

Ideal cut diamonds and excellent cut diamonds represent the highest echelon in diamond cutting excellence. Essentially, they possess identical quality attributes, albeit GIA-certified diamonds abstain from utilizing the designation “ideal cut.”

While certain establishments promote ideal cut princess and cushion cut diamond configurations, only round cut diamonds exhibit impeccable symmetry and embody the true ideal.

Unconventional diamond shapes, referred to as fancy cuts, lack officially assigned cut grades. Select stores, however, may categorize them as either Very Good or Good. In such instances, adhering to appropriate proportion guidelines specific to the respective shape is advisable.

Acquiring a diamond with a deficient cut grade is strongly discouraged; nevertheless, this task would prove exceedingly arduous as such diamonds are virtually non-existent in the market.

diamond cuts

Saving on a 1 Carat Diamond Cut

When it comes to diamond cut, compromising quality is not a wise decision. The focal point of your financial investment should revolve around the cut quality of the diamond.

For round diamonds, I always suggest opting for ideal or excellent cut grades. However, there are instances where certain diamonds of this category command significantly higher prices without offering substantial benefits.

Branded diamonds invariably carry a premium price tag. An example of this is Blue Nile’s Astor Collection. Although there is minimal disparity between these diamonds and their regular ideal cut counterparts, the former bears an additional GemEx report alongside the GIA grading report. This report analyzes the diamond’s light performance, yet it does not contribute to its value and is not truly indispensable. Nevertheless, it inflates the cost.

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The aforementioned principle also applies to super ideal cut diamonds. Although they boast a higher number of facets compared to ideal cut diamonds, the disparity is often imperceptible to the casual observer, unless one intently scrutinizes the contents of their shopping cart.

It is prudent to avoid diamonds that employ gimmicky tactics and instead focus on adhering to the recommended proportions for a given shape. Otherwise, one may end up paying for carat weight that surpasses the visible perception.

RECOMMENDED: Buying Guide for 1-Carat Diamond Ring

Diamond Clarity

The concept of diamond clarity revolves around the transparency and purity of your diamond or precious stone. Every gemstone possesses inherent imperfections known as natural inclusions. Within jewelry establishments, you might encounter embellished terminology such as “diamond characteristics” or allusions to the unique identity of your diamond, often referred to as its “diamond fingerprint.”

Diamond clarity encompasses six distinct tiers: Flawless (F), Internally flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), Slightly Included (SI), and Included (I).

diamond clarity grades

It is commonly stated that all diamonds contain inclusions, and this statement holds true. However, this claim often arises due to the prevalent practice of jewelry establishments such as Jared or Kays, who predominantly offer engagement rings with heavily included diamonds of clarity grade I within their physical stores. It is worth noting that such establishments tend to command significantly higher prices for these products.

Among the 4Cs, clarity offers room for exploration and adjustment. Let me share a confidential insight: you need not shell out the exorbitant cost associated with flawless, internally flawless, or VVS diamonds in order to acquire a visually pristine diamond.

In all honesty, these diamond grades tend to be superfluous unless rarity is your primary goal. Truly flawless diamonds are considerably scarce, so if you possess the financial means, by all means, pursue them.

However, for those of us with more modest budgets who still desire a visually flawless diamond, several practical suggestions exist to assist you in saving money on diamond purchases.

One effective approach involves opting for a magnificent brilliant-cut diamond. Diamonds commonly undergo two distinct cutting styles, although some exhibit a fusion of both. The brilliant cut encompasses various diamond shapes, including round diamonds, cushion cut, princess cut, marquise, pear-shaped, and radiant cut diamonds.

These remarkable diamonds have been meticulously crafted to refract light through a multitude of minute facets, resulting in a captivating shimmering phenomenon. Conversely, step cut diamonds such as Asscher and emerald cut diamonds emit elongated, awe-inspiring bursts of light.

Brilliant cut diamonds possess a greater ability to conceal inclusions compared to step cut diamonds. Opting for brilliant cut diamond shapes can be a cost-effective choice when aiming to reduce expenses associated with higher clarity grades.

To provide you with a clearer understanding of the price disparity among different clarity grades in a 1-carat diamond, we have compiled the diamond costs for I1, SI1, VS1, VVS1, and IF grades. This comparison will give you an indication of the varying prices within these clarity grades for 1-carat diamonds.

Diamond Color

The aspect of diamond color is among the quartet of 4Cs that exhibits variability during the selection process of a diamond. Diamonds possess the potential to manifest in a state of absolute “whiteness” or transparency, while also exhibiting subtle shades of yellow or even hints of brown.

In accordance with the grading system established by the GIA, diamond color is categorized into three distinct grades: Colorless DEF, Near Colorless GHIJ, and Faint Yellow K-Z.

Diamonds with a faint yellow hue possess diminished value and fail to captivate the majority of diamond purchasers. This disparity sets them apart from Canary diamonds or fancy yellow diamonds, intentionally designed to exhibit a yellow hue. However, this contrast should not lead one to assume that investing in a colorless diamond is the sole option. Let’s now explore the variations in pricing across a range of color grades.

How to Save on 1 Carat Diamond Rings

For the majority of individuals, a 1 carat diamond engagement ring represents the bare minimum in terms of desired weight. The inclination for a superior color grade is frequently associated with the carat weight.

Regardless of the chosen color grade, the durability and structural integrity of a diamond remain uncompromised. In a similar vein, diamond clarity adheres to a comparable principle, albeit with the presence of potentially detrimental imperfections.

Sample price of a 1-carat diamond color L at James Allen

Considering that color grades are essentially subjective judgments, are there any strategies to obtain a colorless diamond without incurring the expense associated with a DEF-grade diamond?

The necessity for a higher color grade is generally not imperative for smaller diamonds, as the presence of color is often inconspicuous unless examined under magnification. It is possible for a 1 carat round diamond to possess a JKL color grade and still maintain an impressive appearance. However, when it comes to a 2 carat diamond with the same JKL color grade, a more noticeable yellow tint becomes apparent.


Although J color grades technically fall within the realm of near colorless, individuals with heightened color sensitivity, such as myself, can easily discern the faint yellow hue.

Shape plays a role as well. A 1 carat round diamond will appear significantly smaller compared to a 1 carat emerald cut diamond. Despite both diamonds possessing a K color grade, the emerald cut diamond exhibits a more pronounced yellowish tint.

Round Cut Diamond


Emerald Cut Diamond


To reduce expenses on diamond color, opt for a diamond shape that has a smaller surface area. Additionally, take into account the cutting style associated with your chosen shape. It is essential to recall our earlier discussion on brilliant cut diamonds and step cut diamonds. Similar to clarity, step cut diamonds tend to reveal more noticeable color variations.

However, it is important to consider that round diamonds, despite having a smaller surface area and being cut in a brilliant style, are actually the most expensive diamond shape. We will delve into the reasons behind this later on.

The scintillating bursts of light in brilliant cut diamond shapes result in a plethora of radiant white and rainbow hues, which effectively camouflage any noticeable color within the dazzling display.

Another valuable tip to minimize the impact of color on your budget is to carefully consider the ring setting you intend to purchase. Although diamond color grades J-Z are categorized as exhibiting a faint yellow hue, you can create the illusion of near colorlessness or even colorlessness by selecting an appropriate ring setting.

Diamond price based on carat points (from James Allen

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Although white gold remains the dominant choice for a 1 carat diamond ring, it’s worth exploring alternative options like yellow gold or rose gold for your ring’s setting. This particular advice proves beneficial for individuals who prefer engagement ring styles that prioritize brilliance rather than sparkle or those who focus more on the metal rather than the gemstones.

When it comes to color grades JKL, a subtle yellow undertone becomes noticeable under different lighting conditions. However, when you observe a yellow gold ring, the distinct yellow hue becomes more prominent.

By placing a slightly tinted diamond on a yellow gold solitaire setting, the stone visually appears brighter. In this case, the perceived yellow color stems solely from the metal rather than the tinted stone itself. A similar concept applies to rose gold ring settings because of its coppery tone, although the effect is most pronounced when combined with yellow gold.

Diamond Carat Weight

Frequently, there exists a common misconception regarding the diamond carat weight, as it is often associated solely with the concept of “carat size,” despite its explicit designation as “weight.” However, as consumers, our primary focus lies in the visual perception rather than the actual mass.

When visiting a jewelry store, it is customary for them to showcase the contrast in carat weights using round diamonds. This allows us to gauge the approximate size of a 1 carat round diamond. However, as we mentioned earlier in relation to diamond color, a 1 carat round diamond will appear smaller when compared to a 1 carat princess cut diamond.

Carat weight is often the subject of much discussion among the 4Cs, yet it holds relatively less significance. This is why many individuals prioritize size over the other Cs. However, as you ascend in diamond carat weight, the demands for clarity and color grades also increase. It is highly likely that a higher carat weight will drive up the price of the diamond more rapidly than any other factor.

Indeed, gem cutters find it considerably more manageable to fashion smaller diamond carat weights, as they require less pristine rough material to achieve an eye-clean result. As one progresses in carat weight, the task of locating and cutting a flawless piece of rough becomes significantly more challenging. Consequently, the cost of two half-carat loose diamonds will not equate to that of a single one-carat diamond. The scarcity of larger, inclusion-free specimens makes them far more elusive to acquire.

Another prevalent misconception pertains to the distinction between center stone carat weight and total diamond weight. In the case of a solitaire engagement ring devoid of additional stones, the total weight naturally aligns with that of the center diamond.

When encountering a ring marketed as 1 carat TDW (Total Diamond Weight) that incorporates additional stones, it is crucial to note that the designation does not necessarily imply a center stone of 1 carat. Instead, it signifies that the cumulative weight of the center stone and all accompanying melee stones amounts to 1 carat. Therefore, although both engagement rings are labeled as 1 carat TDW, the center stone in the second ring is, in fact, a half carat. Remaining vigilant regarding the specific details of the diamonds is essential to steer clear of such potential pitfalls.

Given our desire for a 1 carat diamond, we shall abstain from employing any deceitful tactics to create an illusion of size equivalence with a lower carat weight. It is worth noting that, to certain individuals, a 1 carat round diamond may appear diminutive. However, there are instances where budget constraints limit the buyer’s options, necessitating the choice of an eye-clean 1 carat diamond within their financial means.

If your intention is to enhance the visual size of a 1 carat diamond, there exist a few methods to consider. First, pay attention to your ring setting. Opting for a halo setting entails encircling the center stone with a closely spaced arrangement of smaller diamonds.

Within a halo setting, the stones are positioned in close proximity, with minimal metal visible. This arrangement can create the perception of a larger diamond, particularly when viewed from a distance by individuals who have not closely examined your hand.

Certain ring settings incorporate what we commonly refer to as illusion plates. This technique is frequently found in exquisite jewelry pieces offered by retailers like Kay’s and Zales. Essentially, a metal ring is strategically placed around a smaller diamond, producing the illusion of a larger diamond.

Personally, I hold reservations regarding illusion plates as I rarely encounter instances where they are executed skillfully. When executed well, they can undoubtedly create an impressive visual effect. However, the appreciation of this technique remains subjective and varies from person to person. Consequently, I highly recommend either examining the jewelry piece in person or purchasing from a seller with a generous return policy, allowing for a safeguard in case you share a similar sentiment.

If you explore Zales’ Build A Ring feature online, you will be presented with pre-determined carat weight options. This tactic is employed by such retailers to capture your interest. However, what they fail to disclose is that by selecting your specific carat weight, you can potentially save a significant amount of money. Unfortunately, this opportunity is forfeited when the weight is pre-selected for you.

If one lacks familiarity with diamonds, their understanding of carat weight might be limited to fractional values. However, it’s important to note that carat weight can also be measured in carat points. A diamond weighing 1 carat is equivalent to 100 carat points.

Furthermore, it may come as a surprise that when purchasing a diamond labeled as 1 carat from prominent retailers, it may not precisely align with the complete 100 carat points. In some cases, it could be slightly below or even exceed this measurement.

Within the realm of jewelry, a diamond labeled as 1 carat may have a carat weight ranging from .93 to 1.07 carat points. Consequently, there exists a price distinction associated with this range.

Interestingly, acquiring a diamond labeled as 1 carat is generally more costly compared to a diamond weighing .93 carats. However, when these diamonds are placed side by side, the visual disparity is practically imperceptible. The additional points may be concentrated in the lower portion of the diamond, an area that remains hidden from view.

It is important to note that this tip becomes less effective as one delves into higher carat weights, such as 2 carats or more. The availability and options become more limited, necessitating careful consideration in such cases.

RECOMMENDED: How to Save Money Buying Diamond Rings

Other Different Factors

Beyond the scope of the traditional 4Cs, there are additional elements that influence the pricing of a one carat diamond. While these factors may not account for substantial portions of the overall cost, they have the potential to result in savings of a few hundred units of currency.

Diamond Shape

During our discussion, we touched upon the elevated value of round diamond shapes despite their seemingly smaller appearance in comparison to other 1 carat variations such as emerald cuts, cushion cuts, or radiant cuts. This discrepancy arises due to the substantial amount of diamond rough that is sacrificed and lost during the cutting process of round diamonds. Conversely, alternative shapes occasionally result in less wastage of diamond rough.

To illustrate, consider a 1 carat princess cut diamond, which preserves approximately 80% of the original rough material while undergoing cutting. Conversely, a round brilliant diamond only retains around 60% of the rough. As a consequence of the increased wastage, the price of the diamond escalates.

Diamond Fluorescence

When delving into the intricate details of diamonds, including their polish, symmetry, length to width ratio, and fluorescence, we enter a realm of profound diamond examination. Specifically, fluorescence pertains to the luminous quality exhibited by a diamond when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. The grading system for diamond fluorescence ranges from None, Faint, Strong, to Very Strong. In the case of a diamond with strong fluorescence, a discernible presence of blue light may be observed. However, it is important to note that this blue glow is not akin to the radiance of diamonds in sunlight, but rather akin to the bluish-white headlights commonly seen on cars.

As mentioned in the video, it is emphasized that fluorescence does not inflict any harm upon the diamond; it simply influences the color manifestation when exposed to ultraviolet or black light. Nevertheless, diamonds are held in higher esteem when they exhibit a pristine white light rather than a blue hue.

Consequently, it is probable that diamonds devoid of fluorescence will be marginally more costly compared to those with a strong fluorescence grading. Therefore, if the visual appearance is not a concern for you, fortunate circumstances arise as it could result in a slightly more economical choice.

Diamond Grading ReportĀ 

One additional element I’d like to highlight pertains to the assessment records, commonly referred to as diamond accreditation. Within the diamond sector, a plethora of diverse certifications are obtainable, yet we advise exclusively procuring from a duo of reputable laboratories. Our recommended labs encompass the esteemed GIA and AGS certification entities. Conversely, prominent jewelers affiliated with retail chains often offer diamonds accredited by IGI or GSI. Although these diamonds are commonly traded, it is essential to note that they may adhere to more lenient standards.

gia certification

One can opt to submit an IGI or GSI certified diamond for evaluation to the GIA or AGS and witness potential discrepancies in the resulting grades, differing from the originally assigned values. It is crucial to recognize that grading laboratories such as IGI and GSI employ a grading tier that falls below that of the esteemed GIA or AGS. By procuring grading reports from these laboratories, one can ensure the possession of an exquisite diamond within each and every sphere.

Considering this point, it should be noted that due to the superior quality of these laboratories, they inevitably come with a heftier price tag. I strongly discourage the purchase of a GIA certified diamond ring from Jared and Kay Jewelers, as their prices are nearly twice as high compared to what one would pay for a GIA diamond from an online retailer such as James Allen.

Conclusion – How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Cost?

Regrettably, the realm of diamond pricing is rather capricious. It becomes evident that numerous elements intertwine to determine the value of a 1-carat diamond, with most of them bearing little relation to the actual carat weight. The foremost influencer of a diamond’s price resides in what is commonly known as the 4Cs.

In addition to these primary factors, there exist smaller variables that contribute to the overall cost, encompassing the diamond’s shape, certification status, and diamond-specific intricacies like fluorescence or the length-to-width ratio.

The positive aspect to note is that acquiring the highest quality in each aspect is not a prerequisite. Numerous methods exist to facilitate a thorough comparison and evaluation of diverse clarity and color grades, enabling you to make prudent choices while seeking the perfect diamond, all while maximizing savings.

Now, with that being mentioned, I shall impart one final cost-saving suggestion pertaining to 1-carat diamonds. Should you aspire to save a substantial 40% or more, it is prudent to contemplate the acquisition of a lab-grown diamond, colloquially referred to as synthetic diamonds.

These diamonds, while man-made rather than being formed over years within the Earth, are genuinely authentic in every sense. Synthetic diamonds possess all the inherent qualities of natural diamonds. However, it is important to note that they lack any trade-in value, given the continuously declining prices associated with lab-grown diamonds.

However, if your intention does not involve the prospect of selling the diamond, this alternative presents itself as an exceptional means to achieve significant cost savings while still possessing a stunning diamond. Remarkably, the price of a lab-grown diamond with identical grades can amount to only half the cost of its mined counterpart. Thus, you have the opportunity to acquire a captivating diamond while being mindful of your budget.

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