1 Carat Diamond Ring Buying Guide (**2020 Review**)

Need help choosing a 1-carat diamond ring? 

Want professional advice on what to look for when buying one, including the clarity and cut? 

Great — you’re in the right place. In this Learning Jewelry guide you'll learn:

  • What a 1-carat diamond ring is (and what it is not)
  • How much they cost and how they are priced
  • Where to buy quality 1-carat diamond rings
  • And much more!
1 carat diamond ring

Whether you’re shopping for a 1-carat diamond engagement or wedding ring, this guide will help you make an informed decision and get the best value for your money. 

Ready? Let’s get started! 

What's a 1-Carat Diamond Ring? 

Simply put, carat, usually abbreviated ‘ct’, is the standard unit of weight for diamonds. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams. Most diamonds used in fine jewelry weigh one carat or less. 

A 1-carat diamond ring is a ring set with a 1-carat diamond. However, the quality, value and beauty of a 1-carat diamond is also impacted by the other members of the 4 Cs: cut, clarity and color. That’s why two 1-carat diamonds can greatly vary in price — but we’ll cover this in more detail later! 

Diamond Carat Has Nothing to Do With Size 

When it comes to buying a 1-carat diamond ring, many buyers tend to mistake carat for the size of a diamond, which isn’t accurate. Diamond carat has nothing to do with size and neither does it impact the table surface area or other physical attributes of the diamond. 

Instead, the size of a diamond can refer to its visual appearance — specifically, to its cut and shape. Even if they’re both exactly the same weight, a marquise cut diamond will always appear larger compared to a round brilliant diamond because of its elongated shape. 

How Much Does a 1-Carat Diamond Ring Cost? 

Realistically, a 1-carat diamond ring can cost anywhere from $2,500 to upwards of $10,000. For example, this ring costs around $4,000, while this ring costs around $11,000 — nearly 3 times more, despite both weighing 1 carat. 

How Are They Priced? 

The price of a diamond depends very much on its carat weight. There are two main weight-related factors that influence the price of a diamond: its weight value and price per carat for its weight category. 

The price per carat is the price of the diamond divided by its weight.

Let’s take, for example, a diamond that costs $5,000 and weighs half a carat: if you divide the price of the diamond ($5,000) by its weight (0.5 carat), you get $2,500 as the price per carat. Similarly, a diamond that costs $8,000 and weighs one carat will have a price per carat of $8,000. 

Some diamonds have a greater price per carat depending on factors like cut, color and clarity. For example, a 1-carat diamond with H color and VVS2 clarity costs around $7,800 per carat, while one with E color and VVS2 clarity costs $10,350 per carat. 

Read Also: What is the significance of diamond clarity?

It’s important to remember that price per carat doesn’t continually increase with weight. Many times, the price of a diamond ring is subjective and driven by feelings, which is why it’s important to carefully select only the best diamond ring brands to shop for. 

Where to Buy a 1-Carat Diamond Ring? 

When buying a 1-carat diamond ring, online retailers can provide a significantly more extensive product selection and price range compared to local stores.

From cut and shape to setting type and metals, online diamond jewelry retailers make shopping for a 1-carat diamond ring less daunting. 

We understand that choosing a reliable 1-carat diamond ring seller isn’t always straightforward. Thanks to our years of experience in the jewelry industry, we can confidently recommend James Allen and Blue Nile as two of the best diamond jewelry retailers on the market. 

  • James Allen: With over 18 years of experience in the fine jewelry industry, James Allen offers a wide range of diamond products at attractive prices. Their diamonds come with high quality certifications from GIA and AGS, which stand for reliability, consistency and integrity. Their product imagery is sure to help you pick the best 1-carat diamond ring — and if you’re struggling to find a product that’s within your budget, you can always get in touch with their customer service for advice. 
  • Blue Nile: If you’re looking for a large selection of 1-carat diamond rings, then Blue Nile is your go-to jeweler. Their products range from round brilliant to marquise and princess cut diamonds, and they offer a variety of settings to choose from, such as solitaire/prong, cathedral and bezel settings. Their diamonds also come with GIA and AGS quality certifications. 
  • 1-Carat Diamond Ring Buying Tips 

    1. To ensure you’re getting the best value for your money, only purchase 1-carat diamond rings that come with a GIA and AGS quality certificate. These certificates include a report number that you can use to check the accuracy of the information provided by your jeweler, such as diamond color and clarity rating. You can look up your report number here: GIA | AGS. 
    1. To maximize the sparkle, brilliance and fire of your 1-carat diamond ring, look for diamonds with an ‘ideal’ diamond cut, which have been graded as “Excellent” on the GIA Cut Scale. Remember that the higher the cut grade, the brighter and more beautiful a diamond is. 
    1. Look for diamond rings with high-quality settings. Gold ring settings are generally considered the ‘norm’ for diamond rings, and many jewelers now offer white, yellow and rose gold 1-carat diamond rings. 
    1. Before making your choice, run comparisons across various websites, such as Blue Nile and James Allen. By comparing the attributes of different 1-carat diamond rings, you can narrow down your options and get the best value for your money. 

    The 3 Cs of a 1-Carat Diamond Ring: Cut, Color and Clarity 

    You’ve no doubt heard of the four Cs of a diamond: cut, color, clarity and carat. The 4 Cs are the main components of a diamond’s structure and beauty, and they’re each graded on a scale to help determine the value and quality of any diamond. 

    However, evaluating the 4 Cs isn’t always straightforward. Though standard grading exists, it varies by lab entity, which means no two labs grade diamonds the same way. We always recommend sticking to the GIA and AGS diamond grading as they considered the most consistent and prominent in the diamond industry. 

    Now, what about the best color, clarity and cut grading for 1-carat diamond rings? 

    We’ll explore each of the 3 Cs below.

    Best Clarity Rating for a 1-Carat Diamond Ring? 

    As its name suggests, Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and surface defects in a diamond. 

    diamond with I1 clarity

    Diamond with I1 clarity.

    diamond with WS1 clarity

    Diamond with VVS1 clarity.

    diamond with FL clarity

    Diamond with FL clarity.

    The GIA scale of diamond clarity includes: 

    • Flawless (FL) 

    • Internally Flawless (IF) 

    • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) 

    • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) 

    • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) 

    • Included (I1, I2, and I3) 

    A “Flawless” diamond is considered the clearest diamond of all, without any visible inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification. However, it is also the most expensive, so you’ll want to consider a 1-carat diamond ring with a lower Clarity grade. 

    If your budget allows, choose a 1-carat diamond ring with a VVS2 Clarity rating, which has no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye. After all, if you can’t see any defects, then a VVS2 diamond is as good as a Flawless or Internally Flawless one, right? 

    If you’re on a tighter budget, pick a VS2 1-carat diamond ring instead. Even a lower Clarity rating, such as VS2 and SI1, will be good if the inclusions and blemishes are nearer the edges of the diamond, as it’s still possible to cover them with the prongs of the setting depending on the diamond shape. 

    When shopping for a 1-carat diamond ring, choose a jeweler that offers high-quality product imagery, such as James Allen, so you can accurately review the Clarity of all diamonds yourself.  

    Best Color Rating for a 1-Carat Diamond Ring? 

    Diamond color describes how white or colorless a diamond is. 

    Much like Clarity, Color is another element you need to consider when shopping for a 1-carat diamond ring. The last thing you want is to end up with a yellow diamond — fortunately, we’re here to help you choose the best 1-carat diamond ring for your budget. 

    GIA evaluates the Color of diamonds based on a D-to-Z system that measures the degree of colorlessness under very precise lighting and viewing conditions.

    The more colorless a diamond is, the higher its Color grade and the more valuable it is. On the other hand, the more yellow (or tinted) a diamond is, the lower its Color grade and the less beautiful it is. 

    The most important thing to remember is that the setting of the ring will greatly impact how white or colorless a diamond looks. Take, for example, this beautiful K color 1-carat diamond ring with a 18K yellow gold solitaire setting. The normally yellowish tint of the K color diamond appears colorless because it’s set against a darker color (the 18K yellow gold). 

    Here is a similar 1-carat diamond ring, only this time it has a 14K white gold solitaire setting. Despite being exactly similar in color rating, this particular ring appears much more tinted and less beautiful compared to the first one. 

    Generally, we recommend 1-carat diamond rings with a GIA G-I color grade, which will look nearly colorless, even if set against lighter metal colors. They’re also significantly more affordable without compromising on beauty. 

    Quick tip: Diamond shape can have a huge impact on how tinted a diamond looks. The better a diamond’s cut, the more difficult it is to discern color. 

    Best Cut for a 1-Carat Diamond Ring? 

    And now on to the last of the 3 Cs of a 1-carat diamond ring: Cut. 

    Diamond cut is very often associated with its shape, but it's much more than that. A diamond’s cut refers not only to its shape, but also to how well its facets interact with light. The better its cut, the more sparkling and beautiful the diamond. 

    As with any diamond ring, 1-carat diamond rings are available in a variety of cuts, ranging from round brilliant cut to princess and marquise cut. 

    There is no right or wrong when choosing the cut of your 1-carat diamond ring. However, we strongly suggest you only purchase one with an ‘ideal’ diamond cut, which have been graded as “Excellent” on the GIA Cut Scale. Diamonds with an “Excellent” cut will deliver maximum brightness, fire and scintillation, making them more beautiful and desirable. 

    ​The following video will give you a glimpse on the most expensive diamonds in the world.

    Blue Nile offers a diamond size chart that illustrates the size of a 1-carat diamond depending on its shape when viewed from the top down. Check it out here.

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    What Does a 1-Carat Diamond Ring Look Like? 

    It comes as no surprise that many first-time buyers tend to mistake carat weight for the size of a diamond. Carat describes the weight of a diamond, not its size. As such, different 1-carat diamond rings differ in appearance and size. 

    Because different diamond cuts or shapes have different table surface areas, some will naturally appear larger than others. For example, oval 1-carat diamond rings like this one tend to look bigger than princess ones like this one. 

    blue nile diamond ring

    We understand that diamond size may be important, however, we recommend focusing on the quality of the cut rather than on the apparent size of the diamond. After all, a round brilliant 1-carat diamond ring that is well cut and sparkles intensely will be more eye-catching than a dull marquise cut one. 

    What Is a 1-Carat Diamond Ring Worth to Sell? 

    Generally, the value of a 1-carat diamond ring can be determined by evaluating its Clarity, Color and Cut. The fewer inclusions and blemishes it has and the more colorless and better cut it is, the higher the value of a diamond ring. 

    However, selling your 1-carat diamond ring can be more or less successful depending on where you purchased it and where you’re reselling it. For example, selling it online would allow you to retain up to 60-70% of its original price.

    Thus, a 1-carat diamond ring that cost you around $4,300, like this one from James Allen, would be worth between $2,580 and $3,100 to sell. 

    You have several options when reselling your 1-carat diamond ring. You can auction it, trade it in, sell it on consignment or even sell it back to the jeweler that sold it to you.

    Take the time to explore the pros and cons of each option before attempting to resell your jewelry item to maximize the diamond price and avoid unpleasant surprises.  

    How to Get the Best Value When Buying a 1-Carat Diamond Ring? 

    Here at Learning Jewelry, we strive to guide you through the buying process and help you get the best value for your money. Buying a beautiful 1-carat diamond ring without spending more than you should is possible, and we want to make sure you do just that. 

    The first thing you need to keep in mind when shopping for 1-carat diamond rings is making sure that your selected diamond comes with a GIA or AGS quality certificate.

    Both the GIA and AGS are considered the most consistent and prominent diamond grading entities, and they’re well-renowned for accurately grading diamonds based on very specific criteria. 

    If the 1-carat diamond ring you’re buying doesn’t include a GIA or AGS certificate, then shop elsewhere. The actual quality of diamonds that have been evaluated by a different grading entity will very likely be much less than what they’re claiming.

    Reliable jewelers such as Blue Nile and James Allen offer GIA and AGS certificates for their diamonds, so you can confidently shop with them. 

    In terms of Clarity, Color and Cut, here are our recommendations when selecting a beautiful 1-carat diamond ring: 

    • Clarity: Only purchase diamond rings with a minimum Clarity grade of VS1 or VS2, as these will generally appear eye-clean and have no noticeable inclusions or blemishes. 
    • Color: Diamonds in the G-I color range are nearly as colorless as those in the D-F range, but their price is significantly more affordable, which means they’re better value for your money. 
    • Cut: Always shop for 1-carat diamond rings that have been graded as “Excellent” on the GIA Cut Scale, as the high quality of the cut will maximize the brilliance and fire of the diamond. 

    The shape will make no difference to the diamond price, so make sure you select one that you find aesthetically pleasing. If size is important to you, look for oval and marquise 1-carat diamond rings as these shapes tend to make the diamonds look bigger. 

    Conclusion 

    Searching for the perfect 1-carat diamond ring isn’t easy, but hopefully by now you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to make the best decision and get the best value for your money. 

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