Trying to decide if you should buy a 2.5 carat diamond ring? If your answer is yes, you've come to the right people.
In this Learning Guide, I'll go over everything you'll need to know about buying a 2.5 carat engagement ring without ever stepping foot in a jewelry store. I'll answer these popular questions too:
- What’s the difference between carat size and carat weight?
- How much can I sell a 2.5 carat diamond ring for?
- What’s the best color grade for a 2.5 carat diamond ring?
Best Places to Buy A 2.5 Carat Diamond Ring
Diamond engagement rings with a 2.5 carat center diamond are difficult to come by at brick and mortar jewelry stores. That's not true for every store, but many require you to put a down payment in order to bring it into the store for viewing.
For many online jewelry retailers, this isn't the case. Here are some of our best picks to buy a 2.5 carat diamond ring with:
Each of these talented companies has their strengths and weaknesses, but we believe they all have something significant to bring to the engagement ring table. Some retailers even provide alternative options such as lab grown diamonds, fancy colored diamonds, and colored gemstones.
Also, in case you're curious, we've also reviewed other popular carat weights for diamonds rings. See below:
What is a 2.5 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?
There are many aspects to a 2.5 carat diamond engagement ring, but don't worry. I'm going to break down everything you need to know about buying one. If you need to learn anything further about any section below feel free to follow any links or recommended articles found in the text.
What is a Carat?
A carat (or karat in the UK) is the unit of measurement for diamonds. Colored gemstones may be also be shown in carats, but more often in millimeters. A carat is equal to 200mg, or 1/5 of a gram.
Size or Weight?
Many people get confused between the idea of carat weight and carat size. They assume it's the same thing, but it's not quite. Carat weight is a form of measurement used to measure how much a rough diamond weighs after it has been cut and polished.
Carat size is the measurements of the diamond's face-up view. A round diamond has a smaller face-up view, so other diamond shapes of the same carat weight may have a bigger table in appearance.
A round diamond has more of the carat weight distributed in the deep part of the diamond, also known as the pavilion. The facets on the crown (top part of the diamond) of a round diamond is much smaller than that of an emerald cut diamond for example.
Read also: All About Emerald Cut Diamonds
Carat weight is how much a diamond ways. Carat size is the surface area measurements of the diamond's table.
2.5 Carat Center Stone
Finding a solitaire engagement ring with a 2.5 carat diamond in stores can prove to be quite a feat. But that's okay, because most pre-assembled engagement rings found in store like Kay and Zales aren't great quality to begin with, nor do they always offer proper diamond certification.
Read also: Why You Should Only Buy Certified Diamonds
When looking for a 2.5 carat center diamond ring at these types of stores, they're more likely to steer you toward their quarterly diamond show with Dana Augustine or pushing you to do a custom diamond ring.
You're better off browsing online at one of the engagement ring retailers we've recommended. There are many options and diamonds to compare without having a jewelry salesperson breathing down your neck trying to convince you what an "affordable" diamond looks like.
2.5 Carat Diamond Total Diamond Weight
If you are shopping in-store, you may come across engagement rings with 2.5 TDW on the price tag. You may see 2.5 TW or 2.5 DWT. Naturally, one would assume it's a two and a half carat diamond engagement ring.
If it's a solitaire engagement ring, that would be an accurate assumption. A classic solitaire setting usually contains but a single diamond.
If it's not a solitaire setting and has other diamonds, a 2.5 TDW engagement ring isn't what you're looking for. The TDW stands for total diamond weight. TW for total weight. DWT is diamond weight total. All of them mean the same thing.
The total weight of a diamond engagement ring includes the center stone and every other diamond in the setting. It is the total combined weight of all the diamond in a ring setting. If your solitaire setting has no other stones, the total weight of the ring would be 2.5 carats from the center.
How Much Does a 2.5-Carat Diamond Ring Cost?
The cost of a 2.5 carat diamond ring is dependent on many factors. It's difficult to nail down a straight price, especially based on carat weight alone. A diamond's quality and value aren't only assessed based on how much it weighs or how big it is.
In fact, a system called the 4Cs of Diamond Quality was established by the Gemological Institute of America. They surmise that a diamond's cut quality, color grade, clarity grades, and carat weight were the most important pillars of diamond standards.
These aren't the only factors that contribute to price, but the leading ones. Small specific details like polish, symmetry, and fluorescence can contribute, but these aren't likely to make a large impact in diamond prices. Here’s a list of other elements that contribute to pricing of a 2.5 carat diamond ring:
- Diamond Cut
- Diamond Clarity
- Diamond Color
- Diamond Shape
- Diamond Brand
- Diamond Setting
Read also: How Much Does a 2-Carat Diamond Cost?
You'll hear "diamond cut" refers to a couple things regarding jewelry. Some use the term interchangeably with the diamond shape. Princess cut diamonds, oval cut diamonds, round cut diamonds, etc. In this case, we're not talking about the shape of the diamond.
Instead, we're talking about the way the rough diamond has been faceted and polished. Polish is one of the elements included in a diamond's cut quality. The cut grades of a diamond are as follows:
You should know not every 2.5 carat engagement ring will have an official cut grade that you would see annotated on a diamond grading report. That's because technically, only round diamonds are able to be cut to perfect symmetry enough to be considered as Excellent cut diamonds or ideal cut diamonds.
Read also: What is an Ideal Cut Diamond?
Though diamonds with Good cut grades and Fair cut grades exist on the market, I recommend avoiding them at all costs. Most Good cut graded round diamonds pale in comparison to ideal cuts regarding sparkle and fire.
Fair and Poor cut diamonds can make your diamond more susceptible to chips and breaks. These cut grades or quality may not have an even shape or proportions, making it more likely to break if struck.
I don't recommend bargaining with your cut quality in order to save money on a 2.5 carat diamond ring, but clarity grades are a little different. Diamonds with very low clarity grades can impact the diamond's durability, but most of diamond clarity is about perception and preference.
Clarity is how free of natural inclusions and surface blemishes the diamond is. The higher the clarity grade of the diamond, the more clear the diamond appears to the naked eye.
When diamonds form in the ground, they come into contact with other minerals, air bubbles, and other tiny imperfections become trapped in the diamond crystal. Some inclusions and blemishes happen because of the immense pressure and heat around the crystal. Other imperfections can happen during the cutting and polishing process.
On a diamond certificate, the clarity grade of a diamond is based upon the diamond at 10x magnification. These are the official clarity grades on the clarity scale.
You'll hear people refer to diamonds as "eye-clean". In simple terms, an eye-clean diamond is a diamond that has no visible inclusions to the naked eye. They likely contain some that can be seen under magnification.
Most often, VS, VVS, IF, and F clarity diamonds are considered eye-clean clarity grades. However, if you have a large enough inventory to choose from, you may be able to spot an eye-clean diamond in the SI or even the I clarity tier.
The color grade of a diamond determines the presence of yellow tint in a diamond. Diamonds with low color grades may be tinted yellow or brown as it gets further down the color scale.
Most online retailers won't sell any loose diamonds with a lower grade than L, but it's possible to find lower grades. The majority of engagement ring buyers choose center diamonds with colorless (DEF) or near colorless grades (GHIJ).
The shape can either increase or decrease the cost of your 2.5 carat diamond ring. A round diamond of this carat weight would make a gorgeous diamond ring, but would be more expensive than other shapes. They have the best brilliance and light performance due to the precision cutting.
Read also: Brilliant Cut Diamonds vs Step Cut Diamonds
Another reason why round diamond shapes are more expensive is because they don't retain as much diamond rough as other shapes. A round diamond only yields about 40% of a piece of diamond rough. On the other hand, a princess cut diamond yields about 70%.
On average, most princess cut diamonds are less expensive than round diamonds of similar quality. Diamond prices vary based on carat weight. Some fancy diamond shapes may be more expensive than others as the carat weight increases.
- Round, G, VS2 2.5 Excellent GIA $37,820
- Oval G VS2 GIA 2.5 $33,810
- Pear G VS2 2.5 $33,440
- Emerald G VS1 2.5 $31, 090
- Princess G, VS1 GIA 2.5 $30, 810
- Cushion G VS2 GIA 2.5 $28,700
If oval or pear cut is your desired shape for your 2.5 carat diamond ring, it needs to be cut very well. Both of these shapes are susceptible to the bow-tie effect. It's a shadow that plays across the surface of certain shapes.
Read also: Your Pear Cut Diamond Buyer's Guide
It doesn't damage your diamond at all, but some people may not like the shadow it casts with the naked eye. The better cut your diamond is, the less likely it should have an obvious bow-tie.
If you're choosing a loose 2.5 carat diamond, the diamond brand may not have a huge effect on diamond prices unless it's a specialty retailer, like Leibish and Co. with fancy colored diamonds. Natural fancy colored diamonds are much more expensive than prices of colorless diamonds.
Read also: Best Places to Buy Fancy Colored Diamonds
There are also specialty diamond cutters that may cost more. Whiteflash is known for having superior brilliance and light performance. Their round diamonds are likely to cost more than other retailers.
Brilliant Earth offers blockchain diamonds that trace your diamond's entire journey, not just its place of origin. These diamonds may cost more than other diamonds of the same quality but not the same transparency.
Diamond Ring Setting
The overall cost of your 2.5 carat engagement ring will have a portion of your budget going toward your ring setting. A 2.5 carat diamond will be much higher the setting chosen, unless you're choosing a setting over $20,000. Most online retailers don't offer settings past $4,000 unless a full custom.
A classic solitaire setting will most likely be the least expensive engagement ring setting. Simple, four prong, high-polished engagement rings settings like that usually have a lower price below $500. The price increases based on complexity and the quality of additional stones. Side diamonds of a large size will cost more than many small pave diamonds.
Ring setting brands can have a big effect on the overall price of 2.5 carat diamond engagement rings. Brilliant Earth has excellent prices of their loose diamonds, comparable to James Allen and Blue Nile. Their ring settings are more expensive than the average retailer. They are a designer brand, so their settings come with premium prices.
How Big is a 2.5 Carat Diamond Ring?
Remember how we talked about size vs weight of a 2.5 carat engagement ring?
Let me quickly refresh your memory. I know I've spouted off a lot of info since then. Carat weight is how heavy the diamond, whereas carat size is how big appears when looking at the stone face-up. Some diamond shapes require a more shallow cut while others require deeper cuts. That is why a 2.5 carat diamond may look bigger in one shape than another, though the diamonds are the same carat weight.
These shapes will make your 2.5 carat diamond bigger in appearance:
- Emerald Diamonds
- Marquise Diamonds
- Oval Diamonds
Read also: Your Guide to Marquise Diamonds
What is a 2.5 Carat Diamond Ring Worth to Sell?
Just as there are many factors that determine the price of a 2.5 carat engagement ring, those same factors have an impact on resale or trade-up. In actuality, diamonds don't make great investments unless they're fancy colored or have exceptionally high grades.
A 2.5 carat diamond ring can sell for a decent amount of money, but there's no real standard price. Most places that take diamonds for cash take a large portion of it for 1/3 of the value. Some places will only take diamonds that are certified by the GIA.
How to Get the Best Value When Buying a 2.5 Carat Diamond Ring?
You'll want to consider everything we've talked about when getting the best value and making the most out of your budget for a 2.5 carat diamond ring. I'd say just about everything with a diamond ring is negotiable, even if there are some deal-breakers for you personally. Some want a certain shape no matter what the diamond prices are. Others may be bothered by clarity, so they might opt for a higher clarity grade.
The only feature of a diamond that I don't recommend bartering with is your diamond's cut. The cut quality determines whether or not you have a beautiful diamond and increases durability the better cut it is.
Aside from cut quality, some other diamond specifics can be negotiated or based on personal preference.
Diamond color grades are subjective, meaning there's not an exact science to grading them. That's why it's important to purchase a 2.5 carat diamond with a grading report from a reliable gemological laboratory. For natural diamond jewelry, we recommend choosing GIA certified diamonds or AGS certified diamonds.
If you plan to purchase 2.5 carat diamonds that are lab-created, GIA, AGS, IGI, and GCAL certified diamonds are recommended. These laboratories are considered the top in the industry.
Read also: Best Lab Diamond Certification Labs
I say color grades aren't an exact science because we all see them differently. For example. a faint yellow 2.5 carat diamond may not look as yellow to one person as it does another. Some people may perceive a certain color grade differently.
Personally, I'm very sensitive to yellow tint in diamonds. It bothers me. But for some people, the faint yellow color grades complement their skin tone. It works out in their favor too, as faint yellow grades are less expensive than near colorless ones.
2.5 carat diamonds are considered a large size for a diamond. The average diamond weight for a center stone runs about 1.2 carats. The larger the carat diamond you have, the more obvious imperfections and color tint are.
Read also: Are SI Clarity Diamonds Good?
For example, a one carat diamond with SI1 clarity may appear eye-clean. But 2.5 carat diamonds with SI1 clarity will have more obvious imperfections. The price of a 2.5 carat diamond will skyrocket if you're buying buying VVS clarity grades.
Typically, the price difference between levels of fluorescence in your diamond makes a bigger impact if it's a smaller carat weight, like a one carat diamond. Fluorescence is the a slight blue tint that you may see in 2.5 carat diamonds under UV light. That includes the sunlight.
Depending on the level of fluorescence in the diamond, it may appear light blue instead of colorless white in UV light. It's a visual effect and personal preference. Most diamonds have some presence of fluorescence, but those with None are considered higher quality and fetch a higher price.
Some people, like myself, prefer a little bit of fluorescence in their stone. I like the slight blue glow, so I wouldn't mind a 2.5 carat diamond with Faint or Medium fluorescence. Some may not even be able to tell the difference between a Faint or Medium fluorescence. 2.5 carat diamonds with higher levels of fluorescence could save you a couple hundred dollars on the overall stone price.
Not only will the ring setting of 2.5 carat stone have an impact on the price, but so will the metal chosen. Most engagement rings are crafted in either solid gold or a platinum band setting.
When it comes to gold jewelry, you shouldn't have to pay more for a specific color gold. A White gold, yellow gold, or rose gold engagement ring should all be the same price for a setting unless the karat gold is different. For example, an 18 karat yellow gold ring would be more expensive than a 14K rose gold engagement ring because it has a significant amount of gold content in it (75%).
Read also: Rose Gold Jewelry vs Yellow Gold Jewelry
A platinum band on the other hand, is more expensive than a gold band. Usually around 20% more expensive, but it's a stronger metal than a gold band.
However, you should consider the routine maintenance you'll have to do, depending on your chosen metal. Platinum engagement rings may cost more up front, but they don't need rhodium plating like a white gold band does.
Rhodium is the metal that is electroplated over white gold jewelry to give it the silvery look. It will fade over time due to wear and tear, as well as natural oils in your skin. Most jewelers recommend rhodium plating white gold engagement rings once a year. Rhodium plating can cost between $40-120 depending on how many rings you have and who you get to fix it. That would definitely add up over time.
That's another reason why you should carefully look over additional features your 2.5 carat diamond has at different retailers. For example, there may not be a huge price difference between 2.5 carat diamonds from James Allen or Blue Nile. However, James Allen offers a free lifetime warranty that covers rhodium plating a white gold band. Blue Nile does not. You will need to pay for all rhodium out of pocket over the years.
Final Thoughts On 2.5 Carat Diamond Rings
As you can see, there's a lot that goes into choosing the perfect 2.5 carat diamond ring. You may be in the market for a classic ring with a 2.5 carat center stone, or you may be looking for the most bling you can get in a 2.5 carat total weight engagement ring. You can't go wrong with either choice.
It's much easier to find high quality 2.5 carat diamonds online rather than in-store. Online retailers often have a pool of diamonds to choose from and you can narrow them down using filters. Some even have more filters to choose from such as diamond certification, table size, and fluorescence.
You don't want to choose just any 2.5 carat diamond ring. There are many components you need to consider when choosing the best stone with the best value. Majority of diamond quality depends on the 4Cs, but there are other aspects that impact quality and diamond prices. Some details about a 2.5 carat stone are up to personal preference, like color and clarity. Others, you shouldn't compromise to save money, like cut quality.
Keep in mind that diamond prices fluctuate and may differ from retailer to retailer. You should always compare and contrast stones when searching online. Always buy from a retailer that has many customers, rather than a random website no one has ever heard of.
All of the retailers mentioned above are legitimate retailers with return policies of at least 30 days, just in case you don't love the 2.5 carat diamond ring you ordered in person.
Hopefully this guide has shown you the things to consider when buying a 2.5 carat diamond ring and get you one step closer to your perfect engagement ring!