What is the Cost of a 1 Carat Diamond?

Many couples start looking for an engagement ring with an idea that they would like a one carat diamond in their engagement ring. This seems to be the magic weight that for many is a “must have” for their dream engagement ring. But what is the cost of a 1 carat diamond, they ask? The answer, as with all things diamond, is not straightforward.

If you want a great looking diamond and are limited by budget (yes, I’m sure even Bill Gates would have a budget!), it is best to not get too hung up on a diamond’s weight. There is so much more to diamonds than simply a weight. To our way of thinking, there is no point having a dull and lifeless diamond, just because it is 1.00ct!

To try to make things a little clearer, we have put together this price guide. It sets out what is possible over several different budget levels. I hope that you find it useful.

Budget Level Under $3K

This is a really difficult budget area to get a ring of any quality. Yes, $3K is a big chunk of money, but gold and diamonds are expensive materials. Much as we wish it were otherwise, these materials cost what they cost. You simply can’t get away from that fact. Gold and diamond content quickly swallows the budget, especially if you would like a well made ring in a good quality gold alloy and white diamonds in good grades.

The market is flooded with engagement rings that are around the $3K price mark and below. But when you look at them you can see that the quality of these rings is not great. They are generally mass produced overseas. The standard of workmanship is poor. If you do buy a ring such as this, it may not last for long without needing major repair work. Sometimes it is simply not possible to fix rings that are poorly made to begin with.

If you want a great looking ring that will last a lifetime and beyond, with quality diamonds, and you don’t want to or can’t spend more than $3K, it might be an idea to consider buying a temporary ring or saving for a bit longer if you can. Saving $3K is hard enough without wasting it on a ring that is substandard. The last thing that you want is a ring that will give you endless amounts of trouble. You are also likely to have to fork out further money in order to have it fixed. In our experience, many retailers who sell these kind of rings do not tend to step up to the plate when something goes wrong with them.

Budget Level Between $3K- $5K

This budget area is workable. It is enough to get a good looking ring with a quality diamond. It is best in this budget bracket to keep any additional diamond content to a minimum. That way as much of the budget as possible can be put towards the main diamond.

Budget Level Between $5K – $7K

This is a pretty good budget area that will put you in the reach of diamonds that are in the 0.70ct. to maybe 0.80ct. area, as long as the ring is not too complicated. Remember that detailed rings with additional diamond content use your budget up.

Budget Level Between $7K – $10K

Now we are just touching on a budget area where you may be able to get a 1.00ct. diamond, depending on a number of factors. For this budget, 1.00ct. is just becoming possible in most diamond cuts, apart from the round brilliant cut, which is the most expensive diamond cut.

1 carat diamond, round brilliant cut, set in a four claw 18ct. white gold ring

Budget Level between $10K – $15K

The cost of a 1 carat diamond in good grades in all cuts falls within this budget area. Of course you must remember that the cost of a 1 carat diamond, and indeed all the cost of all diamonds, fluctuate depending on market demand and the value of our Aussie dollar against the US dollar, as diamonds are traded in US dollars.

A Budget Level Around $20K

This will put you in 1.50ct. territory, depending on the diamond detail, and the diamond cut.

Above $20K

In most cases this is still not enough to get you into a 2.00ct. diamond, unless it is a pretty low grade. Diamonds in the 2.00ct. weight tend to be more in the $30K area, depending on the diamond grade, demand and the prevailing exchange rates.

Budgets over $30K – $50K

This is the big end of town (at least in Melbourne, not if you live in Hollywood). This will be a diamond between 2.00ct. and 2.50ct., depending on the specs of the diamond. Even at $50K, there is still not enough in the budget to go for 3.00ct.

The Cost of a 1 Carat Diamond Varies

The cost of any diamond will depend on a number of factors. Many people are surprised to learn that the cost of a diamond is not just dependent on the 4C’s. In fact there are about 20 quality elements that affect the price of a diamond, not even taking into consideration where you are buying the diamond from and what overheads you are paying for. There is a lot of information on the site about diamonds and quality issues. Click here for more info: diamond quality issues that affect price or under the “Diamond Education” tab in the main menu.

Of course we are able to cater for nearly all budget levels. The cost of a 1 carat diamond may be out of reach for many of us, but this is not to say that you cannot have a stunning engagement ring if you don’t have the budget for a one carat diamond. The key to a great ring is finding the right jeweller. You need someone who is able to make a quality piece and will carefully select the best diamond possible for the $$ you have available, whatever they may be.