How much does a one carat diamond cost?
The short answer: A 1.00 carat diamond can range in price from about $1,000 to over $12,000. Not very helpful, right?
But the truth is, one carat diamonds range so much in quality that diamond sellers (like us) can’t just slap one price tag on all of them. If you just want to figure out how much you should spend on a diamond without doing too much research, just talk to a trained jeweler for advice (our virtual gemologists can help you with this, too).
But if you want to really understand what you’re getting before you buy a diamond, you need to understand how the qualities — even more than the quantity — of a diamond impacts its price.
Diamond Pricing Factors
Did you know that diamond prices change from day to day, much like gold or antiques? These fluctuations can be caused by market trends, the time of year, etc.
In addition to market conditions, diamond shapes and diamond grades have an impact on diamond price.
Diamond shape refers to the 10 popular diamond silhouettes. The price differences between shapes, which we’ll discuss later, vary considerable due to demand and manufacturing costs.
The 4 Cs
The 4 Cs of diamonds – cut grade, color grade, clarity grade and carat weight – all contribute to the price of a diamond. Every diamond has its own unique characteristics, flaws and beauties – much like a snowflake has its own unique structure.
For diamonds of a given carat weight, cut grade has the largest influence on price, because it’s the best single indicator of a diamond’s brilliance and beauty.
Clarity grade and color grade have less of an impact on a diamond’s brilliance, yet can still significantly impact price. Clarity grade refers to a diamond’s natural inclusions, or lack thereof. With clarity grades, the difference between VVS1 (very very slight inclusions) and IF (internally flawless) can greatly affect the price but not so much the look of the diamond.
Color grade refers to the color of light a diamond reflects, from pure white to yellow. Pure white diamonds are priced at a premium, and you can find major price reductions going from a colorless diamond to a faint yellow diamond. If you’re willing to sacrifice on color grade, you can usually get a higher cut grade and carat weight for a lower price.
All of these factors vary considerably from diamond to diamond. The particular combination of each 4 C grade as well as details such as diamond polish, symmetry, and fluorescence, inform an individual diamond’s value.
The following chart shows the price range of one carat diamonds from a sample set of Ritani diamond inventory.* The median price of one carat diamonds is $4,018. The highest price for a one carat diamond is $11,315, while the lowest price for one carat diamonds is $1,340. Data includes diamonds of all shapes, cuts, colors and clarity grades offered by Ritani.**
Sample Prices for 1 Carat Diamonds
*This chart does not represent the absolute price range for one carat diamonds — you may find both higher and lower prices in our inventory.
**Ritani does not carry diamonds below a certain quality of cut, color and clarity grade.
How Diamond Grades Affect Price
As mentioned before, the 4 C grades have a great impact on diamond price. This chart illustrates price differences between one carat round diamonds with an Ideal cut grade. As you can see, even within a given cut grade, color, clarity and even smaller details can drastically change the price of a diamond.
|1.00 CT Round Diamond||$3,560||Ideal||K||VVS2|
|1.00 CT Round Diamond||$6,323||Ideal||H||VVS1|
|1.00 CT Round Diamond||$12,604||Ideal||F||IF|
It’s important to note that some differences in color and clarity are barely noticeable without the aid of a jeweler’s loupe, and are often more of a personal preference depending on what diamond you’ve got your eye on. When shopping for diamonds, we recommend you look at several different cut, color and clarity grades to decide which you prefer.
How Diamond Shape Impacts Price
The price of a diamonds is impacted by its shape as well as its 4 C qualities. When comparing one carat diamonds of different shapes (assuming all quality grades are the same), round diamonds are priced higher than their princess counterparts due to their popularity and brilliance.
|1.00 CT Round Diamond||$5,604||Very Good||H||VVS2|
|1.00 CT Princess Diamond||$3,773||Very Good||H||VVS2|
Round diamonds, in comparison to fancy shaped diamonds, also have higher manufacturing costs and higher demand. When it comes to fancy shaped diamonds, pricing differs depending on the rarity of the stone. For example, Asscher diamonds are rare and therefore on the pricey side, highly graded emerald diamonds carry a higher price point, whereas princess cuts have a lower price-per-carat than rounds due to less waste in the cutting process (read more about buying a princess cut diamond here). If you’re looking for an affordable option, cushions, ovals, marquise, trillion, and pear diamonds in one carat are also generally less expensive due to lower demand.
Understanding the 4 Cs — and deciding which qualities matter most to you personally — can help you save a great deal of money when buying a diamond. The most important thing is that you and your partner love the stone you’ve picked out, but it helps if you feel confident knowing you’ve found a great deal. Figure out which elements of a diamond are most important to you, and narrow down the options until you find that perfect diamond! If you’re still unsure about the 4 C’s, our diamond education or our virtual gemologists will help you shop with more confidence.