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1 Carat Diamond Ring: Buying Advice and Price Guide

by Haley Anhut
Last updated on August 21, 2023

For sheer popularity and staying power, it’s hard to beat a 1-carat diamond ring. In fact, in the United States the average engagement ring diamond is a little over 1 carat in weight. So if you’re looking for the right stone to propose with, a 1-carat diamond is a great place to start. 

A One Carat Diamond Makes for The Perfect Engagement Ring

Choose white, yellow, or rose gold for your 1-carat diamond ring

The popularity of the 1-carat diamond ring also means access to a larger selection.

Unlike rarer 2 or 3 carat diamonds, 1-carat diamonds are widely available. You can find them via online stores, such as Clean Origin. The larger the carat weight, the more difficult it will be to find.

The downside to the 1-carat diamond’s availability is the wide range of quality. Even though there are many superior 1-carat diamonds on the market, there are many less-than-ideal options, so its important to pay close attention to the quality of your stone. Also, consider that sometimes, a higher-priced stone may not equal a higher quality stone.

Here, we share the ins and outs of 1-carat diamonds, as well as how to find the perfect diamond for you. But first, let’s discuss the difference between a diamond’s carat and its size. 

Diamond Size vs. Diamond Carat

Stunning round solitaire engagement ring on hand

When rating diamonds, the most common unit of measurement is the carat. Carat is closely tied to value because a larger carat usually means a larger stone. However, this correlation is not implicit. That’s because carat, as a unit of measurement, describes a gem’s weight, not its size. 

Diamond Carat Weight

A single carat is equal to 200 milligrams, and is subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows diamond experts to measure a diamond to the one hundredth decimal place. Precise measurements mean they can then assign the diamond a more definite price. 

Diamond Size

A diamond’s size, on the other hand, is not nearly as precise. That’s because size refers to the diamond’s appearance. Specifically, how big a diamond looks.

A diamond, as it sits in a ring, is much like an iceberg that floats in the ocean — not all of it is easily visible. When one measures a diamond’s size, one incorporates factors such as the table surface area and cut. For example, an emerald-cut diamond sits relatively flat, while a round diamond will naturally have more depth. The emerald cut might be the same carat weight as the round diamond, but it would appear larger.

If you need help choosing the perfect round diamond for your engagement ring, schedule a virtual appointment with a jewelry consultant. This way you can learn more about stone shape, carat weights, and if a lab created diamond is right for you. A jewelry expert can help you shop for similar items, search diamonds with ease, and pick the perfect engagement ring.

What’s Special About 1 Carat Diamond Rings?

1-carat diamond rings are perfect in terms of affordability and practicality. Given that diamond prices tend to increase exponentially as the carat weight goes up, those who choose to purchase more extravagant carat sizes may find themselves straying well outside their budgets.

At the same time, larger diamonds are more likely to catch on or brush up against things while being worn — potentially damaging surfaces, clothing, or even the ring itself. The 1 ct diamond ring is small enough that this isn’t usually an issue. If you choose a high-quality round diamond, you can still get all of the sparkle your heart desires with the one-carat diamond. Add more details to your sparkly ring by including a multi stone band.

Additionally, because 1-carat diamond rings are so popular, you’ll be much more likely to find the engagement ring of your dreams. This carat weight is available in every diamond shape and can fit nearly any setting. And, if your 1-carat diamond seems too small right now, you can always upgrade to a larger diamond later.

1 Carat Diamond Clarity Rating

Diamonds are traditionally graded according to the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. These metrics determine the overall quality (and price) of a diamond. Diamonds that are of a higher quality in some areas but much lower quality in others will likely be of lower value than a diamond that scores well throughout.

And while each of the 4 C’s play an important role in describing the overall quality of the stone, it is worth taking the time to discuss clarity specifically, especially as it relates to 1-carat diamonds.

Clarity refers to the number of internal and external features (called inclusions and blemishes) that naturally occur in diamonds. Fewer inclusions or blemishes mean a higher rated, and more valuable, diamond. 

How is Clarity Measured?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has created a scale for measuring diamond clarity. Internally flawless (IF) diamonds are considered the highest quality. These are followed — listed here in order from higher quality to lowest quality — by diamonds with very very small inclusions 1 (VVS1), then very very small inclusions 2 (VVS2), very small inclusions 1 (VS1), very small inclusions 2 (VS2), small inclusions 1 (SI1), small inclusions 2 (SI2), and then finally inclusions 1 (I1), and inclusions 2 (I2). This is one of many factors why a diamond with the same carat weight might have a different cost.

Unlike in 2-carat diamonds or larger, which usually feature a bigger table/surface area, inclusions within 1-carat diamonds are not nearly as obvious.

When shopping for a 1-carat diamond, don’t feel as though you need to limit your search only to those that fall into the IF category. Instead, a VVS, VS1, or VS2 diamond that looks clear to the naked eye will shine just as nicely. So, if budget is a concern, expand your search words to include those upper to mid-scale stones. For an in-depth explanation of the diamond clarity chart be sure to read this post.

1 Carat Diamond Price

A single carat is equal to 200 milligrams. But even though 200 milligrams isn’t very heavy — roughly equal to the weight of a single raindrop, and only 1/10th the weight of a penny — a single carat of a high-quality diamond will usually cost around $4,000 to $5,000. 

The good news is that when compared to diamonds of larger carat weight, the cost of 1-carat diamonds proves to be less per carat. As previously mentioned, diamond prices increase exponentially with weight. So while you may end up paying $5,000 per carat for a 1-carat diamond. A 2 carat diamond of the same quality might cost $10,000 per carat — $20,000 in total. You can see how 1 Carat diamond rings are more moderately priced.

Buyers can take advantage of this by purchasing multiple smaller stones for their engagement rings, rather than investing in a single large stone. 

Save Money on Your Engagement Ring With Lab Created Diamonds

As an alternative, many diamond buyers choose lab grown diamonds. Lab created diamonds are physically and chemically identical to mined diamonds; these are real diamonds, with the same atomic structure and appearance as mined diamonds.

The only differences between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds are that lab grown diamonds are created in controlled lab conditions, and they cost significantly less than “traditional” diamonds. Clean Origin is one of the world’s most trusted retailers of lab created diamonds. We offer 1-carat diamond rings for ~$1,000 to $4,000 — all with exceptional cut, color, and clarity. You can save a lot of money on your engagement ring by choosing lab grown diamonds.

If there are no stores that offer lab created diamonds in your current location, lookup lab grown diamonds online. Retailers like Clean Origin make it simple and convenient to shop for the highest quality lab grown diamonds.

Recommendations for a 1-Carat Diamond Ring

When shopping for a 1-carat diamond ring, understanding grading scales is only the first step. Here are our top recommendations to keep in mind while you shop for the diamond engagement ring of your dreams:

Don’t Settle for a Low-quality Cut

With the right cut, even a smaller diamond can dazzle the eye. Maximize your 1-carat diamond’s brilliance and fire by considering diamonds that have a cut grade of Very Good or above — anything less, and your diamond may lose its sparkle. This, however, only applies to round diamonds. Fancy-shaped stones do not come with a cut grade. A 1 carat center diamond is versatile and looks stunning in various shapes. The shape of your diamond will impact the overall appearance of your engagement ring. Shapes like the radiant cut and marquise are great for 1 carat diamonds. If you are looking for a classic ring, oval, cushion, and pear shaped diamonds are great options that are filled with brilliance.

Keep an Eye on the Color

To the naked eye, there’s not much difference between a colorless diamond and one that’s mostly colorless. So, as you shop for your 1-carat diamond, feel free to consider diamonds that fall within the G through I range. These diamonds will, for all intents and purposes, look colorless. Also, be aware that the metal used in the ring may affect the apparent color of the diamond; a diamond in a yellow gold setting may look lower on the scale than the same diamond paired with a white gold engagement ring.

Consider a Lab Grown Diamond

As addressed above, lab created diamonds are identical to mined diamonds in every respect, aside from their origin and their price. You can use your savings for a larger carat diamond or a better engagement ring setting. You can even opt for the popular round diamond cut.

These diamonds are ethical and responsibly sourced. And, as an added bonus, they cost a lot less. We only offer diamonds made in a lab, so we can keep the prices low without cutting into the quality. So, if you want a higher quality diamond engagement ring on a smaller budget, lab grown may be the solution.

Talk with an Expert

Whether you’re buying for yourself or as a gift, choosing a diamond is an important, personal journey. Bring along a guide; consult with a knowledgeable diamond expert. A diamond expert can help you with a visual search as well as help with finding your ring size. They can also find the right style and setting, and answer any questions you have.

Clean Origin’s diamond experts are available to help you throughout your diamond searching process. Whether you prefer round or emerald cut engagement rings (or anything in between) find your perfect 1 carat diamond engagement ring today, with Clean Origin.