There is something about a 3-carat diamond ring that is borderline perfect. A diamond too big can become a nuisance on the hand while a diamond too small can get overlooked. But the 3-carat engagement ring looks right at home perched on your finger and is certainly big enough to catch the eye. Here, we’re going to share the ins and outs of the ever-popular 3-carat diamond — what to look for, what you should expect to be paying, how to get the best value for your money, and more!

Diamond Size vs. Diamond Carat

It seems fairly straightforward — the more carats a diamond has, the bigger it is. But while this is often the case, it’s worth noting that carats are a measurement of weight, not size. And while it may be common to use the terms semi interchangeably, the truth is that a diamond’s size has to do with its appearance. 

A larger looking diamond does not necessarily mean that it’s of a larger carat. It simply means that the measurements of its dimensions (particularly the top and other key proportions) make it appear bigger. Much like an iceberg, the diamond’s size is judged by the area that is visible.

A diamond’s carat, on the other hand, is a much more specific measurement.

The term “carat” was adopted in 1907 at the General Conference on Weights and Measures. A diamond’s carat refers to the weight of the diamond. A single carat is 200 milligrams and is subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows the gemologist or jeweler to measure the diamond to the one hundredth decimal place, allowing a precise measurement, along with a definite price.

The 3-carat diamond has attained significant popularity, partly because it is generally large enough in both size and carat weight to stand out, while still being manageable enough to wear easily in a ring. 

What’s Special About 3 Carat Diamond Rings?

A 3-carat diamond weighs 600 milligrams or 0.6 grams. To put this into perspective, a 3-carat diamond weighs about as much as a raisin. Now that doesn’t seem like much at all, but when you’re talking about one of the most valuable substances in the world, that is a very respectable size.

3-carat diamonds can be found in any shape and can fit many settings depending on the request. Because of the significant carat weight, most 3-carat diamond rings offer a brilliant sparkle and have an amazing look to them. Of course, the appearance (and the overall value) of the ring depends on other factors as well.

3 Carat Diamond Clarity Rating

Diamonds are traditionally graded according to four different metrics, referred to as the 4 C’scut, color, clarity, and carat. By considering each of these factors, experts are able to develop a holistic view of the overall value of the diamond. For example, a diamond that has a high carat weight but is of lower quality in terms of cut, color, or clarity, may be less valuable than a lower carat diamond of higher quality. 

And while each of these metrics plays a vital role in determining the value of a 3-carat diamond, one area that demands more in-depth consideration is clarity.

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). 

Naturally, the higher the clarity rating, the more valuable the diamond. However, the difference between some of the adjacent clarity ratings may not be obvious, or even visible, to the naked eye. By dropping a level on the clarity scale for an ‘eye clean’ (if not strictly flawless) diamond, buyers can often save a significant amount of money. 

3 Carat Diamond Price

As previously mentioned, 3 carats is a very respectable size for a diamond. As such, you should be prepared to pay several thousand dollars to purchase a quality 3-carat diamond ring. In fact, a conventionally mined diamond (one that has been extracted from the ground), will usually cost anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000, or more.

As an alternative, many diamond buyers choose instead to purchase a lab-grown diamond. Lab-grown diamonds are physically and chemically identical to mined diamonds; they are diamonds, in every sense of the word. The only differences between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are that lab-grown diamonds are grown in controlled lab conditions, and they cost significantly less than traditional diamonds. At Clean Origin, we offer 3-carat diamond rings for $10,000 to $18,000 — all with exceptional cut, color, and clarity. 

Our Recommendations when Shopping for a 3 Carat Diamond Ring

When shopping for a 3-carat diamond ring, it’s not enough to simply know how large you want the diamond to be, or even what shape you prefer. Here are some of our top recommendations we suggest you take into account before you make a purchase:

Pay close attention to the cut

3-carat diamonds are generally large enough that a lower quality cut can really upset the overall look. You should restrict your search only to those of Excellent grade or better.

Keep an eye on the color

As with most diamonds, 3-carat diamonds are considered higher quality when they have less natural color. But, again, the difference between completely colorless and nearly colorless is a subtle one. We suggest that you shop for a diamond that falls between G and I on the GIA color scale — the diamond will appear colorless, and you won’t be paying for more than you need to.

Don’t undercut the weight

To the naked eye, there’s no real difference between a 3-carat diamond and a 2.9-carat diamond. As such, some shoppers will confine their search to diamonds that are almost 3 carats, in an effort to save on costs. But just as a 3-carat diamond and a 2.9-carat diamond will look almost the same, they’re also going to cost almost the same amount. You’re not going to be saving much at all. Worse, you’ll be excluding a large number of diamonds from your search — limiting your selection in the process. However, if you are looking for a diamond that is obviously larger than a 2-carat, but less than a 3-carat, try somewhere in the 2.6-2.8 carat range.

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. These diamonds are ethical and environmentally friendly, without the various negative issues associated with mined diamonds. And they cost a lot less. Choosing a lab-grown diamond will allow you to get a higher quality stone for your budget.

Talk with an expert

Choosing a diamond is a personal journey, but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t bring along a guide. Clean Origin’s diamond experts are available to help you find the perfect diamond. Contact us today, and let us help you find the 3 carat diamond of your dreams.