“How much is a 3 carat diamond going to set me back?” is a simple question with a somewhat complex answer. A diamond’s cost depends on a variety of interplaying factors and that cost is only compounded when you view the entire picture, especially when purchasing a diamond ring.
We’ve gone ahead and broken down how much you can expect to pay for a 3 carat diamond. We also look at what determines the cost of diamonds, and how you can save money and still buy a premium diamond. But before we dive in, let’s review what exactly the carat weight of a diamond is and its place in determining cost.
Understanding Carat Weight
A carat is a unit of weight used to measure the mass of diamonds and other gemstones. The carat gets its name from the seed of the carob tree, which was used as a basis for measuring gemstones in ancient times.
A carat is a form of diamond weight measurement adopted by the United States in 1914. It was then adopted by countries worldwide. As a result, diamond traders and sellers were able to equitably and fairly price loose diamonds according to their standardized weight.
How Is a Diamond’s Carat Weight Measured?
Carat weight is measured in points, 1/100th of a gram, so the higher the carat weight, the heavier your diamond is. One carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram, or 200 mg. This is roughly the size of a paperclip. So if you’re looking at a diamond that weighs 0.50 ct., it means that it weighs 50/200 = 25% more than half a gram.
A diamond’s carat can greatly affect the cost of the diamond. Therefore, diamonds are measured with precise machines. These machines often measure to the hundred-thousandth of a carat and then round to the hundredth.
As Carat Weight Increases So Does the Cost
Diamond prices are surprisingly straightforward when it comes to diamond weight. In general, the larger the carat weight the larger the price. This is because finding or creating a large gem-quality diamond is exceedingly rare. Because of this, the larger the carat weight the larger the cost. Generally, you can expect to pay 3-4x more per carat weight with similarly graded diamonds.
Will a Diamond Ring Appear True to Carat Weight?
Surprisingly, diamond size does not always correlate to its actual carat weight.
In fact, it’s not even close to being a reliable indicator. That’s because there are many factors that impact how large a diamond seems to be. This is due to the diamond shape and cut.
Elongated shapes (like an oval or marquise cut) will make a diamond seem larger. This is because the table of the diamond has a more visible surface area when viewed from above.
Remember, carat weight is the measurement of the weight of the diamond, not the size. For example, a poorly cut diamond may carry weight beneath its girdle away from the surface view of the diamond ring. So although the diamond may have a larger carat weight than other properly cut diamonds, it appears smaller.
What Other Factors Affect 3 Carat Diamond Prices?
In addition to the carat weight, a diamond’s price depends on the overall quality of the diamond. It also depends on how the diamond was made, and its shape. We’ve gone ahead and broken down these concepts below.
The Four C’s
The 4C’s of a diamond is a way to evaluate the quality of a diamond by assessing its four major categories: cut, color, clarity, and carat. The founder of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Robert M. Shipley, introduced the concept of the 4C’s to America in 1940
Each component of the 4C’s is an important factor that determines the price of the diamond. High-quality diamonds that excel in every category can go for thousands more than poor-quality diamonds. We’ve already discussed the importance of carat weight but what about the other three C’s?
The cut quality of a diamond refers to the fire, scintillation, and brightness that the diamond is able to produce. Expert diamond cutters create steps or facets within a diamond to manipulate the amount of light that the stone can reflect back. A highly-graded diamond cut appears true to size, symmetrical, and has an unmistakable sparkle.
The diamond cut grading scale ranges from Excellent to Poor, and a well-cut diamond can land anywhere from Good, up.
Diamond color is important to consider when shopping for engagement rings. The less color a diamond has, the better. The term “colorless” means the diamond reflects white light; it has no hue or tint of any other color. Diamonds with higher color grades are less expensive than those with lower grades because they are less desirable.
While a colorless diamond is ideal, there are exceptions–especially when it comes to a fancy colored diamond. This is especially true if they have a high grade of color or if they’re a special type of fancy color diamond like blue, pink, or yellow. As such, a vibrant 2 carat diamond may be more expensive than a colorless 3 carat diamond.
The clarity grade is an indication of how many internal or external imperfections there are in a diamond. The higher the clarity grade, the fewer imperfections there are and the more expensive it will be.
For example, if you have a diamond clarity of SI1, it means that there are small surface blemishes on your diamond that are only visible under 10x magnification. However, if you have a diamond with a VS2 clarity grade, that means its blemishes are only visible under 20x magnification. This means your diamond will cost more because its flaws aren’t visible to the naked eye and therefore don’t affect its beauty or value.
If you’re shopping for diamonds, you’ll likely come across two terms that seem to mean the same thing: “shape” and “fancy shape.” But don’t be fooled, there are clear differences between them.
Shape refers to how a diamond is cut—that is, its proportions and symmetry. A round diamond has the most symmetrical shape of all. It also has the highest proportion of light reflected back to the viewer. A round diamond is the industry standard in diamond outlines. In fact, GIA bases its gradings on round brilliant diamonds. In addition to the round brilliant, other classic diamond shapes include the princess cut, the marquise, the pear shape, the cushion cut, the oval cut, and the emerald cut.
Fancy shapes are just as beautiful as regular shapes, but they can have more unique features that make them stand out from their counterparts. They can also be harder or softer than regular shapes, depending on how they’re cut and whether their facets are polished. Fancy shapes can be pricier than regular cuts because they require more labor and attention to detail during production.
Lab Created Diamonds vs. Mined Diamonds
Although lab created diamonds are identical in both chemical and physical properties to mined diamonds, their price point is drastically different.
Why? One reason is that people consider mined diamonds to be rare; therefore, scarcity drives up their price over time. The same cannot be said for lab grown diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are produced with sophisticated technology that creates them atom by atom. As a result, lab created diamonds don’t have the same perceived level of value as mined diamonds.
In general, you can expect to pay up to 50% more for a natural three carat diamond as opposed to a three carat premium lab grown diamond from Clean Origin.
What Factors Determine How Much You Will Pay For 3 Carat Diamond Jewelry
There are other considerations when you’re looking to purchase a 3 carat diamond. This is especially true when you’re looking for 3 carat diamonds already set in fine jewelry as opposed to a loose diamond by itself. You should always consider the following when you purchase three carat diamond jewelry:
The Type of Jewelry
The price of a 3 carat diamond is determined by the type of jewelry in which it is used. Some types of jewelry will naturally be more expensive than others thanks to the amount of material, time, and effort it takes to produce them.
The Type of Metal
Not all metals carry the same value and some are more expensive than others. For example, you can expect to pay less for a 3 carat diamond ring with a yellow gold setting than the same ring with a platinum setting. This is because platinum is both harder to mine and rarer in quantity than yellow gold.
Alternatively, rose gold and white gold are similar in price to yellow gold.
The Ring Setting
Another factor that will drive up the cost of your 3 carat diamond ring is the ring setting. Some settings are naturally more intricate than others or contain extra diamonds. In both of these cases, you would end up spending more for your diamond ring than if you were to choose a simple setting with no extra diamonds. We’ve highlighted the top three settings for 3 carat diamonds below.
The solitaire is the most affordable setting for a 3 carat diamond. Both timeless and classic, a solitaire allows you to show off your show-stopping 3 carat diamond from all angles.
Plus, because there are no extras, your diamond engagement ring will be the center of attention with no added costs.
Three Stone Setting
A three stone setting consists of one large center stone flanked by two smaller diamonds. This design shows off a diamond ring’s symmetry and sparkle.
Often, a three stone engagement ring symbolizes the couple’s past, present, and future. Talk about a sentimental touch!
Three stone settings are more expensive when paired with a three carat diamond as you’re getting three total diamonds. You will also want to size the accent diamonds appropriately so they complement the big diamond instead of seeming dwarfed by it.
Halo engagement rings are a type of diamond ring setting with a halo of diamonds that surround the center stone. The halo draws the eye to the center diamond to create the illusion of a larger diamond.
Much like the three stone, the halo engagement ring is more expensive than a solitaire ring. The larger the center diamond, the higher quantity of smaller diamonds you will need to surround it. Thus, the price will rise as your center diamond sizes half a carat up and more.
How Much Is a 3 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?
Now that we’ve gone over all of the different factors that go into pricing your 3 diamond, let’s talk numbers.
At Clean Origin, you can expect to pay between $2,252 and $16,000 dollars for your 3 carat diamond. The price rises when you add specific precious metals or engagement ring settings.
A $15,680 3 carat diamond set within our Irene Ring in Platinum can easily set you back over $20,000. But more affordable options with three carat diamonds also exist.
We have had stunning oval-shaped 3 carat diamonds available for about $3,355. Paired with the Anna Solitaire Ring Setting in yellow gold the total cost is just under $5K. We love the brilliant fire and sparkle of our masterfully cut lab diamond set against a sleek yellow gold band.
When Shopping for a 3 Carat Diamond Ring, Consider Clean Origin
We know you want the best price for an engagement ring. And when you’re shopping for a 3 carat diamond, it’s important that your ring is as ethical as it is beautiful.
Clean Origin has the best of both worlds: stunning and ethical 3 carat diamonds that won’t break the bank. All of our brilliant diamonds are lab created, so you can rest easy knowing that every stone we sell is a premium quality diamond with no added harm to communities or the environment.
Plus, we have an incredible selection of styles, cuts, colors—and yes—even sizes. From classic solitaires to stunning halo studs, we’ve got something for everyone at Clean Origin.