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August 24, 2021

3-Carat Diamond Ring: Cost and Considerations

Similar to 1-Carat and 2-Carat diamond rings, the cost of a 3-carat diamond engagement ring depends on a lot of factors. The diamond’s quality – Color, Clarity, and Cut – affect the price of a diamond.

Read: Understanding Diamond Ratings: A Comprehensive Guide to the 4 C’s

Buying an engagement ring can be confusing. In addition to the cost of a loose diamond, the band also impacts the price of a diamond. This, too, will be discussed in this article.

3-carat diamond rings can cost anywhere between $13,000+ (H SI1 Labgrown diamond) to $85,000 (G SI1 Natural diamond) or even higher. The main driver of the price is the quality of the diamond.

3 carat diamond ring
3-Carat Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring

This 3-carat diamond ring costs $12,793.11 based on the following specifications :

CharacteristicsSpecification
Diamond TypeLab-Grown (LG)
CertificationWith Report
Diamond CutRound
Diamond Size9mm x 9mm (Approx 3 Carat)
ClarityS12 (Slightly Included – carbon deposits and inclusions are visible with the naked eye
ColorH
Metal14K White Gold
Setting6-Prong

How Diamond Type Affects Price

The general rule for gemstones is that natural gems are more expensive than lab-created or synthetic ones.

Read also: Diamond Simulants: Diamonds vs. Moissanite and other Simulated Diamonds

While having the same properties and being graded the same way, mined or natural diamonds are more expensive than Lab-Grown (LG) diamonds. Some jewelers think of lab-grown as inferiors, but in reality, it gives diamond jewelry a wider reach and customer base.

The price difference between a mined diamond vs. a lab-grown ranges from 50%-80%. 

A Lab-Grown H-Color, with SI1 Clarity will cost around $4,070 per carat weight. A natural diamond, with the same color, but is an SI2 (lower) in clarity will cost $13,000 per carat weight.

For the same carat weight, a round diamond engagement ring,

  • 3-Carat / 9mm round cut H SI2 Natural diamond ring with EGL USA report $39,843.11
  • 3-Carat / 9mm round cut H SI1 Lab-grown diamond ring with GIA report $12,793.11

How Cut and Shape Affect Price

Specific cuts and shapes enhance or diminish characteristics, affecting the demand and the price of a diamond.

Before we proceed, let us distinguish first between cut and shape:

According to GIA, a diamond cut refers to a diamond’s “proportion, symmetry, and polish” and is usually assigned grades such as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. This grading is more common, with round brilliant cut diamonds being the most popular diamond cut in the market.

The diamond shape, on the other hand, is what most people commonly refer to as diamond cuts. We have round, princess, oval, marquis, cushion, among others.

The Round brilliant is the most popular and most common cut, which makes up 50% of the diamonds sold in the market. There are three main reasons why round cut diamonds are famous:

  1. Round cuts are versatile – they will look good in any ring, on any hand, and can be mounted as a solitaire or with other diamond cuts.
  2. It is brilliant – a brilliant round cut has 57-58 facets and is cut to ensure maximum brilliance and fire (or light reflection and refraction).
  3. Inclusions are harder to see – compared to step-cut diamonds (emerald and Asscher cuts), inclusions are harder to see in brilliant-cut / faceted diamonds such as cushion and radiant cut.

Because of these characteristics, the demand for round-cut diamonds is high, driving the prices up.

Other Diamond Shapes

Other diamond shapes are getting popular, not only because of the price difference but because of their uniqueness. An Asscher Cut, for example, accounts for only 5% of total diamonds in the market, making it unique.

Also, getting an excellent step-cut diamond, such as Asscher and Emerald, are hard. As previously mentioned, a step-cut diamond makes inclusions easier to see. Thus, a high-grade diamond is a must, and consequently, that will drive the price up.

Likewise, an Emerald cut diamond with lower clarity and color is priced lower than a round cut of equivalent grading.

Before Image After Image

Displayed here

Left: 3.01 Carat Round Solitaire Natural Diamond 14K White gold G S1 with GIA grading report $86,065.40.

Right: 3.07 Carat Emerald Solitaire Diamond 14K White gold, G SI1 with GIA grading report $71,193.80.

How Clarity Affects Price

Clarity refers to how “clean” and flawless a diamond is. The more flawless a diamond is, the better light is bounced and refracted, thus giving it more sparkle.

Diamond grading agencies describe diamond clarity using the following:

  • FL – Flawless (clear, no inclusions)
  • IF – Internally Flawless
  • VVS1/VVS2 – Very Very Slightly Included (with inclusions but still eye-clean)
  • VS1/VS2 – Very Slightly Included (with more crystal inclusions and visible under 10x magnification)
  • SI1/SI2 – Slightly included (carbon inclusions are visible with the naked eye)
  • I1/I2/I3 – Included (inclusions are visible and numerous)

Diamonds with FL and IF ratings are rare and expensive. On the other hand, diamonds with VVS and VS clarity are more common in the market and are usually used in engagement rings and other diamond jewelry.

Before Image After Image

Displayed here

Left: Color I VS1 Clarity Natural Diamond with GIA Report $18,400/carat weight

Right: Color I SI2 Clarity Natural Diamond with GIA Report $15,250/carat weight

How Color Affects Price

The color is one of the main criteria of diamond grading and dramatically affects the price of a diamond or an engagement ring.

Natural and lab-grown diamonds’ color range from colorless (D) to yellow tint (Z). Any color yellower than Z grade is considered Fancy Diamonds (with pinks and blues) and might be more expensive because of its rarity.

3 Carat Color 3 SI1
Color E SI1 Clarity Natural Diamond with GIA Report $14,560/carat

3 Carat Color I SI1
Color I SI1 Clarity Natural Diamond with GIA Report $9,210/carat

Quick Tip: Choosing a near-colorless diamond will appear yellowish if mounted in a yellow gold band. Therefore, if you want to save, you can choose a diamond with a lower color grade and opt for a yellow gold ring band

Before Image After Image

Left: Princess Cut – Near Colorless. Right: Princess Cut – Faint

Other Aspects to Consider

Diamond Certification

While diamond certification does not affect the look and feel of a diamond, it serves as excellent proof of the quality of your diamond. It gives you 1) the assurance that you are getting what you are paying for and 2) the leverage when you decide to sell your diamond jewelry.

Certified diamonds are more expensive than non-graded, especially for bigger carats. That is because certification is based on carat weight of a diamond.

Size

Diamond size is different from carat weight. Carat weight refers to how heavy a diamond is (1 carat = 200mg), while a diamond size refers to how big a diamond appears (measured in mm).

It is important to remember that while a diamond has the same carat weight, some cuts appear larger than others. A perfect example is a Marquis. Because of its elongated shape, a 3-carat diamond ring seems longer than a round cut.

Quick tip: If you want a diamond that appears larger, you can opt for elongated cuts (a marquis, emerald, or oval diamond), and add two smaller diamonds. You can also opt for a smaller center-stone (a 1-carat diamond perhaps) and add smaller stones as a halo to make it appear larger. 

Band Setting

Band setting refers to how the diamond is mounted or is held in place.

Solitaires (as with the images above) and Tiffanies are the most common type of diamond settings. It allows maximum light exposure while holding the diamond securely in place.

There are other diamond settings to choose from. Depending on the design, it may increase or decrease the value of your diamond.

read more: Engagement Ring Settings: Choosing the Best Engagement and Wedding Ring Designs

The good thing about this size is that the stone is the highlight, so even a simple solitaire ring will be enough. However, should you want to dazzle-up your 3-carat diamond engagement ring, here are some ideas.

Cathedral

Previously associated with vintage rings, cathedral-style engagement rings are gaining popularity once again.

3 Carat Cathedral Diamond Engagement Ring
3 Carat Diamond Ring with Diamond Accent Stones
3 Carat Cathedral Diamond Engagement Ring
Side View – 3 Carat Diamond Ring with Diamond Accent Stones

Cathedral style is a setting where the diamond is placed on top of the ring’s shank (similar to prong style mounting) and is supported with a bearing underneath, and metals arch the side, similar to the metal columns found in cathedrals.

This style makes the ring more pronounced, especially when viewed from the side.

Jewelers and buyers alike customize the design of the cathedral, making it unique to the buyer. Depending on the intricacy of the design, it will increase the cost of your 3-carat diamond engagement ring.

Note however, that not all metal can be intricately designed or customized. Read Choosing the Best Metal for your Wedding Bands or Engagement Ring (Part 2) to know more.

Halo

Halo is another popular style for 3-carat diamond rings. Adding smaller diamonds around the center stone will create an illusion of a bigger diamond. The added diamonds also give additional sparkle to an already brilliant diamond.

You also have the option to try different gemstones to make your engagement truly unique.

3 Carat Diamond Ring with Ruby Accents
3 Carat Diamond Ring with Ruby Accents set in 14k White Gold
3 Carat Diamond Ring with Ruby Accents
Side View – 3 Carat Diamond Ring with Ruby Accentsset in 14k White Gold

Three-Stone/Cluster

The three-stone engagement ring is where you add two additional stones on each side of your center stone. It is gaining popularity since you can opt for other more affordable precious and semi-precious stones to make it more appealing.

The three-stone engagement ring is said to symbolize past, present, and future.

Another variant of the multi-stone ring is the cluster setting. Instead of just putting two side stones, multiple smaller stones are added around the diamond.

3 Carat Diamond Ring with sapphire
3 Carat Diamond Ring with Diamond Side Stones and Sapphire Accents in 14K Yellow Gold Setting
3 Carat Diamond Ring with sapphire
Side-View 3 Carat Diamond Ring with Diamond Side Stones and Sapphire Accents in 14K Yellow Gold Setting

Added stones around your center-stone will increase the value of your ring. However, it is a great trade-off rather than opting for a bigger diamond, especially if you are working on a tight budget.

Pavé

Pavé setting is another type where diamonds are “paved” and placed side-by-side in your metal band. Having a Pavé setting increases the cost of your diamond ring because of the additional stones embedded in your metal band.

Metal

The type of metal you use can affect the cost of your diamond rings.

The more popular metals used for wedding bands are Gold (yellow and white) and Platinum, and in some cases, Silver. Some jewelers also choose harder metals such as Titanium, Tungsten, or Cobalt, but these metals are more popular for men’s engagement rings or men’s wedding bands.

Read: Choosing the Best Metal for your Wedding Bands or Engagement Ring, Choosing the Best Metal for your Wedding Bands or Engagement Ring (Part 2)

Gold

The most popular of all is the 14K White Gold engagement ring. This meets the balance between affordability and durability. White gold is yellow gold but alloyed with white metals and is plated.

3 Carat diamond ring in 14k White Gold
14K White Gold
3 Carat Diamond ring in 14K yellow Gold
14K Yellow Gold

Other options available for gold are 10k, 18k, and 22k. Just note that the higher the karat, the softer and the more malleable the metal is.

On the flip side, the higher the karat, the more valuable it is, not to mention more hypoallergenic.

The key to the perfect karat is finding the balance between budget and lifestyle. While we all want to have the highest karat possible, it may not be ideal for persons with more active lifestyles or work requirements.

Another point to consider is getting a gold alloy that is hypoallergenic. While gold is regarded as a noble element and will not react to body chemicals, the alloys used to strengthen it might.

Just a reminder, when choosing white gold as your metal of choice, white gold will tarnish over time and appear slightly yellow. Thus, there is a need to re-plate it to get it back to its white glory.

Platinum

Unlike White gold, where there is a need to re-plate, Platinum will not tarnish. It is also more durable than silver or gold, perfect for those with active lifestyles, but is also malleable, which allows being resized if needed.

Platinum, just like gold, is hypoallergenic but is also alloyed with other chemicals. Thus, check with your jeweler the alloy used with Platinum if you are opting for this metal.

Other metals

Of course, you can choose any other metal you prefer. Silver is one of the metals that is also used, but because of oxidation, it’s less popular than Gold and Platinum. Silver is also soft and malleable and will easily dent and scratch.

Titanium rings are highly durable than other metals. However, because of its hardness, it is hard to do intricate designs. Resizing is also not an option for titanium rings.

Get the best 3-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring you can buy!

Getting the best ring takes a lot of research and consideration. The goal is to get the right factors that maximize and balance beauty and affordability.

Options give more room for customization but also lead to confusion. That is why we are here. AaLAND only employs professional jewelers with extensive experience in jewelry design and making. We will help you get the best diamond ring that will surely make your partner’s eyes sparkle like diamonds.

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