Carats can be confusing. They often don’t come in whole numbers and many people end up with less than a carat, which seems to defeat the purpose of the measurement. Additionally, when we talk about gold, the spelling changes to karat.
In some cultures, capitalization of the C can even change the meaning. To make matters even more confusing, many rings have multiple gemstones which means that the Diamond could be 1 carat, but the ring could be 1.5 carats in total diamond weight.
To get rid of the confusion, we’re going to break it down in simple terms so that you know how many carats you should be looking for when you start the buying process.
Many engagement rings have one Diamond, which makes things much more straightforward. The most popular carat size is around 0.75 carats. There are many reasons for this, but a big one is price spikes. At 1 carat, the price spikes somewhat hard. At 2 carats, it spikes exponentially harder. By the time you get to 10 carats, you might be getting a call from the Smithsonian.
There’s a common misbelief that the most popular carat size is just over a carat, but that’s actually the average size. That average includes the Queen’s jewels, the real-life version of the jewellery in Ocean’s Eleven and that ring that your friend sold his car to buy. Since people don’t typically go on the small end, then the average is skewed upwards, so make sure not to confuse the average size with the most popular size.
10 Tips to Help You Find the Perfect Engagement Ring
But are you ready to part with three months’ salary as the diamond industry has traditionally suggested? If not, what’s your magic number?
Figuring that out can be a stressful, high-stakes undertaking. Engagement rings come with unique financial and emotional expectations. And in a relationship intended to last a lifetime, it’s the first big test.
Even so, how much to spend rests in striking a balance between dazzling your beloved without tarnishing your future financial goals together.
Here are five tips to help you size up how much to spend on an engagement ring.
Narrow Down What Shape You Want
If you know what your significant other wants in terms of diamond shape, that helps focus the engagement ring hunt immensely. Every Shape (also known as a cut) is priced differently—and each has a different price per carat. Round cuts are the most expensive whereas pear and marquise are less so. If the size is important to you, you can get more carats at a better price when you choose an alternative shape to the classic round cut. Before heading out to shop for an engagement ring, study up on ring cuts and have one (or two) favourites in mind.
Choose a Metal for the Band
Traditionally, engagement rings (and wedding bands, too) are made from yellow gold, white gold, silver, or platinum—although in recent years rose gold has emerged as a fresh, modern alternative. While platinum may look quite similar to silver, platinum is significantly more expensive as it has a greater density (and is also rarer). Some metals scratch easier than others, so be sure to consider lifestyle—as well as budget, of course—before deciding how important of a factor metals are the final decision.
You’ll also want to think about if you want stones set in the band(s), as well!
Have a Carat Size in Mind
The age-old question of quality versus quantity also applies to engagement rings; some people prefer a larger stone to a whiter stone, while others want the absolute clearest possible Diamond, despite the carat count. “The spouse-to-be should definitely have an idea of her (or his) stone size,” . “As much as people say size isn’t important, it’s always the kicking off point, because colour and clarity can always be tweaked to find something within your budget.”
If size matters, keep an ideal carat size in mind when shopping together, and be flexible on the other elements to suit your budget.
But also, keep an open mind. Your significant other might think they know what they want when it comes to size or Shape, but trying on rings, they might find out they want something else entirely—it’s always different once you start seeing things on your finger in real life. You can save some significant cash if you choose a less common carat size. Diamond prices increase significantly when they weigh the most desired weights: think half and whole carat weights (.50, 1, 1.5, etc.). “Buy a diamond that is just shy of these common weights, and you’ll save money, and no one will be able to tell it’s a .92 carat instead of a 1 carat,”
Get Measured Correctly
This may seem obvious, but make sure you both get your ring fingers properly measured. You don’t want a ring that’s cutting off your circulation or, even worse, so loose it’s at risk of falling off. It should feel snug but comfortable. If you’re not shopping for engagement rings together, you can go get sized at a jewellery store on your own and then casually mention your size the next time the topic comes up (or tell your BFF, so they’ll know the answer when your partner asks them).
Consider How Your Engagement Ring Will Look with Your Wedding Band
While it is easy to get caught up shopping for the perfect Diamond, the engagement ring is only one half (or less than half, if you’re going the rink stack route) of the equation. Your wedding band—you know, the actual symbol of your marriage—is the oft-overlooked another half. Definitely think about what style of wedding band would go with your ring. Some engagement rings don’t allow a band to fit flush against them, so it’s important to consider the full package of prong versus pavé and channel-set stones before committing to an engagement ring style.
Always Buy Certified
Buying an engagement ring is one of life’s most expensive purchases, so take your time to shop smartly. When you finally find the dream ring, make sure you are buying a certified stone from an accredited laboratory such as the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds certified by the other labs can have inflated grades, giving the customer the illusion of a great deal when in reality they’ve gotten a lower quality diamond, warns expert Ira Weissman, creator of The Diamond Pro. In fact, according to Weissman, this is the biggest trick many jewellery stores play.
Make Sure the Certificate Matches the Diamond
Most diamonds are laser inscribed on the girdle, and this can be checked with a jeweler’s loupe, says Duke. “Many have inclusions so you can look at the diamond and see if you can match the imperfections to the map on the certificate, too.”
Be Smart About the Quality of the Cut and Clarity
Save big by purchasing the lowest colour diamond that will still look colourless to the naked eye, suggests Weissman. “For round diamonds in white gold, this is typically an I or J colour. In yellow gold, you could even go down to a K colour,” he says. “The difference in price between a J colour and a D colour is enormous.” As for clarity, the same concept goes. Opt for the lowest clarity diamond that is still clean to the naked eye, as it’ll look identical to a flawless diamond assuming all else is equal, he notes. “The difference in price between an SI1 or SI2 clarity diamond and a flawless diamond is huge.”
On the other hand, the quality of the cut of the Diamond is one thing private jeweller Dan Moran, founder of Concierge Diamonds, advises clients to never sacrifice on. Why? It’s the cut of the Diamond that gives it that gorgeous sparkle we love. “If you take a so-so rough diamond and cut it perfectly, it’ll look absolutely stunning. On the contrary, take a top-of-the-line rough diamond and cut it poorly, and it’ll look like absolute garbage.”
Negotiate Like a Boss
Engagement rings can be marked up well beyond the necessary margins, explains Rosey West creative director and founder Michael Dobkin. In fact, some rings are marked up as much as 500 per cent. “Really do your research before pulling the trigger and don’t be afraid to negotiate,” Dobkin suggests. “A good jeweller will be willing to work within your budget and get you the best quality that works for your needs.”
Head to the Wholesale District
Another option is to work with nontraditional diamond retailers or wholesalers to avoid unnecessary markups, says Monil Kothari, founder of NYC fine jewellery start-up Andre. “A wholesaler or a private retailer like myself is able to work with customers on a one-on-one basis to create a ring specifically for them,” says Kothari. “Moreover, because we don’t have the traditional overhead retailers do, we can save them more than 30 per cent, giving them the best bang for their buck.”
How To Get The Best Value For A 1 Carat Diamond Ring
Our main goal is to help people find radiant, high-quality diamonds at an exceptional value. We want you to find a stunning diamond engagement ring without paying more than you should.
To ensure your Diamond is exactly what the diamond dealer is stating, ensure the Diamond comes with either a GIA or AGS certificate. The GIA and AGS are the two renowned and well-respected diamond grading entities that issue accurate and consistent reports for diamonds.
If a diamond seller is trying to convince you to purchase a diamond with a different lab grading entity, politely decline their invitation. The actual quality of those diamonds is much less than what they’re portraying to be “true.”
To select an exquisite 1 Carat engagement ring at the best value, follow our expert recommendations:
Cut: Maximize the fire and brilliance of your Diamond by choosing only an Excellent cut diamond. The cut is the number one factor of a diamond’s beauty and value.
Colour: Choose a diamond in the nearly colourless G-I range, as to the naked eye, it will appear just as colourless as diamonds in the D-F range (and cost far less).
Clarity: Diamonds with a VS1 and VS2 Clarity grade offer the best value for what can be seen with the naked eye. Most inclusions and blemishes will be unnoticeable at these grades.
Shape: Select a Diamond Shape that is personally and aesthetically appealing. Ensure the type of setting you to want is complementary and physically secure for the Shape.
Online Diamond Dealer: Choose a well-respected diamond seller with years of experience
How Does The Carat Of A Diamond Affect The Price?
Simply put, if you are looking for a larger carat diamond but do not want to sacrifice the quality of Diamond, it will set you back. Finding the right Diamond is a compromise of budget and want. As soon as you let the size of the diamond influence the budget, you’ll either find yourself in a lot of debt, or you may be sacrificing the clarity of the Diamond. If you’ve got a budget of $2,200 and you want to reach the average of 0.6 carats, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough for the setting as well. The chances are the quality of the Diamond you get will be quite poor. We always recommend buying a smaller diamond with a much better cut – this will always determine how brilliant the diamond will be. A sparkly diamond can hide inclusions, mask colour and even look larger.
How To Get The Best Carat Weight For Your Money
Wanting to buy the largest Diamond you can afford is understandable, but it is crucial that you don’t sacrifice the quality of your engagement ring for an extra 0.2 of a carat. Here are a few tips to help you get the best diamond engagement ring for your money:
Get the best cut possible – as we said earlier, the cut will determine how brilliant a diamond will be. Remember- the highest quality diamond will not shine to its potential and be very dull if the cut is poor. The best cut means you can save money on colour and clarity.
Look for a diamond slightly under the magic numbers. What are these magic numbers? Every 0.5 carats. At these weights, diamond sellers will demand significantly more. If you go just below a magic number, you might be able to buy a diamond for as much as 25% less than the asking price.
Choose a diamond lower in clarity. Clarity is one of the best ways to save money. Most flaws in a diamond are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. VS2 diamonds. And SI1, SI2, or even I1 diamonds could literally save you thousands.
Think about the metal you want. Yellow gold or Rose gold will be so much cheaper than white gold or platinum. This is because you can choose a diamond lower in colour, allowing for huge savings.