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Many people, when looking for a diamond to go in an engagement ring, choose one that’s 1.00 carat in size. This is a standard size in the industry, and not only does it make a perfect fit for any engagement ring setting, it’s also an easy standard size through which you can compare multiple diamonds.
But what happens when you fancy a diamond that’s just a little bit bigger? Not huge or garish, but with an added size and weight that makes it really pop on your loved one's finger. I’d recommend choosing a 1.5 carat diamond. While they can vary in price, they’re generally more expensive than 1 carat diamonds, but when you find a fantastic example you’re in for a real treat.
Here’s everything you need to know about buying 1.5 Carat Diamonds
- The Cost of a 1.5 Carat Diamond
- 5 Carat Diamonds and Engagement Rings
- 5 Carat Diamonds Versus 1 Carat Diamonds
- What Color Grade and Clarity Should You Look For?
The size of a 1.5 carat diamond can be its main draw. It has a drama to it that's only matched by the elegance and brilliance—that is, if you find a good example. As with any diamond, a 1.5 carat diamond can vary in appearance.
For example, look at these two 1.50 carat diamonds from Blue Nile. The diamond on the left is D color, IF clarity and has an Ideal cut. The diamond on the right is K color, SI2 clarity, and has a Good cut. It’s fairly simple to see which one is the better example of a 1.5 carat diamond. Obviously there’s a pretty significant price difference between these two diamonds, so we’re here to help you find a diamond that looks like the one on the left, with a price tag similar to the one on the right.
The Cost of a 1.5 Carat Diamond
1.5 carat diamonds can range from anywhere around $5,000 to over $30,000, and the price will be based on the careful consideration of several factors:
- Clarity grading
- Color grading
- Cut quality
- Diamond shape
- Market influences
- Jeweler pricings
1.5 carat diamonds that sit around the $9,000 to $12,000 range will provide you with the best value for money, as they’re more affordable and yet still good quality. 1.5 carat diamonds under $9,000 can still be impressive, but are usually lacking within one specific characteristic.
This 1.50-Carat Round Cut Diamond from James Allen is available for $7,909, and while it has a VVS2 clarity grading, it’s color grade is K, which denotes that the diamond has a faint yellow hue to its color, a hue which can be seen by the naked eye.
In my opinion, it’s not worth spending more than $12,000-$15,000 on a 1.5 carat diamonds as any increase in quality you get will only be able to be seen through magnification, HD imaging, and laboratory conditions.
Here are two incredible examples of affordable 1.5 carat diamonds.
Super Ideal Cut 1.50 Carat Round Diamond From Brilliant Earth
Certified by the GIA, this diamond from Brilliant Earth is a brilliant example of a 1.5 carat diamond on the more affordable side of the price range. It’s not quite colorless, but that H color won’t be noticeable to the naked eye
Ideal Cut 1.542 ctw A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond From Whiteflash
Certified by the AGS, this diamond from Whiteflash is part of their A CUT ABOVE® diamonds, which is world renowned for its quality and craftsmanship. As it has an SI1 clarity grading, it’s not flawless, but it is eye-clean, which is a quality you should always look for in any diamond.
Now, let’s look at a bad example of a 1.5 carat diamond.
1.50 Carat Round Diamond From James Allen
As you can see, this diamond isn’t the prettiest example by far. It’s problems include its poor color (a very obvious yellow/brown hue), and its low clarity. It’s definitely not an eye-clean diamond. A larger diamond such as a 1.5 carat will draw more attention to these imperfections, which is an important consideration for any potential buyer.
Already interested in 1.5 carat diamonds but are unsure where to begin your search? I will always recommend four organizations for their quality, designs, customer service, and guarantees.
1.5 Carat Diamonds and Engagement Rings
A solitaire engagement ring is the most popular style of engagement ring and has been for decades. It’s main feature is the use of one diamond as the central stone, and can include halo or pave settings (smaller diamond designs that flank the central stone). It’s a classic and timeless design, and when paired with a 1.5 carat diamond can look truly impressive.
Because the solitaire has the focus on the central diamond, a 1.5 carat is the perfect choice, as the eye of the viewer will be easily drawn towards it and will marvel at its beauty. The key thing to remember here though is that the diamond you choose must be perfect in order to have that much attention drawn to it.
This 18k White Gold Tacori Dantela Crescent Motif Solitaire Engagement Ring available at Whiteflash would frame a 1.5 carat diamond with undeniable class. Image credit: Whiteflash
Halo settings are also a good choice, and provide a little more drama to the austere elegance of solitaire rings. Halos feature the central stone with smaller stones placed around the diamond, like a halo. The addition of more diamonds will evidently lead to a higher cost, but also a dramatic increase in fire and brilliance, creating a stunning sparkle whenever the ring is moved in light.
Halos are a great choice for making a smaller diamond look bigger, so will work to make a 1.5 carat diamond look impressively large.
1.5 Carat Diamonds Versus 1 Carat Diamonds
In the past I’ve had to weigh up the relative differences between 1 and 1.5 carat diamonds. You might assume that the only real difference is the size, and in many cases you would be correct, but it can be more complex than that.
The price of a diamond in general corresponds exponentially to carat weight, meaning that a 1.5 carat diamond will be 1.5 times the price of a 1 carat diamond.
A 1.5 carat diamond will usually measure around 7.3mm in diameter, depending on the cut. A 1 carat diamond is usually around 6.4mm in diameter. While this doesn’t seem like a huge difference, it can actually be quite noticeable when worn on a ring finger. For those looking for more affordable diamonds, a 1 carat would probably be the best choice.
However, you will be able to get more in terms of resale value if you opt for a 1.5 carat diamond, which are rarer than their smaller counterparts.
Diamond quality is inherently dependent on the qualities exhibited in the diamond itself. You could find an amazing 1 carat diamond and a terrible 1.5, or vice versa.
What Color Grade and Clarity Should You Look For?
Color and clarity are two of the most important characteristics you have to look for in a diamond. Color grading ranges from colorless (that beautiful, crisp whiteness associated with the best diamonds) to lightly colored (which encompasses various shades of yellow hue). Clarity refers to the purity of a diamond and whether it has any internal or external blemishes or ‘inclusions’.
The more colorless a diamond, the higher the grade and the higher the price. For example, this 1.5 carat diamond with a J color grade is around $5,000 less expensive than this similar diamond, a 1.5 carat diamond with D color grade (the highest color grade there is).
For the best value for money in 1.5 carat diamonds, I would recommend opting for a diamond that falls in the G, H, or I categories. These are the ‘near-colorless’ grades, but you won’t be able to see any yellow hues as these are invisible to the naked eye.
Clarity is all about internal and external purity, or, more plainly, its visual appearance. The better a clarity grading, the purer a diamond is and the less chance you’ll be able to see any imperfections.
Flawless diamonds, the highest graded examples, are the most expensive due to their rarity. If you’re looking for value for money, these are usually worth avoiding as you can find virtually identical diamonds for much, much less. Diamonds such as VS1 and VS2 grade are eye-clean, just as impressive as their Flawless counterparts, and will be much more affordable, often costing thousands of dollars less.
This 1.50 Carat Round Diamond from James Allen is a great example of an eye-clean 1.5 carat diamond. With E color grading, VS2 clarity, and an Excellent cut, it’s the exact type of diamond that would look fantastic in a high-quality setting.
Image Credit: James Allen
My main piece of advice when regarding clarity is that a high grading isn’t the most important thing to look out for. Whether a diamond is eye-clean, that is the most important factor in any diamond consideration. This is especially important with a 1.5 carat diamond, as the larger the diamond, the more likely you are to see any imperfections.
In order to get the best value for money, I would recommend opting for a VS2. At this grading, the diamond will have inclusions, but it’s very very unlikely that they can be spotted by the naked eye. For those looking to save more money, an SI1 could also be considered, although finding eye-clean diamonds at this grade is difficult.
My Final Recommendations
Ultimately, I believe that you should choose a 1.5 carat diamond with an excellent cut grade, a color that ranges between G to I, and a clarity of either VS1 or VS2. This combination of qualities is, alongside working with a reputable seller, guaranteed to get you the best value for money.
Similarly, if you’re looking to save more money, opt to purchase your diamond (and even your setting), online. By doing this, you could save up to 30% in comparison to buying from a local jewelry story.
Follow these recommendations and you’ll be well on your way to purchasing the right 1.5 carat diamond for a reasonable price:
- Choose a diamond between G and I color grades: These are less expensive color grades but won’t have any noticeable yellow hue present in the diamonds.
- Opt for a VS2 diamond: Again, VS2 is the perfect balance between lower price point and higher quality.
- Choose an Ideal or Excellent cut: Cut is the thing that allows diamonds to refract light properly, and with a bad cut comes bad light performance. The better a cut, the more light it reflects and the brighter and sparklier the diamond.
- Consult different diamond shapes: There is no ‘right’ shape, but some shapes conceal inclusions better and reflect light better. The best shape for optimal light performance is the Round Cut.
Looking for an online vendor? In my years of work and research within the diamond market, I’ve come across a number that really stand out (you can see what I think in the Diamond Expert Diamond Reviews section).
The four diamond retailers where you can buy top-quality loose diamonds are Whiteflash (with their A CUT ABOVE® Super Ideal diamonds), James Allen, Brilliant Earth, who do a fantastic array of lab-grown diamonds, and Blue Nile .