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It is impossible to ignore the unmistakable magic associated with a 1 carat diamond ring. Throughout my decades of helping buyers find the engagement ring of their dreams, a one carat diamond continues to be the most requested carat weight.

A common mistake for first time buyers is resting on the assumption that the more expensive the diamond is, the better it will be. This often results in customers spending well over their intended budget, with very little to show for the extra costs.

Using my years of first-hand experience, I have completed this simple guide to help you maximize your budget and find a stunning 1 carat diamond.

How Big is a 1 Carat Diamond Ring?

Carat refers to the weight of the diamond, not the size. One carat is equal to 200mg. There are a multitude of other factors that will affect how ‘big’ a one carat diamond ring appears. Most notably, the cut quality, diamond shape and setting will determine the size and impact of a one carat diamond ring.

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A high-quality, one carat diamond is popular because it beautifully displays the fire, scintillation and brilliance that we seek in diamonds, whilst still being suitable for every day wear. During my time in the diamond quarter, I was often approached by buyers looking for a ‘big’ diamond and so often they would walk away with a stunning, 1.00ct diamond. Understanding the impact that color, clarity and cut quality has on the appearance of a diamond, combined with the comfort of everyday wear makes a one carat diamond a top choice for engagement rings.

Carat weight and diamond size is personal. Whilst some people will comfortably wear a 4.00ct diamond every day, others will find a lower carat weight more suited to their lifestyle.

Using the 4C’s to Buy a 1 Carat Diamond

A traditional bricks and mortar shopping experience is likely to lead you one of two ways; the first is a salesperson eager to push you into the upper echelons of diamond quality, a D in color or an FL clarity. The second approach are those who will assure you that a diamond with much lower grades is a ‘great deal’; beneath the bright lights of a jewelers, it may seem that way at first.

The most switched-on shoppers will find a middle ground. Shopping online and using the guidance of unbiased experts such as myself, will allow you to find the sweet spot between beauty and budget.


Diamond color is subjective. Some may find themselves particularly sensitive to color, while others will hardly notice it. For a 1.00ct diamond, I recommend an H in color for white metal setting and an I-J in color for yellow and rose gold settings. In both cases, the diamond will give an icy white sparkle, without costing the thousands of dollars that the top color grades demand. If you are less color sensitive a K color diamond can provide great value, however make sure that you get a high quality cut and a yellow gold setting.


The best online vendors, provide super high-res images and video of their diamonds. Easier to use and clearer than a jewelers loupe, customers can now make accurate judgements about the clarity of a diamond. 

The goal is always to opt for an eye-clean diamond. This can be found in diamonds from SI2 grade and above, but should be judged on a stone to stone basis. Clarity is an area where thorough research and patience, you can really pull back some of your budget. The table below shows what diamond images/video the top online jewelers provide:

 WhiteflashBlue NileJames AllenHearts on FireTiffany & Co.
360 HD Video Imaging

Diamond Image

Ideal Scope

Hearts & Arrows

(only on select diamonds)




Shopping smart for color and clarity will allow you to place your money where it will have the biggest impact; the cut quality.

A poor cut will result in a dull, lifeless 1 carat diamond that will look small and lack sparkle. Go for the best cut quality possible. I recommend Whiteflash and their A CUT ABOVE® super-ideal cut diamonds. These round and princess cut diamonds are precision cut for optimum light performance and a sparkle like no other. If you're looking for fancy shapes, then visit either Blue Nile or James Allen


Whether you are buying a 1 carat diamond or a 10-carat diamond, only buy GIA and AGS certified diamonds. These labs give consistent, unbiased reports and are internationally recognised as the best in the world. Learn more about diamond certification here

How much is a 1 Carat Diamond?

The price of a diamond is entirely influenced by the quality. A 1 carat diamond could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 – it all depends on the grades.

For a reasonable spend and a beautiful diamond, I would suggest a budget of $6,000. This can get you a beautifully cut, eye-clean, round brilliant diamond. Please get in touch with directly for free independent advice on purchasing a diamond online. 

Where Can I Buy a 1 Carat Diamond Ring?

Buying online will guarantee you the best prices for a 1 carat diamond. Ensure that the vendor provides the following:

  • GIA and AGS certified diamonds
  • High-res diamond imaging and HD videos
  • Performance reports (ASET, Hearts & Arrows etc)
  • Quality settings to partner with your diamond

Blue Nile and James Allen provide a good selection of diamonds and settings if you are looking for fancy shaped diamonds. You may have to work a little harder to sift through unsuitable diamonds however. My top recommendation is Whiteflash. The quality of their in-house A CUT ABOVE® diamonds and the standard of their service is unrivalled. They also have an enchanting portfolio of designer engagement ring settings to complete the ring of your dreams.