Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

General Guide To Diamond Ring Prices

If you haven't done much diamond ring research, you may have no real idea of how much different types of diamond rings and diamonds cost. On this page, I try to give you a rough idea of what type of ring and type of diamond you can get for various amounts of money.

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Starting at the top end, it is possible to get a two carat decent quality diamond set in a beautiful ring setting for under $20,000, especially if you buy it online or through a broker.

There's a big price drop down to around the $5000 range when the diamond size drops to about one carat. At this price, once again especially if you're buying online, you can still get quite a nice ring setting, possibly with some small side stones, or some channels stones.

Down at the $3000-$4000 range, you're really struggling to get a quality one carat diamond. Inevitably, unless you get a fantastic deal, there will be a compromise on one or more characteristics of the ring and diamond. For example, I saw a $3500 ring in a store the other day with a very dull diamond, one carat, but with a colour rating of M. The ring and diamond really looked lacklustre.

From $2000-$3000, you're looking at high-quality rings with about a half carat diamond. It is possible to get a total diamond weight of one carat for this price on the ring, but you'd have to do it by buying several stones rather than just one big one. For example, you might buy a three stone ring where the centre diamond was .4 carats, and the two side diamonds were about .25 carats, for a total diamond weight of 0.9 carats.

In the $1000-$2000 range, the ring setting itself is starting to get cheaper. Some of the more expensive ring settings well over $1000 by themselves and that doesn't include the main centre diamond. There's no point getting a very nice setting and having a tiny diamond in it, unless you intend to upgrade in the future to a larger diamond.

To get a ring and diamond for under $1000, your ring setting may drop to a lower carat gold or even perhaps to silver. The diamonds are going to be well under 0.5 carats, unless they have very poor clarity or colour. One upside of going to a smaller diamond is that medium-size inclusions are not as easy to notice. This is just as well, as in this price range to get a decent sized diamond, you're going to have to compromise on the cut, colour and clarity of the diamond.

In the under $1000 price range, your other option is to not go through diamond but to go for an artificial or synthetic diamond such as a cubic zirconia, or to get a semiprecious gemstone instead.

In the hundreds of dollars range, you will be able to find budget engagement rings at your local store which have a very small diamond – perhaps 0.2 carats – if you are really set on getting a diamond but are on a limited budget.

Interestingly, most of the large online diamond companies don't sell these ultra cheap engagement rings. For example, several of the large online companies don't offer loose diamonds for setting in a ring any smaller than 0.3 carats, and also don't offer the cheaper diamonds with poorer clarity or colour ratings.