An engagement ring price guide and tips for getting the best value for money.
1 Carat G Colour SI1 Clarity Solitaire Diamond Ring $13900
Everyone comes in wanting to buy a one carat diamond. Just last night a guy asked me ‘How much does a one carat diamond cost?’ I let him know that a good quality one carat diamond is roughly $13,000 to $15,000 at current prices, in a ‘Tiffany-style’ platinum solitaire setting.
But – fortunately – a similar quality diamond of 0.90 carat weight is around the $9,000 to $10,000 mark, set in a platinum solitaire style. The price is so much lower just going a little under that one carat mark. So if budget is an issue, I’d be shopping around the 0.90 carat mark. Read on for more prices and tips for finding a great diamond within your budget.
Quality over quantity – my ‘top tips’ for picking a diamond
You know the saying, Quality over Quantity. Personally, I’d choose a great quality diamond in a smaller size over a larger diamond that’s not as white, or poorly cut.
The standards I live by when it comes to selecting engagement ring diamonds are:
- Triple excellent – it must have excellent cut, polish and symmetry
- Flawless from the naked eye – 100% eye clean
- No fluorescence
- No BGM
You’re probably wondering what fluorescence and BGM mean? Check out my GIA guide to help you navigate the murky waters of diamond shopping – it’s best to be prepared before you hit the shops.
What’s the average cost of a 1 carat diamond?
There’s so many variables – so I’m going to tell you the price for a beautiful quality diamond with a platinum solitaire setting and 12 months insurance.
A 1 carat diamond costs AUD $13,900. The diamond would be GIA certified as GSI1 with excellent cut, polish and symmetry, near colourless, slight inclusions but not near the table, and flawless from the naked eye.
Disclaimer: This price is at 31st May 2017. Diamonds and platinum are sold in USD so the price on the day changes as the Australian dollar exchange rate fluctuates.
My budget is $10k. What will it buy me?
If you want to spend $10,000 on an engagement ring, I’d recommend a 0.90 carat diamond with an excellent cut, excellent polish and excellent symmetry.
A 0.90 carat GSI1 GIA certified that’s ‘triple excellent’ (excellent cut, polish, symmetry), flawless from the naked eye (it’s important to be eye clean), with no fluorescence and no BGM. Set in a platinum solitaire design will set you back AUD $9,900.
What can I buy for around $7,000?
$7,200 is the average spent on an engagement ring in Australia, and you can buy a lovely ring for this price. You can still achieve a brilliant stone and I would recommend a 0.80 carat GSI1 GIA certified that’s ‘triple excellent’ (excellent cut, polish, symmetry), flawless from the naked eye (it’s important to be eye clean), with no fluorescence and no BGM.
How do I get the best value for money in an engagement ring?
Psychologically a lot of people want to go for that 1 carat mark. Demand is high for diamonds around 1-1.1 carats, and again demand peaks at 1.5 carats, 2 carats and 3 carats. You can pay a premium simply because it’s a popular size. Also, some diamond cutters will cut a diamond in a certain way to ensure it makes that magic 1 carat mark – they’ll cut it too shallow or too tall, and it’ll be 1 carat, but it won’t have the same sparkle as a triple excellent diamond.
What to avoid – a poorly cut diamond
If we go for a cheap one carat diamond it’ll be approximately 6.2-6.3mm spread – the diameter of the diamond when you look down is around 6.2mm.
If you buy a triple excellent 0.90 carat diamond it’ll be 6.2-6.3mm, so it effectively looks the same size but it costs less.
So, if budget is an issue, you’re better off buying a well cut 0.90 carat diamond than a badly cut 1 carat diamond stone.
A ring to last a lifetime
An engagement should be about love, and the ring is your gift to her to symbolise that you want to spend your life together. Most women wear it as a source of pride, and a beautiful quality stone will sparkle, look fantastic and bring her so much joy.
My wife Sarah has never seen the GIA certificate for the diamond in her engagement ring. She doesn’t know what colour it is, clarity or size. It doesn’t matter because to her, her engagement ring is a beautiful ring. She’d never ask me what size it is or how much I spent on it, and 99% of girls never ask that.
Any other tips for budget-conscious buyers?
Absolutely! This is where it’s awesome to have an experienced diamond grader on your team, to help you find a beauty and avoid a dud. No two diamonds are the same, and I can help you weigh up the pros and cons of compromising on colour, inclusions and other variables.
I recently had a client who was a geologist, so he knew exactly what he wanted and had a great understanding of how to get the best value and where to compromise. He chose a perfectly cut diamond, but not the whitest diamond. He knew that it’s very hard to tell the difference in colour when the ring has been made and is being worn.
When you’re wearing the ring, you see the beauty of the diamond, not that the colour of the diamond is an H. The only time you might notice that the colour is an H is when you put a D or an E colour next to it. We colour grade loose diamonds by turning them upside down onto white paper, and looking through the stone between the girdle and the culet. When you look from above and they’re scintillating, cut perfectly, it’s very hard to tell the difference between colour.
Compromising on inclusions? The diamonds I sell for engagement rings are between VS2 and SI2. SI1 is the middle. I’m really picky about where the inclusions sit in the diamond – inclusions on the table are more likely to be visible and therefore are out. We don’t want inclusions that compromise the stone quality or strength.
What is an eye clean SI1? Unless you’re looking through a magnifying glass you can’t see the marks. Lower end SI1 stones might not be eye clean, but the higher end SI1s will be.
Truly flawless diamonds are so expensive and are rare as hen’s teeth. A 1 carat GVVS1 – triple excellent with no fluorescence will set you back around $17,800. Great if you can afford it, but I have no problem recommending diamonds with some very minor inclusions – they’re still outstanding quality stones.
Getting the best bling for your buck
First up, I’d decide my budget – this is a token of your love, and she’ll love it.
I’d always choose a slightly smaller diamond to achieve a better colour – for instance going from G to H. I’d go to SI2 inclusions, taking the time to find a good one as it’s harder to find an eye clean diamond in SI2 than SI1 and eye clean is important.
What I wouldn’t compromise on, however, is the triple excellent cut, polish and symmetry. I’d avoid marks on the table and visible marks – it’s really important to have an eye clean diamond.