Shopping for the right diamond for your engagement ring is an important process with much to consider. The carat size is often one of the first characteristics of a diamond to capture the attention of buyers. It influences how big or small a diamond appears and dramatically influences the cost of a diamond.

3-carat diamonds are incredibly striking in size and can be quite expensive. However, there’s much more to these desirable diamonds than that. If you’re wondering “how much is a 3-carat diamond?”, or “how big is a 3-carat diamond?”, the answer is dependent on a number of factors. Here, we’ll not only answer both of these questions but also compare this carat weight to similar carat weights so you can find the right carat size for you.

An emerald cut engagement ring in a three stone setting

What Factors Into the Cost of a Large Diamond?

While the carat weight of a diamond has a significant impact on its cost, it is just one of the 4Cs that influence a diamond’s overall quality, and thus its cost. Not all 3-carat diamonds are priced the same. In fact, the diamond price can vary greatly depending on its clarity grade, cut quality, and color grade.

Here are the other attributes of a diamond that factor into its cost and how. When shopping for a diamond for the center stone of your engagement ring, be it a natural diamond, lab grown diamond or a diamond simulant, it is important to take all of these attributes into consideration, not just the carat size.


Clarity

Clarity refers to the inclusions visible within the diamond and blemishes visible on its surface that inhibit its appearance. Diamond clarity is increasingly important as carat weight increases because the larger the diamond, the more visible its flaws.

Clarity is rated on a scale established by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This scale goes as follows, from highest clarity grade to lowest:

Image of the diamond clarity scale

Diamonds are given a clarity rating based on how they appear under 10x magnification. This means the difference between clarity grades such as VS2 clarity and SI1 clarity may not even be noticeable when viewing diamonds with the naked eye.

When shopping for a 3-carat diamond, look for a stone that is “eye-clean”, which means there are no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with VS1 or VS2 ratings will typically have no visible flaws but will be much less expensive than those with higher clarity ratings.

The shape of the stone will also determine the level of clarity you should look for. For instance, you can get away with a lower clarity grade on round brilliant cut diamonds because their intense sparkle and shine mask any flaws. For shapes such as emerald, though, clarity is even more important because the way the facets are cut makes flaws even more visible.


Color

Image comparing diamond color

Similar to clarity, color becomes more apparent as carat weight increases as well. While the GIA color scale for diamonds can go from A to Z, A being the best and Z being the worst, colorless diamonds are most typically given a grade between D and K as any stone after K has extremely noticeable color and every stone has at least a hint of color, even if only visible under a microscope.

For 3-carat diamonds, a color grade of G, H, or I is perfectly sufficient. This way, you won’t pay more than you need to for a hardly noticeable change in color.

Chart of the diamond color scale

Cut

The diamond cut can make or break a diamond, but especially one of such an expansive size. Cut is also the most important factor for sparkle, and if you are looking at 3-carat stones, you definitely want your ring to sparkle. See our diamond cut scale for more details.

According to GIA, diamonds are rated on the following diamond grading scale for cut:

  • Ideal
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor
A round cut Nexus Diamond™ alternative

Stones with “Ideal” and “Excellent” cuts will emit incredible amounts of brilliance and light. It’s important to prioritize an Excellent cut grade when shopping for 3-carat diamonds to ensure your ring catches eyes for all the right reasons. However, if you are trying to make the most of your budget, “Very Good” diamonds will also offer brilliance.


What Do 3 Carat Diamond Rings Usually Cost?

3-carat diamonds are extremely desirable for diamond engagement rings because of their size, which is noticeably large, but not overbearing on the hand.

A diamond of this carat weight will range from $30,000 - $120,000 for an individual stone. This wide range is because the price of a diamond has to do with far more than just its carat weight.

While all 3-carat diamonds will be of noticeable size and sparkle, the color, clarity, and cut will influence not only the overall quality of the diamond but also its cost. In addition to these factors, the shape of a 3-carat diamond will influence its cost too. More desirable shapes such as round cut and cushion cut and fancy shapes such as pear and heart will cost more than other shapes when all other factors are the same.

For instance, when comparing 3-carat diamonds from the same retailer, a round diamond with Ideal cut, I color, and VS2 clarity was $30,000 while a round diamond with ideal cut, D color, and VVSI clarity was $119,000. An emerald diamond with Very Good cut, D color, and SI1 clarity was $26,000 while an emerald diamond with Very Good cut, D color, and Flawless clarity was $79,000.

Infographic explaining the price range of a three carat diamond

2 Carat vs 3 Carat: What is the Difference?

Both 2-carat diamonds and 3-carat diamonds are beautiful choices for a jaw-dropping engagement ring, but they do differ quite a bit in both weight and price. So, what carat diamond is best?


Weight

Given what we’ve explained so far about carat weight, the clearest difference between a 2-carat diamond and a 3-carat diamond is the weight. A true 2.00 carat diamond and 3.00 diamond with the same table and depth ratios will appear much different in size as well. However, when comparing diamonds closer in carat weight, a difference in size may be hardly noticeable. While a 3.00 carat diamond will weigh slightly more than a 2.80 carat diamond, the 2.80 carat diamond may have a face-up size equal or extremely similar to a 3.00 carat diamond. For more information on weight, see our diamond carat size chart.


Price

The biggest difference between 2 and 3 carat diamonds is the price. There is a dramatic increase in cost from 2-carat diamonds to 3-carat diamonds. If you are wondering how much is a 2 carat diamond, you should know that 2-carat stones cost anywhere from $8000 - $50,000, 3-carat stones range from $30,000 to $120,000. This is because, the larger the carat weight, the rarer the diamond. It becomes exponentially more difficult to find a raw stone large enough to cut a 3-carat diamond from than a 2-carat and even a 2-carat from a 1-carat. Thus, it also becomes exponentially more expensive.

Four loose Nexus Diamond™ alternatives

Pricing Your 3 Carat Diamond Ring

Now that you know all the factors that go into a high-quality 3-carat diamond, you can set your budget accordingly and find the perfect 3-carat engagement ring for you.

The majority of the cost for a 3-carat diamond ring will come from the loose diamond itself. Considering you will pay between $30,000 and $120,000 for the loose stone, the setting will be just a slight fraction of the overall cost. The simplest setting may cost as little as $500 - $1000 while more intricate settings with additional diamond stones could cost many thousands of dollars more. The good news is, with a 3-carat diamond, you don’t need an intricate setting. A solitaire setting in the metal of your choosing such as white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold will allow the magnificent diamond to truly shine.

If you are looking for a more affordable 3-carat diamond, consider a lab grown diamond or a diamond simulant. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds that require far fewer resources to be created and brought to market, thus, they are less expensive than naturally mined diamonds. For 3-carat diamonds, in particular, lab grown diamonds can be a third of the price of traditionally mined diamonds. Diamond simulants are also much more affordable than natural diamonds and will give you the same stunning look. If you desire the look of a 3-carat diamond, these are more affordable and sustainable options with the same great wow factor.

Sources:

DMIA

Gem Society



*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.