0.90 Carat Diamond Ring – Insider’s Tips to Shopping Smart

vatche 4 prong solitaire setting white gold
6 prong shy diamond orange yellow color ring

When it comes to buying a diamond engagement ring, 1 carat is the “magic” weight that most women desire. Due to its popularity, the prices of one carat diamonds are elevated because of supply and demand mechanics.

If you are on a tighter budget, an alternative is to buy a 0.90 carat diamond which is just below the psychological 1 carat mark. This way, you get a diamond ring which looks very similar in size to a 1 ct ring but avoid paying the price premium.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about buying a high quality 0.9ct engagement ring and also how to save money in the process.

A Visual Look at 0.9 Carat vs 1.0 Carat Size Differences
0.90 Carat Diamond Ring Prices – Case Study Comparison
Recommended Selection Guidelines on the 4Cs
Where Are the Best Places to Buy a 0.9 ct Engagement Ring?
Beautiful And Practical Ring Design Ideas

A Visual Look at 0.9 Carat vs 1.0 Carat Size Differences

One of the most common questions I receive usually relate to visual size differences between a 0.9 carat diamond vs a 1.0 carat diamond. But, is it possible to detect size differences readily with the naked eye?

I’ve actually illustrated the differences between various carat sizes in a separate blog post and my take is: most people can’t. And here’s a real life comparison of 2 solitaire rings to give you some perspective.

0.90 carat diamond ring 6 prong solitaire
1 carat diamond ring 6 prong solitaire comparison

0.90 carat vs 1.0 carat diamond ring in 6 prong solitaire design.

Unless you are comparing a 0.9ct diamond vs a 1.0ct diamond right next to each other, it is very difficult for the eyes to perceive small changes in size. You see, a well cut 1 carat diamond is about 6.4-6.5 mm in diameter and a 0.9 carat diamond is about 6.2-6.3 mm.

In terms of physical dimensions, they are only 0.2 mm apart. If you want to see what a small difference this is, simply pick up a ruler and look at the sub-divisions.

A 0.90 carat diamond actually faces up with a similar size to a 1 carat diamond. If you are interested to see how other carat sizes face up in real life, you can download a printable carat size chart here.

0.90 Carat Diamond Ring Prices – A Case Study Comparison

The pricing of a diamond takes into account a complex combination of various factors and carat weight is one of the key attributes that impact costs. Since 1 carat is the most popular weight, there is a price premium on these diamonds due to demand.

In comparison, a 0.90 carat diamond would be more affordable for people on a budget. Let me show you a price comparison performed between 0.90 carat round diamonds vs 1.00 carat round diamonds to illustrate this…

090 vs 1 carat diamond prices comparison cheaper expensive

As you can see, prices are much lower by a factor of 15-40% for diamonds with similar specifications (i.e. identical cut qualities, clarity and color) when you go slightly below 1.00 carat.

Besides round diamonds, this pricing phenomenon is also present in fancy shape diamonds like cushion cuts or oval cuts. Here’s a price comparison chart I performed on Blue Nile for oval diamonds.

buying shy diamond value cost oval 1 ct vs 090 ct

Again, you can probably notice a steep rise in costs for a mere 0.10ct difference in weight. The disparity in cost between 0.9ct and 1.0ct diamonds can be a significant amount of money for people with a tight budget.

Feel free to do your own price comparisons at White Flash and Blue Nile to get a better idea. These online vendors offer great quality rings and allow you to get the best bang for your buck.

Recommended Selection Guidelines on the 4Cs

Now, I want to reveal some insider mechanics on how things work in the industry.

Psychologically, consumers want to go for a 1 carat mark when buying an engagement ring and this creates a huge demand for them.

Diamond cutters know they can charge a premium for 1 carat diamonds to make more money because the market is willing to pay for them. And sadly, this is where they utilize tricks and techniques to compromise on cut quality just so that a polished diamond makes the magical 1 carat mark.

That’s the primary reason why there are so many mediocre cut diamonds in the market. Cutters purposely polish diamonds that are too shallow or too deep in order to retain “dead weight”.

When it comes to buying diamonds, CUT is the most important attribute on a diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. In my opinion, other aspects like color/clarity/carat weight are secondary. With that said, here are the guidelines I recommend using if you want to get the best value for your money.

Cut: AGS 000 or GIA 3EX
Clarity: VS2 or SI1
Color: G or H
Grading Report: GIA or AGS

Notice that I didn’t recommend an IF clarity or a D color? That’s because an eyeclean VS2 will look exactly the SAME as an IF diamond to the naked eyes. Likewise, a G color diamond will face up white and most people can never tell any differences in the face up view.

Buying a diamond isn’t that hard but people tend to over complicate things and get misled by unethical sales people. By taking a practical approach, you can save a lot more money without overpaying for characteristics that you can’t see.

If you need an easy step by step guide that will hold you by your hand through the decision making process, make sure you check out this section of the website.

Where Are the Best Places to Buy a 0.9 ct Engagement Ring?

Well-cut diamonds in the range of 0.90 – 0.99 carat are not common in the market. Due to economic reasons, cutters have the incentives to compromise on cut quality to achieve a poorly cut 1 ct diamond rather than a well cut 0.9 ct diamond.

In order to get a good selection of diamonds to cherry pick from, you need to head online and avoid the physical stores.

Unlike physical stores that tend to have mediocre selections and store policies, vendors like White Flash, Brian Gavin and Blue Nile offer deep inventories with selections across various budgets.

The more important thing is, their exemplary transparency in listings makes shopping for an engagement ring straightforward and fun.

0.90 h color vs2 clarity hearts and arrows diamond

In the example of a typical listing from White Flash, you can see that performance data like ASET, Idealscope and H&A images are readily provided. Not only do you get to see HD videos of every single detail in the diamond, you also get ready access to tangible data to help you assess cut quality.

Besides well cut diamonds, White Flash, Brian Gavin and Blue Nile also have fantastic craftsmanship on their rings and 100s of designs for you to choose from. And best of all, your purchase is completely risk-free with no-questions asked money back guarantees.

4 Beautiful And Practical Ring Design Ideas

I know many readers struggle with the choice of a ring design because there are simply too many to choose from. In this section, I’m going to reveal 4 of my favorite designs for a 0.90 ct engagement ring and hopefully, it gives you some ideas for your own ring.

Let’s start with two from Blue Nile…

designer 3 stone micro pave ring ninety carat center stone white gold
0.90ct floating halo engagement ring design

On the left is a stunning designer ring from Blue Nile. This 3-stone platinum ring has three rows of micro pave set melees and 2 sidestones to complement the beauty of the center stone.

On the right is a floating halo ring design that is designed to make the center stone look larger than it is. Placing a 0.90ct diamond in the halo actually creates an illusion of a 1.2ct large diamond when seen from a distance.

In fact, I mystery shopped an engagement ring with the same exact design above. If you are interested to see indepth and close up photos of Blue Nile’s craftsmanship, click here.

solitaire 4 prong nearly 1 ct in size example comparison
pave setting designer ring with j 0.90ct diamond

The 2 engagement ring designs above are affordable options costing $440 and $595 respectively.

For an evergreen and elegant setting, the 4 prong solitaire ring on the left is an amazing choice to go with. If you like a little more bling on the finger, the petite pave ring on the ring does the job without breaking the bank.

With that, I hope this article has helped you out. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below.

White Flash and Blue Nile offer hundreds of beautifully crafted engagement ring designs for you to choose from. Make sure you check them out and start browsing yourself!

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  1. Ashish Patel-
    August 13, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Thanks for the great site. I have read pretty much every page of your website and it has given me the confidence to buy a diamond online.

    Now, I have a question on how to go about selecting a SI1 diamond with amazing sparkle. My budget is about $4800 without the setting and I’m searching for a 0.90 carat round diamond. I want to stay at a G or better in color and I want the diamond to have an excellent cut.

    What exactly should I look for in the blown up video and image? When I look at the following list of diamonds, they all are SI1s but look dramatically different in how their arrows appear. Should I request other images for them?


    I really just care about it being eye clean.

    Thanks so much!

  2. Paul Gian-
    August 13, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks for your comments.

    The arrows look dramatically different because of the photography used and angle the diamonds are shot at. You should use the images to determine eye cleanliness and help you select potential diamonds to call in for a further examination by James Allen. They provide this free service for 3 diamonds and I encourage you to do that.

    Here are my comments for your chosen diamonds:


    This is eye clean but already placed on hold by another person. However, I don’t like the VG/VG finish on the stone. The proportions on the stone aren’t great either. I will drop this diamond.


    This diamond is eye clean. In real life, you won’t be able to see the inclusions with your naked eye. The proportions on this stone seem good and the price is OK.


    This diamond has strong blue fluorescence in a colorless range diamond. I would be wary of any potential hazy issues it might bring about. That aside, this diamond has really steep pavilion angles and will show light leakage under the table. Skip this diamond.

    I took the liberty to look through JamesAllen’s inventory for you and I even went slightly over your budget but didn’t see any diamond that really stands out.

    So, here’s what I would recommend you to do. Use live chat or call in to James Allen to put the 2nd diamond on hold. I would request Idealscope images to be captured for the diamond. I would also get the gemologist to double check the eye cleanliness and physical brilliance of the stone.

    There is another diamond I found which costs $3,994 from BrianGavinDiamonds.com. From the ASET and Idealscope images, this diamond will have amazing performance and sparkle.


    Here’s another hearts and arrows stone you might want to consider. However, it is slightly over your budget and costs $5,490 via wire transfer. The great thing is that the leg work for checking optical performance has already been done and I can assure you that this diamond is one of the most well-cut you can find.


    Hope this helps! If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

  3. Ashish Patel-
    August 14, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Thanks for the quick response. I like the idea of having all the leg work done for me. How much more am I paying for this premium?

    Also, the difference between the 4k and 5.5k Brian Gavin diamonds is significant. Do you think it is worth the extra money just for the size since they should have the same sparkle?

    Lastly, what is your opinion on the Whiteflash site? I read it is also run by Brian Gavin and they have a brand of diamonds called “A Cut Above”. Is this considered the same as the signature brand he has on the other site? Or is this just marketing?

  4. Paul Gian-
    August 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Hearts and arrows diamonds which are cut to a higher level of precision will cost around 10% more. The usual round ideal cut diamonds don’t display such a high level of craftsmanship where each individual facet is precisely placed in order to achieve a crisp hearts and arrows effect.

    With regards to the size difference, I do understand there is quite a big jump in prices and this is due to how diamonds are priced in the market. With regards to size differences, I had written a previous article to help other readers with similar questions.

    You can read it here: https://beyond4cs.com/faq/size-differences-in-carat-weights/

    I do hope this helps clear your doubts! Speaking from experience, women do like bigger diamonds. I would go for the 0.9 carat diamond if your budget allows you to extend slightly over 5k. Ultimately, you need to be comfortable with your purchase. If you choose to go for the 0.8 carat diamond, the upside is that it leaves you with more budget for your setting.

    And lastly, with regards to the earlier question you asked: Whiteflash was started by Brian Gavin. He was the co-founder and a director at Whiteflash when they first launched. A few years back, he left Whiteflash and started his own company called BrianGavinDiamonds.com. In essence, the cut quality at both companies comparable as they adhere to similar standards.

  5. Ashish Patel-
    August 15, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Thanks again for the quick response. I am confident that the diamond you suggest is by far the best option. However, I am having a hard time justifying the large price tag difference. I read your article and it looks like the .8 vs .9 is sort of in the range where people may not see differences and I am not sure if the 1000 extra dollars is worth it.

    With that being said, can you suggest a diamond that is smaller but will have similar or better sparkle. These are what I was able to find in the “Signature Cuts”.


    I requested images from James Allen. However, they seem to be pretty busy at the moment and so, it may take a few days.

  6. Paul Gian-
    August 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    In terms of sparkle and brilliance, all 5 diamonds you had chosen are at the zenith of well-cut stones. I would shortlist these 2 from your list.



    If you are looking for a unique looking diamond with ideal light performance, you might want to consider the BGD “Blue” line. The blue fluorescence gives the diamonds a cool looking appearance, helps them look whiter and lowers the diamond’s pricing.


    You can check out their review here: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/brian-gavin-diamonds/

    Feel free to shoot away if you have more questions.

  7. Ashish Patel-
    August 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I am a bit confused. You mentioned that the florescence can cause the diamond to look cloudy. Is this still true?

  8. Paul Gian-
    August 18, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Yes. Fluorescence can make a diamond appear hazy but this is on a case by case basis. That is why you need a physical examination when buying such diamonds. In the case of Brian Gavin’s Blue, the diamond has already passed such tests because Brian Gavin hand picks the diamonds and has strict filtering standards in place.

  9. Ashish Patel-
    August 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Do you think the blue series that Brian Gavin will be cloud free?

  10. Paul Gian-
    August 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Just to clarify some points and the use of the term cloud. The stones might not be cloud (inclusion) free. In the industry, clouds are technically used to describe inclusions found in the diamond that take on the shape of a cloud. It is normal for diamonds in VS or SI clarities to have cloud inclusions and they don’t impact the beauty of the diamonds.

    In the Blue line from Brian Gavin, the diamonds won’t have transparency/cloudy/hazy appearance issues. The 2 most important criteria they apply when filtering their “blue” signature diamonds is that the diamond must have an ideal cut and pass physical checks to ensure there are no negative impacts from fluorescence.

  11. Ashish Patel-
    August 28, 2014 at 2:04 am

    I did some thinking and also talked to a few of my friends and I decided to go with a larger diamond. This is a once in a lifetime purchase and I want it to be exactly what I want without any regrets. With that being said, it also got me thinking about the blue diamonds and I found this one:


    My main concern about this one is that the color is an I.


    This is the other one I am considering, but my main concern with this one is that it is a SI2.

    Would it be guaranteed to be eye clean since it is a signature diamond?

    Between the two, which would you suggest?

    My other question is in regards to the setting. The settings on Brian Gavin’s page are too pricey for what I want. I want to spend a max of 1k. Do you suggest finding something online and shipping the diamond there, or should I look for something in a brick and mortar store? What would be the savings going online?

  12. Paul Gian-
    August 29, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Both are definitely eye clean. Based on your earlier preferences, I would advise you to avoid the I color if you have a sensitive eye for color. That diamond will have a slight nuance of yellow under certain lighting conditions.

    I would recommend that you go for this http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/0.914-g-si2-round-diamond-ags-104061576004 instead. This near 0.90 carat diamond will face up white and offers good value for money because of its 4Cs properties.

    zoomed in image of 0.90 carat round cut

    ninty pointer diamond

    With regards to your questions on the setting, I agree that Brian Gavin’s settings tend to cost more especially those with elaborate designs. However, they have an impeccable standard of craftsmanship in their settings. Also, Brian Gavin uses high quality melees which are much more superior than the generic melees other vendors use.

    Personally, I don’t like the idea of having a diamond set by a different vendor because of the additional trouble and costs involved. Shipping the diamond with insurance to the ring setter would increase your overall costs by at least about a few hundred dollars.

    In terms of ring settings, the difference in pricing between buying online and via physical stores are not significant. However, I would advise you to get the setting performed by who you buy the diamond from.

    The next best alternative would be to set the diamond at a local brick and mortar store if you can find someone trustworthy to work with. Unless the setting design you are looking for can’t be made locally, the next best option would be to mail the diamond out.

  13. Lina-
    September 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Paul,

    After I learn 4c’s from you and your recommend vendors online I was amazing buying diamond online it is much easy then go to brick and mortar store that they dint’ tell you and also there is no prove of paper (certificate). I bought my ring at Kevin Jewelers two years ago, cost me $5000 and there is no certificate, the only they gave to me is the appraisal certificate no detail. Before I only think E color is the best diamond but it is not true after I learned from you. I was searching on Briangavindiamonds.com and bought loose diamond it is amazing stone i ever seen before. Briangavindiamonds.com is the best of the best diamond than from brick and mortar, search and choose, chat with their staff feel so comfortable than you go to the store and sit in front of them bring one diamond at a time.Thanks again Paul for letting the world know how easier to buy diamond online.


  14. joey-
    July 23, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I found an 0.90 round diamond with SI2 clarity that is actually at the same price as a 1.00 round with SI1 clarity. It boggles me how a smaller size diamond with similar specs with lousier qualities can actually cost more than a bigger diamond with better specs. Is there something fishy here?

  15. Paul Gian-
    July 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    It’s actually not that weird when you get down to the lower clarity range. Because you aren’t comparing apples to apples and don’t have the full details, you jumped to the conclusion that a 1ct diamond must always be more expensive than a .9ct diamond. There are clarity aspects like whether the stone is hazy or not, whether the diamond is eyeclean or not or other subtle factors that could result in such a pricing.

  16. Kenneth-
    August 21, 2018 at 12:44 am

    What’s the average cost of a .9 carat diamond?

  17. Paul Gian-
    August 22, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    As I said, it depends on the shape, qualities and ratings of the center stone. As a ball park figure, 0.90 carat diamond ring prices can range anywhere from 3k to 8k.

  18. Thomas Fearis-
    March 12, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Agreed this is an incredibly helpful website! I am considering a 0.91 carat round brilliant cut diamond. It is G colour, triple excellent cut but only SI2 clarity. Together with a four pronged setting in white gold it is approx. US$4,500.

    Is that a good price? Is SI2 clarity acceptable?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

  19. Paul Gian-
    March 12, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Without viewing details of the 0.90ct ring, it’s hard to give a proper estimation. First of all, was the diamond graded by GIA or AGS. Secondly, is the diamond eyeclean. Thirdly, how well cut is it? You may want to read this for details: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

    I would never buy a diamond without knowing full details: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/

    And this is another article you want to read: https://beyond4cs.com/clarity/si2/

  20. Thomas Fearis-
    March 12, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for your prompt reply!

    The diamond is graded by GIA, it is eye clean and is triple excellent cut.

    How does that sound? Is the price generally OK? I had a look on James Allen’s diamond search tool and the price quoted to me seems broadly in line with the average for a similar stone with the same properties.

    The jeweller is based in Hong Kong and is called Bee’s Diamonds.

  21. Paul Gian-
    March 12, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Assuming you used the search tool at James Allen and followed the guidelines on the pricing page correctly, I think the price would be reasonable. I would expect physical stores to have a premium of 5-10% more because of their overheads and that’s perfectly fine.

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