My recent 1ct halo diamond ring purchase from BlueNile.com
When it comes to buying an engagement ring, a 1 carat diamond is the benchmark size that most people will shop for. So, what’s the reason behind their appeal? Well, my take is that humans are naturally drawn towards things in their entirety.
Think about it; would you rather buy a 0.94 carat sized diamond or would you prefer to own a 1.00 carat diamond?
If you chose the latter, it’s perfectly normal because that’s what most people would choose too (including yours truly).
In fact, 1 ct sized engagement rings are such a hot topic that I receive questions about them everyday!
In this write up, I’m going to reveal insider buying tips and walk you through the shopping process with a real-life example of a 1-carat diamond ring I purchased with my own money.
I want to begin by addressing one of the most commonly asked question when it comes to buying diamonds. The truth is, there’s no standard answer as to how much a 1 carat ring would cost.
Obviously, a diamond with better specifications will be more expensive and the price differences can be very significant. Let me illustrate this point with some real life examples…
In the listing above, the D color IF (internally flawless) stone represents some of the world’s rarest diamonds because of its color/clarity properties. However, at a price of $18,454, this stone comes with a huge premium because of its perfect color and clarity.
That’s a substantial amount of cash to pay for the very best of the best.
On the other hand, if you have a more practical mindset or have budget constraints, I have good news for you. There is actually no need to pay the premium for a D/IF diamond. In fact, if you do a logical compromise on the 4Cs, you can still end up with a diamond that looks identical at a fraction of the cost!
Here’s an example I found on White Flash…
At roughly a third of the price, this I color SI1 diamond offers better value for money and is cut with the best optical performance possible. Once it has been set into a ring, the diamond will face up white and will be eyeclean (you’ll never see inclusions with the naked eye).
The point I am trying to make here is that a D color and IF clarity doesn’t necessarily make a diamond more beautiful. In fact, cut quality is the key aspect that determines how much sparkle, brilliance and fire a diamond will exhibit.
Don’t be misled by sales people who tell you otherwise because it’s a beginner mistake to prioritize color/clarity over cut quality. With that, let’s dive into the tips and best practices you should adopt when buying a 1 ct diamond engagement ring…
Cut is King. Cut is King. Cut is King.
Remember this: Cut is ALWAYS King.
When it comes to buying a diamond, cut is the utmost factor that affects its appearance. I’m pretty sure you want a diamond that is full of life instead of a dull looking diamond resembling frozen spit.
One of the biggest lie salespeople frequently will tell you is that color and clarity are the most important factors in diamond buying. After all, a perfect clarity/color that’s more expensive will only make the stone look visually better right?
And if you hear someone doing a sales pitch like that, you should be running for the door. You see, even if a diamond possess the best clarity and color rating but isn’t well cut, the diamond will end up looking terrible!
Take a look at these 2 examples below…
Feel free to click on the images to view the video listings. Even if you have no prior experience to viewing diamonds, I’m pretty sure you can immediately tell which diamond is more appealing to look at.
The D/IF one carat diamond on the left may sound impressive because of the best color/clarity specifications but it’s a total train wreck when it comes to cut quality. The mediocre proportions adversely affect the stone’s ability to interact with light and produce sparkle.
In contrast, the diamond on the right is a well cut diamond that results in better light performance and is less costly. If you asked me, this diamond is by far the better purchase.
If you want to buy a 1 ct diamond ring, the best approach you should use is to choose a loose diamond separately before choosing a setting design. This may sound like a lot of work but trust me, it isn’t as hard as it sounds.
In a moment, I will show you exactly what I did when I choose a loose diamond and picked out a halo engagement ring design.
By avoiding pre-set diamond rings (typically what you see in local stores), you get to dictate the quality of the ring. The reason you want to do this is that you can cherry pick a diamond for light performance and specifications instead of being “forced” to buy any mediocre stock a vendor carries on hand.
If you really care about getting better quality for your engagement ring, you will need to shop for it online. Period.
Contrary to what you may think, most local jewelry stores overcharge for their products and more importantly, they do not stock well cut diamonds.
If you doubt what I say, I challenge you to visit your local store to experience it for yourself. Go in with a predetermined budget and specification for a diamond you are looking for (e.g. 1 carat G/VS2).
I am going to bet you will have a hard time finding a single well cut diamond in their inventory. Just the fact that there’s extremely limited inventory and a lack of basic understanding in cut quality will mean that the odds are heavily stacked against you.
On the other hand, online vendors like Blue Nile 0ffer a huge amount of selection for you to cherry pick a stone you like. Regardless of the type of budget and specifications you have, you can easily bring up a list of potential diamonds to choose from.
By setting the filter bars to show diamonds between 1.00ct-1.10ct, D-G color and IF-SI1 clarity, I obtained a total of 156 loose diamond options to cherry pick from. If you compare that to a meager 1-2 options available in a local store at any given time, the differences are huge.
Besides better selections, advanced video technology will enable you to scrutinize details far better than you ever would in a distracting jewelry store environment. Being away from pushy salespeople also enables you to analyze options with magnified 360° videos without feeling pressured.
Unlike other people out there, I actually walk the talk when it comes to buying diamonds. This means I personally scrutinize, test and mystery shop at the vendors before recommending them to readers.
Blue Nile is the latest vendor whom I recently tested and the overall shopping experience was great. With a huge selection of diamonds available, I was able to cherry pick a well cut diamond with ease.
I encourage you to click here to view the listing and try out the interactive video for yourself. It’s fun and really intuitive to use. Next, I want to bring your attention to the inclusions seen in the magnified video. As you can see for yourself, buying a slightly included diamond means the stone will contain some inclusions but don’t let that scare you off.
In reality, these inclusions cannot be seen with the naked eye and are eyeclean. And that’s perfectly fine because I get to buy the diamond at a great price without paying a premium for higher clarity which the naked eye cannot observe.
To complete the ring, I chose a halo ring design as it provides an illusion of a larger looking diamond. With ring designs, it is largely up to personal preferences and you can take your pick here from more than 300 designs.
The ring cost a total of $8,927.82 and was received just 5 days after payment was made. Overall, I’m very impressed by the speed and efficiency that BlueNile operated with.
Summarized billing of 1 carat engagement ring from BlueNile.com
When it comes to the price of a diamond, there are many factors that determine its value. While attributes like carat size, clarity, color and cut quality all play a role in determining cost, not all of these attributes translate into a better visual appearance.
Being a practical shopper, I purposely selected for an eyeclean F S1 diamond ($7,720) to reduce my costs for the engagement ring. If you compare it to a similar diamond below with a much higher VS1 clarity rating ($10,287), the price difference is a whopping 25%!
The point I want to make here is; many consumers get too hung up over higher color/clarity because they assume it will translate into a more beautiful diamond. The truth is far from that as the SI1 diamond I selected is every bit as good as the VS1 diamond. I will reemphasize that cut quality is key.
Here are some photographs and a short video to showcase how the BlueNile ring looks like in real life.
Face up shot of the floating 1 carat halo ring.
A closer view at the floating halo head used in this setting.
Side profile view of ring shanks and prongs.
This is how big a 1 carat diamond ring looks like on a size 7 finger.
If you are interested to see more details about the ring or learn more about Blue Nile, read the comprehensive review I wrote here.
And so you have it, buying a diamond is pretty straightforward if you utilize tangible data like videos and cut performance data for decision making. After reading this article, I hope the tips here will help you find your perfect 1 carat sized engagement ring.
If you have any questions or need advice in your diamond selection, feel free to reach out to me via email or leave a comment below. I would be more than happy to offer my advice and expertise to help you out.