It’s not hard to make a statement with a diamond. Large or small, a beautifully cut and polished stone will claim its fair share of eyes across even the most crowded of rooms.
Of course, it’s even easier to make a statement with an imposing 2.5 carat diamond, which pretty much demands the undivided attention of all present. Well above the ‘average weight’ of 1 carat for diamond engagement rings across the US, and large enough to generate truly magnificent levels of fire and brilliance, 2.5 carats is a great place to look if you want to make a strong impression.
Whether you’re favoring a bold diamond solitaire, or the scintillating glitter of a halo, a diamond of this size will give you plenty of options in terms of design – and no shortage of sparkle.
But, just how much is a taste for 2.5 carats going to set you back?
A 2.5 carat Round Brilliant diamond will measure just shy of 9mm in diameter – around 8.99.
2.5 carats is the equivalent of 0.5 grams, or 500 milligrams. While this may not sound particularly heavy, it’s still way above the average for engagement rings. For instance, a Round Brilliant 1 carat diamond will typically measure approximately 6.5mm in diameter, which means a (very noticeable) difference of almost 2.5mm between the two stones.
You will, of course, have to pay a premium for those extra millimeters (more on that below) but, if you’re able to compare these two weights side-by-side in person, you’ll be able to see quite how much more of an impact the 2.5 carat diamond can make.
Many 2.5 carat diamonds will be priced above the $20,000, although exceedingly high quality diamonds could cost over $70,000. The average sits just above $31,000.
If you’ve jumped to the 2.5 carat weight from one of our articles on 1 or 1.5 carat diamonds, then you’ve no doubt already noticed quite how much difference sits between these different – and relatively close – carat weights. After all, a high quality 1 carat diamond will, for the most part, fall below the $10,000 mark – so why is 2.5 so much pricier?
The short answer is this: appeal. We’ve mentioned already that the average diamond weight for engagement rings sits around one carat – a fact which gives 1 carat diamonds a price jump of their own – and this means that noticeably larger diamonds (starting from around 1.5 carats and up) are growing increasingly coveted.
Whether for status or beauty, larger diamonds are highly sought-after. And, while the prestige of having the biggest diamond ring isn’t necessarily a motivating factor for those looking at 2.5 carat diamonds, it’s certainly enough to cause an exponential price increase as carat weight rises.
What does this mean? It means that, rather than a 2.5 carat diamond’s price being double that of a 1.25 carat diamond, the larger stone will be worth thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars more.
Yes and no – it’s all relative – but a 2 carat diamond will appear significantly larger than the average engagement ring.
From Keira Knightley to Mila Kunis, plenty of celebrities have set a strong example for diamonds that sit comfortably above the 2 mark, but shy of the more ‘out there’ 3 carats. This is a size that offers plenty of versatility – it’ll look stunning in a more minimalistic solitaire setting, but it’ll also look great in a more elaborate setting without looking like ‘too much’.
Some shapes will look bigger than others. The elongated Marquise, Oval and Pear cuts – and even the Emerald – will seem to dominate the finger more than some of the deeper shapes, like the Cushion.
Nevertheless, a 2 carat diamond will not disappoint – or feel lost among your future bride’s other jewelry.
When it comes to diamonds, the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true. Knowing what you need, however, and what you can sacrifice is the key to getting the best price possible for your ring – something that matters all the more when you’re considering these highly coveted carat weights.
Since the price of your 2.5 carat diamond ring will, for the most part, be dictated by the price of your diamond (which will account for around 85% of your spend), it’s important to get to grips with this part first.
Quality and shape. Two diamonds of the exact same carat weight can feature totally different price tags as a result of differing grades for cut, clarity, and color, and differing shapes.
First of all, something every new diamond shopper needs to know is that Round Brilliant diamonds are by far the most expensive choice. It is, unfailingly, the most popular choice for engagement rings – no doubt as a result of its high sparkle and versatile shape – which means that you’ll have to invest a little more into your diamond if you want this distinctive cut.
Nevertheless, even two diamonds of the exact same shape can be given totally different price points on the market, and this is because a diamond’s value is predicated on more than size and shape. In fact, it can only be determined after it has been appraised by expert gemologists, who document the finer details of cut, clarity, and color.
Clarity and color are two aspects that are, for the most part, outside of our control. Both refer to undesirable flaws, such as a yellowish tint (color) or the presence of inclusions that disrupt a diamond’s clarity and light performance. While it is possible to cut away some inclusions during the cutting process, that all depends on their position within the rough stone.
Both color and poor clarity will impact a diamond’s price, particularly if either of those flaws are visible to the naked eye.
Cut is a human factor, and refers to the quality of finish the diamond has received. Poorly cut diamonds are worth far less since they don’t sparkle as much as those with a strong cut – or, of course, look anywhere near as perfect.
While quality is more important than buying the biggest diamond possible, it is also vital that you understand what level of quality is worth paying for, and what level of quality is ‘too far’ in the right direction.
What we’re saying is this: don’t ignore the three out of the four Cs in favor of putting all your money towards size. Big diamonds are so popular that there are plenty on the market with poor clarity, color or cut – but, once you see it in-person, you’re only going to be disappointed.
But we’re also saying that you don’t need to get the very best possible quality diamond you could find. If you were to do that, there’s a good chance your diamond would be a lot smaller than 2.5 carats, simply because of the high cost of flawlessness (or near-flawlessness).
The thing to remember about larger diamonds is that they’re more likely to show color or inclusions. In much, much smaller diamonds, it’s possible to get away with a pretty low clarity grade, for instance, since the naked eye would struggle to see past all those facets – and all that sparkle – and pick out any minor flaws.
So, when it comes to the 2.5 carat weight, you’ve got to be very away of the need to ensure a good level of quality across the Four Cs – but not so much that you drive yourself out of the right price range.
A GIA clarity grade of VS1 or VS2 will typically yield a strong choice of eye clean diamonds, though it depends on the shape.
As we mentioned above, a larger diamond means fewer opportunities for eye cleanliness – but it’s no less important in a 2.5 carat diamond than it in one measuring 1 carat.
The higher clarity grades, like VVS1 and VVS2, guarantee that your diamond will be eye clean, but they will come at a premium cost – one that really isn’t worth paying for when you can find equally beautiful diamonds at the VS1 and VS2 mark. When the difference could be worth thousands of dollars, it’s clear which one we’d go for.
Some diamond shapes, such as the Emerald, are less forgiving than others. The facet patterns found in the modified brilliant shapes, like the Oval, Pear and Marquise, are better at concealing slight inclusions than the longer, wider facets of the step cuts. This is why it’s much better to go and view your options in person, with the expert eye of your jeweler, rather than over the internet.
The GIA’s ‘Near Colorless’ grades G, H, and I will offer some strong options at a more affordable price than the Colorless grades (D, E, and F).
Again, this does depend on shape. The Cushion, for instance, tends to ‘hold’ onto color more than, say, the Round Brilliant, meaning that you’ll want to aim for the higher ‘Near Colorless’ grades.
Again, however, this is your opportunity to bring down your 2.5 carat diamond ring price by hundreds of dollars – if not more. The highest color grades are, of course, the best – but, by aiming your sights a little lower, you can easily find something beautiful and visually clear for a lower price.
Yes, cut is the most important factor to consider. Even an imposing 2.5 carat diamond will fail to generate that incredible sparkle you bought it for if the cut is of a low quality.
In this instance, we can only recommend diamond’s that have been given the Excellent and Very Good cut grades by the GIA – whether for cut (in the case of Round Brilliant diamonds) or for symmetry and polish.
Also important to consider is proportion and depth. Some larger diamonds feature poor depth, tables, or length to width ratios because, in order to preserve as much of the original rough stone as possible, the diamond cutter was unable to follow ideal proportions. This is something to look out for – and, of course, to avoid completely.
A 2.5 carat diamond ring price will depend on more than just the diamond – although, of course, the ring setting will represent a relatively minor expense. Nevertheless, this is not an area where you want to cut corners or save money for the sake of it; remember that you’re not just paying for the precious metals and gemstones – you’re also paying for a level of craftmanship capable of creating a ring that will last generations.
While gold is the more expensive metal, platinum will likely work out to be the more costly choice since it’s used at a higher purity than gold.
One thing to consider is how the color of your metal impacts your chosen diamond. A brighter, cooler metal will create a pretty start contrast with a diamond featuring even a small trace of yellow, making it far more obvious. So, whether you settle for white gold or platinum, it’s better to err on the side of caution and lean toward a higher color grade – around G or H.
Both metals will offer a secure, beautiful, and durable setting for your diamond, though, so make sure you are led by your partner’s tastes when it comes to color and hue.
A setting made from platinum will generally cost around 40% more than the same setting in gold, although the exact price difference does depend on whether you settle for 14k (the lower cost alternative, which likes some brightness) or
There is no ideal CTW for an engagement ring – a solitaire featuring a 2.5 carat diamond will have a CTW of 2.5, while a halo or pavé ring could feature a much, much higher CTW even if that ring features the same size of center diamond.
A higher CTW will, of course, raise the overall price of the ring. The number of accent diamonds used in any ring setting will, of course, vary significantly. In this Princess Cut Halo Engagement Ring, for instance, the melee diamonds used are small enough to create a glitter around the center stone, although some ring designs with utilise slightly larger stones, which will offer fewer, brighter flashes alongside the center stone.
In short, then, the CTW of your diamond ring does not make it better or worse – but it is a factor to consider when you’re planning for the overall cost of the design.
Online stores can save a little money, but the risk of buying your ring this way is not worth the (often minor) reduction in price.
These large online retailers are able to lower their prices for a number of reasons. For one thing, the rings are created on mass. For another, they are not investing the same resources into offering brick-and-mortar premises – and, of course, the highly personal shopping experience that goes with it – and that allows them to knock a few hundred dollars of the price.
Visiting a local jeweler is a totally different experience. From sitting down for a one-on-one consultation – where you can not only voice your own ideas, but bounce them off of the jeweler’s, too – to knowing that your ring is being created by an expert hand (and not picked out of a warehouse), going this route offers so much more substance to your experience.
We would always recommend you save money by shopping for eye cleanliness, rather than the premium clarity grades, and Near Colorlessness rather than genuine colorlessness. Where we don’t recommend you save money, however, is in the online storefront.
An engagement ring featuring a 2.5 carat diamond could cost anywhere from $20,000+, although exceedingly high quality diamonds could drive the overall price of the ring up to $70,000+.
There is no denying that a 2.5 carat diamond makes for a stunning engagement ring – nor that a diamond of this magnitude comes at a premium price for those who feel drawn to it.
The best ways to save money on your 2.5 carat diamond ring’s price are to prioritize cut over clarity and color – while never sacrificing eye cleanliness. While it might not sound like a lot, opting for a clarity grade of VS2 over VVS1, for instance, will save thousands of dollars, and make the cost of your ring that bit more manageable.
You can take a look at a wide selection of GIA graded diamonds between 2.4 and 2.99 carats, then schedule an appointment to see one for real at an expert local jewelry store.