Unless you and your partner are approaching this as a team, you probably kicked off the process of finding an engagement ring with an attempt to work out exactly what your partner’s expectations are likely to be. If this is the case, then it seems a fair guess that one of the first things you found out was the average carat weight for diamond engagement rings, which falls right around the 1 carat mark (give or take).
This is, of course, great to know – it’s grounding, and useful when you’re looking to gauge exactly what 0.5 carats, 1 carat or 2, 3, 4, or 5 carats really means.
But, it’s only natural for the mind to wander – for the excitement to kick in and, of course, the desire to go a little above the norm.
That’s why the jump from thinking about 1 carat diamonds to thinking about 2 carat diamonds is a pretty natural progression. Why not double-up, aim a little higher, and surpass expectations with a much weightier stone?
Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re looking at a Round Brilliant, then 2 carats tends to give a diameter of 8.1mm.
This is around 1.6mm greater than a 1 carat diamond – enough to make a considerable difference on the finger, and to appear noticeably more substantial. It also makes it that bit easier for the wearer to appreciate the finer details of the stone.
Since 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams, 2 carats is the equivalent of 0.4 grams.
Some people are surprised to learn that a 2 carat diamond is not simply twice the size of a 1 carat diamond – after all, it is twice the weight. This is simply down to weight distribution, and the fact that not all of a diamond’s weight will be distributed across its face-up appearance.
The pavilion, or the lower half of the diamond that resembles an inverted pyramid or cone, also contains a lot of the diamond’s weight. While the amount varies from cut to cut, it is essential to creating the sparkle diamonds are famous for, as it creates the right amount of space (and angles) for light to be refracted through the stone.
As such, the table surface measurements for other shapes will differ from the Round Brilliant. For instance, the Princess (a square shape) of 2 carats tends to measure just under 6.5mm x 6.5 mm, while the Radiant will appear a little larger at 7.28mm across.
While the average sits between $12,00 and $18,000, 2 carat diamonds will almost always fall between $8,500 and $55,000, with both prices representing extremes in terms of quality.
The amount of discrepancy between these two price points is down to the fact that there really is no simple answer to the question How Much is a Diamond Worth?
In a nutshell, it comes down to weight and quality, although quality is divided into a number of subcategories, all of which have their own bearing on the eventual price tag given to any diamond.
For instance, one of the Four Cs of diamonds – clarity – refers to the presence or absence of inclusions (common and naturally-occurring flaws within the internal structure of the diamond – and is considered independent of size, color or cut quality.
Flawless diamonds (both FL and IF) are awarded the highest prices, and can elevate the price of a diamond by tens of thousands of dollars even if you can’t tell the difference between that diamond, and another with a substantially lower price.
This is something we will go into in much, much more detail below, but it offers a little more insight into why 2 carat diamonds can be priced so far apart.
Absolutely – although, at any carat weight, eye cleanliness and a high cut quality remain far more important.
At twice the national average, opting for 2 carats instead of 1 is a sure-fire way to turn heads and really celebrate the detail found in any well-cut diamond.
Obviously, in that case, a well-cut diamond is key. You wouldn’t have to look too hard to find relatively cheap 2 carat diamonds that feature a poor, asymmetrical or badly proportioned cut. Similarly, 2 carat diamonds with noticeable flaws or color will typically fall at that low end of the price range for diamonds of this weight.
In other words, don’t assume you’ll find a worthwhile 2 carat diamond at a rock bottom price. These diamonds are highly popular due to the fact that they sit well above the average size for engagement rings, which means that any quality stone (that is, one that is truly worth your money) will be priced accordingly.
As with any diamond, value is based upon price per carat – a guide price determined by factors including clarity, color, and weight.
In other words, the price per carat of a 2 carat diamond with VVS1 clarity will be very different to the price per carat of a 2 carat diamond with SI2 clarity.
Similarly (and perhaps more confusingly) the price per carat of a VS1 G color 1 carat diamond will be very different to the price per carat of a VS1 G color 2 carat diamond. In other words, if the price per carat of the first diamond was $6,500, then that does not naturally entail the price of the second diamond being $13,000 (2 x $6,500) even though that diamond is twice the size of the first.
In fact, a diamond of that size and quality will be priced considerably higher, primarily due to the fact that it is considered far more desirable among shoppers.
It’s not just about the price of 2 carat diamonds – it’s about what prices are worth paying. At both ends of the pricing spectrum, there will be plenty of diamonds that simply aren’t worth your money, and they key to making a good purchase is being able to recognize that, and being able to know when it’s time to move on.
We don’t recommend any of our readers use Cut, the first of the Four Cs, to lower the price of their diamond. Unlike some other features, there’s very little scope for lowering the cut grade without also limiting yourself to diamonds that are significantly lower in quality.
The solution? Don’t get caught up on the very low end of 2 carat diamond prices. Yes, it’s possible to find diamonds priced way below their counterparts on the market – and they may look okay in a single photo – but there is a reason why most sellers, jewelers and industry experts – us included – won’t go below a ‘Very Good’ cut grade.
The GIA grades the cut of Round Brilliant diamonds with the following scale:
As you can see, if you follow our advice, there’s very little scope for saving money on a diamond’s cut quality – and this is just something anyone looking to make a good investment has to get used to.
For all diamonds (including the Round Brilliant shape), the same scale is used for Symmetry and Polish, rather than an overall cut grade – and the exact same rules for quality apply.
You also want to pay close attention to the diamond’s proportions, as this will have a major impact on the beauty of the stone, and its ability to produce a strong light performance with plenty of fire and brilliance.
Unlike cut, color is one aspect that can afford you more flexibility when it comes to finding a diamond in your price range. However, while the lower color grades are very useful for smaller diamonds, it’s important to remember that, as you move up through the carat weights, larger stones tend to betray their own color a little more readily.
What does this mean? That, while a J color grade might work find for a diamond that sits around 0.9 – 1 carat in weight, it might be a step too far in the wrong direction for a diamond that is substantially larger.
The GIA grades color using the following grades:
|Colorless||Near Colorless||Faint||Very Light||Light|
|D, E, F||G, H, I, J||K, L, M||N, O, P, Q, R||S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z|
Nobody wants a yellow diamond – and particularly not when the diamond is big and attention-grabbing enough to ensure that even a vague tint of color will be noticed.
There are, of course, ways of ‘off-setting’ a slight amount of color in a diamond. Opting for a yellow or rose gold setting will create a good amount of contrast between the stone and the ring, and make the stone appear whiter (clearer). Alternatively, a halo of diamonds featuring a slightly lower color grade can achieve the same affect.
This can, however, be a little too restricting. If your partner wears silver , white gold and platinum jewelry, for instance, then it’s unlikely you’ll want to feel compelled to pick gold for the sake of a slightly lower color grade.
The most important takeaway is this: you can’t be sure about your choice of color grade until you’ve seen the diamond in question in person first.
It various depending on the grades you’re looking at (and, of course, the carat and clarity of the diamond) but, in general, you can expect a difference of around 10% – 15% between each color grade.
The difference will be considerably more significant when you go from one color category to another. For instance, K grade diamonds are substantially lower in value than J color diamonds, since the latter belongs to the ‘Near Colorless’ group, which is considered to offer a broad range of diamonds that appear to be totally clear, but cost nowhere near as much as the D color, E color, and F color diamonds.
Accordingly, you’ll encounter a jump in price between G and F color diamonds – although not as much as you might think, since the proximity G color diamonds hold to the colorless grades earns its own premium on the market.
Again, clarity is a great area to save yourself some money without having to lower your standards – at least, provided you don’t start staring at your diamond under the microscope.
Many inclusions commonly found within diamonds are only noticeable under a microscope. Sure, 2 carat diamonds will be a little more likely to show their flaws than a diamond less than half their weight – and particularly if you’re after a diamond with a larger table, like the Emerald shape – but there’s still room for manoeuvre.
While, at 1 carat, you could find options as low as the SI2 grades, we’d recommend focusing your search for an eye clean 2 carat diamond at Vs2 or, potentially, SI1 – although the VS grades will likely offer the best value for money.
As you can see from the GIA clarity scale below, this gives you plenty of opportunity to avoid the very highest prices for 2 carat diamonds:
|Flawless||Internally Flawless||Very, Very Slight Inclusions||Very Slight Inclusions||Slight Inclusions||Inclusions|
|FL||IF||VVS1 & VVS2||VS1 & VS2||SI1 & SI2||I1 & I2|
Heavily included diamonds will be priced much lower – and, for that reason, tempting investments. Nevertheless, eye clean diamonds remain the only advisable choice for engagement rings, or any fine jewelry.
Heavy inclusions can, in worst case scenarios, weaken the diamond and make it more vulnerable to breaking. They can also interrupt light performance, inhibiting your otherwise-beautiful diamond’s ability to sparkle as it should.
As with Color, the difference between two Clarity grades depends on where they sit along the GIA’s scale. The difference between a VVS2 and VS1 diamond is, however, significant: between $5,000 and $6,000 for many 2 carat diamonds.
And, given how it’s possible for you to find a diamond that looks just as beautiful as those to diamonds at an even lower grade, the potential for lowering the price by thousands of dollars is very high.
In a pair of 2 carat Round Brilliant diamonds, both featuring H color and an Excellent cut, you could find a price difference of between $7,000 and $8,000 just from looking at the VS2 rather than the VVS1 graded diamond.
As with color, however, the only way to understand whether or not your diamond is a great find or not for your engagement ring is to look at it in person. It’s pretty much impossible to judge eye cleanliness through a screen, and it’s not something you want to leave up to chance – or the word of anyone who is not a trusted and experienced jeweler.
You don’t buy a diamond in isolation. From the off-set, while you mind is bound to be focussed on finding the perfect stone, you’ll want to remain aware of the end goal: to bring home a knock-out engagement ring, rather than just a beautiful diamond.
The diamond. For most people, the diamond accounts for as much as 85% of the total cost of the engagement ring, and for good reason…
A beautiful ring setting – even one that has been designed and cast to order through a skilled jeweler – typically falls between $2,000 and $4,000. Obviously time, materials used, and complexity will all serve to push the price up higher – as will, of course, any extra diamonds you add within a halo, hidden halo, or along the shank.
In essence, however, the cost of a ring for a 1 carat diamond won’t be all that different to the cost of a ring for a 2 carat diamond – although, depending on your ideas, there will be some exceptions.
Taking into account the flexibility offered by two of the Four Cs mentioned above, the amount shoppers will spend on 2 carat diamonds is far more widespread and unpredictable. It varies a whole lot more than the cost of, say, a solitaire ring setting.
Let’s say you settle for an H color VS1 2 carat diamond, and spend around $25,000. It would make sense for you to budget around $3,750 for the ring setting – including having the diamond set within it, of course.
The ratio won’t always work out so perfectly, but this is a useful guideline to consider during the early stages of your search.
Some common ‘premium’ design features include swapping white gold for platinum, opting for a higher gold karat, adding more (or larger) accent diamonds to the shank or halo, or choosing something more intricate and time-consuming.
Some expenses are optional – like a hidden halo or cathedral setting. It’s down to taste, rather than anything else.
However, some aspects are what we considered essential expenses. The most obvious example of this is the jeweler behind the ring.
What do we mean by this? It’s easy to order a ring setting – even one that comes complete with a diamond – online, from a wholesaler who creates their rings in bulk in order to fulfil a very long list of orders each day. It costs more to have a jeweler – one who runs a brick and mortar business – design and create the ring but, when you consider the time, attention and skill behind that process, you can’t deny that it’s an essential price to pay.
Accounting for your jeweler within your budget is as vital a step as accounting for the diamond, or for the gold or platinum that will be used to create the setting.
In many ways, yes – platinum is rarer, purer and tends to shine brighter than white gold.
If anyone is ever on the fence when it comes to platinum vs white gold, we’d tend to point them in the direction of platinum. Whereas white gold still features a slightly warmer hue, platinum features a stark, ice-white color that almost appears to emit its own light.
Don’t get us wrong, both metals look stunning. But the added benefits offered by platinum – its innate strength, for instance, and value for those with sensitive skin or allergies to certain metals – makes it a very strong contender in our book.
Absolutely. A two carat diamond brings a significant amount of extra weight and sparkle to the finger, and, at around twice the national average for engagement rings, will undoubtedly stand out from the crowd.
Investing in 2 carats is a great way to get more out of your beautiful diamond. The added weight makes it much easier for you to appreciate that impeccably cut shape – and, of course, the tremendous show of brilliance and fire that it is capable of offering. Even in the more subdued shapes, like the Emerald, a diamond of this weight will create a truly stunning effect, and enable you to take full advantage of that mesmerizing hall of mirrors effect.
Some people are surprised to discover the substantial difference in price between a 1 carat engagement ring and a 2 carat engagement ring but, given the high level of prestige attached to diamonds of this size – and, beyond that, the sheer beauty they offer – it’s not surprising to discover that price increases exponentially.
For us, the ability to make an even stronger impact with your chosen ring is a hard opportunity to pass up – and more than capable of doing all the talking for you by the time you’re down on one knee, watching her eyes light up.