Planning a proposal is hard. From logistics to secrecy, photographers to – I don’t know…the flash mob(?) – there is a lot of ground to cover, and that’s before you can even begin to create the mental space necessary for figuring out the words you’ll say. When it comes to making your beloved starry-eyed with the romance of it all, we can’t offer much help beyond moral support, but we are firm believers in the old adage that if you can’t say it with words, say it with diamonds.
And, if you’re going to say it with diamonds – and you’ve got the budget behind you – why not say it with the biggest diamond possible? While a large rock isn’t a prerequisite for a happy marriage, there’s no denying the fact that bigger diamonds have some serious power.
A 4 carat diamond is a serious investment. The fascination shoppers and collectors feel for large, beautiful diamonds guarantees that, to get your hands on one, you’re going to have to pay some serious bucks.
There’s no universal cost for a 4 carat diamond, and what you pay will depend on a long list of variables. When you’re spending this much, you need to make sure that every little detail is right – and there are a lot of details to see to. We’ll walk you through everything below.
For a Round Brilliant 4 carat diamond cut to ideal proportions, the average diameter is approximately 10.2mm.
That measurement will differ significantly depending on the diamond’s shape, since different cuts require weight to be distributed differently across the stone. Some shapes feature more weight above the girdle – for instance, the length of a 4 carat Oval diamond is around 12.8mm which gives the illusion of a weightier diamond – while others feature more weight below the girdle, where it won’t be seen once set within a ring.
The Cushion cut is a good example of this. At 4 carats, a Cushion will generally measure just over 9mm square, making it noticeably smaller than a Round Brilliant of the same weight.
When you’re homing in on 4 carat diamonds – or, for that matter, any size of diamond – you need to be very aware of the fact that ‘4 carat’ does not give any guarantees in terms of size. Yes, a 4 carat Cushion and a 4 Carat Oval represent the same amount of diamond, but that amount is distributed very differently between one shape and the next.
What’s more, poor quality cuts will distribute weight all wrong. An Oval that is cut too deep will appear a lot smaller when you look at its face-up appearance, whereas an Oval that is cut too shallow will appear a lot larger than the rest. If you think that sounds like a good trick, it’s not – you can read our guide to spready diamonds to find out why you absolutely, categorically don’t want one.
The average range goes from around $30,000, all the way up to $250,000 – or, in the case of a particularly sought-after and prestigious diamond, they could wind up going a lot higher.
The major difference in price between one 4 carat diamond and the next is down to quality. As we mentioned above, there are a lot of variables and details to see to when you’re choosing a diamond, and those variables are exactly what spells the difference between a five figure price tag and a six figure price tag.
The biggest mistake you could possibly make right now, however, is deciding that you’ll be able to find the perfect diamond at that lowest price point. These diamonds are priced significantly below what people are willing to pay for a reason, and, if you buy one, you will have to sacrifice some of the most important features and traits a beautiful diamond needs to have.
Theses diamonds do end up selling, primarily because some people set so much store by diamond size that they force themselves to overlook everything else – all those details we mentioned above.
For that reason, we’re going to walk you through each variable, how they drive the price up – how you can drive that price back down to a more comfortable level – and, ultimately, how you can make sure that the 4 carat diamond you walk away with is a true showstopper, worth every penny you spend on it.
Compared with your typical diamond engagement ring, yes! The average diamond purchased in the US for a proposal is a quarter of the weight at 1 carat – although, compared with the largest diamonds out there, 4 carats is still on the small side.
These super large, super rare diamonds are in the minority though, and nobody is going to look at your 4 carat engagement ring and say, ‘Yes it’s beautiful, but it’s not exactly the Cullinan, is it?’ If they do, we’d recommend making new friends.
The average size of a 1 carat Round Brilliant is 6.5mm, meaning a 4 carat Round Brilliant is just under 1.6 times the size of what ‘most people’ are wearing. It is, put simply, unmissably large. Even for onlookers who know very little about diamonds, it’ll be clear to see how much your choice surpassed expectations.
So, while a 4 carat diamond isn’t a rare marvel of nature, it is a real sight to behold – particularly on the finger of the love of your life.
Only if your partner would prefer a more understated engagement ring. Otherwise, there’s no such thing as ‘too big’ – it’s all about preference.
Listen. A 4 carat diamond engagement ring is going to stand out. It’s going to attract a lot of attention and admiration, and it’s going to be incredibly obvious, even from across a crowded room. It’s also going to take some time to get used to, and your future bride will probably find that the tasks she barely noticed doing before – searching through her handbag for her keys, putting on a sweater, running her fingers through her hair – all get a lot harder.
But, fortunately for her, this adjustment period will be temporary. So, in terms of wearability, a 4 carat diamond will only feel ‘too big’ for as long as it takes for her to adapt to it.
In terms of looks, there really is no such thing as too big. Celebrities wear diamonds much bigger than 4 carats and, if they can pull it off, so can your partner.
The Four Cs are the pillars of diamond quality. You need to understand each one, how it impacts a diamond’s appearance and performance, and how it impacts the overall cost of the diamond, before you start to seriously think about investing in any stone.
The Four Cs system was devised by the GIA almost a century ago, and we still recommend that anyone shopping for a diamond only considers those that are accompanied by a full report from the GIA or AGS and not any other lab.
The VS grades are probably going to be your best bet. VVS1 and VVS2 comes at a premium you don’t need to pay, but larger diamonds can rarely go lower than VS2.
For smaller diamonds, we often recommend shoppers start off looking as low as the SI1, SI2 and, at times, the I1 grade. But, as you start to look at bigger and bigger diamonds, you’ll find that the same clarity grades that worked before no longer offer the best results. The larger the diamond, the larger the table – and, unfortunately, the larger the table, the more chances there are that you’ll spot an inclusion.
But, whatever the size of your diamond, the rule is always the same: focus your search on eye clean diamonds, instead of a particular clarity grade. A single clarity grade can yield diamonds with very different appearances, since clarity is graded under 10x magnification.
It would be very easy for us to tell you, ‘Buy a VS1 diamond’, but saying that would overlook the major differences in quality and value between one grade and the next. You could easily find a diamond that looks just as good (and for significantly less money) at the VS2 grade.
It’s possible that you could find a great 4 carat diamond at the SI1 grade, too, but definitely less likely given the size of the diamond.
This is why you can’t go off a report alone. You need to use the GIA’s clarity grade as a guide, but reaffirm what’s written within the report with an in-person, up close and personal appraisal of the diamond.
Our guide to checking eye cleanliness in diamonds will give you all the pointers you need.
A 4 carat engagement ring is a true crowd pleaser. The extra investment required to get one of these diamonds on your partner’s finger will definitely pay off, and no one will be able to deny that that is a big and impressive rock on her finger.
Remember that, while big diamonds enjoy a very high status, they’re not the easiest things to wear (particularly at first), and some people find a more streamlined ring to be the more practical option for everyday life. It all depends on your partner, and you know better than us whether she will be thrilled by a big diamond, or by something a little less conspicuous.
As always, the key to making a good choice is to take your time, to pick out a reputable jeweler who will lend their insight to the process, and to do your research before you head in for your consultation. It really pays to know what you’re looking for (and what you’re not), and the best advice we can give you is to wait until you’re confident in your knowledge of the Four Cs, proportion and ratio, fluorescence, and eye cleanliness.
If you can get those subjects straight in your mind, then finding a 4 carat diamond will be a great experience for you, and for your future bride.