Most people place a large emphasis on size. It’s often interpreted as a status symbol and measurement of love. A lot of people don’t want to be embarrassed by giving or getting a diamond smaller than what their friends and coworkers have.
When you begin your search for the perfect engagement ring, you might find that very first stage somewhat daunting – in a world of seemingly endless diamond options, what should you buy? For the majority of people, buying an engagement ring will be the first time they have come in to contact with the diamond industry, and so it is perfectly natural to feel clueless when people start throwing around terms like carats and clarity.
The average size of a diamond purchase in the US is, perhaps unsurprisingly, one carat. More accurately,Los Angeles: 0.83 carat,New York City: 1.45 carat,Chicago: 1.29 carat,Dallas: 1.04 carat,Miami: 1.08 carat. In fact, that one carat mark is referred to as a ‘magic mark’ because the weight is so iconic that it costs proportionally more than, say, a 0.90 carat diamond. That is why liberties are commonly taken in the cutting of the diamond to retain excess weight and hit the one carat mark.
When choosing a diamond, it’s also important to remember that carat weight is far from the only measure of value. The color grade, its clarity, and the quality of the cut will also affect its price. Cut grade is the factor that most strongly affects the sparkle and beauty of your diamond.
people unwittingly do is sacrifice quality just to hit the desired goal. For example, maybe someone has a budget of $3,500 but wants to reach the average of 1 carat. Sure, you can buy a 1-carat diamond for $3,000 and have some left for the setting. But it’s going to be a very poor quality diamond that looks dull. It’s much better to buy a smaller diamond with an excellent cut.
GETTING THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
We get it that you want the largest diamond possible. Let’s just make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality for size. So here are some tips on getting the best value.
- Always get the best cut possible. Cut is the factor that determines how brilliant a diamond will be. Even the highest quality diamond will be dull if the cut is poor. If the diamond is sparkly, it can mask color, hide inclusions, and appear larger. This means you can save money on color and clarity.
- Look for a diamond slightly under the magic numbers. The magic numbers are every 0.5 carats. At these weights, diamond sellers can fetch significantly more. If you go just below a magic number, you can pick up a diamond for as much as 25% less. For example, a VS2 H Excellent cut diamond that is 1 full carat costs around $5,800. But keeping all other C’s the same and dropping the carat weight down to 0.9 will also drop the price down to $4,800. And nobody is going to be able to tell the size difference.
- Get a diamond lower in clarity. Clarity is the best area to save some money on. Most flaws are too small to be seen by the naked eye. We recommend looking for VS2 diamonds. And it’s not impossible to find eye-clean SI1, SI2, or even I1 diamonds. This can literally save you thousands.
- Yellow gold or rose gold rings are cheaper than white gold. It’s not that the setting itself is cheaper. It’s the fact that you can buy a diamond lower in color, which means huge savings. For a 1-carat stone, going down to a J-color can save a couple thousand dollars. You can then use that towards a bigger diamond if you wish.
HOW TO MAKE A DIAMOND APPEAR LARGER
You’ve looked at all you can do to save (above), but still have trouble reaching the average? Don’t worry. There are some options to help make a smaller diamond appear larger.
- Halo settings make a diamond larger. I love this trick. One of the most popular settings is the halo, which has a ring of small diamonds around the center diamond. This setting gives off serious bling and makes it look as if the diamond is huge.A bezel setting also works the same way by increasing the overall diameter (as long as the bezel is not so thick that it makes the diamond look smaller).
- Consider a fancy-shaped diamond. Another favorite suggestion is to go for another shape. Not only do fancy-cut diamonds often appear larger than they are, they’re cheaper than round, too. And plus, they are more unique and will appeal to girls who like to stand out in a crowd. Pear and marquise shapes look the largest. Just stay away from the asscher cut, which has the smallest surface area of all shapes.
- Thin bands make a diamond larger. The thinner the band, the larger the center diamond will appear. Knife-edge bands give the illusion of a very thin skank. Another good setting is to go with a thin pavé band. Setting it in a band of small diamonds will make the center stone pop.
- Cluster settings give the illusion of a huge diamond. This is when a cluster of smaller diamonds make up the center. So from farther away, it looks like one big diamond. This is a relatively inexpensive way to get a large center.
Here’s a word of advice from someone who has helped thousands of diamond ring shoppers around the world. The engagement ring is a symbolic item representing the promise and love between couples. You should only spend an amount you are comfortable with and not what you think society dictates.