If you're looking for a 1 carat diamond ring, then you probably want it to be breathtaking. In other words, you want it to sparkle like crazy and make her friends green with envy!
Obviously, the diamond is going to have to sizzle in order for that to happen. That means it needs to exhibit the highest volume of light return and sparkle factor that is vivid and intense.
The good news is that it's easier to accomplish this feat than you might imagine. After all, it's simply a matter of focusing on the right range of proportions and optical precision.
Needless to say that this 1 carat diamond ring buying guide will show you exactly what to look for. By the way, doesn't this Brian Gavin Signature diamond ring look stunning with the cherry blossoms background?
What to Look for in a 1 Carat Diamond Ring:
This Black by Brian Gavin Diamond represents the Pinnacle of Diamond Cutting today. The Ultimate in Light Performance and Sparkle Factor.
This James Allen True Hearts diamond exhibits a high volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
The one carat diamonds above will light up your life like stars falling from the heavens. They have been hand-selected by Todd Gray who has 35+ experience in the niche of light performance. The primary difference is the degree of optical precision. That is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment. In that case, the sparkle factor will be more intense in the order of presentation from left to right.
How Much Does a 1 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?
As with most consumer goods, one carat diamond rings are available in a wide variety of price points. However, that does not necessarily mean that a cheap 1-carat diamond ring is going to look good.
This 1.00 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, round brilliant cut diamond from James Allen is only $800.00 so it's pretty cheap.
However, it also has a lot of issues from my perspective. In the first place, notice how uneven the distribution of light is as it reflects throughout the stone.
Carat Weight is Only One Consideration:
In this case, there is a lot of black obstruction under the table facet. As you can see, that makes the diamond look dark. In addition, the arrows pattern lacks contrast brilliance. According to the GIA diamond grading report, the pavilion angle is 41.4 degrees and that is part of the problem.
After all, the light is not going to reflect back properly if the pavilion angle is too deep. At the same time, the deeper total depth of 62.8% is reducing the visible outside diameter of this diamond. According to the GIA, this diamond measures 6.35 - 6.39 x 4.00 mm.
That means that this diamond has an average outside diameter of 6.37 mm. In other words, this diamond is going to face-up smaller than a one-carat diamond with better proportions.
1 Carat Diamond Ring Prices & Cut Quality:
As a matter of fact, one carat diamond rings are available in just about any price point. However, that does not necessarily mean that you will be happy with the least expensive options. After all, there are many characteristics that factor into diamond prices and carat weight is only one of them.
As a matter of fact, the overall cut quality of a diamond can affect the price by up to sixty percent. On that note, it's important to realize that the diamond grading report only tells part of the story.
Look Beyond the Proportions:
To begin with, the proportions of the diamond will dictate the light return and the balance of brilliance and dispersion. However, it is the degree of optical precision that determines the light performance and intensity of sparkle.
Needless to say, this is where things get tricky because the gemological laboratories do not grade optical precision. That means that you're going to have to determine that for yourself. Unfortunately, you can only do that if you have the following reflector scope images:
Although this may be true, most people will overlook the importance of this information and rely upon the overall cut grade. In doing so, they will miss a critical determining factor of light performance. As a result, it is likely that the ideal cut diamond that they buy will still leak a substantial amount of light.
How to Judge Light Performance Quickly:
As stated previously, we use reflector scope images to judge the light performance of diamonds. In other words, we can use an ASET Scope or Ideal Scope image to determine the degree of light leakage.
As a matter of fact, an Ideal Scope can only be used to identify light leakage. Whereas the ASET Scope will also enable us to determine how bright a diamond will be and how evenly it is reflecting light.
Take a look at the Ideal Scope image on the left for this 1.01 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond for example. The light pink semi-transparent sections that are visible along the edge of the table facet along the left side indicate a moderate to high amount of light leakage.
Whereas there appears to be less light leakage along the edge of the table facet on the right side. Obviously, you're probably looking for better performance from a one carat diamond ring.
However, this diamond does have an overall cut rating of GIA Excellent cut. Here is a copy of the GIA diamond grading report. You might be surprised to discover that the measurements are only slightly beyond my preferred range of proportions.
Ideal Scope Image Reveals Moderate Leakage:
In the first place, I want to be clear that I'm not implying that all James Allen True Hearts diamonds leak a substantial amount of light.
As a matter of fact, the Ideal Scope image to the left is considerably better than the one above. Obviously, there is less light leakage because there are less light pink semi-transparent areas.
That means that this 1.01 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond is a better choice. As a matter of fact, the proportions are also within the range that I recommend. Here is a copy of the diamond grading report.
However, the thing that is making the difference here is the degree of optical precision. That is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment from the perspective of 360-degrees.
The combination of tighter proportions and the higher degree of optical precision produce a higher volume of light return. In other words, this diamond is leaking less light because the facet structure is more precise.
At the same time, this one carat diamond ring will exhibit sparkle that is more vivid and intense. That is because the higher degree of optical precision will produce more virtual facets within the diamond. Which in turn will produce a kaleidoscope-like effect of light reflecting more and more to create spectral bliss.
1 Carat Diamond Ring Advanced ASET 30-40:
As insightful as Ideal Scope images can be, the reality is that they are kind of obsolete. In other words, the only thing that an Ideal Scope image can tell us is the degree of light leakage. Whereas an ASET Scope image will tell us that and more.
As a matter of fact, we can use ASET to determine how evenly light is reflecting throughout a diamond. At the same time, the ASET map will indicate whether a diamond is gathering and reflecting light back properly.
Here is the ASET Scope image for this 1.02 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin Diamond. In the first place, I want you to notice how there are no indications of light leakage under the table facet.
As a matter of fact, the degree of hue and saturation is extremely consistent. At the same time, the even distribution of colors shows that light is reflecting evenly throughout the facet structure.
Based on this information, we pretty much know that this diamond is cut to a higher degree of optical precision. Although this may be true, we'll still look at the Hearts & Arrows Scope image to know for certain.
However, Brian Gavin is the leading authority on Hearts and Arrows diamonds cutting. As a matter of fact, he is the only diamond cutter in the world with a patent for maximizing light performance in the modern round brilliant. The Advanced ASET map that Brian Gavin incorporates into their lab reports provides even more detail than the photograph above.
How Big Is a One Carat Diamond Ring?
While the hand shot on the left is helpful to some degree, it still doesn't provide us with an accurate scale of reference. That's because the device that you are reading this on is going to influence the visual scale.
Although it is still nice to see what diamonds of different sizes look like on a hand. Consequently, the 1-carat diamond has an average outside diameter of about 6.5 millimeters. That is about the same size as the eraser on a standard #2 yellow pencil.
Be sure to read our in-depth tutorial on diamond carat weight for more information on that subject. There is also a reference chart that will provide you with a visual reference for all the most popular shapes and sizes.
Where to Buy a 1 Carat Diamond Ring:
In the event that you're shopping for an engagement ring, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, there are all those decisions to make, not the least of which is how much to spend.
But also, there is the abundance of choices of where to buy to contend with. Including, whether or not you are going to buy online which is the best choice in my opinion. After all, it is faster and easier to shop and compare prices online and the upgrade policies are often better.
Although that may be true, it can still be overwhelming to figure out where buy an engagement ring online. After all, it can be difficult to know who to trust and what companies are reputable. Fortunately, I have the experience to guide you through the process of where to buy and what to look for.
With that in mind, these are the places that I recommend:
Of course, we would love to help you search for diamonds. So, be sure to take advantage of our Free Diamond Concierge Service. We'll help you search for diamonds that meet our selection criteria. That way you can focus on doing whatever it is that you do best.
What Is The Best Clarity for an Engagement Ring?
If you want the 1 carat diamond ring that you buy to face-up eye clean then I suggest VS-2 clarity. As a matter of fact, I think that the VS-2 clarity grade provides the best overall value. That's because an AGS or GIA graded, VS-2 clarity diamond is going to face-up eye clean. At the same time, you're not going to see a difference in higher clarity diamonds with the naked eye.
With that in mind, this 1.008 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Blue Fluorescent diamond is the perfect choice. In the first place, the proportions meet my selection criteria.
Secondly, the diamond exhibits a higher degree of optical precision as evident in the ASET and H&A Scope images. Therefore, it is going to exhibit a high volume of light return and broad-spectrum sparkle.
At the same time, there will be a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. In addition, the G-color puts this diamond in the near-colorless range, so it's going to face-up bright and white.
The medium blue fluorescence will only be visible under blacklight as shown above. However, it should also improve your perception of diamond color and make the diamond seem whiter and brighter.
Choosing the Right Diamond Clarity Grade:
Obviously, I think that the VS-2 clarity grade represents the sweet spot for an engagement ring. After all, it provides the perfect balance in that it is going to be eye clean while being cost effective. Of course, you should also take the diamond clarity characteristics into account. As a general rule, you should avoid the following:
In the event that you're trying to save money, then the SI-1 or SI-2 clarity grade might be a good option. However, it's important to realize that you might be able to see some inclusions without magnification.
Of course, there are a lot of variables that dictate the likelihood of whether or not you will see the inclusions. Not the least of which is the degree of your personal vision, but also the nature of the clarity characteristics.
As a matter of fact, I've always been able to locate the inclusions within SI-1 clarity diamonds with just my eyes. Especially once I know where and what to look for, but I selected an SI-2 clarity diamond for my ring.
As a matter of fact, the lower price per carat enabled me to afford a larger diamond. Of course, the sparkle factor created by the cut quality made it harder to see the inclusions.
Lower Clarity I-1 and Higher Clarity VS-1+ Diamonds:
As a matter of fact, I tend to shy away from lower clarity diamonds like I-1 because of the inclusions. After all, they're either going to make the diamond look heavily included or present a durability risk. With that in mind, I tend to lean towards higher clarity diamonds.
At the same time, I don't personally see a need to spend more for a higher clarity diamond than VS-2. After all, you're not going to see a difference with the naked eye, so why spend the money? Unless of course, you prefer a higher clarity diamond from the perspective of keeping things mind-clean.
What Is The Best Color for a 1 Carat Diamond Ring?
On the condition that you're buying a white diamond, the body color is less critical than you might imagine. That is, of course, assuming that the cut quality of the diamond is on the higher end of the spectrum. Under those circumstances, the sparkle factor will make it more difficult to focus on the body color.
As a matter of fact, I think that diamond color is the least important factor to consider. In the first place, it's important to remember that we're talking about a transparent crystal.
With that in mind, there is a big difference between solid Crayola Crayon and diamond colors. Secondly, our perception of diamond color is constantly changing in response to the environment.
In fact, the color of the metal that touches the edge of the diamond can influence the color by one grade. At the same time, any colors in the room will affect the appearance of your diamond.
Slight Differences in Color Equal Big Savings:
Take a look at these Brian Gavin Signature diamonds above. Although they look pretty much the same, they are three color grades apart.
- 1Top: 2.116 carat, K-color, VVS-1 clarity;
- 2Middle: 2.305 carats, L-color, VS-2 clarity;
- 3Bottom: 5.388 carats, J-color, VS-2 clarity.
With this in mind, I place the most importance on diamond cut quality. After all, that is what is going to dictate the volume of light return and the sparkle factor. Subtle differences in color or clarity will not be apparent from across the dinner table. However, the proportions and degree of optical precision will affect how your one carat diamond ring looks from across the room!
Popular Shapes for 1 Carat Diamond Rings:
A one carat diamond ring is going to look good in any shape as long as it is cut well. With that in mind, the diamond shape you choose is largely a matter of personal preference. Although that may be true, the modern round brilliant is the most popular.
In the first place, the symmetrical shape of the round provides for the highest volume of light return. Secondly, the symmetrical facet structure makes it easier to distribute the light evenly throughout the diamond.
Whereas the facet lengths tend to differ greatly in fancy shape diamonds and this affects the light return. In the event that carat weight is your primary concern, then you might prefer a fancy shape diamond.
That is because fancy shape diamonds tend to cost less per carat than rounds. However, you will probably have to buy a larger fancy to match the surface appearance of a round.
That is because fancy shapes tend to be cut deeper, so they face-up smaller than round diamonds per carat. The chart above shows the relationship between one carat diamond rings of different shapes.
Examples of 1 Carat Diamond Ring Styles:
It always helps to have a little inspiration when shopping for one carat diamond rings. Especially if you tend to me more visual like I am and like to see what things look like. With that in mind, here are some examples:
1 Carat Solitaire Engagement Rings:
One Carat Pavé Style Engagement Rings:
1 Carat Halo Style Engagement Rings:
Vintage Style 1 Carat Diamond Rings:
Wrapping Up Your 1 Carat Diamond Ring:
Shopping for a 1 carat diamond ring is easy now that you know what to look for. Remember that the most important factor is the cut quality of the diamond. After all, that is what is going to determine the volume of light return and the sparkle factor.
Although that may be true, we recognize that searching for diamonds can be a daunting task. However, it doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Take advantage of our Free Diamond Concierge Service and we'll do most of the heavy lifting.
After all, we know exactly what to look for and have the resources available to run searches quickly and effectively. Just let us know the range of characteristics and price that you are looking for.