How Much Should a 3 Carat Diamond Ring Cost? Prices and Tips to Save

So, you’re thinking about buying a 3 carat diamond engagement ring?  Woah! Three carats? That would be huge.

If you are wondering how much a 3 carat ring costs, take a deep breath and mentally prepare. A starting price of the 3 carat diamond will cost $33,000. They go up to $121,000. That’s only the diamond. Settings will start at $500. For a $33,000 ring, you better pay extra to get a nice setting.

If you didn’t pass out at that and want to learn more before you get that ring, let’s go.

What is a 3 Carat Diamond Ring?

A 3 carat ring refers to the actual physical weight of the carat. A diamond is priced per carat, the weight per carat. One carat is around 200 milligrams. Americans can’t convert (I’m one of them, so it’s okay) so that’s .20 grams. So if you have a 3 carat ring, it is 3 carats in weight, or .60 grams. Know that diamond weight and diamond size are not the same thing.

So a 3 carat ring is going to be pretty big. That’s not going to be cheap. Plus side is everyone that comes in a 5 mile radius of it is definitely going to see it. It’ll probably blind some people. Maybe cause some car accidents with the way the sun will bounce off of it. Hope you have some sunglasses ready, let’s look deeper into if you really need a 3 carat ring. Just joking, of course, you do but let’s look at specifics.

What to Look for In Your 3 Carat Diamond Ring

Okay, so you want a stunning 3 ct engagement ring with a dazzling round diamond set in yellow gold? I could get a fake one just as big off of QVC for less than it costs to fill my gas tank. But if you want an amazing, three carat diamond brilliant that catches the light and makes people stop in their tracks, you need to pay attention to details.

It is essential to consider the 3 ct engagement ring cost together with the 4 C’s when picking out a diamond ring. While most people aren’t going to ask you the specifics beyond carat when they see your new bling, it’s good to know the basics when you go to purchase. One of the C’s is carat so let’s look at the other three.

Cut Grade

Is your 3 carat ring necessarily the best ring? The brightest? Maybe, maybe not. The cut grade  of the ring is going to really determine how the sun is going to catch that light and how far away people will be able to see it bling. Diamond cutters are true artists, I don’t care what anyone says. If you’ve ever stared at someone’s ring and not even heard what they were saying because you got lost in the diamond’s eye, then you know.

There are a few different cuts. Now, this isn’t the same as the shape. For the cut, you can have poor, fair, good, very good, ideal, and astor ideal. Sounds like how I grade my kids’ homework. This one does play one of the biggest roles in the diamond 3 ct price though, so you might want to pay attention to that part of the sales pitch.

The better the cut, the better the light will be reflected back. If the cut is poor or fair, it will look dull. You won’t have that sparkle.

Diamond cutters are very skilled artists. To take a raw diamond and create the works of beauty that they do is amazing. Have you ever watched a diamond cutter work? I did when helping my friend pick out the engagement ring for my other friend and it was magical.

Color Grade

The color grade of a diamond is a big deal, but not one that you’ll ever really notice. The closer to being absolutely colorless diamond is, the more rare (and honestly, the more expensive) a diamond is. No diamond is completely without some color though. Even the best, or closest to colorless, will have the slightest subtle tint of brown or yellow in it.

There’s a scale for the basic diamonds. It’s a backwards alphabet. So Z through L isn’t good. L and M are okay, but nothing to brag about. K is where it starts to get better. D is the best, or the diamond that will have the least amount of yellow or brown tint in it.

Diamonds can also have super fun colors. These are called Fancy diamonds. You’ve probably seen yellow diamonds, pink diamonds, and brown diamonds. There are a lot more, but you get the idea. They can come in different colors other than the not exactly colorless white diamond.

There is also a type of scale for the fancy colored diamonds. It’s a little less technical. For example, if the color were blue, the scale would be Faint, Very Light, Light, and various levels of Fancy.

The color of the diamond is more or less noticeable once you put it in a setting. Once you have your diamond picked out you really want to see it in the different settings of white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and rose gold to see which brings out the color of your diamond that you are happy with.

Clarity Grade

Clarity is kind of the middle child. Doesn’t really matter and not really sure why it’s there. I’m a middle child, so it’s fine that I say that. The imperfections that affect the clarity are so small that no one would ever notice them or even be able to see them.

Diamonds are checked for clarity using a standard 11 point scale. Basically, it goes from Flawless to Included. Know that the best clarity to have is flawless, just like you. Though flawless is pretty rare, and even the next best isn’t that common either. Unless your diamond is I2 or I3, you won’t even notice any differences with your diamond.

While the clarity of your diamond is checked and verified, you’ll never be able to look at two different diamonds and be able to tell the difference without the use of inspection tools. Just check the paperwork and as long as it’s not Included, you’ll be fine.

Is A 3 Carat Diamond Ring Too Big?

Ha. No. Do you really think a woman is going to say no to that? Tell me the name of a woman who has asked the man to exchange the ring for a smaller carat. I’ll wait. Exactly. You couldn’t find one.

The only way I could see it being too big is if you are a smaller size person and it looks ridiculously big on your hand. Or you couldn’t afford the payments and the jewelry store took it back.

Seriously though, it isn’t about the size of the diamond for most women. It’s not something they ask for, demand, or would say no to.

A 3 carat ring won’t be too big for most females. It will definitely grab people’s attention. But it shouldn’t be so big that it becomes a burden or gets in the way of everyday tasks. You might get distracted staring at it, but that should be it.

3 Carat Diamond Ring Prices?

Oh man. I’ve been wondering about prices this whole time and now I’m excited and nervous to share the prices with you. Have you ever paid any attention to the actual price tags of diamond rings? That whole lame rule where you should spend so many months of your salary on an engagement ring should go away.

Now, there is no way we could go through all of the sizes and shapes of all of the diamonds and how much they would all cost in all of the different settings. So, for our purposes for this, we will only go over loose stones, in the default middle-grade settings of things like cut, clarity, and color, and give a range that way.

Brace yourself, here are the average 3 Carat Diamond Ring Prices:

  • Round – $32,000 to $121,250
  • Princess cut – $31,300 – $46,600
  • Emerald – $31,600 – $49,500
  • Oval – $30,000 – $57,500
  • Radiant – $33,000 – $50,000
  • Asscher – $33,000 – $43,300
  • Heart – $38,200 – $53,700
  • Pear – $34,600 – $56,500

You guys. That is just for the diamond. Solely for the diamond. Granted, compared to those prices, the setting is only going to be another few thousand dollars. Not that much more when you realize how much you are spending on the diamond.

Like I said, this is only for middle to good ranges of color, clarity, and cut. The prices go insanely high when you want higher-end features. I always wondered why the same diamond could cost such ridiculously different prices.

Obviously, you have to have this well thought out, or really love the person to think about going to a 3 carat ring. Or maybe you want to upgrade the ring for your 30th wedding anniversary and you’ve been saving for the last 29 years. Good for you.

3 Carat Fancy Colored Diamonds

But wait! What about a colored diamond or gemstone or something? What kind of prices do you get there? Holy smokes do the colors make it more affordable. Well, some of them do. There are prices still over $50,000, but also some as low as a normal diamond.

If your hopefully soon-to-be-bride loves her diamonds big, let’s hope that she likes colors. It seems you could get a large 3 carat ring for a price that you could pay off sometime before your 25th wedding anniversary.

We won’t get into every individual shape for the colored ones, because I’m not trying to write a book about it, but let’s definitely do price ranges for 3 carat fancy diamonds:

  • Yellow – $11,600 – $50,300
  • Orange – $7,100 – $19,700 for 3.01 to 3.51 carats
  • Brown – $5,800 – $12,400 for 3.14 to 3.63 carats
  • Black – $6,700 for 3.18 carats

These prices aren’t so bad, but these other colors below are extremely pricey. Now you know why it’s such a big deal when a celebrity gets a colored diamond.

  • Pink – $212,000 for 2.02 carats
  • Purple – $58,700 for .70 carat
  • Blue – $547,000 for 2.44 carats
  • Green – $107,200 for 2.03 carats
  • Gray – $24,300 for 2.53 carats

Unfortunately, the only color for the more cost-effective lab-grown is yellow. It takes a few thousand dollars off the price, so still helpful.

3 Carat Lab-Grown Diamonds

Wait, what? Lab grown? That is an option? Is it cheaper? Or is it because we are almost out of places to mine for diamonds that we had to grow them, but they are actually more expensive? Let’s check this out. Here are the average prices for 3 Carat Lab Diamonds:

  • Round – $18,400 – $20,600
  • Oval – $11,200 – $19,500

Okay, so the downside is obviously that the shape of diamond you can choose from is a little harder to find. You have to go slightly over the 3 carats and then you can have your pick. So let’s look at that real quick.

  • Princess – $12,700 – $19,200 for 3.02 to 3.53 carat
  • Cushion – $12,300 – $14,100 for 3.03 to 3.18 carat
  • Emerald – $14,700 for 3.02 carat
  • Asscher – $16,800 for 3.02 carat
  • Pear – $22,000 for 3.21 carat

That is simply crazy. Have you never heard of a lab grown diamond? Is your mind is blown? So what does that mean though? How do you grow a diamond in a lab? Apparently pretty easily. You grow a lab diamond from a diamond seed, versus an Earth grown diamond is pulled from the earth.

The physical aspects of both are nearly identical. Looking at them you wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other. Lab grown are actually better for the environment. If you haven’t watched Blood Diamond yet, maybe watch that before going to get the ring. That by itself is reason enough for me to never buy another Earth grown diamond ever again.

If you can’t tell by looking at them side by side, and one costs considerably less, and is better for the environment and bank account, why aren’t more people buying lab created?

Well, the only negative to buying a lab diamond is if something were to happen and you were to split up, you wouldn’t get very much back for your diamond. Lab diamonds don’t have a great market for resale. If you wanted to sell your ring for a divorce party you wouldn’t be able to invite many friends. But if you aren’t worried about something like breaking up before you are even married, then lab-grown is great.

Let’s Compare 3 Carat LAB-Grown Diamonds to 3 Carat EARTH-Grown Diamonds

Great, so we found some more options if we wanted to go up slightly with the carat weight. I didn’t know that a .02 weight would make such a difference in being able to find more of a selection. Remember that when you are looking for rings. Don’t be set on a certain carat, be flexible.

That was a lot of numbers in a short amount of time. Let’s get some side by side for earth grown and lab created diamonds to see what the actual price difference is here. Let’s only look at starting prices.

Shape Earth Lab
Round $32,000 $18,400
Oval $30,000 $11,200
Princess $31,300 $12,700
Emerald $31,600 $14,700
Asscher $33,000 $16,800
Pear $34,600 $22,000

Well, holy crap. When you look at it that way, I would actually think a large 3 carat diamond would be reasonable. Wow. Some of those are triple the cost of Earth grown. Is your mouth on the floor? I will never let anyone tell anyone else they can’t get them the diamond they want.

Realistically, is anyone going to ask you if your diamond was lab-grown? Would you ask your partner if your diamond was? I would, but I wouldn’t care. I would think they were smarter for paying $20,000 less for the same diamond. Those are good bargaining skills we need for our life together.

A Visual of 3 Carat Diamond Prices

I’m a visual kind of person so if you are wondering which diamond is the cheapest, let’s get that sorted.

For Earth grown (cheapest to most expensive) it goes:

  • oval
  • princess
  • emerald
  • round
  • radiant
  • asscher
  • pear
  • heart

For lab grown (cheapest to most expensive) it goes:

  • oval
  • princess
  • emerald
  • asscher
  • round
  • pear

Pretty close with the order. Oval and princess are the least expensive diamond shapes and pear is the most expensive shape. You would think princess cut was more expensive because it’s fancier. They really marketed that well around here.

If you’re interested to know more about 3 Carat OVAL Diamond Prices, we have a guide here.

Anything Else?

Is there anything else we missed? I don’t think so. We could go over settings, but seriously, there are so many options with settings. That’s a whole other post in itself. The short of it is that you can spend as little as $500 on a setting or go crazy and spend $30,000.

For the price tag a 3 carat ring brings, I’d suggest spending at least a few thousand dollars. You want the rims to match the car, you know what I mean? If you can’t afford that kind of ring and a beautiful setting, then back to work we go.

Now that you have been ruined and will only have your sights set on a ring with a 3 carat size, I think we covered all there is to know. You should be well equipped to go into a jewelry store or shop online and know the what and the why of the 3 carat diamond ring you want to get.

Happy shopping! I would say good luck, but if you are getting that kind of ring you better have written confirmation she is saying yes my friend.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

You May Also Like