How Much is a 3 Carat Diamond?

When they said that three is a crowd, they weren’t talking about the carats in a diamond the spiritual world, three is the number of wholeness, the beginning, middle and end, the heaven, earth, and the water, the body, soul, and spirit. What better number for the carats in your diamond?

Nonetheless, when you go to buy your diamond there will be another number that you’re not so sure about, and that’s the price. Three is a stable number, but the price of three-carat diamond can fluctuate tremendously. How do you answer the question: How much is a three-carat diamond?

Since you are buying a three-carat diamond, it is safe to say that you are looking to impress, which means you want the highest quality diamond. That means you want a diamond with the highest 4C gradings. You’re looking for a diamond with the best cut, clarity, and color. The cost will vary depending on how the diamond ranks in those categories, which makes the price of a three-carat diamond hard to predict.

However, what we can predict is that with the scarcity of diamonds today, the chances of finding a sizable and affordable one at such a caliber are few. More and more, people are turning to lab-created diamonds to get the quality standard they are seeking. In this article we will cover:

  • How Natural Diamonds Are Formed and the 4Cs
  • How Lab Created Diamonds Are Formed and the 4Cs
  • Color of a Three Carat Diamond
  • Clarity of a Three Carat Diamond
  • Cut of a Three Carat Diamond
  • Side by Side Comparison of Natural and Lab-Created Three Carat Diamonds: Which is the Better Value

How Natural Diamonds Are Formed and the 4Cs:

Natural diamonds are formed in the earth’s mantle and are delivered to the surface through volcanic eruptions. If it sounds like a pretty brutal process, it is.

During its formation, a diamond is exposed to extremely high temperature and pressure conditions, the chances of a three-carat diamond coming to the earth’s surface in pristine conditions are virtually impossible.

While its down there, impurities often leak in, adversely affecting its color and clarity and lowering its quality and value. In addition, smaller diamonds are more common than large ones and inclusions are less visible.

The rarity of a high standard natural diamond emerging drives its price up considerably. It is unlikely you will find a flawless, colorless natural three-carat diamond for less than $200,000.

How Lab Created Diamonds Are Formed and the 4C’s

Lab created diamonds, on the other hand, are formed in a laboratory. While the starting material is the same and the conditions of high temperature and pressure are reproduced, the laboratory setting allows the gemologist more control over how the diamond turns out. 

By controlling the number of impurities and types of gases that leak in, he can create a diamond of a bigger size with higher clarity and better color than a natural diamond at a steady rate. Because these three-carat diamonds can be created with such frequency, they can be sold at 30 to 40% of the cost of a natural diamond.

Color of Three Carat Diamonds

We’ve already discussed how impurities leak in when the natural diamond is formed, adversely affecting its color. The GIA Color Grading System is based on the diamond’s absence of color. The purest and most valuable diamonds are colorless. The GIA’s Color grading system measures the degree of colorlessness of a diamond on a D-Z grading system.

D, E, and F rated diamonds are considered colorless, meaning they have no yellow tint. These are the rarest and most valuable. Diamonds graded G-J are near colorless diamonds meaning their color can only be detected through a jeweler’s loupe at 10x magnification. If you’re not too particular about appraisals, diamonds with A G-J rating can lower the price noticeably without a noticeable distinction in color.

The diamond rated K-Z possess some degree of a noticeable yellow tint. Although there is a large supply of these diamonds, there is a not a great demand. You will notice a significant drop in prices for these.

In the case of lab-created diamonds, the new technologies allow the gemologist to control the impurities that enter the diamond, meaning D-F graded diamonds can be produced more easily and at a greater rate and with the large supply, colorless 3-carat lab-created diamonds can be priced more affordably.

Clarity of Three Carat Diamonds

When diamonds form under the earth under extreme conditions of heat and pressure, they often contain inclusions or flaws. Diamond clarity refers to the degree to which these flaws are noticeable.  The GIA Clarity Grading scale assigns a Clarity Grade based on these inclusions ranging for FL (flawless) to I (included). The closer to the FL side of the scale the diamond is, the more money it will cost.

The Clarity Scale is based on an eleven-point system. Most diamonds fall into the VS (very slightly included) to the S1 category (slightly included). When diamonds fall into the Included category, the diamond’s sparkle and brilliance can be affected. These diamonds are generally undesirable and, as a result, the least costly.

While there is no diamond that is completely flawless, there are some that come close. With the odds of finding a three-carat flawless diamond as they are, a near flawless three-carat natural diamond would break the bank.

Contemporary three-carat lab-created diamonds can be made without flaws, with so much visible resemblance to a natural diamond, an experienced jeweler with a loupe couldn’t tell the difference. At a small percentage of the price, a three-carat flawless diamond can prove to be quite a bargain.

Cut of a Three Carat Diamond

The cut of a diamond is the great equalizer. If diamonds have flaws or hints of color, these imperfections can be camouflaged with the right cut. A diamond’s cut grade refers to the way it interacts with light. When a stone is cut, it should be fashioned so that it transmits light well and sparkles intensely.

In the GIA Cut Grading System, diamonds are graded on three criteria:

  • Brilliance: The white light transmitted by a diamond
  • Fire: The way the bright light is broken down to reflect color
  • Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a stone emits

The scale uses a five-grade rating system ranging from Excellent to Poor. The way a three-carat diamond is cut also factors into its final price. As you can see, with color, clarity and cut weighing in, the price of a three-carat diamond can range widely.

Natural vs. Lab-Created: Which is the Better Value?

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to consider a lab created three-carat diamond as your choice, we’ve done a little side by side comparison for you.

Our first diamond is a lab created diamond from Brilliant Earth. It weighs in at three carats.  It’s cut is ideal, its clarity is VS2 (very slightly included,) and its color rating is an F putting it in the colorless category. According to the 4C’s, this is a very high-quality diamond.

Our second diamond is a Ritani Natural Diamond. It too weighs in at three carats. Like the lab created diamond, its cut is an F,  its clarity is VS2, and its color rating is an F. According to the 4Cs these diamonds are of equal value, yet their price value is nowhere near equal.

The Ritani Natural is $63,009, the Brilliant Earth is 22,300. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

So now that you’ve seem how much buying a three-carat lab diamond will save you as opposed to a natural diamond, would you consider buying one, or will you leave it to nature?

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