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Two carats, too costly?

Two carats, too costly?

So you’re looking for a diamond and you've got your carats covered. But you’re surely wondering, how much will your shiny 2-carat diamond cost?

Well, the answer to that is the ever frustrating “how long is a piece of string” - although in this case, your piece of string is sparkly, gorgeous and sure to make people jealous!

While the number of carats reflects the weight of your diamond, there’s still a great deal that can influence the price. Diamonds are all about the Four C’s - something you’re bound to run into if you’re looking at buying one.

Even though you may well know how many carats you’re after, you've still got those other pesky C’s to think about too: Cut, Colour, Clarity. How does it all affect the cost?

Carat Weight

You’re considering a 2-carat diamond. But what does that really mean?

Simply put, the carat is the weight. It roughly equates to size (although carat weight isn’t a reliable indicator of size, for reasons we won’t get into here). Obviously, bigger diamonds are harder to find and so command a higher price.

One carat is 200 milligrams, easily divisible so there are one hundred points of 2 mg each. When you hear a diamond is referred to in points, that’s just another way of breaking down the carat. So, if you can see past the sparkle, a 2-carat diamond is 200 points - or 400 milligrams. Except that’s just boring numbers, and diamonds are about a bit more than that.

But wait, I sort of like numbers!

You do? So do a lot of people. So much so, that you’ll find a nice round-numbered 2-carat diamond will cost you a lot more than a 1.95 carat - even though there’s hardly any visible difference between them. Everyone likes a nice round number it seems. But what about how round your diamond is?

But, before we move on… Here’s an example of two diamonds with very similar grades but with drastically different prices.

Diamond 1 

  • Round Brilliant
  • 1.95 carats
  • G colour
  • VVS1 clarity
  • Certified by GIA
  • 9.35 diamond score 
  • £25390

Diamond 2 

  • Round Brilliant
  • 2 carats
  • G colour
  • VVS1 clarity
  • Certified by GIA
  • 9.29 diamond score
  • £29180

Cut Grade

It’s a little less mathematical here, and all about how to make that diamond shine.

What you want is a beautifully cut diamond, one that just demands to sit on your finger - where every facet has been carefully angled to reflect, refract and radiate light. The best cut diamonds make such great use of light that they give off that tell-tale sparkle even in the dimmest room.

When it comes down to it, cut is the thing that really makes a diamond special - and it has an enormous influence on the price. So although opting for the highest possible cut grade will mean you’ll be paying more for your diamond, it’s still the best thing to splurge on. If there’s one C you really want to be certain of, it’s the cut grade - that’s where the sparkles come from.

So is cut the same as shape?

Not quite, as if all those C’s weren't confusing enough! Shape just describes the form of a diamond after all the technical magic to make it shine has been done. So ‘shape’ means exactly what a preschooler would expect it to. Cut is about how well a diamond is turned into that shape.

Professional diamond cutters know the best way to cut a stone to make it sing, so whether you want a sparkling Round Brilliant or a dazzling Princess, a well-cut diamond will always shine. Most of the price influence on shape itself is down to supply and demand - for example, a popular shape increasing in price due to high demand or a less popular shape that’s simply in short supply as a result. A high-quality cut, on the other hand, is always worth more.

It’s worth noting at this point that only Round Brilliant Diamonds are given a cut grade by the majority of independent laboratories.

Colour Grade

So colour would seem straightforward enough, and indeed it’s perhaps the easiest of the Four C’s to understand.

Diamonds can vary in colour, from the much sought-after colourless stone to a yellow, almost brown tint. As is often the case we judge everything by the best, so the scale for colour is based around the rarer, colourless diamonds. Even a tiny hint of colour can dramatically decrease the price.

The diamond grading for colour goes from a colourless D and E all the way to the tint of an S-Z. As most people expect a diamond to be sparkling white, stones in the lower colour range tend not to be as popular or as desirable. That does however mean they cost a great deal less. We’d recommend you don’t go lower than a J, though.

Below shows 'roughly’ the difference between the colour grades D (left) and J (right).

 D Colour Loose DiamondJ Colour Loose Diamond 

Clarity Grade

And finally, you've got clarity. Hopefully, we've provided a bit of this for you already! Nothing is perfect (although diamonds come close). Even what seems like the most beautiful diamond at a glance might have a tiny flaw when seen close up.

We call these tiny imperfections the characteristics of clarity and they come in two forms: First, the imaginatively named inclusions which refer to any flaws within a diamond, and second, blemishes, which - yes you've guessed it - mean any problems with the exterior of the stone.

It might seem strange that such small imperfections can impact the price, but when you get close up you can really see how some can affect the sparkle too. Interestingly, inclusions tend to be rated on their size and number, rather than positioning. This means that although one inclusion might be smaller, it could actually have a more direct impact on light performance than a larger inclusion depending on where it’s sited. A smart buyer might find a saving there!

But how much can the Four C’s really affect the price?
Well, as we've said, there’s a whole lot of C that can change the value of a diamond. But let’s give you a few examples to show how much the price can vary. And remember, if you want to be as clued-up as possible, feel free to have a look at our diamond buying guide.

Here are a few examples taken from our diamond search.

Diamond ‘A’ £12,320

  • Cut: Excellent
  • Colour: H (has a faint colour tint)
  • Clarity: SI1 (Slightly included)
  • Certified By: GIA

Diamond ‘B’ £19,470

  • Cut: Excellent
  • Colour: F (Colourless)
  • Clarity: VS1 (Very slightly included)
  • Certified By: GIA

Diamond ‘C’ £41,980

  • Cut: Excellent
  • Colour: D (Colourless)
  • Clarity: FL (Flawless)
  • Certified By: GIA

As you can see there’s a £30,000 difference between Diamond A and Diamond C! With a flawless, colourless diamond you’re always going to be paying more than a diamond with slight colour and inclusions. Ultimately, the combination of Four C’s that best suits you is down to preference, and of course budget. Just remember, the better the diamond, the more it sparkles!


Read our Expert Advice on the 4C's.

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