February 15

What Does a 3-Carat Diamond Look Like? | Appearance and Optimal Clarity Grade


Author: Paula Vysovska

Key Takeaways

  • A single carat is 200 milligrams.
  • Different diamonds with the same weight can appear very different.
  • A three-carat diamond weighs 0.6 grams or 600 milligrams.
  • The ideal range for a high-quality diamond in the 3-carat category is a VS2 clarity grade.

What Does a 3-Carat Diamond Look Like?

Each type of diamond is truly unique and special. Taking thousands of years to form within the earth's mantle, diamonds are one of the most sought-after natural creations ever known to man. Every diamond has unique properties, and it's the jewelry designer's job to unearth the beauty of each piece.

The carat weight is one attribute that makes a diamond stand out from other gemstones. Picking a carat weight will primarily depend upon your budget and style. A three-carat diamond is an ideal weight for any engagement ring

This type of diamond will have loads of sparkle and significant impact while still being a perfect match for everyday wear. So what is the size and appearance of a three-carat diamond? Go through the following sections to find out more.

What is a 3 Carat Diamond?

Carat is a measure of a diamond’s weight. It’s one of the popular 4C’s people consider when buying their diamond rings, and a single carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Also, knowing the difference between carat weight (CW) and a total carat weight (TW) helps a buyer understand diamond jewelry price better.

While people often talk about a diamond’s size, how small or large a diamond appears can’t be accurately determined through carat weight only. The diamond shape and cut will impact the diamond size even when the weight is the same.

Diamond Size vs. Carat

In the world of diamonds, the carat weight and size are two different things. Generally, a bigger diamond comes with a higher carat weight, however, there’s an easier way to differentiate them. While a diamond size determines how bigger a diamond is, a carat determines its weight.

Carat is a more accurate way to measure any type of diamond since it does not change with appearance, shape, or cut. A three-carat round diamond and a three-carat princess cut diamond may appear different, but they weigh the same.

a diamond ring in the red box

What is a Carat?

Adopted in 1907, a carat refers to the diamond’s weight. One carat is equal to 200 mg and is divided into one-hundred points. This enables a jeweler or a gemologist to measure a piece of diamond to a one-hundredth decimal place, resulting in a precise measurement. Also, this can help jewelers accurately determine the price of a 3-carat diamond ring.

Are All Carats Created Equal?

Two diamonds or stones with the same carat weight can seem different. Large natural diamonds may not appear bigger than diamonds with a smaller carat. 

A bigger diamond only has larger dimensions, especially at the top and the height. Both the height and the top area can make a diamond with a small carat look bigger.

a ring on the person's hand

3 Carat Diamond Shape Popularity and Availability

There are ten common diamond shapes, but not all are popular. Round brilliant diamonds are the most popular at diamond carat sizes below three. A one-carat diamond in the round brilliant diamond family can deliver high-quality sparkle, and there are different colors to pick from.

But when the cut quality is excellent and carat weight increases, other shapes, including emerald cut diamonds and those with elongated shapes, become more popular because they appear more elegant. 3-carat diamond rings with emerald cut diamonds, cushion cut diamonds, and oval cut diamonds are more popular than the round brilliant diamond cuts.

In general, square cuts such as the asscher and princess cut diamond are less popular, meaning they're not only fewer produced but also fewer to pick from. Heart and marquise shapes are less popular, and they aren't available at a significant carat weight.

Optimal Clarity Grade for 3-Carat Diamond Engagement Rings

Three-carat diamonds tend to have a significant surface area as a result of their overall size, and that's why poor-quality cuts and imperfections are easier to spot in diamonds of this size than with lower-carat weights.

For a three-carat diamond, you must choose a slightly higher clarity grade. The main aim here is to find an internally flawless diamond, which means it’s clean to the naked eye.

According to the Gemological Institute of America, an internally flawless diamond offers the highest quality.

closeup of a ring on the finger

3 Carat Diamond Ring Settings

Top-notch diamond ring settings enhance a diamond’s beauty and allow you to let your personality shine. The most common types of settings that blend smoothly with different diamond carat sizes include the six-prong setting and solitaire setting.

The Optimal Color Grade for a 3-Carat Diamond

Similar to blemishes and inclusions, a diamond’s color becomes clearer as the carat weight upsurges. Colored diamonds are categorized based on a color grade scale that ranges from A to Z. 

A color grade between D, which is completely colorless to Z, which is yellow, measures how little it reflects the color. Your main aim is to find a diamond color that appears colorless against the 3-carat diamond ring setting. To strike an excellent balance between beauty and cost, you should pick one of these color grades:

  •  Rose gold or yellow gold setting: I-K
  • White gold or platinum setting: H-I

3 Carat Diamond Cut Grade

A cut grade is the main feature that makes a beautiful diamond stand out from the crowd. Nothing else comes closer, including diamond color and clarity rating. Most individuals are under the illusion that a better diamond’s clarity enhance the beauty. The truth is that any diamond needs neither perfect color nor flawless to look beautiful, which means with a high diamond’s cut grade, a colorless diamond can look attractive.

What is Special about 3-Carat Diamond Rings?

A 3-carat diamond weighs 600 mg. Although it seems small, this weight results in a respectable size for most diamonds. What is also special about a 3-carat diamond is that it blends smoothly with any fancy shape and fits any type of setting, depending on your preferences. Additionally, almost all 3-carat diamond rings provide a brilliant sparkle.

How to Make Your 3-Carat Diamond Look Bigger?

If smaller diamonds aren’t your type, you can make your smaller diamond appear bigger. Here are the most common ways to make your smaller diamond look larger.

  • Use recommended engagement ring settings.
  • Choose a fancy diamond shape.
  • Pick a small engagement ring band.
  • Consider lab-grown diamonds if you’re on a budget.
various diamond rings settings

Final Thoughts: How Much Do 3-Carat Diamond Rings Cost?

A diamond’s price is determined by various factors, not just the carat weight. Cut, color, clarity, and shape also determine the value of engagement rings. 

Furthermore, it matters whether you’re looking at real or lab diamonds. A real diamond can cost anywhere between $15k and $150k, while a lab-grown diamond ranges from $10k to $30k.

FAQs about a 3-Carat Diamond

Are 3 Carats Considered Big?

Yes, a 3-carat diamond is considered big. According to professionals, any diamond weighing more than 2 carats fits into the category of big stones.

How Much is 3 Carat Diamond Worth?

There is a massive price variation for a 3-carat diamond, depending on the type and grade of the stone. The price of real three-carat diamonds ranges between $15k and $150k.

What is a Respectable Carat Size?

A 1.0-carat center stone was the standard size for engagement rings. But recently, individuals are choosing engagement rings with diamonds averaging between 1.50 and 2.0 carats.

Are 3 Carats Too Big for an Engagement Ring?

3 carats aren’t too big for a diamond ring. It's large enough in weight and size to stand out.

About the Author:

Paula Vysovska

I have a strong background in editorial roles as well as content writing. I oversee all Diamond Explainer content on the topics related to fine jewelry, precious gemstones, and the diamond industry in general.

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