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Ask A Diamond Pro: Finding a 2 Ct Round/Oval Diamond For $10-11k

By Mike Fried,

Every day, we receive lots of emails from people with requests to help them find the best diamond for their dream engagement ring. There are no two emails that would be the same. Everyone’s situation is unique. 

Some time ago, we received an email from one of our readers asking us about a 2ct diamond, preferably either a round cut or an oval shape for a side stone or solitaire setting. All that within a maximum budget of $11k. 

Round cut vs oval cut diamond

Here’s the reader’s original email:

“Hello, my budget is $10-11k, looking for round or oval. I’m tall with long fingers so I’d like something that looks as large as possible.

I am also pretty open as far as setting. I have two thoughts — a cathedral setting with side stones, but I’ve heard this can detract from the center stone and make it look smaller. I’m open to a solitaire setting as well. Either way, I’d like to add a diamond wedding band, so I’d want a ring with a setting that can accommodate a band next to it.

Does not need to be a matched set at all. Metal choice is 14K white gold. Thank you!”

At first glance, this all looks fairly simple. Find a 2ct round cut or oval shape diamond and it’s done. But what that reader didn’t realize was that their budget isn’t big enough for an eye-clean 2ct diamond that would look nice in a side stone setting.

This issue gives us a great opportunity to talk about the basics of what’s important to pay attention to when choosing a diamond. In a nutshell, you want to keep the diamond color above the I grade (H color for an oval cut) if you put it in a side stone setting. For solitaire, you can go down to J color (for round only).

As for clarity, the rule of thumb here is to choose an eye-clean diamond. It is a diamond that doesn’t have imperfections visible to the naked eye. And of course, keep the diamond cut at excellent or ideal only.

How To Choose The Right Diamond 4 Cs

A 2 carat diamond is pretty large and shows more imperfections than a smaller stone. But no matter what carat weight you choose, there are a few aspects that matter the most for brilliance and overall diamond beauty and quality. They are called the 4 Cs of diamonds: 

  • Diamond cut: Hands down the most important factor is the diamond cut. The cut determines how brilliant a diamond is going to look. It’s much easier to choose a round diamond as that’s the only shape the GIA gives an actual cut grade. And as long as you stick with an excellent cut, you’re on the right track to a beautiful diamond. 

    But as we mentioned, round cut diamonds are the only ones with GIA cut grades. No other shape receives them. This means that an oval cut is much more difficult to choose and requires a high-quality video.
  • Diamond clarity: The goal for clarity is to find a diamond that’s eye-clean and doesn’t cost an arm and leg. The best way to do so is to go with a VS2 or SI1 clarity grade. Those grades will give you the perfect balance between quality and price.
eye-clean diamond graphic
  • Diamond color: This is where the reader and we had the most discussions. As you probably know from our content, we are strongly against spending money on things you aren’t able to easily see. That’s why we recommend G/H as the highest color grade. Those are also the perfect grades for an oval cut diamond for any white gold setting. 

    However, since round diamonds hide their true color better than other shapes, you can afford to go slightly lower here. We suggest going with an I color grade since the reader wanted to put a diamond wedding band next to the engagement ring. And the smaller diamonds in the band would make anything lower than an I color look yellowish. 
  • Diamond carat weight: This one is pretty easy. The reader was set on a 2 carat diamond or larger and that was their most important criterion. 

A 2 Carat Diamond Price

There are a lot of factors determining the final price of a diamond. But since our reader asked for a round cut or oval shaped diamond, let’s focus on those. 

We already talked about the quality our reader needed for the ring they wanted. This means that a 2 carat I color SI1 clarity round cut diamond would come to around $13k. And an oval cut diamond would be very similarly priced, like this 2.02ct one

The Result

Their preference was to get at least 2 carats, no matter what. But unfortunately, that was way over their budget. However, we suggested going lower in color and changing the setting metal to yellow gold instead. We recommended this 2.23ct round cut diamond of K color and they loved it. Pairing it with a setting such as this tapered yellow gold solitaire setting would give the diamond the right pop. 

2ct round diamond yellow gold solitaire setting
An example of a yellow gold solitaire setting with a round cut diamond center

In the end, they purchased the diamond on its own and had a local jeweler make the setting and the wedding band to match the diamond color. And they were 100% satisfied. 

Our Recommendation

We always recommend getting a slightly smaller diamond that is better cut and looks overall nicer. However, if you are set on a certain carat weight and you don’t want anything smaller, try to play a little with the way you set it so you get the maximum out of it. 

Generally speaking, yellow gold is the best when it comes to lower color diamonds. Because the metal is already darker, any colorless diamond will have a slight tint already, so it’s not worth it to spend more on a higher color that will look identical to a K or J diamond. 

Always try to think about the ring as a whole before you pull the trigger and spend thousands of dollars. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help you through it. 

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