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When it comes to purchasing a diamond, larger carat weights often involve considerations that don’t always come into play with smaller stones.
For example, buying a diamond in the 3+ carat range often means dealing with a more limited selection. It also means paying closer attention to factors like color and inclusions, which may be more visible through a larger diamond’s table.
Recently, a reader contacted us to ask for assistance picking a four carat diamond in either the princess cut or radiant cut. They were looking to spend approximately $24,000 for the diamond and wanted to see our recommendations.
Here’s their original email:
“Hello, my boyfriend has a budget of $24,000.
Is it possible to find a 4 carat diamond for this budget? Can you please recommend one in princess cut and radiant cut?
The setting that I have chosen is the following: PLATINUM 0.41CT COMMON PRONG ROUND SHAPED DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING
Thank you. Also which one has more worth, princess cut vs radiant cut?”
There are several things to address here. The first is the reader’s question about if it’s possible to find a four carat diamond for $24,000 or less. The second is what to look for in a diamond of this carat weight in the princess or radiant cut.
Let’s start with their first question. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to find a good quality four carat diamond for $24,000 or less, even in an affordable diamond shape such as the princess cut or radiant cut.
However, it is possible to find an attractive, beautiful princess or radiant cut diamond in the two to three carat range for this budget.
Regarding what to look for, we recommend carefully comparing diamonds to find a stone that’s eye-clean (meaning it has no visible inclusions or blemishes when viewed in a “real-life” setting) and free of visible color when it’s paired with a setting.
We’ve explained more about the process of buying a diamond in this price range below, along with several examples of what’s available with a budget of $24,000.
The princess cut and radiant cut are both beautiful diamond shapes. Both have an exceptional level of brilliance, meaning they reflect and refract light well, and both offer an elegant, modern appearance that pairs well with just about any type of setting.
They’ve also both undergone something of a resurgence in recent decades. While the princess cut has been consistently popular (it ranks #2 in popularity behind the round brilliant cut), it experienced a major increase in popularity in the 2000s, as reported by Us Weekly.
Part of this is likely because of the uniqueness of the princess cut. As the GIA notes, in a display case full of round brilliants, the princess cut can appear “different… beautiful… unusual.” This different yet elegant and versatile appearance is undoubtedly part of what has made this diamond shape so popular for such a long time.
Because the princess and radiant cuts are less wasteful than other diamond shapes (meaning less of the rough diamond is discarded during the cutting process), they’re comparatively affordable when compared to the round brilliant cut.
Unfortunately, purchasing a four carat princess or radiant cut diamond for $24,000 or less isn’t really possible.
The reason for this is that diamond prices increase exponentially with carat weight, meaning a four carat diamond will cost much more per carat than four one carat diamonds. Put simply, as the weight of a diamond increases, so does the amount you pay for each carat.
Most four carat diamonds are priced from $30,000 up, with attractive diamonds often priced in the range of $60,000 or more.
For example, this 4.03 carat, G color, VS2 clarity princess cut diamond from James Allen costs $57,510 — a competitive price for a diamond of this quality.
Similarly, this 4.01 carat, H color, VVS1 clarity radiant cut diamond is priced at $68,140, or about $16,993 per carat.
While this might look like a bad thing, the upside is that carat weight (as one of the diamond 4 Cs) is just one factor that plays a role in a diamond’s appearance. By prioritizing the other Cs — cut quality, clarity and color — it’s possible to find a smaller diamond that looks just as impressive as a four carat stone.
In fact, a beautifully cut two to three carat diamond will usually look vastly more impressive than a dull, poorly cut four carat diamond.
The reason for this is that the cut of a diamond has a big impact on its perceived size. Because a well cut diamond is much more brilliant than a poorly cut one, it will look larger on the wearer’s finger, even if it has a lower carat weight.
Instead of recommending lower quality, more affordable four carat diamonds, we suggested that this reader consider looking for a princess or radiant cut diamond in the two to three carat range with a focus on optimal cut quality.
Two diamonds that stood out to us were this 3.00 carat, I color, SI1 clarity princess cut diamond and this 3.01 carat, H color, VS2 clarity radiant cut diamond, both of which offer an excellent mix of great cut quality and value for money.
When purchasing a diamond in the 2+ carat range, it’s important to pay close attention to clarity and color.
A diamond clarity refers to its lack of visible inclusions and blemishes. A diamond with several visible inclusions — particularly in obvious areas — will almost always look less attractive than a diamond that’s eye-clean, meaning it has no inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.
Finding an eye-clean diamond is particularly important with diamonds in the 2+ carat range, as the large tables of these diamonds can make inclusions more obvious.
The good news here is that both the princess cut and the radiant cut are fantastic at concealing most inclusions, meaning you can safely choose a diamond in the SI1 to VS2 clarity range and still get an eye-clean stone. Just try to avoid any inclusions in the corners of a pricness cut. They would make the diamond more prone to chopiing when it hit something.
When it comes to color, we recommend choosing an I color grade for a princess cut diamond or a grade of H or better for a radiant cut diamond to ensure that the diamond appears colorless in relation to its setting.
So, with these guidelines in mind, what type of princess or radiant cut diamond is available for a budget of around $24,000?
This 2.50 carat, I color, VVS1 clarity princess cut diamond from James Allen is priced at $24,310 and is sure to stand out in any setting. This 2.20 carat, G color, VVS1 clarity radiant cut diamond, which is available for $22,600, is also a compelling option (and since it’s longer, it’ll look larger on the hand than the princess cut diamond).
This reader included a second question in their email that we often receive: which diamond cut is worth more?
As we’ve previously covered, diamonds do have resale value. However, because diamonds are sold with a retail markup, you will almost always lose a significant amount of money should you ever decide to sell your diamond in the future.
Because of this, it generally isn’t worth spending too much time thinking about the resale value of different diamond shapes. Both the princess cut and radiant cut have resale value, but there isn’t a substantial difference between the two.
Instead, it’s better to simply choose the diamond shape you want and focus on getting the best value from your purchase.
Finding a four carat diamond for $24,000 generally isn’t possible, even with major compromises in terms of diamond quality. However, you can find a beautiful princess or radiant cut diamond in the 2.50 carat range for this price.
As always, when picking a diamond in the two to three carat range, we recommend focusing on cut quality first, then choosing a diamond with eye-clean clarity and a color grade that gives it a colorless appearance in relation to its setting.
If you need help picking a diamond, or comparing diamonds you’ve selected, feel free to contact us. Our experts are happy to help you find and purchase the ideal diamond, engagement ring or other jewelry for your tastes and budget.
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