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The Expert Guide to Buying a 3 Carat Diamond Ring

Everything you need to know about the price and qualities of a 3 carat engagement ring

By Mike Fried,
3ct Cushion cut diamond in a simple halo ring
3ct cushion cut diamond in a simple halo ring from Abe Mor

A 3 carat diamond ring is guaranteed to turn heads. The typical engagement ring in the United States is 1 carat, so a 3 carat is definitely putting you in luxury territory. It’s like graduating from Calvin Klein to Gucci (or for non-fashionistas, like going from a Volkswagen to a BMW). As long as you find a balance between value and quality that 3 ct engagement ring will truly be the center of attention.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

How much does a 3 carat diamond cost?
How large is a 3 carat diamond?
What is the size of each 3 carat diamond shape?
Where should I buy a 3 carat diamond ring from?
Tips to buy a good 3 carat diamond
What style 3 carat engagement ring should I get?
FAQs about 3 carat diamond rings
Bottom line recommendation

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How Much Does a 3 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?

  • 3 carat natural round cut: $36,000
  • 3 carat natural oval cut: $31,000
  • 3 carat natural princess cut: $35,000
  • 3 carat lab-grown round: $4,300
  • 3 carat lab-grown oval: $4,000
  • 3 carat lab-grown princess: $3,800

A good quality 3 carat diamond will cost you between $28,000 and $44,000 depending on the shape. 3 ct diamond prices on the high or low end of the quality spectrum can vary from $20,000 to $125,000. The cost of a 3 carat diamond engagement ring depends on a number of factors including cut quality, clarity, color, and shape. You can check out the price differences across different carat weights using our diamond value calculator. We will go over how to find the sweet spot when balancing size and quality.

3 Carat Natural Diamond Price Chart – Updated June 2024

ShapeTop Quality
D/E, FL/IF
Our Recommendation
G/H, VS2/SI
The Lower End
I/J SI1/SI2
Round$115,000$35,840$35,500
Princess$101,500$35,140$23,720
Cushion$106,000$27,430$22,200
Emerald$84,250$32,720$28,970
Oval$82,000$29,810$26,150
Pear$89,000$30,360$25,500
Marquise$95,000$38,170$36,500
Radiant$72,000$32,550$25,940
Asscher$89,400$33,070$23,880

In the last couple of years, lab-grown diamonds’ popularity has surged. To many its an option to get a significantly large diamond within their budget. If you want to learn more here is our primer on the pros and cons of lab-grown vs natural diamonds.

3 Carat Lab-Grown Diamond Price Chart – Updated June 2024

ShapeTop Quality
D/E, FL-VVS1
Our Recommendation
G/H, VS2/SI
Round$11,400$4,090
Princess$9,600$4,060
Cushion$12,100$4,390
Emerald$9,400$3,500
Oval$11,100$4,660
Pear$11,700$3,600
Marquise$12,500$3,280
Radiant$11,500$4,760
Asscher$12,000$5,640

Diamond prices historically rise at a slow and steady pace, with occasional surges and dips. At the beginning of 2023, we are seeing a dip in prices and demand. That makes sense given the surge of 2021-2022 for luxury goods. Analysts at Citi and Bain stated that luxury sales grew by a whopping 15% in 2022 alone. To better understand the topic, check out our article on diamonds prices.

Cut quality is the factor that most greatly impacts the price—and beauty—of a 3 carat diamond ring. That’s why we recommend only considering excellent and Ideal cut 3 carat diamonds. A lower cut grade results in a diamond without brilliance—making such a large purchase worthless. So paying more for cut quality is certainly worth it. Color and clarity also impact the price of a 3 carat diamond, but not as much as cut.

As carat weight increases, so does the cost per carat. Diamonds with a higher carat weight are more rare, especially in a high-quality cut. For instance, the average cost of a 3.50 carat diamond is between $24,000-$160,000, with some priced as high as $190,000.

How Big is a 3 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring?

A 3 carat diamond weighs 600 milligrams and has a diameter (if it is round) of 9.2 millimeters. The standard dimensions for a round diamond are 9.20 X 9.20 X 5.73mm. In this chart, you can see the relative size of all 3 carat diamond shapes.

All diamond cuts comparison of 3ct
Comparing 3 carat diamonds to a coin for perspective

Diamonds on a wholesale level are priced per carat. If a 2.50 carat diamond has a price of $12,280 per carat the diamond’s price would be $12,280 x 2.50, equaling $30,700.

Diamond prices per carat also increase with higher weight categories. For example, a 2 carat diamond from James Allen might be priced at $8,380 per carat, while a similar 3 carat diamond from Blue Nile is $10,920 per carat. The price increases exponentially with weight due to the diamond’s higher weight value and higher price per carat within the weight category.

Diamond size and diamond carat are often mistaken as meaning the same thing.

A larger-sized diamond does not mean it is of a larger carat. The table surface area, depth, and other shape features are not impacted by the diamond’s carat weight. These aspects are dependent on the diamond shape and how the diamond is cut—both of which contribute to how big a diamond appears.

As an example, a 3 carat oval shaped diamond will likely appear larger than this 3 carat round brilliant cut in a solitaire setting from James Allen. Both are stunning choices, but the size appearance differs even though the carat weight is the same.

When it comes to carat weight and size, review several options and diamond shapes to determine which diamonds are most appealing to you.

You can also get inspired in the celebrity world. Not every famous person has a ring that no one can afford. Some opt for a reasonable size with a lot of elegance, such as JWoww’s 3ct oval engagement ring.

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3 Carat Diamond Size by Shape

An exquisite 3 carat diamond can be found in any diamond shape. Based primarily on personal preference and style, diamond shape is often the first decision to make.

If size appearance is important to you or the receiver, it may be helpful to note the surface area difference amongst 3 carat diamonds of different shapes. Depending on table size (the top, flat surface of a diamond), a certain shape may appear larger.

Elongated shapes, such as oval and pear shaped diamonds, most often have a larger visible appearance than other shapes, such as round brilliant, princess, and asscher cuts, of the same carat weight.

The chart below shares the different surface areas based on diamond shape:

Diamond ShapeApproximate Table Surface Area for 3 Carat
Round brilliant cut9.30×9.30×5.65mm
Princess cut8.00×8.00×5.70mm
Emerald cut 9.50×7.00×4.65mm
Asscher cut8.10×8.10×5.27mm
Radiant cut 8.50×7.50×5.33mm
Cushion cut 9.00×8.00×5.38mm
Oval diamond11.50×7.50×4.75mm
Pear shaped diamond 12.50×8.00×4.80mm
Heart shaped diamond9.50×9.50×5.68mm
Marquise diamond14.00×7.00×4.57mm
Trillion diamond11.16×11.16×4.45mm

Where To Buy a 3 Carat Engagement Ring

With a 3 carat diamond ring, you have increased flexibility and options because of a larger budget and carat weight. We have an article dedicated to the best places to buy engagement rings and our top recommendation there, James Allen, is still number one for 3 carat diamond rings. But as your budget increases, your options shift a bit. One, in particular, should be singled out.

If you live near New York City or have the opportunity to travel there, Abe Mor diamonds is a unique option. Specializing in larger diamonds, Abe Mor is an actual wholesaler who works with boutique jewelry designers in the city. He has provided unique diamond and jewelry options for many of our readers. You can read more in our review of Abe Mor.

As the diamond size goes up and the number of options narrows, it’s much more useful for you to contact us directly and we will help you figure out which place is the perfect fit for you.

A 3 carat diamond was the diamond of choice for former Olympic athletes Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens. According to National Jeweler Magazine, the ring is an “F-color with VVS2 clarity, set on a 14-karat white gold shank with diamond pavé for maximum sparkle”.

How To Get The Best Value For a 3 Carat Diamond Ring

Our goal is for you to find the most exceptional 3 carat diamond—at a price that’s excellent within the market. We want you to stick to your engagement ring budget and focus on areas that greatly affect a diamond’s beauty while scaling back in the areas that won’t be noticed by the naked eye.

Above all, we recommend reviewing the diamond yourself or having an expert assist you. We also advocate that all diamonds you are considering have a GIA certificate. This ensures that what is stated is validated by an esteemed grading entity.

If a seller suggests you purchase a diamond with a different grading entity, it’s best to steer clear. No matter what the lab report states, the actual quality of the diamond is far less than what they are stating.

To ensure your 3 carat diamond is radiant and brilliant, and will maintain its value, follow our experts’ recommendations:

  • Shape: Choose the diamond shape most appealing to you and the wearer. The shape is primarily decided on personal style. Pick a setting that provides stability to the shape you choose.
  • Cut: Be certain your diamond is an ideal cut or an excellent grade on the GIA scale (for round diamonds). An exceptional diamond cut will maximize the fire and brilliance above any other feature.
  • Clarity: Normally we go with VS2 to SI2 for clarity grade recommendations. Since a 3 ct diamond is on the larger side, we recommend going with VS1 to SI1. See the entire diamond clarity chart.
  • Color: We recommend diamonds in the nearly colorless range of H to I on the diamond color scale. To the naked eye, these diamonds will appear just as clear as diamonds in the D to F range but will cost much less. As the industry-leading diamond laboratory GIA says, “diamond color is about what you don’t see.” If you can’t see the difference, don’t pay extra for a DEF color diamond.

Pro Tip: If you are visiting a retailer, don’t buy on the spot. Pushy salesperson aside, the diamond likely won’t be sold while you think about it for a few days. Write down all the details and be sure to research the characteristics and do a price comparison. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to give you our opinion on the diamond.

3 Carat Engagement Ring Inspiration

Here we’ll show you some examples of beautiful rings in a few different shapes and settings, to give you inspiration for your 3 carat diamond engagement ring.

3ct solitaire round cut diamond ring
3 carat Round Diamond Ring
3 carat three-stone ring
3 Carat Oval Diamond Ring
3ct emerald pave diamond ring
3 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond Ring
3 carat princess cut diamond ring
3 Carat Princess Cut Diamond Ring

FAQs About 3 Carat Engagement Rings

Now we’ll answer some common questions our readers come to us with regarding 3 carat engagement rings.

How Much Does a 3 Carat Lab Grown Diamond Cost?

You can get a 3ct diamond for less than $4,000 if you are willing to purchase a lab-grown diamond. Lab-grown diamonds have risen in popularity in the last few years. If you think that is in your wheelhouse, read more about lab-grown vs. natural diamonds.

Is a 3 Carat Ring Too Big?

3 carat diamond rings are much larger than your average engagement ring. Whether it is too big depends on your budget and opinion. However, consider that a big diamond, such as a 3ct diamond, will show any imperfections or inclusions easier. So instead of getting the largest carat weight that your budget allows, it may be a better idea to focus on a smaller diamond with higher grades in cut, color, and clarity.

Which Metal Should I get in a Three Carat Diamond Ring Setting?

While you are perfectly fine going with a setting made of 14K or 18K gold, with a 3 carat diamond you may consider upgrading to a platinum setting. Or you can make sure there is a platinum head. For more information check out our engagement ring metal guide.

Should I Buy a Three Carat Diamond Online?

You can definitely buy a high-quality three carat ring online without stress. Make sure to purchase from a reputable retailer (like the ones recommended above) that have a full refund policy. We talk about this more in our article comparing buying a diamond online vs in a physical retailer.

We’re Here To Help, Contact Our Experts

Make your search for a 3 carat diamond ring easier with the information in this guide. Consider saving our link as a bookmark so you can refer to it while looking online at different diamonds.

If you’re not confident in selecting an ideal cut diamond at an excellent price, contact our experts and they’ll be happy to assist you. With our years of experience and having looked at thousands of diamonds, we can easily distinguish a luxurious, high-class 3 carat diamond from a less than outstanding choice.

With a 3 carat diamond, your options change. We have helped many of our readers work directly with diamond importers and boutique jewelry designers.

Bottom Line Recommendation:

A well-cut, stunning 3 carat engagement ring will capture the heart of the receiver—and all those who view it. Because of its significant carat weight, a 3 carat diamond offers extraordinary capacity for brilliance, sparkle and fire.

But buying any 3 carat diamond will not get you the results you want. You could buy a poorly cut 3 carat diamond and save some money, but it will be dull and lifeless compared to one with proper proportions.

What to Look for
What to Avoid
When purchasing a round cut, limit yourself to excellent or ideal cut only.
Avoid diamonds that do not have a GIA certificate.
For 3ct diamonds, you are better off focusing on VS1 or VS2 clarity diamonds. It's possible to find an eye-clean SI, but it is rare.
Avoid diamonds that have strong or very strong blue fluorescence. For diamonds this size it will drop the value of the diamond quite a bit.
For a 3 carat diamond, focus on G-H color. Depending on the setting, you can drop to I-J color.
Avoid diamonds that have worriesome notes on the certificate. E.G. "clarity grade based on cloud not shown".
Having trouble navigating the diamond buying minefield? We are happy to help. CONTACT US

Here are more carat size topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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