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Buying a 1/2 Carat Diamond Ring

An expert guide to get the perfect 0.50 carat engagement ring

By Mike Fried,

Are you interested in buying a 1/2 carat diamond ring? When you start your search for a diamond engagement ring, one of the first things you should understand is that carat is not the be-all and end-all. You can get a stunning engagement ring on any budget as long as you don’t cut corners on quality. And we will show you how in this article.

Bottom Line:

  • Check Certification: Ensure that the diamond comes with a GIA certificate. Reputable labs offer the most accurate grading, giving you confidence in your purchase.
  • Prioritize cut quality: A well-cut diamond will maximize brilliance and sparkle. We recommend focusing on cut quality over other aspects like color or clarity when you’re on a budget.
  • Mind the color and clarity: While cut is important, don’t completely ignore color and clarity. Opt for a diamond that falls within the G-H color range and a clarity of VS2 or SI1 for best value without compromising appearance.
  • Budget properly: Expect to pay between $750 and $850 for our recommended diamonds depending on color and clarity.
  • Consult experts for custom settings: If you’re considering a custom setting, consult with us to ensure that the setting will not only look good but also securely hold the diamond.

Monthly Diamond Price History

  • 0.5 Carat

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

How much does a ½ carat diamond ring cost?
How large is a ½ carat diamond?
Where is the best place to buy a ½ carat diamond?
What is the difference between a ½ carat and 1 carat diamond?
What style ring should I put my ½ carat diamond in?
FAQs about ½ carat diamonds
Bottom line recommendation

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.
Beautiful 1/2ct diamond engagement ring
A gorgeous pavé 1/2ct diamond engagement ring that looks incredible on petite hands

How Much Does a 1/2 Carat Diamond Ring Cost?

A good quality half carat diamond will cost you between $600 and $900 depending on which shape you like. If you want to go with the highest quality, a half carat diamond can cost you up to $2,200. If you want to drop a bit more on the quality, you can get a half carat diamond for $500. You can check out the price differences across different carat weights using our diamond value calculator.

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0.50 Carat Diamond Price Chart – Updated July 2024

ShapeTop Quality
Our Recommendation
The Lower End
Click on our recommendations to see a diamond we recommend from James Allen

These prices are for the diamond only. The retailers that offer better quality products let you select the exact diamond and setting you prefer and then assemble it into a complete ring. A typical setting runs from $200 – $1,500 depending on the style and whether there are a lot of smaller diamonds on the setting.

Half Carat Diamond Pricing Explained

Diamond prices vary greatly depending on various qualities. Carat is one – higher carat diamonds almost always cost more per carat than smaller diamonds. Diamond color and diamond clarity affect the price too.

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. For a better understanding of the topic, check out our article on how diamonds are priced.

As with any luxury or fashion item, the economy does factor into pricing as well. While sales surged in 2021 and came a little down to earth in 2022, most economists aren’t expecting a big recession drop. As Paul Zimsky noted, “The narrative has swung from dire, the-world-is-ending chatter to an overall feeling that the economy will slow down enough to quell inflation in 2023 and allow the high-flying economy to have a soft landing”.

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How Large is a Half Carat Diamond?

A 0.5 carat round means that the diamond weighs 100 milligrams. A carat is a weight measurement equaling 0.20 grams. The dimensions for a half carat diamond are approximately 5.10mm in diameter and a depth of 3.10mm.

However, depending on the shape and how the diamond is cut, it may have a slightly larger or smaller appearance. This is because carat refers to weight, not size. Half a carat is equivalent to 100 milligrams, or 0.1 grams.

You can also look at this image that gives you a better idea about the 0.50ct diamond sizes compared to a US quarter and to each other (click the image to enlarge it).

0.50ct all cut diamonds size comparison

Diamond Carat Weight and Diamond Size are not the Same

While each 1/2 carat diamond has the same weight, some may appear larger or smaller. The table size, which is to say the visible area when you view a diamond from the top-down, is bigger with certain diamond shapes, such as oval, pear and marquise cut diamonds.

These shapes are longer and have a larger surface area, which makes them appear bigger at first glance

On the other hand, asscher and princess cut diamonds have a smaller than average table size and may appear smaller than a different shape of a diamond at the same carat weight.

Diamond ShapeDimensions for 0.50 Carat
Round brilliant cut 5.10×5.10×3.15mm
Princess cut4.40×4.40×3.15mm
Emerald cut 5.50×4.00×3.00mm
Asscher cut4.40×4.40×2.70mm
Radiant cut 5.00×4.50×2.75mm
Cushion cut 5.00×4.50×2.75mm
Oval diamond6.00×4.00×2.50mm
Pear shaped diamond 7.00×4.50×2.75mm
Heart shaped diamond5.40×5.40×3.30mm
Marquise diamond 8.50×4.00×2.65mm
0.50 carat diamond size chart

The cut quality can also affect the size of the diamond. A poorly cut 1/2 carat round diamond can have a diameter of 4.80mm while an ideal cut diamond will have a diameter of 5.10. Even though their weight and everything else may be the same, the well-cut diamond will look 5% larger. More importantly, it will look more brilliant.

”Because of their rarity, large diamonds command a premium – so much so that the difference in price isn’t geometric but exponential. In other words, a 1.00ct diamond will cost much more per carat than a 0.50ct diamond. A 2.00ct diamond will have a much higher per-carat price than a 1.00ct diamond.” Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

Where to Buy a 1/2 Carat Diamond Ring

As we explained in our guide to buying diamond jewelry online, we highly recommend buying from a trusted online vendor instead of a brick-and-mortar jewelry store. Buying online gives you access to a larger selection of diamonds than any offline jewelry store can offer. And online retailers are generally cheaper than physical stores.

Our top recommendations based off of hundreds of secret shopping experiences are James Allen and Blue Nile. You can read more about it in our Best places to buy an engagement ring article.

The Difference Between a 1/2 Carat Diamond and a 1 Carat Diamond

In terms of size, a round 1/2 carat diamond cut to ideal proportions measures 5.1mm in diameter, compared to 6.5mm for a 1 carat diamond. In terms of weight, a 1 carat diamond is obviously double the weight of a half carat diamond.

In price, however, a 1 carat diamond will almost always cost more per carat than an equivalent 1/2 carat diamond. That means despite being double the weight, the 1 carat diamond price should be more than double.

Your typical 1/2 carat diamond will run you $1,000-1,500. A similar 1 carat diamond will cost you roughly $6,000, about four times the price for double the size.

0.5ct vs. 1ct diamond ring
The difference: 0.50ct vs. 1ct Oval Cut Diamond (in a Micropavé Yellow Gold Setting)

There is no easy answer to whether it’s a good idea to go for a 1 carat or 1/2  carat diamond ring. It comes down to a variety of factors, and your own preference. In particular, you’ll need to consider your budget. If you don’t have much to spend on an engagement ring, don’t blow your entire budget on the highest carat weight you can get. It may be a better idea to go a little smaller, with a 1/2 carat diamond ring, in order to get a more beautiful diamond.

If you’re struggling to know how much your budget should be, this guide is here to help. You can always contact us at any time for personalized help. 

1/2 Carat Engagement Ring Settings

The setting is another important choice you have to make when buying a 1/2 carat diamond engagement ring. The right setting can accentuate the half carat diamond you picked out, it can mask or accentuate certain characteristics of the diamond, and in some cases can make a relatively small half carat diamond appear larger.

There is also an element of personal preference in play here. Some settings may simply appeal more or less to the wearer’s style.

Here are some examples of 1/2 carat diamond rings in a few popular settings, to give you and idea of what you have to choose from:

princess cut solitaire engagement ring
2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring Setting
yellow gold solitaire with a pear shape diamond
Solitaire Engagement Ring in Yellow Gold with a Pear Shape Diamond
split shank halo engagement ring
Split-Shank Halo Engagement Ring with a Round Cut Diamond
twisted cabled yellow gold oval ring
Halo Cabled Engagement Ring Setting with an Oval Cut Diamond
simple thin pavé engagement ring
Micropavé Engagement Ring Setting with a Round Cut Diamond

FAQs About Half Carat Diamonds

We’ll finish up by answering some of the most common questions we see asked regarding 0.5 carat diamonds and 1/2 carat diamond engagement rings.

Is a half carat diamond too small?

While a 1/2 carat diamond is towards the smaller end of diamonds used for engagement rings, it is by no means too small. With diamonds, size is not everything. A 0.5 carat diamond can still make for a beautiful and elegant engagement ring, while a larger diamond with poorer grades in other areas may not measure up to the same standard.

If you’re concerned about the visual appearance of a 1/2 carat diamond ring, consider setting it in a halo setting, which can amplify the center stone and give the illusion of a larger diamond.

How much does a 0.50 carat lab-grown diamond cost?

You can get a beautiful 0.50 carat lab grown diamond for $450. That saves you about $300 over a natural diamond. If you are going with a simple setting, that savings is significant. But if you are spending $2,000+ on the setting, you are better off sticking with a natural diamond.

You can read our article discussing the differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds here.

What is a 50 point diamond?

In the diamond industry, a diamond carat is sometimes referred to by a point system. A 1 carat diamond is 100 points, meaning a 0.50 carat diamond may also be called a 50 point diamond, or a 50 pointer.

Realistically, you’re unlikely to see diamonds referred to this way. This language is not used very often, particularly in diamond engagement rings. However, if you hear the term “point” in relation to the weight of a diamond, know that this is what it means.

Bottom Line Recommendation:

There are more factors in play when picking out the perfect engagement ring, and a smaller diamond can often make for a more beautiful ring than a bigger, yet lower-quality diamond (example of a bad diamond here).

What to Look for
What to Avoid
Focus on a beautiful I-J color diamond (H color for halo settings) to extract the best bang for your buck.
Don't sacrifice on quality. Regardless of size, a diamond can be the gorgeous center of attention.
If you want to bump up in size, consider purchasing a lab-grown diamond.
Avoid "pre-set" ring. Always select the specific diamond you want.
Only look at diamonds that have GIA certificates.
At this level, put most of your budget in the diamond vs the setting.
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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