3 carat round diamond ring

Ultimate guide to buying a three carat round diamond


3 carat round diamonds are a beautiful choice – they sparkle the most out of any diamond shape and, if you prioritise cut quality, your ring will catch eyes from across any room!

Round brilliants are one of the most popular shapes for a 3 carat diamond ring, which means that there is a good supply of stones available and you should be able to find exactly what you are looking for.

It also means that finding the best 3 carat round diamond can mean reviewing and rejecting sub-par stones. That’s where this page will help.

3 carat round cut diamonds cut header image

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Key takeaway:

There are many factors that affect price and value of a 3 carat round diamond.

If you would like some guidance to choose your diamond

At this carat weight, it can be a good idea to get some expert help. Two diamonds that look similar on paper can appear very different in real life. My recommendation is The Diamond Oak if you:

  • Aren’t confident comparing diamonds yourself
  • Would appreciate some expert help in your corner
  • Would like to be sure that you have got the very best diamond for your budget

If you’re confident to make your own decision

Online retailers can be a great choice as you can review a large selection of diamonds in your own time. My recommendation is James Allen, which is the best option if you’re:

  • Happy to review diamonds on your own
  • Comfortable with comparing diamonds based on specs, images and video
  • Confident that you can make a decision yourself

3 carat round diamond price

As a broad range, the cost of a 3 carat round diamond can vary from $21,000 to $157,000.

3 carat round diamond price

To understand how much a 3 carat round cut diamond costs, we conducted research across three online diamond aggregation services which collectively have over 1,000,000 diamonds available to choose from, and then checked this against the most widely-accepted list of wholesale diamond prices.

$21,000 to $157,000 is a significant range, and the price you will pay will depend on the color, clarity and the ‘make’ if the stone ie. how well the diamond has been shaped.

With diamonds, you generally get what you pay for, so ‘cheap’ 3 carat round shaped diamonds will likely have a low-price for a reason – this may be significant inclusions (or ‘flaws’), or it may have poor proportions to reflect light and therefore not sparkle well.

But, when buying a diamond, there is always a balance that needs to be found between the 4Cs and the fifth C – cost. Where that balance lies for you is an individual choice, so it can be worth looking at a few options to where you are comfortable compromising, and where you aren’t.

How much do 3 carat round diamonds cost?

The table below will give you an idea of how color and clarity affect a 3 carat round diamond’s price:

ClarityKJIHGFED
SI2$21,000$23,000$28,000$30,000$31,000$38,000$39,000$38,000
SI1$23,000$26,000$33,000$37,000$46,000$48,000$50,000$46,000
VS2$24,000$29,000$35,000$45,000$53,000$52,000$60,000$63,000
VS1$26,000$30,000$34,000$47,000$61,000$44,000$78,000$72,000
VVS2$24,000$37,000$38,000$44,000$73,000$71,000$83,000$92,000
VVS1$23,000$30,000$46,000$43,000$70,000$85,000$106,000$96,000
IF$28,000$38,000$67,000$74,000$63,000$83,000$107,000$122,000
FL$37,000$38,000None$63,000$85,000$97,000$118,000$157,000

If a price doesn’t appear, it means that no diamonds at that spec were available at the time this article was written.

It’s important to recognise that at this carat weight, there can be considerable differences between individual stones with similar specs on paper, so these are very much just a guide.

Factors such as availability at the time you are looking, and then specific of the individual diamond (e.g. the cut quality) will affect the price of any individual stone. However, the prices quoted should be a good guide to understand the relative pricing of different combinations of color and clarity for 3 carat round brilliant diamonds.

3 carat round diamond size


Round diamonds are one of the ‘spreadiest’ shapes of any diamond, which means that for a given carat weight, they appear larger than other shapes.

A typical 3 carat round diamond may be around 9.37mm × 9.37mm × 5.65mm.

Here’s how it looks compared to a 2 carat and a 4 carat:

3 carat round diamond size comparison

One important thing to understand when you are looking at 3 carat round diamonds is that carat weight is a measure of weight rather than size.

Carat weight is therefore spread out throughout the volume of the stone ie. length, width and depth.

Round diamonds ‘face up’ smaller than shallower, elongated shapes like an oval diamond ring at 3 carats or a 3 carat emerald cut diamond ring, but larger than most squarer shapes like a cushion cut diamond at 3 carats.

Watch out: poorly proportioned diamonds

One thing to watch out for with higher carat weight round brilliant diamonds is that they may have been cut with a poor proportions, just to make it to 3 carats in weight.

This can result in diamonds that are overly-shallow or too tall, which will mean that their shape isn’t optimised to reflect light correctly.

3 carat poorly proportioned round brilliant diamond

A diamond that doesn’t reflect light well is one that looks dull and lifeless – definitely something to avoid.

It’s therefore a good idea to continue to prioritise ‘cut’ quality in 3 carat diamonds, just as you would for a lighter diamond.

3 carat round diamond color

As you likely know, diamond color is graded on a GIA-developed scale from D to Z, although most diamonds used in jewelry fall into the D to M range:

3 Diamond Color scale

Higher carat weight diamonds tend to show up color more easily than smaller stones, especially in the corners where they sparkle less.

If you want to ensure your diamond doesn’t have a yellow tint, it’s important to try and keep the color as high up the scale as possible.

On the other side of the equation is the effect color has on price.

In most shapes, the price difference between an H color, I color and J color diamond can be significant,

With a 3 carat round brilliant diamond, the color grade you choose can be dependant on the color of the ring setting you are going to pair the diamond with. If you are choosing a white colored setting (platinum or white gold), then I color delivers a good balance of white appearance and value.

However, if you are choosing a yellow gold setting, then you can reduce the color of your diamond to K without it looking yellow, as it will still look white compared to the warm tones of the setting.

3 carat round diamond color recommendation

3 carat round diamond clarity

Clarity is a measure of the presence of inclusions (or flaws) within a diamond.

The clarity scale runs:

3 diamond Clarity scale

Round diamonds are a brilliant cut, which means that they are optimised to reflect light back from the bottom of the stone in the form of brilliant sparkle. This can mean that inclusions can be difficult to see under the facets, which is a good thing!

A good starting point for 3 carat round diamond clarity is SI1:

3 carat round diamond clarity

However, depending on the diamonds that are available at the time you are looking, you may need to increase this to VS2, or even higher, to ensure that the diamond is ‘eye clean’ and no flaws can be seen.

Pictures of 3 carat round diamond rings on the hand

Higher carat weight rings mean that additional considerations can be needed to be taken into account, depending on the ring setting style chosen.

These images of 3 carat round diamond rings on the finger will show you how big your ring could actually look.

3 carat round diamond solitaire settings

Solitaire settings are a great match for round brilliant diamonds – the simple style is a great pairing with the elegance of the diamond.

3 carat round diamond ring

A major trend with settings is super slim and petite bands and prongs, which are effective in making the stone itself look larger.

While these can look great, some care does need to be taken with higher carat weights, as an extremely narrow band may not be wide enough to support the stone. It may twist on the finger and become uncomfortable.

If you’re choosing a solitaire setting to match a 3 carat round diamond, I recommend you choose a band of at least 2.5mm width.

3 carat round diamond pavé ring

When choosing a pavé or channel setting, there is a big decision to make.

Either can be a great option, but one thing to consider is the color of the side stones.

Small, brilliant cut stones can appear whiter than larger diamonds, which means that even if you do match the color by the color grade, they still may appear whiter.

3 carat round pave

In cases like these, especially if you are going a little lower on the color on your center stone, like in the image above, it can be a good idea to work with an expert to ensure that the side stones complement the center stone.

Best Place To Buy a 3 Carat Round Diamond Ring

However, buying a diamond of this size diamond is very different to buying a smaller stone – both in the expense involved and in the potential for pitfalls.

If you’re confident to make your own decision

Online retailers can be a great choice as you can review a large selection of diamonds in your own time. My recommendation is James Allen, which is the best option if you’re:

  • Happy to review diamonds on your own
  • Comfortable with comparing diamonds based on specs, images and video
  • Confident that you can make a decision yourself

If you would like some guidance to choose your diamond

At this size and carat weight, it can be a good idea to get some expert help. Two diamonds that look similar on paper can appear very different in real life. My recommendation is The Diamond Oak if you:

  • Aren’t confident comparing diamonds yourself
  • Would appreciate some expert help in your corner
  • Would like to be sure that you have got the very best diamond for your budget