Without a doubt, you can get a serious ring for $12,000. But in all frankness, size is probably not the only characteristic you’d be looking for.
A diamond’s color, clarity, and cut are likely to influence your choice as well. You don’t want a 3-carat diamond with massive inclusions that compromise the wow factor of the gemstone. Okay, you can get a really good loose diamond for the money, but then you’d need to factor in the setting or the design.
With that in mind, this article takes you on a tour of diamond size and pricing. And we’ll present you with the top five Estate Diamond Jewelry $12,000 diamond rings.
Quick Shopping Tips
As indicated, there are two things to keep in mind – the setting and the diamond itself. The great thing is that a $12,000 budget gives you enough room to get a great diamond and equally good setting.
That said, it’s advisable to allocate the biggest chunk of the budget towards the center diamond. Of course, we’re assuming that you’re looking for the biggest and baddest gemstone for $12,000. But there is one thing that you should keep in mind.
When speaking about size, most people actually refer to the diamond’s weight. This is measured in carats and is one of the major contributors to the diamond’s price. The more carats, the bigger the diamond. But this isn’t the only thing.
The higher color and clarity grading can significantly ramp up the price and you’d need to suffice for a smaller gemstone. But there’s no reason to feel like you’ve made an unwanted compromise.
In terms of a diamond’s beauty, sparkle, and perceived size, cut is the king. It can make the diamond appear bigger and allow for all other attributes of the piece to shine through.
Diamond Size vs. Price
Let’s start with your budget. As per a New York Times article, $12,000 is well above the average budget for an engagement ring, for example. And even if you’re getting a piece for your collection, you’ll surely find a ring that fits the bill.
Then, there’s the question of size really mattering. For most people, characteristics such as brilliance and clarity are the most important. And the size is only relative to those features, or lack thereof.
But what are the exact measurements? A 1.00-carat diamond is about 6.4mm. If you opt for a 1.50-carat stone, it measures 7.3 mm. And those who choose a 0.75-carat diamond will have to suffice with a 5.7 mm gem. But why did we set the benchmark at these sizes?
In general, a $10,000 budget should allow you to purchase a diamond between 0.75 and 1.75-carats. At the higher end, the 1.75-carat diamonds are considered a non-standard size and you might be able to get a bargain.
More importantly, the given range gives you enough leeway to choose a stone of good clarity, cut, and color. As said, these factors will affect the price, and the range also gives you the option to choose a platinum or 18-karat gold setting.
There might be 2-carat diamonds that fit your budget. However, these gemstones are usually of SI1 clarity and I or H color. While the color might not too big of a deal for most people, the clarity is. And the SI1 rating indicates that there are inclusions you might be able to see when you peer into the diamond.
Okay, 2 carats measure about 8.1mm which is quite a bit bigger than 6.4mm for a 1-carat stone, but there’s a catch. Depending on the setting and the 4Cs, it might be tricky to tell the difference between the two.
Diamond Prices Per Carat
It’s important to note that the diamond prices may fluctuate based on market conditions. This is why this section provides you with a ballpark range relative to the diamond’s 4Cs.
Furthermore, 1-carat is the average size for a diamond so we’ll be giving you the range for that. But don’t assume that if you double the money, you’ll be able to get twice as many carats. Diamond valuation is far more intricate and doesn’t work like that.
For illustrative purposes, let’s aim high and see how much you need to spend on an internally flawless (IF) D color diamond. This stone is out of your price range and would set you back between $13,000 to $16,000.
But if you move down from IF, you can get a D color diamond that is VVS1 for $10,000 to $13,000. Nevertheless, these prices are for the diamond alone. Therefore, you’d need to find the 4Cs sweet spot that leaves you enough room for a stunning setting.
The budget you have allows for E or F color and VVS2 or VS1 clarity. You should be able to get a VVS1 stone as well, especially if you go for the given color ratings. But this might not leave enough in the budget to get a great setting.
Are You Making Any Compromises with Lower Rating?
The quick answer is no, not really. First of all, the ratings represent what an expert diamond grader can see. This means the jewelry won’t appear less blingy in the eyes of everybody else.
For instance, a VVS2 clarity diamond has inclusions that are hard to spot under magnification. And a similar principle applies to VS1 stones.
When it comes to color, you’re not actually looking for a specific hue, but the lack of color. So, D diamonds are colorless and the further you go down, the more visible tint there is. However, there are fancy color diamonds that are in a category of their own and won’t be discussed here.
It’s worth stressing that the GIA color scale recognizes more than twenty colors, from D (colorless) to Z (visible yellowish tint). However, most reputable dealers keep only seven colors and the cut-off is usually at J diamonds, which are nearly colorless.
How to Stretch Your Budget Without Spending More
When shopping for diamonds, this might sound like a pipe dream, particularly when you’re aiming for size. But there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most bling for your buck.
The following sections assume you’re in the market for a ring. Though similar rules would apply to other pieces of jewelry.
Choosing a pave or a solitaire ring allows you to focus on the diamond itself. This setting is simple, yet elegant, and it brings out the natural properties of the stone.
Opting for a slightly smaller diamond gives you a chance to boost the design. For example, you should be able to get a sapphire or ruby halo, or even a side-stone setting. Either way, the extra embellishments will accent the beauty of the diamond and make it appear bigger.
On the other hand, should you decide to stick with a solitaire ring, there’s room for a fancy cut. But there are also some wise savings to make here.
The thing is, certain cuts are en vogue at any given time. And since the cut is the king, it makes the diamond more expensive. Therefore, you might want to get a less popular option that doesn’t affect the final price or the diamond’s appearance.
Time and Place
It’s no secret that diamond and jewelry prices in stores go up during the holiday season. And the same applies to important dates such as Valentine’s. Luckily, if you’re buying online it shouldn’t make a difference what time of year you choose to buy.
Due to this, you need to plan your purchase well in advance. It’s not uncommon for jewelers to offer special discounts during off-peak times and you might be making significant savings.
To put things in perspective, 5% or 10% off at your budget translates to between $500 and $1,000. And this is something you wouldn’t want to miss. Then, you need to know where to buy the diamond.
Going to a brick and mortar store is the good old way and it has its up-sides. If nothing else, you can see and touch the diamond, plus get some expert advice along the way. But most bargains are online and you only need to find a reputable dealer.
With a little bit of extra work on your side, you should find a jeweler with both a brick and mortar store and an excellent online presence. Needless to say, Estate Diamond Jewelry goes the extra mile to provide the same service for its online and offline customers.
To be honest, this isn’t exactly a tip on stretching your budget, more cautionary advice.
Diamonds and diamond rings that don’t come with a GIA certificate might be less expensive, but you’d want to avoid them. However, it would be wrong to expect every ring you see to feature a certificate. But the jeweler needs to provide one upon request.
This might actually add a bit to the price, though, it’s still the right thing to do. If a jeweler can’t offer certification, there might be something fishy with the diamond.
Top 5 Diamond Rings for $12,000
The great news is that most rings on this list are slightly under your target price. But we also included a couple of genuine show-stoppers that might compel you to extend the budget ever so slightly.
The New York Ring
Bold style, captivating details, and great 4Cs – you name it, the New York Ring has got it. And it’s under your budget.
The center stone is an Asscher cut 1.01-carat diamond. GIA certified the gem as VVS2 clarity and J color, and you get the documents upon request. Furthermore, there are eighteen additional diamonds around the center stone.
The ring also features a triple-wire shank and intricate detail on the shoulders. To round off the design, this piece incorporates an open-work filigree in the under gallery.
Overall, the design of this ring is reminiscent of the Art Deco era, but it’s a modern piece. If you want to see more, check out the ring’s YouTube video.
The Eura Ring
With a sizable center stone and a unique setting, the Eura Ring is an eye-catching ring indeed. But this piece is still $200 under your budget.
Eura’s main highlight is the 1.29-carat antique diamond. It dates back to 1920 and features old mine cut, VS2 clarity, and K color. And if you’re wondering about its size, the gem measures 4.4mm x 6.71 x 7.10.
Nevertheless, this piece has a floral-like halo with twelve more gems that accent the size and beauty of the main stone. The halo also features milgrain and there’s an arch-like filigree in the under-gallery.
The Evanston Ring
This is a mid-century piece and it dates back to 1950. The diamond Evanston Ring comes with a GIA certificate and the organization rated it at VS1 clarity, 1.06 carats, and K color. But the center stone is far from being the Evanston’s single most impressive feature.
The ring has a rather large setting that accommodates three rows of additional diamonds. These are transitional cut and set east-west, giving the ring a one-of-a-kind flow. Platinum is the material of choice for this piece, and the total diamond weight is about 1.66 carats.
If you’re in for clean lines, timeless elegance, and a combination of precious metals, the Hadlow Ring might be right up your alley.
The center stone is an old European cut 1.26-carat diamond. It’s of VS2 clarity and I color, plus you get three more gemstones on the flanks. Their combined weight amounts to about 0.06 carats.
Another major highlight is the setting. It’s fashioned from platinum and features a basket-like filigree that holds the center stone. The rest of the ring is rose gold.
This piece is within your budget, and an investment worth making.
A single glance at the Midhust Ring and you won’t miss the center stone. It’s a VVS2 clarity, 0.93-carat, and D color beauty. And if the size seems small to you, think again.
This is an emerald cut diamond, meaning the shape is rectangular. The main diamond measures 3.07mm x 4.65mm x 7.65mm. And there’s a halo of additional gems that make the stone appear even bigger.
It’s worth noting that the Midhust center stone is a collection grade diamond. It’s price fits within your budget.
Spare No Expense
In the end, $12,000 gets you a 1-carat diamond of exceptional cut, clarity, and color. And you shouldn’t suffice for anything else than that. After all, the stone’s value and brilliance are there to signal your love and devotion to that someone special. And size alone doesn’t do the trick.