Jewelry Guide

Buying a 2 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring – A Comprehensive Guide

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A 2 carat diamond ring is a size that attracts attention and tends to impress. A 2 carat diamond makes a statement, speaking volumes about success and prestige. A well-cut high quality 2 carat diamond ring is sparkling and dazzling, large enough to attract attention but not freakishly big for daily wear.

However, finding the perfect 2 carat diamond is much harder than looking for a 1 carat diamond. The larger the diamond, the more scope for error there is. This is why it takes expertise and knowledge to sift through the lot to cherry pick the ideal 2 carat diamond.

Here we outline what you need to look for to find the right stone for you at the best budget.

  1. The Size of a 2 Carat Diamond

Most people may not realize how large a 2 carat diamond is, which is why this tool from Blue Nile is quite helpful at conceptualizing the different diamond sizes.

A 2 carat diamond weighs about 200 milligrams, which is a mere .20 grams. To put that into perspective, an M&M weighs .88 grams while a pea weighs .25 grams. So a 2 carat diamond isn’t a very heavy rock.

peas

A single pea weighs more than a 2 carat diamond

So how big does a 2 carat diamond appear?

A round 2 carat diamond measures approximately 8.2mm2 in surface diameter. Compared to a 1 carat diamond which measures 6.5mm2, this is only bigger by about 60%. The rest of the carat weight remains underneath, much like an iceberg. This portion of the diamond is not visible, but it is what gives the diamond the sparkle and brilliance it is known for.

  1. How Much Does a 2-Carat Diamond Cost?

Gem quality larger diamonds in nature are rare, which is why diamond prices increase exponentially per carat. A 2 carat diamond costs much more than two 1 carat diamonds, as large gem quality diamond rough is harder to find in nature. While diamonds are abundantly found in nature, only about 1 in every 15 million carats mined annually can be fashioned into a quality 2 carat diamond.

To make this point, compare this 1 carat D color, IF clarity diamond with this 2 carat diamond of similar specifications. The difference in price is over $30,000.

When talking about the price of a 2 carat diamond, we have to factor in the 4cs (cut, color, clarity and cut) as that has a direct correlation to the price.

Compare the two diamonds in the screenshot below. While both are 2 carat diamonds, the quality of their color, cut and clarity are different resulting in a wide disparity in the prices. Which diamond would you choose?

affordable 2 carat diamond

Find this diamond here

2 carat round cut diamond

Find this diamond here

Clearly, the second diamond is visually and optically superior to the first. However, this comes at a price which is well worth paying if you want the diamond to look its best.

It is generally stated that choosing a stone just below a standard cut will be less expensive, but this is not necessarily true. The demand for stones that range between 1.90 to 1.99 carats is very high and can make any difference in prices almost negligible. Also, a lot of other factors must be considered, which can mean that the diamond under the standard carat weight could end up being more, or just as, expensive.

comparing 2 carat diamonds prices

Source

A close look at this screenshot shows that all four diamonds have the same specifications. However, their prices vary vastly. The bottom left diamond is under 2 carats and yet is more expensive than the 2 carat on the top left.

So to reiterate, the price of a 2 carat diamond depends on the quality of the diamond in relation to all 4Cs.

  1. Choosing Color for a 2 Carat Diamond

With larger diamonds, color becomes an increasingly important factor. Larger diamonds tend to show warm tints more obviously, and if this is something you are not particularly attracted to, it’s best to choose G grade or better.

Diamond color chart from perfect colorless to noticeable color

The GIA Color Scale

However, if you like the warm tones of lower color grade diamonds, go as far down on the scale as you prefer. This is one area that is based on individual preference. Needless to say, all else being equal, each subsequent grade down is lower in price so this is a good way to save thousands of dollards on your stone.

The setting color you choose for your ring will also accentuate or downplay the color of the stone. Yellow and rose gold settings tend to hide or complement diamonds with slight tints, while white gold metals emphasise any color in the stone.

  1. Choosing the Clarity Grade for a 2 Carat Diamond

The GIA clarity scale is the industry accepted model on which diamond clarity is graded. This ranges from Flawless to Included with various shades of difference in between. Each grade closer to Flawless increases in price, while dropping down on the scale has the opposite effect.

GIA diamond clarity chart

It’s much easier to see flaws in a large diamond than in smaller ones. The larger table will show off any inclusions that may be lurking there. This is why it’s best not to compromise on the clarity grade of the diamond. If you have the budget and want only the best, there is no harm in opting for a Flawless diamond.

Having said that, searching for a premium Internally Flawless diamond is not necessary. The key factor is whether the diamond has any visible flaws that may mar its beauty and value.

We suggest clarity grade VVS2 or better for the best appearance. The most important factor is to look carefully at the actual diamond and check to see if there are any visible flaws.

  1. What Shape Should I Choose?

Many confuse cut and shape of diamonds, but these are two quite distinct features. The shape refers to the geometry of the diamond while cut refers to the technical aspects of the shaping process.

There are 10 popular shapes used for diamonds, with the most sought after being round brilliants.

A chart that illustrates the percentage of popularity of the different diamond shapes

This chart illustrates the percentage of popularity of the different diamond shapes

Choosing your diamond shape depends on your preference. If sparkle is foremost on your mind, the round brilliant cut would be the most dazzling for a 2 carat diamond, as it accentuates the sparkle of the stone with its many well-aligned and carefully positioned facets.

However, the round brilliant happens to be the most expensive cut. It also is the deepest cut, meaning that a large amount of the diamond remains underneath and invisible. Other shapes such as the princess or the emerald cuts can make the diamond appear larger and are much more cost effective.

  1. How Important is Diamond Cut?

Cut can make or break your diamond. A well cut diamond is a thing of beauty while poorly cut stones appear dull and.

Cut is the most important factor when picking out a 2 carat diamond. What point is there in spending thousands of dollars only to end up with a diamond that is lifeless? While we do advise playing around with the 4cs to find a happy balance between price and appearance of the diamond, it’s best not to compromise on the cut quality.

The cut refers to the proportion and symmetry of the diamond and the technical savvy that goes into shaping the stone from the diamond rough. It takes into account aspects such as depth, table, girdle and culet proportions.

The GIA cut scale ranges from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. You’ll find that most retailers have their own cut scale, going beyond the Excellent rating to their signature collections, which generally come with a premium. Choosing an Excellent or Ideal cut, or better, will be a lot more expensive than a lower cut grade but it is well worth it.

  1. Assessing Cut Through Light Performance

We’ve spoken about the importance of cut, but how would you know that the diamond has an excellent cut? How to assess cut quality?

This is when the extra data related to light performance comes in handy. Not every retailer provides this information, but this is necessary to evaluate the quality of your 2 carat diamond cut.

When assessing light performance and cut quality, you would be looking for Idealscope, ASET, Hearts and Diamonds and Sarin reports about the diamond. This data gives you exact details about how the diamond works with light and whether or not there is any light leakage.

High performance round cut diamond

Source 

Take a look at the image above from Whiteflash. Even if you are not well-versed in evaluating this information, simply by looking, you can tell that there is perfect symmetry and proportion of the hearts and arrows in the images provided. The proportions appear perfect, which is why this is A Cut Above diamond.

While some sites such as Whiteflash and Brian Gavin already have light performance information provided on their site for most of their collections, other retailers such as James Allen require you to request this information from them for up to 3 chosen diamonds. Take the time to go through this information to avoid purchasing a diamond that will not retain light as desired.

  1. Considering Certification

When forking over such a large amount of money, you need to know that you are getting your money’s worth and that the diamond is exactly as it should be. This is why it’s important to obtain a certificate from a reputable lab for your diamond.

Most trustworthy retailers will provide a lab report with the diamond, but not all labs are the same.

The most recognized diamond labs are the GIA and AGS. These labs have stricter and more consistent methods of grading a diamond, which is why diamonds certified by the GIA or AGS can tend to a bit more expensive.

A diamond with a higher grading from another lab could be given a lower grading when assessed by GIA or AGS. You know you’re getting quality with these labs.

  1. What Setting to Choose for a 2 Carat Diamond Ring?

Choosing a setting to enhance and complement your 2 carat diamond is about as important as choosing the right diamond. The quality of the setting is critical because it will keep your diamond safe while simultaneously showing it off to the best of its appearance.

Here are some stunning ring settings from Whiteflash and James Allen, two of the best in the industry when it comes to ring settings.

2 carat diamond engagement ring

Halo setting with a twisted shank for a unique effect. See this ring here.

 

2 carat diamond engagement ring

Three stone ring with accent diamonds. See this ring here.

If you are considering a bezel setting, it will provide more safety for your diamond but will also make the diamond appear smaller. Solitaire settings bring out the diamond to the best effect, maximizing its brilliance, but there is the risk of the stone getting bumped or knocked.

Needless to say, each ring setting has its own pros and cons. A well-crafted setting with strong prongs will clutch onto your diamond and keep it safe.

  1. I Want a Big Diamond But I Don’t Have the Budget

A 2 carat diamond will make a deep hole in your pocket and not everyone will be able to afford this, even though you or your loved one may have your heart set on a large stone.

One way to go about this is to carefully choose your ring setting to visually enhance the size of a smaller diamond. For quick and helpful tips, check out our article on How to Make Your Diamond Appear Larger.

You could also look into synthetic diamonds as a great alternative to mined diamonds. Note that synthetic diamonds are not fake diamonds. They’re only different in the way they are formed, i.e. in a lab as opposed to forming in nature over millions of years.

Diamond or moissanite?

The other option is to go for a different stone, such as a moissanite, that looks like a diamond but does not come with the steep price tag.

Check out this moissanite ring from Charles and Colvard. It sparkles as brilliantly as a diamond and is respected gemstone in its own right. If this is something you would be interested in, we recommend Charles and Colvard as the experts in the moissanite field.

Read our review on Charles and Colvard  here.

  1. Where to Purchase a 2 Carat Diamond Ring?

Finding your ideal 2 carat diamond at the local jewelers may be difficult to do, as most physical stores don’t have big inventories of large diamonds. Taking your search online will provide more options and competitive prices.

Because you’re working with a bigger budget, you’ll have a wider range to choose from. However, while there are many quality diamond retailers online, for such a large purchase it’s important to vet the retailer carefully.

Here are our recommended retailers, known for their diamond quality.

James Allen

Excellent prices and great customer service, their ground-breaking quality HD videos and diamond magnification features is as good as viewing the diamond in person. Request Idealscope images for up to 3 diamonds. Most diamonds are GIA certified.

Blue Nile

Offering the largest inventory, Blue Nile has the best prices with a price match guarantee. They don’t offer ASET or Idealscope images for their loose diamonds, but provide a GemEx light performance report for their Astor by Blue Nile TM diamonds. Most of their diamonds have HD videos but admittedly, the information on their diamonds is not as extensive as the other retailers listed here.

Brian Gavin

Brian Gavin’s diamonds are in the top 1% of diamonds and come at comparatively reasonable prices. For the best in cut quality, check out Brian Gavin Black collection. Their Blue collection celebrates diamonds with fluorescence at great prices. All diamonds are listed with 360 degree video, Idealscope, ASET and Hearts and Arrows images.

Whiteflash

Features stunning cut quality and highly brilliant diamonds. Whiteflash stock all the diamonds they own, which include the A Cut Above Diamonds, Expert Selection and Premium Select categories. These diamonds all come with 360 degree video, grading and Sarin reports. They also offer Idealscope, ASET and Hearts & Arrows images of all their diamonds. Diamonds are GIA or AGS certified.

For detailed reviews of these vendors, check out our article on Where to Buy Loose Diamonds.

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