Half Carat Diamond Rings: A Price and Buying Guide for Beginners

A one carat diamond is the most popular choice for engagement rings across the US, however, more and more customers are following European and Asian market trends by cutting back on the carat weight a placing their budget into cut, color and clarity.

A half carat diamond can give a wonderful presence on the finger while allowing buyers to maintain a reasonable spend. This guide will cover everything you need to know to find a beautiful half carat diamond.

Half Carat Diamond Size

Carat expresses the weight of a diamond, with 1 carat weighing approximately 200 milligrams. The size is expressed in measurements on a GIA or AGS certificate. Different diamond shapes of the same carat weight will give different sizes, and so too will cut quality impact upon how big a diamond appears. Half a carat may be written as 0.50 ct, or as points out of 100, so a 50 point diamond.

When the average buyer thinks about carat weight, they are really thinking about size. While no average ‘size’ can be given for a half carat diamond, there are a few helpful tips you should know when choosing a carat weight:

  • Finger size: The average ladies finger size in the US is a size 6 (the equivalent of a UK size L). A half carat diamond on a size 6 finger gives a good spread. For finger sizes above this, a half carat diamond may become a little lost.
  • Diamond shape: If you’re looking to maximise carat weight (i.e. making a diamond of a certain carat weight appear larger) diverting from the ever-popular round brilliant might be a good idea. Other cuts, such as oval and marquise, give a bigger face-up appearance than rounds of the same carat weight. Their elongated shapes are also extremely flattering, and these diamonds usually carry a lower price tag than round brilliants.
  • Statement settings: Halos can help give a diamond a little boost and create more presence on the hand. Narrowed shanks will emphasise the diamond, making it look bigger.
  • Cut is king: Opting for the best cut quality possible will ensure an abundance of fire, brilliance and scintillation. It will also mean the proportions are perfect and the diamond will look bigger and better.

Using the Four C’s to Buy a Half Carat Diamond

There is a perk to selecting daintier diamonds and that is they can be more forgiving when it comes to color and clarity grades.

Choosing diamond qualities is personal but these are my recommendations:

  • Clarity: An eye-clean, half carat diamond is much easier to come by than diamonds of bigger carat weight. That said, you might still follow the golden rule of analysing the diamond using high res imagery, light performance images and HD video. You could comfortably start your search at an SI1 grade and, providing the diamond is eye clean, walk away with a stone that appears as perfectly flawless as an FL grade for a fraction of the cost.
  • Color: An H color grade is very popular for diamonds up to one carat. Sitting slap bang in the middle of the near colorless grade, it will give a brilliant white appearance in both yellow and white metals. If you are someone who detects color more readily in diamonds, you may consider moving up to a G grade.
  • Cut: As the most important and impactful factor in diamond buying, there is no compromise when it comes to the cut. A minimum of top grades from and GIA or AGS should be expected, but I also recommend looking at signature or in-house diamonds that have proven superiority in light performance.
  • Certification: Only accept GIA or AGS lab reports. Some jewellers will try and tell you that these are only necessary for diamonds of 1.00ct or above but I strongly disagree. If your diamond is taking centre stage in an engagement ring, a reliable lab report is a must.

The success of your search will hinge on your vendor. Look for those who offer clear, high resolution images of the actual diamonds. Additional performance reports such as ASET, Hearts and Arrows and Idealscope will also prove valuable to your search. Vendors with in-stock inventory are also preferable.

Take a look at Whiteflash who have set a new bar for online diamond vendors and who comfortably tick all these boxes and more. I would also suggest looking at Leibish and Co for fancy colored diamonds and James Allen if you need a fancy shape.

Half Carat Diamond Prices

The price of a half carat diamond can range from below $500 to nearly $5,000. I wouldn’t recommend either of these as a price point.Diamond 1: 0.50ct K-I1 – heavily included, serious issues with cut and light performance

Diamond 2: 0.504ct H-SI2 – eye-clean, super ideal hearts and arrows cut with incredible light performance

Diamond 3: 0.50ct D-FL – Pretty diamond, GIA Excellent Cut

This comparison really highlights the importance of shopping smart and the difference it can make in both beauty and spend. Diamond 2 (a Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® diamond) is the most beautiful of the three diamonds and yet it does not carry the biggest price tag.

The Final Word

Shopping online will give you the best selection of half carat, loose diamonds as well as the best prices. Though it may seem like a lot of information, following the basic tick-lists above is a simple way to stay within your budget and find a diamond that will truly delight. Whiteflash, James Allen and Blue Nile are retailers I would recommend. Contact me directly if you would like more free personal advice for your diamond buying experience.

Richard Jenkins, The Diamond Guru

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