Experienced designers, expert gemmologists and diamond novices can all agree that a 4-carat diamond is a significant carat weight; a full 3 carats above the average weight for a diamond engagement ring in the USA, a 4-carat diamond ring is a thing of beauty that you are unlikely to see every day.

When we think of a 5-carat diamond ring, one word springs to mind; wow! A high-quality, five carat diamond is a thing of beauty and scarcity, and if you are fortunate enough to be in the market for a knock out rock of this size, choosing the correct cut, color and clarity is absolutely essential.

How Big is a 5 Carat Diamond?

People often confused carat for size. Carat expresses the weight of the diamond and won’t give you a clear indication of the actual size of a diamond. A five carat diamonds weight around 1 gram. You can find the measurements for your diamond on the certificate which will give you a better idea of how big your diamond will look, however we have also produced this useful chart:

Carat Size
1 Carat Circa 6.4mm
2 Carat Circa 8.1mm
3 Carat Circa 9.3mm
4 Carat Circa 10.1mm
5 Carat Circa 11mm

Image courtesy Whiteflash.com

The image above gives you an idea of various carat weights in proportion to one another. This image is based on the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings, a round brilliant, however different shapes of the same carat weight will not always appear the same size. Elongated shapes such as ovals, marquise and pear cut diamonds will appear larger due to their bigger surface area. Step cuts, such as Asscher and Emerald, will give the smallest appearance; step cuts are all about creating depth and intrigue within the stone. They have less facets and draw the eye into the clean, linear facets.

Choosing a carat weight is very personal and bigger isn’t always better. In my opinion a five-carat diamond is a great choice for an engagement ring – diamonds this weight are considerable and eye-catching but would still be suitable for every day wear, provided it is held in a well constructed, durable setting.


Beginning with the most important of the four C’s; the cut. A 5-carat diamond is a considerable weight for a ring and a poor cut with result in a dull and lifeless gemstone. Worse still, as this is a big diamond, a poor cut might leave people thinking it’s cubic zirconia or another form of imitation diamond. When you’re spending good money on a diamond, you want to be dazzled by its beauty and captivated by the stunning optical properties that make a diamond unique.

You need to optimize on the intense brilliance and fire of your 5-carat diamond by selecting a GIA excellent cut or AGS 000 at a minimum. This is the first important step in choosing a beautiful diamond, but you can go further. When it comes to finding the best cut there is a very small percentage of diamonds which are considered ‘super-ideal’ cut. These diamonds are cut to meet the most stringent parameters; as well as a GIA or AGS certificate, they will carry additional performance reports that detail the specific details of their light handling abilities and optical properties (such as hearts and arrows). The best example of super-ideal cut diamonds can be found on Whiteflash – specifically their in-house A CUT ABOVE® diamonds.


When it comes to choosing a color, you may find that a 5-carat diamond is a little less forgiving than a smaller diamond. This does not mean you need to select a D in color. Diamonds with a D grade are extremely pricey, and in truth very few people can notice the imperceptible color difference between a D and, for example, a G grade.

I recommend selecting a diamond that has a ‘near colorless’ grading (G-I). These grades will still give an ice white appearance but will be thousands of dollars less that a colorless diamond. If you are particularly sensitive to color, a G would be a good option.

If your diamond is going to be set in a warm tone metal such as yellow or rose gold, you may find an I or J graded diamond suitable. The warmer metals can make a diamond appear whiter in relation to the setting. An I will also be suitable if the cut quality is very high.


Like color, your clarity grade for a 5-carat will require a higher clarity grade than lower carat weights. Don’t let this concern you, it is all part of the journey to a stunning diamond and it does not mean choosing a flawless diamond for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A larger table means inclusions will be more obvious and will interfere with light return. To avoid this, I recommend a VS2 in clarity. The difference between a VS1 and VS2 is usually negligible so this is a great way to get an eye-clean diamond for a suitable price. Although I would not recommend going any lower than this, if you are squeezed on budget you may consider in SI1, provided you can have a thorough look at the diamond using high-res imaging, 360 video or a jewelers loupe.


Using what I considered to be the ‘sweet spot’ of grades for a 5-carat diamond (I-VS2 Ideal cut) I found this gorgeous 5.032 ct I VS2 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Whiteflash. Their 360 video shows the diamond in all its glory and for $95,922 it is a fraction of the price compared to high end, bricks and mortar jewelers.

When looking at diamonds of this weight, it is highly unlikely you will walk into your average jewelry store and pick one up. It is unlikely you will even be able to view one. That means to shop traditionally, you would need to visit ‘the big boys’, i.e. Tiffany & Co, Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier and Boodles. These big names carry even bigger premiums. If you want the full bells and whistles experience from these jewelry giants, expect to pay around 15% to 30% above an online diamond for similar specs.

It is understandable that with a purchase of this nature, some people have reservations about shopping online. Rest assured that reputable vendors are experienced in handing diamonds of this nature and sell them across the globe. You will be as, if not more protected, than if you shopped in store with the bonus of having real choice. Diamonds like this are thin on the ground, but it is so important that you have options.


For a five-carat diamond solitaire, you will need a setting with 6 prongs. This will give you peace of mind and the freedom to wear your ring every day should you choose to. This Vatche U-shaped solitaire will hold your diamond centre stage and keep it secure.

There is still flexibility and room for personal style; halos, pave and side stone are all perfect for bringing your central diamond to life. If you are opting for yellow or white gold, look for styles which feature platinum prongs that will give extra security to the diamond. Avoid tension and suspensions settings as they are not suitable for large diamonds.

The Final Word

Finding the perfect five carat diamond ring may require just a little time and some strong contenders. You will find larger inventories of high-quality diamonds by shopping online with trusted vendors such as Whiteflash and Tiffany and Co (if you are happy with the premium). Giving yourself options and taking the time to establish a balance between beauty and budget will allow you to find the perfect diamond for your jewelry. Settings must be secure, cut should be paramount and all diamonds must carry an GIA or AGS certificate.

Take the time to carry out research, talk to specialist jewelers who are happy to pro-actively provide comprehensive image reports and videos. Please get in touch with me directly for free personalized advice as well. 

Richard Jenkins, The Diamond Guru

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