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5 Carat Diamond Buying Guide (All You Need To Know)
5-carat diamond, VS2 clarity, H color, ideal cut
When it comes to finding the perfect engagement ring, many people struggle with choosing the right size and shape diamond.
If you’re looking for something extra special, a 5-carat diamond might be the right choice for you. While they are definitely on the expensive side, these diamonds will impress. Here’s everything you need to know about purchasing a 5-carat diamond ring.
- What is the difference between carat and diamond size?
- How big is a 5 carat diamond?
- How to make a large diamond appear even bigger?
- What’s the price of a 5-carat diamond ring?
- What is the best clarity grade?
- What is the optimal color grade for a large diamond?
- Where to purchase a five carat diamond for engagement rings?
- Bottom Line Recommendations
The Distinction Between Diamond Carat & Diamond Size
The number of carats in a diamond is often mistaken as a measure of its size when in actuality, it’s a measure of its weight, with 5 carats equaling 1 gram. On the other hand, the diamond size refers to how large the diamond looks.
A larger-looking diamond does not mean its carat weight is higher.
For example, take a look at the two loose diamonds below. Both have the same carat weight, yet one appears much larger than the other:
One of the reasons the diamond on the left appears smaller is that it has a higher depth than the right diamond. The diamond on the right has a larger table surface size.
The diamond shape can also contribute to how large it appears. Some fancy shapes can appear larger on average than more traditional diamond shapes, such as a round diamond.
For example, a 5-carat diamond ring with an oval shape will likely look larger than a 5carat diamond with a round brilliant cut.
The same applies to a cushion-cut diamond. Although they have nearly identical carat weights, these stones look very different in size.
How big is a five carat diamond?
While diamonds can vary in size even with the same or lower carat weight, the average 5-carat diamond has a diameter of about 11mm. That’s about 0.4 inches or the width of an average pen or pencil.
You might be wondering what an average five-carat diamond ring might look like on a hand. If so, check out James Allen’s carat size simulator, and you can get a pretty good idea:
Another tool I highly recommend is James Allen’s “see-the-size’ feature that lets you see how big the diamond would appear on a hand.
To access this feature, simply click on the little button on the right hand-side:
How to increase the perceived size of a diamond without going higher in carat weight
While the actual size varies from diamond to diamond, there are certain things you can do to increase the perceived size of any diamond.
Here are my three tricks:
- Choose an ideal cut and an eye-clean diamond – The cut quality and clearness of the diamond largely determine its brilliance and sparkle; the better the light performance of the diamond, the larger it will appear.
- Choose a narrow ring band – This will create an optical illusion, making the diamond appear much bigger than it is.
- Select a three-stone ring setting with two side stones – This will increase the amount of sparkle. Also, contrasting one large stone in the middle with two smaller stones on the side will increase the perceived size.
How much is a 5 carat diamond worth?
A 5 carat diamond can cost anywhere from $40k to above $300k. The exact price depends on the other 3Cs (cut, clarity, color) as well as whether it’s a natural diamond or a lab created diamond. Lab created diamonds tend to only cost a fraction of the price of natural diamonds.
You can see a price chart based on carat size below:
An average natural occurring near colorless and eye clean 5-carat diamond with an ideal cut would cost you around $100-150k.
You may be wondering why a 5-carat weight is so much more expensive than a one-carat diamond. If you compared the different prices of varying diamond weights, you’d find that a five-carat diamond is not simply five times the cost of a comparable one-carat diamond.
That’s because the carat prices of diamonds go up when they reach a higher weight category. For example, you might find a 2-carat diamond with a price of $7,400 per carat, yet a very similar diamond weighing 3 carats might be priced at $9,980 per carat. That is is a considerable price increase.
The per carat prices of diamonds increase exponentially with an increase in weight for a couple of reasons. The principal reason is that larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds.
Interestingly, in looking at each weight category, you will notice that per carat prices do not necessarily increase continually along with the increases in weight. This is because the price of diamonds is not so much driven by logic as emotion.
If you’d like to save some money, see if you can find one just under the next weight category. If you’d ideally like a 5-carat diamond, search for a 4.90-carat diamond. You might get lucky and find a stunning diamond with a price tag a lot lower than the price of a similar 5-carat diamond.
You should also be aware that there has recently been an increase in the number of people on the lookout for an “almost 5-carat diamond.” This level of interest also drives up the price of diamonds just below the 5-carat mark.
The Optimal Clarity for a 5 Carat Diamond
The 4 Cs of a diamond (cut, carat weight, color, and clarity) determine its overall beauty and brilliance.
The diamond’s clarity grade reflects the stone’s visual appearance. The more flaws it has, the worse its clarity grade. A diamond with no visible inclusions under magnification is considered internally flawless or simply flawless. These types of diamonds are scarce.
However, when you look at two stones with different clarity grades, like VS1 vs. VVS2 (diamonds with very small inclusions), you can hardly see any difference with the naked eye. But you will notice a price difference.
Take a look at the clarity price chart below, and you can see how the price increases with each clarity grade:
All else being equal, an eye-clean diamond with a lower clarity grade than flawless will look flawless. But it will certainly not come at the same price.
You can often find a diamond of a lower clarity that looks visually more pleasing than one of a higher grade. Take a look at the two diamonds below. I don’t know about you, but to me, the diamond on the left looks more clear than the one on the right.
You can take a look at the videos of both diamonds below to see what I mean:
- VS2 diamond
- SI1 diamond
As you can see, two diamonds might have the same GIA grades but look completely different in reality. That’s why it is so important to see high-definition pictures and videos of the diamonds before purchasing one for your engagement ring.
But what clarity grade should you look for?
In my opinion, a 5-carat diamond should have at least a VS2 clarity because of its carat weight. Most flaws cannot be seen with the naked eye at this clarity grade, not even by diamond experts. In some cases, luck might be on your side, and you can find an eye-clean SI1 diamond. That is, however, rare.
The Best Color Grades for 5 Carat Diamonds
The GIA grades diamond color on a scale that runs from D to Z.
A D-graded diamond is colorless and clear, whereas a Z graded diamonds is noticeably yellow or brown. You can see the official color scale below:
What many people don’t know when they first start researching diamonds, is that you really can’t see a distinction between one color grade and the next. However, there is certainly a difference in price!
Take the two diamonds below, for example. Are you able to see a difference in color?
I can see a small difference, but the interesting thing is that the one that appears to be brighter is the diamond on the right with the lower color grade!
In my opinion, what you can see with the naked eye should be more important than the precise color grade. Ideally, you want your diamond to appear white compared to its setting. A diamond with a J color grade like in the image below will look white if it is set in yellow or rose gold.
A diamond with an H color grade will look colorless if it is set in platinum or any other precious metal, as seen in this platinum solitaire setting.
If you’re buying a 5 carat diamond, we recommend that you look at stones in the nearly colorless grades ranging from G to I. These stones will look colorless and clear white to the naked eye and will be far less expensive than diamonds ranging from D to F.
Best Places to Shop for Five Carat Diamonds Engagement Rings
Well-cut, 5-carat diamonds are rare and not often found in local jewelry stores. It’s almost impossible to find a hearts and arrows diamond in this weight category. If you happen to come across a 5-carat diamond in a shop, it’s probably not very well cut, which will significantly diminish its brilliance and overall beauty.
Online vendors are your best bet for finding an impressive 5-carat diamond at a price you can afford. I would start with James Allen and Brian Gavin, as those two often have the best selection for diamonds, including 5-carat diamonds. James Allen provides the most advanced imaging, allowing buyers to inspect every diamond from the inside out closely.
So far, they have enjoyed great success because their focus is on providing every customer with an outstanding shopping experience. Every diamond purchased from James Allen comes with an authentic GIA or AGS certification, the very best you can get. They also have reasonable prices and the most amazing diamond imagery technology.
Other Online Vendors
Other vendors would include Lebish & Co., which claim a competitive advantage because they are the most experienced in high-quality large diamonds. Although their specialty is fancy color diamonds, their abundant experience extends to high-quality large colorless diamonds.
Blue Nile has a reputation for offering incredible diamond quality and very intricate and beautiful jewelry settings. They are also known for having the largest inventory of diamonds and settings compared to other online vendors. Any diamond you buy from Blue Nile will have an authentic certification from GIA or AGS, and you can’t get better than that.
When deciding which diamonds to seriously consider, make sure you do the following:
- Verify that every 5-carat diamond you’re taking a look at has been certified by GIA or AGS.
- Only look at ideal cut diamonds with a GIA cut grade of Excellent. Diamond cut is the primary factor that will determine the stone’s ultimate beauty and brilliance.