Five-Carat Diamond Ring: an Insider’s Guide
Choosing a five-carat diamond isn't as simple as finding a diamond in a smaller size. Read our insider tips to find the right rock for your engagement ring.
8 Minute Read
We'll tell you how much you should expect to spend on a five-carat diamond and share some tips on how to find the best one. For those looking for a big and sparkly aesthetic on a budget, we'll discuss some affordable alternatives.
Price and Size of a Five-Carat Diamond
One common misconception is that carat refers to size. It actually refers to weight. Five carats equals one gram in weight, about the weight of a paper clip. While that might not seem like much, a five-carat diamond is quite large and very expensive.
The size of the diamond, or how large it appears, depends in part on its shape. Elongated shapes seem larger, while round and squared shapes look more compact. Here's a chart of five-carat diamond sizes for different shapes and their price ranges from 5.00 to 5.99 cts from Blue Nile and James Allen.
The wide range of prices arises from differences in quality, including color, clarity, and cut, and from the range of carat weight. The lower end of the range has off-shape diamonds with low color and clarity grades and poor performance, while the upper end includes some D color IF diamonds.
With a budget of $60,000-$100,000, you should be able to find a beautiful five-carat diamond. If your budget is smaller, there are still plenty of options for a big and sparkly look. Scroll down to our alternative options below.
Which Shape is Best for a Five-Carat Diamond?
The best shape is the one that best fits your style. At this size, fancy shapes are often a nicer option than round. Although round diamonds provide the most sparkle, any shape will give you tons of sparkle at the five-carat mark, while round diamonds begin to look less attractive, like large circles on your finger.
Still, round and cushion-cut diamonds are best for a classic style. Meanwhile, princess-cut diamonds have a much more modern look. Oval and pear-shaped diamonds are popular for their elongated shapes and also sparkle wonderfully. Radiant-cut diamonds, though less popular, have lots of sparkle, too. Emerald and asscher-cut diamonds reflect broad flashes of light for a mesmerizing "hall of mirrors" effect.
Before buying a five-carat diamond, learn how to judge cut quality in your diamond shape.
Five-Carat Diamond Ring Styles
With such a large diamond, you'll need to consider the ring size when choosing a setting. For petite fingers, the center diamond will take up most or all of the finger width, depending on the size of the finger and shape of the diamond. In this case, a three-stone setting could make the ring too wide for comfort. However, for normal-sized or larger-sized fingers, a three-stone setting adds elegance and sparkle.
Halo settings are often used to make smaller stones appear larger, though for a five-carat diamond this is unnecessary. At this size, a halo can add personality and sparkle. A sunburst halo would add a vintage flair to a large diamond.
Of course, a solitaire style would still have immense beauty and sparkle. A pavé band would add sparkle without taking any attention from the center stone. Trendy two-band rings also look great with larger sizes, since they don't make the diamond appear small.
Finally, for vintage styles you could add interest to the ring through a decorated basket. Since larger diamonds also have greater depth, there is space for unique design or hidden gems. When the ring is viewed from the side, you'll be able to see something unique and interesting, perfect for those who spend the day working at a computer keyboard.
Cut Quality, Color, and Clarity at Five Carats
As with smaller sizes, cut quality is the most influential factor for determining a five-carat diamond's beauty. Take a look at videos to see a diamond's performance before you buy it. That way, you can pick one with the most sparkle and a great shape.
However, color is more significant in large diamonds than in smaller ones. For white gold and platinum settings, choose an H color or better. In yellow gold and rose gold, an I or perhaps a J will still appear white. Since round diamonds show less color than other shapes, you can drop down one color grade if necessary.
Clarity grades are calculated relative to size, so while most 1-ct SI1-clarity diamonds are eye-clean, this isn't the case for larger diamonds. For most shapes, a VS2 clarity will be eye-clean at five carats. However, VS2 diamonds with imperfections in the center of an emerald or asscher-cut won't be eye-clean.
Always be aware of the clarity features in the diamond you're viewing, and see how noticeable they are in the video. Clarity imperfections will be noted on a diagram on a laboratory report.
Where to Buy a Five-Carat Diamond Ring
Unfortunately, few brick-and-mortar retailers stock good-quality diamonds in large sizes. Since it's a niche market, it's simply not worth keeping this kind of inventory. There are several online dealers and auction houses you could try. However, remember that diamonds of this size are rare, and it may take some searching to find one that's well-cut.
That's why we recommend leaving it to the experts. Using CustomMade's design service, you can let the professionals take the time to find your diamond for you. They can help you navigate the minefield of diamond buying and design a ring you'll cherish. If you're spending on a five-carat diamond, why not make the ring uniquely personal?
If you'd rather use an online ring builder, James Allen and Blue Nile have the largest selections of diamonds online and are a great place to start your search. They provide 360° videos of their diamonds, allowing you to evaluate their performance before you buy.
For those in New York City, Abe Mor is a brick-and-mortar shop that specializes in large diamonds and can help you find what you're looking for.
If you're interested in designer jewelry, find a designer that fits with your style. Whether classic and delicate or chunky and funky, you can find a great jewelry artist to create your ring. Find who matches your style best on Pinterest or Instagram.
Alternatively, auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's often auction jewelry with large diamonds. If you're interested in recycled diamonds or antique rings, or simply want the best of the best, upcoming auctions are worth a look.
Alternatives to a Five-Carat Diamond
If a five-carat diamond is a bit out of your budget, there are plenty of options for a sparkly ring.
Choose a Smaller Diamond
Unless the five-carat mark holds a special meaning for you, dropping down to a four or even three-carat diamond will give you great options at a much more attractive price point. At this weight, a diamond will still look absolutely huge and stunning with a ton of sparkle.
Consider Treated Diamonds
Some diamonds with unattractive clarity characteristics receive laser drilling treatments to bleach or remove the imperfections. Because of this, they're less expensive but just as beautiful as untreated diamonds.
Diamonds that have undergone high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) treatment are also less expensive than untreated diamonds. These HPHT-treated diamonds are natural, mined diamonds that originally had poor color and clarity. After treatment, their color and clarity improved. Since they're less rare than untreated diamonds with the same color and clarity, these diamonds come with a discount.
Consider discussing your options with CustomMade.
Opt for Lab-Created Diamonds or Moissanite
Technological improvements are making possible ever larger lab-made diamonds, including sizes over 5 carats. Prices at this size are still high, since it's pushing the limits of current technology, but they're likely to fall in the next few years.
However, synthetic moissanite is available in very large sizes at a fraction of the price of a natural diamond. If your aesthetic is large but your budget is small, moissanite is a great option!
Again, CustomMade is a great option for creating a unique ring with a lab-made diamond or moissanite. If you prefer to choose a ring setting, Brilliant Earth has some lab-made diamonds and moissanite in larger sizes.
White Sapphire or Colored Gemstones
If you want a large, mined gem as a diamond lookalike, white sapphire is a great option at a lower price. A well-cut white sapphire will give off tons of sparkle, though a laboratory report can't tell you how well a sapphire is cut.
Alternatively, you could opt for a colored gemstone. Although many sapphires, rubies, and emeralds will be less expensive than diamonds, they become much more expensive at the five-carat mark. If these are out of your price range, check out our list of large and affordable gemstones.
Because determining cut quality in white sapphires and colored gemstones is difficult, we recommend using CustomMade. Their experts can find the perfect center stone for your ring and create a design to suit your personality.
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
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