A .8 Carat Diamond: The Sweet Spot Between Size and Price

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This stunner is my less than 1 carat engagement ring. To be more precise, my center stone is actually only a .8 carat diamond.

I chose a .8 carat diamond because it was the best value for my $10,000 engagement ring budget. I was able to get an AGS 000 ideal hearts and arrows cut, great clarity & color, and a hand-forged setting by sacrificing a little bit of carat weight.

A .8 carat diamond with distinct arrows which are hallmarks of an ideal cut diamond.
A face-up view of what my .8 carat diamond center stone looks like.

Staying a bit under the milestone carats like 1 (1.5, 2, and so on) To optimize your engagement ring budget diamond industry insiders suggest staying a bit under the milestone carats like 1 (1.5, 2, and so on). A 1.4 or .8 carat diamond will be a better value.

.8 Carat vs 1 Carat Diamond

When I first started browsing engagement rings I felt automatically drawn to the rings with 1 carat diamonds. Somehow that had become the standard size in my mind.

But once I started to look at the actual numbers, and not the flashy videos, I realized that a 1 carat diamond isn’t really that special. When it comes to diamond size carat is just one of the measurements and doesn’t tell you the full story!

What Does Carat Mean in Diamonds?

One of the most important things to know when it comes to diamond size is that “carat” is a measurement of weight. A 1 ct diamond is 1/5 of a carat heavier than a .8 carat diamond.

Just like people diamonds can carry their weight differently. Some diamonds might be very top heavy, with a high crown. Other diamonds are cut very deep and carry most of their carat on their bottom.

While carat is one of the basic 4 C’s and provides a nice reference for comparing diamonds, you need to look at the actual dimensions and measurements too!

the length, width, and depth, as well as the table size and crown angles will you give you a much better idea of how big a diamond will actually look.

When people talk about how big diamonds look they usually mean the “face-up” size, so what a diamond looks like when you look at it straight down from the top.

A diamond engagement ring is held up in profile in front of an ocen view.
This profile, or side view of my .8 carat diamond is not usually what people mean when they talk about diqmond size.

.8 Carat Diamond Size

Now that we’ve established that not all diamonds that weigh the same amount of carats will have the same dimensions, let’s take a look at my own .8 carat diamond.

When trying to judge how big a diamond will look face-up the most important stats are:

  • length x width. (It’s normal and common for round diamonds not to be an absolute perfect circle. A small difference between the two measurements is not something to worry about.)

and

  • depth percentage. This number shows you how deep the diamond is. The higher the depth percentage the more carat weight is carried on the underside of the diamond and the smaller the spread, or face-up, size will be.
The AGS grading report for my .8 carat diamond.
The diamond grading report from AGS for my .8 carat ideal cut diamond.

As an ideal cut diamond, my .8 carat center stone, is cut not too shallow or too deep. All the dimesnions and angles compliment each other to maximize sparkle and face-up size.

.8 Carat Diamond Size Comparisons

For these comparisons I am using real diamonds that are currently for sale at Jared (as of the night I am writing this).

We are going to look at real life examples of how the way diamonds carry their carat weight affects how they look. I will be including links to a really cool website called diamdb that will let you see for yourself in pictures the differences in size.

.82 Carat GIA Very Good Cut
  • My .81 Carat Diamond = 6.01 x 6.05 x 3.67 and has a depth percentage of 60.9
  • Jared’s .82 Carat Diamond = 5.77 x 5.83 x 3.74 and has a depth percentage of 64.5

Despite having a slightly lower carat weight (.81 vs .82) my diamond has a larger face-up size! That’s becuase the diamond from Jared is cut too deep.

.81 Carat Diamond vs .82 Carat

1 Carat GIA Good Cut
  • My .81 Carat Diamond = 6.01 x 6.05 x 3.67 and has a depth percentage of 60.9
  • Jared’s 1 Carat Diamond = 6.04 x 6.19 × 4.01 and has a depth percentage of 65.6!

While this diamond is a full carat, it is barely any bigger than my .8 carat diamond.

.81 Carat Diamond vs 1 Carat

.8 Carat Diamond Price

Carat is only one characteristic of a diamond that effects the price. Cut quality, color, clarity, fluorescence, and brand are some of the other qualities that determine how much a diamond costs.

The price of a .8 carat diamond can vary a lot. The .82 carat diamond from Jared that I referenced above is more expensive than what I paid for my objectively better .81 carat diamond. The I carat from Jared also has a ridiculously high price for the quality you get. If getting a good value for your money is important, don’t shop at mall jewelry stores like Jared.

A diamond engagement ring in a cushion halo style with a .8 carat round diamond in the center.
An ideal cut .8 carat diamond will out-sparkle and outshine a poorly cut 1 carat, while costing less to boot!

We’re going to pivot a little bit and now compare the price of an ideal cut .8 carat diamond to the price of an ideal cut 1 carat diamond.

For this comparison I am going to use diamonds currently available at Whiteflash.

I looked up a 1 ct diamond, that is similar to mine in the other 4 c’s. E color, VS1 clarity, and an AGS ideal cut.

  • My .81 Carat Diamond = 6.01 x 6.05 x 3.67 and has a depth percentage of 60.9
  • Whiteflash 1.035 Carat Diamond = 6.48 mm x 6.51 mm x 4.01 mm and has a depth percentage of 61.7

The price difference between them was shocking. The 1 carat diamond is almost $6,000 more than my .8 carat diamond.

I honestly wasn’t expecting the difference to be that big. I knew a .8 carat diamond was a good value but I didn’t realize just how much you can save by going with less than a carat.

1 carat is noticeably bigger. So if you have the room in your budget for it, go as big as your hear desires, without sacrificing cut quality.

If you have to go down in cut quality in order to get a 1 carat diamond, it’s not worth it. Afterall, a diamond with only a good cut won’t look any bigger than a smaller ideal cut.

When you compare equally well cut diamonds the difference in size between 1 and .8 carats is easy to see.

.8 Carat Diamond On Hand

I know when I was shopping for my engagement ring I benefited from seeing pictures of real life rings.

And now I want to return the favor! This is what my .8 carat diamond looks like on hand. My ring size is 5.75. There are pictures of my engagement ring on hand over on my ring muffin top post as well.

A zoomed in look at my engagement ring with a .8 carat diamond on hand.
A closeup view of what my halo engagement ring with a .8 carat center stone looks like on hand.
My hands are shown opening a jewelry box, with one hand on the lid. The other hand is turning the key in the lock. It demonstrates a real life perspective of what a .8 carat diamond looks like on a size 5.75 finger.
A real life perspective of what a .8 carat diamond looks like on hand in a halo setting.
skip to 2:08 to see a .8 carat diamond. Then keep watching to see how it compares to 1 carat!

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