Close
Close
Try At Home Collections Shop Rings Shop Diamonds How It Works Etiquette
Blog Banner

Carat Weight — is a 3 Carat Diamond Too Big?

Is a 3 carat diamond too big? We won’t judge, but others might. See which celebrities are rocking this carat weight, and find out if it’s right for you.

Lab-grown diamonds have made larger diamonds more affordable than ever before. So, you might find yourself asking a new type of question — what’s too big? Is a 3 carat diamond too big? How about 4? While you previously may never have considered the possibility that a three-carat diamond may grace your finger, the reality is that the likelihood is closer than ever, and why shouldn’t a gemstone of such magnificent size and proportions find its home atop your hand?

Looks aside, there are many reasons to choose a 3-carat diamond. Perhaps you have larger hands and want a stone that really stands out. Maybe you just like the look of a larger stone or the unabashed stares from passersby as they admire the rock adorning your finger.

Whatever the reason, if you’ve arrived here it’s most likely because you’re asking the question, “Is a three-carat diamond too big?” You might be wondering how large can you go before your ring simply isn’t practical, dwarfs your finger, or gets too ostentatious? While there’s no obvious answer, we get these questions so often these days, we’ll do our best to try and figure it out.

Famous Three Carat Diamond Rings

We can’t all Paris Hilton our engagement rings. Not that we’d want to. Lucky for you, many a woman have asked this question before and have the eye-candy to prove it.

Whitney Port’s Three Carat Oval Solitaire

Whitney Ports three carat engagement ring
Photo Credit: Whitney Port’s Instagram

Whitney Port worked with her now-husband, Tim Rosenman, to create her one-of-a- kind engagement ring after he proposed ringless, seeking her advice.

The result? A stunning three-carat, oval-cut diamond set atop an 18K rose gold band.

The band features five rows of bead set micro-pavé diamonds.

Coveting a similarly bold look? Take the ring quiz and get a sketch of your dream ring for free.

Snookis three carat princess cut engagement ring
Photo: Getty Images

Snookis Three Carat Princess Cut

Jionni LaValle proposed to Snooki with a three-carat princess cut engagement ring later flanked by two blingy bands.

The $55,5000 ring features a scalloped side profile with 2 carats of prong set round diamonds culminating in a contemporary basket rocking a three carat center stone.

Coveting a similarly bold look? Take the ring quiz and get a sketch of your dream ring for free.

Emily Blunt’s Three Carat Vintage Setting

John Krasinski AKA Jim Halpert on The Office, proposed with a three-carat round diamond set, yet again, in platinum rumoured to cost over $100,000.

Custom designed by Neil Lane, this Edwardian inspired platinum ring features an antique cut Old European set atop two rings of small round brilliant diamonds.

Paired with a channel set baguette band similar to Billie No. 1, this a distinctly vintage look that will never go out of style.

Coveting a similar vintage modern look? Take the ring quiz and get a sketch of your dream ring for free.

Emily Blunts 3 Carat Enagement Ring
Kirsten Bells Engagement Ring

Kristen Bell’s Three Carat Art Deco Emerald

Dax Shepard surprised our favorite Gossip Girl with a three-carat emerald cut diamond set in platinum for a modern, art-deco look.

The three stone setting features a champagne/cognac colored emerald flanked by channel set round diamonds with a deliciate mill grain edge.

Similar to going with a lab grown diamond, a champagne diamond can be a great way to get a big look while keeping costs down.

Coveting a similar style? Take the ring quiz and get a sketch of your dream ring for free.

Not all Three Carat Diamonds are Created Equal

This is where it gets tricky. As we discuss in our guide — how big is a 1-carat diamond really? — cut, shape, and carat all play an important role in a diamonds overall size. It’s entirely possible that a round 3-carat diamond may be perfectly proportioned to your finger, but an Asscher 3-carat diamond looks small, or an oval looks too big.

To answer the question is a three-carat diamond too big, you’ll first need to decide on a shape. From there you can figure out if your coveted three-carat diamond is too big, too small, or just right. Here’s a handy guide to help you decide.

Frank Darling guide to three carat diamonds

Is a Three Carat Diamond Too Big?

If you’re worried that a 3-carat diamond might be too big, you’ve already decided you like the look of a big diamond. While a 3-carat diamond is less wearable than a 1-carat diamond, you can make it more wearable by opting for a low-profile setting where the culet (bottom tip) of the diamond sits as low as possible in the setting, just above your finger.

Tips for Setting a Three Carat Center Stone

Go Minimal

A good rule of thumb — the bigger the diamond the more minimal the setting. Stay away from halos — you want the center stone to do the heavy lifting. Nothing pops more than a three carat stone on a 1.5mm band.

Stay Vertical

East west settings are trending, but they’re better suited to one or two carat center stones. A three carat stone needs that added finger length to really shine.

Step Cuts & Side Stones

If you’re considering an emerald or Asscher, vertical baguettes or trapezoids can enhance the hall of mirrors effect.

How to Choose a Three Carat Diamond

3 carat emerald three stone engagement ring

If you’re thinking about purchasing a three-carat diamond you’re most likely shopping in the 20k and up range depending on if you’re looking at lab-grown or mined. While larger mined diamonds are rather plentiful, lab-grown are less so. Popular shapes like ovals and Asschers are in demand and sell fast.

For a purchase that size we’d recommend working with an expert who can help you decode the plot map, seek out diamonds with perfect proportions, and confirm your oval doesn’t have a dreaded bow tie, or inclusions which will make it vulnerable to breaking.

If you’d prefer to DIY it, you’ll want to apply similar logic in selecting a three-carat diamond as a 1 carat diamond with one large exception. Size magnifies a diamond’s color, and a diamonds inclusions. A 3-carat H color diamond is going to be noticeably more yellow than a 1 carat H color diamond. As you increase the carat you’ll want to increase your target color and clarity as well. Here are our general guidelines.

Choosing Your Color and Clarity

Brilliant Cuts

If you’re shopping for a 3-carat round diamond, we recommend staying above H color and SI1 clarity. If you decide to opt for a lower clarity VS2 or SI1 diamond you’ll want to be sure there are no black inclusions or inclusions located near or under the main table. Check out our guide to selecting an eye-clean SI1 diamond for more detailed information.

H SI1 Round Lab Grown Diamond
F VVS2 Round Lab Grown Diamond

If you’re shopping for a 3 carat fancy diamond like the oval, pear, cushion or marquise, we recommend staying about G color and SI1 clarity. Shapes that pinch like the pear and oval can hold color more in the tips where it’s concentrated. This becomes more obvious in larger stones. Whatever you do, don’t buy sight unseen. If a diamond doesn’t have a video — just ask!

H SI1 Lab Grown Oval
F VVS2 Lab Grown Emerald

Step Cuts

If you’re shopping for a 3-carat step-cut diamond you’ll want to be extra sensitive to clarity as emeralds and Asscher’s let it all hang out. Stay in the H, VS2 and above range and make sure there are no black inclusions or inclusions located beneath the main table.

H VS2 Lab Grown Emerald
F VS1 Lab Grown Emerald

How Big will a Three Carat Diamond Look on Your Hand?

Finger size plays a huge role in how big a diamond looks. A three carat diamond on a size 4 finger will look totally different than a three carat diamond on a size 13 finger. Most hand models are a size 7 finger which leaves the rest of us out of luck.

So What’s the Verdict? Is a Three Carat Diamond too Big?

If you’re unsure if three carats is right for you, order a stone flight. We’ll send you four cubic zirconia “diamonds,” in your choice of size and shape, for free! Click here to get started.

Ready to Find Your Dream Diamond?

Check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds and don’t forget to zoom out (because size can be deceiving), or book an appointment at our New York salon to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person. 

Not finding what you’re looking for? Email us with what you’re looking for at hello@frankdarling.com. We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.