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Carat Weight — is a 3 Carat Diamond Too Big?

Frank Darling’s visual guide to selecting a 3 carat diamond that suits 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 looks from passersby as they gawk at 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.


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

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 three-carat, oval-cut diamond with a pavé rose-gold band.

Whitney Ports three carat oval engagement ring. Is a 3 carat diamond too big?


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

Snooki's three carat princess cut engagement ring. Is a 3 carat diamond too big?

Kristen Bell

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

Kirstne Bells three carat emerald engagement ring. Is a 3 carat diamond too big?

Emily Blunt

John Krasinski AKA Jim Halpert on The Office, proposed with a three-carat round diamond set, yet again, in platinum. Channel set diamond baguettes flank the band, paired with a pretty pavé wedding band for a distinctly un-funny look that will never go out of style.

Emily Blunts three carat engagement ring. Is a 3 carat diamond too big?


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


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 flag down a taxi with the best of them. And 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. This will keep you from accidentally knocking a cyclist over or crumpling a mailbox at the flick of your wrist.


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 Asscher 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 the color and clarity for a brilliant cut

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.

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!

Choosing the color and clarity for a step cut

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 G, VS2 and above range and make sure there are no black inclusions or inclusions located beneath the main table.


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. Luckily, you’ve got us.


Every great ring starts with a great setting, but picking a setting out online is hard — or at least it used to be. At Frank Darling, all our engagement ring settings are available for free home try-on. It’s like the internet, but you can touch things.

Get started by selecting your favorite four rings. We’ll send you sterling silver, size seven, replicas set with 1 carat CZ stones. Want to see other stone sizes? Just ask.

Each try at home kit comes with a pre-paid return label, ring sizer, and The Handbook, a practical guide to purchasing a diamond for the matrimonial inclined. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.