How many carats should an engagement ring be is a tricky question, but one that is asked quite often.
The Knot asked 5’000 recently engaged or married couples what their ring was to figure out what the trends are. Turns out, the average engagement ring size is 1.5 carats. 2500 people had a ring between 1 and 2 carats and 1250 people had a ring above two carats.
This can be challenging to break this down. Are these brides-to-be sporting a two-carat solitaire engagement ring in which a single stone weighs two carats? Or is their center stone a one-carat diamond flanked by smaller accent diamonds bringing the total carat weight of the ring up to two carats?
There’s much more to consider than fulfilling the average carat weight for an engagement ring. Essential factors include your budget, as well as the personality and style of the lucky individual who will be wearing the ring!
We’ve rounded up a few helpful tips when it comes to picking the perfect engagement ring size. Because yes, there is such a thing as too big a diamond.
What Is a Carat?
A carat refers to the weight of a diamond. It’s one of the most familiar terms we hear when discussing diamond jewelry, particularly engagement rings. The metric carat is an international standard that allows diamond sellers and buyers to be precise with their measurements.
One carat is one-fifth (or 0.2) of a gram. A diamond weighing one gram is equal to five carats. The carat plays a role in size but doesn’t necessarily determine how big the diamond looks when worn.
For example, a 1-carat round brilliant cut diamond can look different on your finger than a 1-carat baguette cut, which has a more elongated shape. Nevertheless, as carat weight increases, so do price and value.
It’s important to remember, though, that carat isn’t the only factor. A gorgeous diamond with excellent clarity and color weighing one carat can cost just as much or even more than a heavier diamond with a poorer color and clarity grading.
How to Determine Proper Diamond Size for an Engagement Ring
Now that you know what a carat is, should you spring for the average diamond size for an engagement ring? Not necessarily. There are a few considerations to take into account. The first (and possibly most important) is how much you have to spend on an engagement ring.
If you will soon be starting your life together, it’s best to avoid becoming broke or in debt. We recommend that you and your significant other sit down and discuss how much money you want to spend on an engagement ring.
Create a budget. While the proposal itself can be a surprise, your soon-to-be-fiancé likely won’t want to be blindsided with a hefty price tag that could decrease how much you can devote to your wedding financially or leave you with debt to pay off.
Remember, you can always upgrade the ring later when you’re more financially stable. For now, determine a ballpark number or range you want to stay within. This number will affect how large of a diamond carat weight you can afford.
After determining a budget, it is time to consider your significant other’s style. Engagement rings come in many shapes, colors, and designs. We’ve mentioned carat weight can apply in different ways. For example, you could choose a solitaire diamond engagement ring. This means there will be a single diamond weighing one, two, or even ten carats.
Or, you can choose a ring that features more than one stone. The total weight of all the diamonds in the ring is referred to as total carat weight and takes into account the center stone along with diamonds on the band, in a halo, or flanking the center gem.
The number of diamonds and their arrangement can offer different looks or vibes. The solitaire is classic and comes in a number of cuts or shapes. Three-stone rings are sentimental and vintage, while halo rings offer a more modern look.
Think about your partner’s personal style and tastes, be it minimalist or bold, vintage or modern, or anything in between!
|The Gallery Collection™ Cathedral Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
|The Gallery Collection Six-Prong Trellis Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring
|ZAC ZAC POSEN Vintage Three-Stone Diamond Engagement Ring
|The total diamond carat weight of your ring is 0.59 Ct.
|The total diamond carat weight of your ring can range from 0.64 Ct to 1.85 Ct.
|The total diamond carat weight of your ring is 0.54 Ct.
Another important consideration is your significant other’s lifestyle. While you may be able to afford a ten-carat diamond, an outdoorsy person who engages in a lot of physical activity may not appreciate a ring so valuable and bulky.
Large-carat diamonds tend to be more prominent, sitting higher off the finger. This makes it easy to catch on fabric. In most cases, your partner may not feel comfortable wearing it all the time, especially at the gym, when swimming, jogging, climbing, etc. If you want to have the best of both worlds, consider getting a silicone ring your bride can use as a replacement, in addition to the expensive diamond ring.
Alternatively, some individuals have no problem taking off their ring when necessary and would love a bold, beautiful, big diamond instead of a daintier one. In our opinion, this is where going engagement ring shopping with your partner so that they can try on different sizes and styles is truly beneficial!
We’ve mentioned it before, but it is worth noting again. Choosing quality over size is often better. Diamonds are graded based on the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. Diamond cut is often a non-factor, and it’s advised that you choose a shape that suits your partner’s taste and style. However, color and clarity can be pretty noticeable and vary widely.
Traditional diamonds are meant to be colorless. The purest diamonds, usually resembling crystal clear drops of water, are quite valuable and expensive. Lower color grades can make a diamond appear yellow or even with a hue of brown.
Clarity refers to how many inclusions or blemishes a stone has. Inclusions can appear as tubes or feathers inside the stone, detracting from its sparkle and how clear it looks. Diamonds that are colorless with excellent clarity demand a higher price, and these stones are most commonly found in smaller carats.
Take a look at this stunning Petite Solitaire Engagement Ring. It is round shape 1 carat SI1 color F clarity stone.
- Very good cut: $4036 (clarity SI1)
- Astor Ideal cut: $12103 (clarity VVS1)
Keeping your budget in mind, choosing a smaller-carat stone with better clarity and color grades typically creates a more beautiful engagement ring than a massive diamond with a yellow hue and lots of inclusions.
What Is Considered Too Small?
Fortunately, this is a matter of opinion!
There is no official “too small” size for an engagement ring. If you’re shopping for loose diamonds, a tiny diamond may affect what type of setting or jewelry design you can achieve. However, small stones can create a stunning engagement ring.
Most jewelers associate diamonds ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 carats with being “small.” However, Brides reports that in Europe, the average size for an engagement is 0.5 carats.
Many things can affect this. Older clients who have had time to save up may choose bigger diamonds. Modern minimalists may enjoy smaller diamonds. It really depends on personal preference.
The only time a diamond may actually be considered too small is when it comes to diamond chips. Diamond chips are antiquated and not seen much today. As the name implies, they are chips off a larger diamond that commonly occurred because machines of the time weren’t advanced enough to cut and polish these tiny stones.
Due to this, they don’t refract light and sparkle as much. Their odd shapes can also be hard to incorporate into jewelry. Unless a piece is a verifiable vintage or heirloom piece, chip diamonds are generally too small for an engagement ring.
Can a Diamond Be Too Big?
A diamond can be too big, but that’s a matter of opinion. Bigger isn’t always better, and it’s not wise to get hung up too much on size. What’s deemed a big diamond can be subjective to the wearer. A smaller diamond may still look sizeable on someone with slender and small fingers.
Also, the shape of the stone can also change how big it looks. This is why it can be beneficial to focus on how it looks and what your partner likes instead of only a number.
Your bride-to-be could think a more considerable carat weight is too big. After all, bigger diamonds can be heavier, tending to spin around on the finger. They sit higher and can easily be caught or nicked on things.
Larger diamonds can’t always be worn for a variety of activities, such as gardening or even traveling abroad in some places. A hefty diamond could also blow your budget. There are many occasions when a diamond could be considered “too big,” making it all a matter of preference.
What Weight of a Diamond Should I Get?
We hope you’ve learned why it is important not to focus exclusively on carat weight. It’s easy to become obsessed with a number or even searching for a “big” diamond that will wow them, their friends, and their family. However, size isn’t everything! Consider your budget, your partner’s style, and lifestyle.
You’re looking for a ring that suits them. An engagement ring is something they’re supposed to wear every day for the rest of their life. You want it to be comfortable and perfectly suited to their liking. If your ring ends up too small, you have options, such as stackable jewelry or resetting it entirely.
But, as long as you expand your view to include the considerations mentioned above when shopping for a diamond engagement ring, chances are you’ll choose the perfect match for your perfect match.