What Is the Best Carat Size for a Diamond Engagement Ring?
You and your partner are getting serious. If it’s time to make things official, you’re ready to shop for engagement rings. Most engagement ring journeys start with researching the most expensive part of any engagement rings: that big rock. But just what exactly is a “big” rock? How do you know which size diamond to get? You may be asking yourself "What diamond size is best for an engagement ring?" Or "How many diamond carats will look best on a hand?"
We get it. It's hard enough buying jewelry for someone else. Add on the fact that an engagement ring symbolizes your love and will be worn daily for the rest of her life, you may have a lot of questions about every detail of the ring. Don’t worry, we have thoughts about solitaire engagement rings vs halo engagement rings, choosing the right diamond shape and even which engagement ring fits your zodiac sign. But first things first. Here are all the details about the average diamond size for engagement rings and what to know when choosing yours.
Diamond Carats vs Diamond Size
Although we generally talk about diamond size, not weight, it’s important to remember that those two things are related but not exactly the same thing. Not all one-carat diamonds have the same diameter or dimensions since they are crafted by hand. That’s true of round brilliant diamonds: one-carat diamonds range from 6.0mm in diameter to 6.6mm. The average is about 6.4mm. Here’s the catch: diamonds cut to face-up larger aren’t the most brilliant. At Brilliant Carbon, we select diamonds that are properly proportioned for maximum sparkle and brilliance because they are more beautiful. Even if the diameter is slightly smaller, they shine brighter. Princess cuts are similar, except they are square rather than round.
Fancy shape diamonds like oval diamonds, emerald cut diamonds, and pear diamonds with an elongated shape don’t have standardized dimensions: they can be long and skinny or more squared off. These cuts are a bit shallower than a round brilliant or a princess cut. That means they have more surface area face up than a round. The shallower depth and elongated shape combine to make them look larger than a round or princess of the same carat weight.
What Is the Most Popular Carat Size for Engagement Rings?
The short answer to this question is pretty clear. According to most surveys, most engagement rings in the United States are between one carat and two carats. For example, in The Knot’s 2021 survey of 5,000 couples, the average size of an engagement ring is 1.5 carats in total. One in four engagement rings was over two carats in total.
These numbers include the total carat weight of all the diamonds in the ring. So that means the center diamond might be less than a carat but surrounded by other diamonds that add weight but not as much cost since smaller diamonds are generally less per carat than larger ones.
But here’s the twist: now that lab grown diamonds are more widely available in larger sizes thanks to improvements in the technology to make actual diamonds in the lab, more couple are choosing a larger lab grown diamond that costs less than a smaller mined diamond. That’s why it seems like all the engagement rings you see on Instagram these days are two carats or even larger. There has been a huge surge in sales of multicarat lab grown diamond engagement rings.
Today, more couples getting married are older. People in their twenties or early thirties typically choose diamonds that are one carat. The older the couple, the larger the diamonds typically become. That makes total sense: older people have had more time to save and are farther along in their careers, giving them more money to spend on the ring.
What Is Considered a "Big" Engagement Ring?
When you look at all the gorgeous rings on social media, it’s easy to become obsessed with buying or receiving a "big" diamond. Celebrity engagement rings are usually pretty large and get lots of attention so it’s easy to start dreaming that the size of your ring will be similar.
Is a one carat diamond big? Is a two carat diamond big? What’s really a "big" engagement ring is subjective. How big your diamond looks also depends on the size of your finger and hand. A one-carat diamond on a size-four finger looks larger than a one-carat diamond on a size-eight finger.
Only one in 15 million mined diamonds are two carats or more. Lab-grown diamonds have made these rare and costly treasures much more available and affordable. You can buy a two carat lab grown diamond for the cost of a one-carat mined diamond.
So don’t only focus on a carat number or what others might think is a "big" engagement ring diamond. Instead, focus on what you like, what looks best on your hand, and find a beautifully cut diamond, which will be bright and lively so it has a big presence, independent of the size.
How to Find the Right Carat Size for You
A big factor in what size diamond you should buy is your budget. Don’t worry about the old rule of thumb that your partner should spend three months of their salary to buy your engagement ring. Don't forget to think about where and how you will be wearing the ring. If you work with your hands, but you want to wear your ring every day, you might need to keep it on the smaller side.
If you get your ring and you don't like the diamond size, don't panic. There are ways to make it better. If you think your diamond is too small, there are a few things that you can do to enhance it. You can add several diamond bands that can be stacked to make the ring stand out more and even look bigger.
The wonderful thing about diamonds is that they can be reset in a new design and given new life. You can also "upgrade" the diamond later on, sometimes to mark a special occasion like an anniversary or the birth of a child. If you think your diamond looks too big or clunky initially, give it time. As you wear your engagement ring (and jewelry in general), you tend to get used to it, and it you get used to its scale.
No matter what size carat you go with, the most important part is what it symbolizes: true love and partnership. The most important thing isn’t how big your diamond is, it’s the meaning behind it and the love it represents.