What is the Average Carat Size for an Engagement Ring?

There are many things to consider when choosing an engagement ring. Everything from the shape, size, cut, color, clarity, setting, etc. is customizable, and the number of choices can be daunting. 

When popping the question, you want to be sending the right message to your bride-to-be. Is there such a thing as too small or too large a diamond? Too meek or too extravagant? Is there a minimum price you should be paying? 

Despite all the myths, the most important thing is finding a ring that fits the bride perfectly. In order to do that, here is everything you need to know about carat size.

What is Carat Size?

Carats are not to be confused with karats, a metric for the purity of gold.

In simplest terms, carat is the weight of your diamond. One carat is an extremely small measurement, equal to about 0.2 grams. That is about the weight of:

  • 7 grains of rice
  • 55 sesame seeds
  • A raindrop
  • ¼ of a nail
  • ⅕ of a single jelly bean
  • Half of a ticket for the Paris metro
  • Half a stick of gum

Therefore diamond measurements must be incredibly precise. Carats are subdivided into 100 points, measuring the weight of stones to the 100th decimal place. It is common for jewelers to refer to the weight of a diamond not in carats, but in points. 

Ex_) “That’s a thirty-five pointer in that solitaire setting.”

The carat measurement is most commonly used for diamonds that weigh more than one carat.

Ex_) “Might I recommend this one point fifteen-carat round-cut diamond?”

Most diamonds used for fine jewelry fall around one single carat in weight. The slow development time for natural diamonds (millions and sometimes billions of years) cause the largest stones to be the rarest and most valuable.

Due to minute differences in weight having such a strong correlation to price, a good tip for saving some money is to choose diamonds that just miss the next full carat mark (ex: 0.97 ct.). The discrepancy in size is noticeable to the naked eye, yet the difference in price can be immense.

What Does Shape Have to do With Size?

Understanding the variety of shapes can be very helpful in selecting a size for your diamond. Shape and cut are often used interchangeably, so let’s clear that up now. 

A diamond’s shape is essentially its outline, while its cut refers to proportion, symmetry, and facets (sides). It’s much easier to start with selecting a shape and then settling on a cut. The finer cut a diamond is, the more brilliance and fire it has. Brilliance correlates with white light (sparkle), and fire correlates with refracted light (colors inside). Many shapes and cuts share names, so it can get a little confusing.

The most common shapes for diamonds are:

Using a one carat equivalent with equal measures for clarity, color, and other factors, Emerald shaped diamonds are the cheapest while trillion diamonds are the most expensive. This is why carat size alone is not always indicative of ring cost. 

Brilliant-cut round diamonds feature the greatest level of brilliance and fire for its size. Oval, pear, and marquise diamonds are often “value” options because they look bigger than they actually are, while shapes like the princess cut offer the lowest cost-per-carat price.

Some common cuts include:

  • Round Brilliant Cut—the highest levels of brilliance and fire, boasting 58 facets
  • Radiant Cut—very brilliant, especially when exposed to light, 70 facets
  • Cushion Cut—a hybrid between the round brilliant cut and the classic old mine cut, shaped like a square with rounded corners, cushion cut diamonds are usually less expensive than round brilliant cut diamonds of equivalent cut quality, clarity, color, and carat weight
  • Oval Cut—similar brilliance and fire to the round brilliant cut, can seem larger than it is.
  • Marquise Cut—unique football shape

There are many factors that impact the cost and value of a diamond. Size certainly isn’t everything.

What is the Average Size of an Engagement Ring?

Defining an average depends on many things: where you live, how old you are, cultural expectations, and more. 

Simply enough, the average engagement ring purchased in the U.S. features a center stone weighing between 1.08 and 1.2 carats. Rings that feature side stones or smaller diamonds in a pave or halo setting usually total around 2 carats in weight.

This average slightly spikes in major cities and dips in rural areas. Millennials tend to spend less on engagement rings than the generations above them. Average carat weight for citizens of the U.K. falls around 0.6 carats, and even lower in Asian countries like China and Japan.

Location:

  • United States: Around 1 carat, but with regional variations (larger in bigger cities like New York or LA, smaller in rural areas).
  • Europe & UK: Typically smaller, between 0.5 and 0.6 carats.
  • Other regions: Vary greatly, with Japan preferring even smaller diamonds around 0.3 carats and China averaging closer to 0.5 carats.

Demographics:

  • Age: Younger couples tend to choose 1-2 carat diamonds, while older couples might opt for larger stones 3-5 carat diamond.
  • Income: More disposable income can lead to larger carat choices.

Personal preferences:

  • Budget: Ultimately, the most important factor is what you can comfortably afford.
  • Style: Smaller diamonds can appear larger with certain settings, and alternative gemstones are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Partner’s preference: Their taste and lifestyle should be considered as well.

What is “Big Enough”?

As we’ve said before, size is not the only factor to consider when selecting a ring. For many brides-to-be, things like cut or clarity may be more important than actual carat size. 

For the average person in the U.S., any diamond at least between 2 and 2.4 carats is considered “big,” i.e., way more than enough. 

Generally, anything above two carats is considered large for a ring, although some of our favorite celebrities like Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga have been seen sporting much, much larger rings. That being said, most women probably wouldn’t want to wear massive rings every single day. 

With custom designs and sentimental touches becoming more popular, carat size is not the make-or-break metric it once was.

Where Can I Get More Information?

We understand finding the perfect ring can feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone on this journey. At Diamond Mansion, we’re more than just jewelers; we’re your trusted guides in this adventure.

Your dream proposal deserves a ring to match, and that’s where we come in. With personalized guidance from our diamond experts, you’ll navigate the world of diamonds with ease. We listen to your story, your dreams, and your budget to help you design an engagement ring that’s as unique as your love story.

Don’t let the search for the perfect diamond be a source of stress. Connect with one of our Diamond Guides today. Together, we’ll bring your dream ring to life, ensuring your proposal is unforgettable. Diamond Mansion is here to turn your dream proposal into a reality.

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For someone that is just beginning to learn about diamonds, our Ultimate Engagement Ring Guide will walk you through every aspect of selecting a diamond. In addition to providing thorough information on the 4 c’s (carat, cut, color, clarity) and beyond, Diamond Mansion also peppered in shopping tips designed to help you maximize your budget. 

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Sources:

https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/diamond-carat

https://www.diamonds.pro/education/shapes/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/06/14/buying-an-engagement-ring/10358507/

https://www.diamonds.pro/guides/average-diamond-engagement-ring

https://www.whowhatwear.com/average-engagement-ring-size/slide13