When you’re shopping for an engagement ring, you likely have a general idea in mind of what you want it to look like. But, beyond shape, there are a slew of important characteristics to take into consideration — including clarity, color, and carat size. While you want a ring that is unique and individual to you, starting off it’s helpful to gauge what is common. Finding the average carat size is a good baseline that can help you determine the size of ring you’re looking for, and how much to consider saving up for.
“Average carat size is always on the rise,” Mona Akhavi, CEO of VRAI, tells TZR. A few years ago, the expert says the average carat size was 0.77. “Today, most consumers are aiming for ‘aspirational’ sizes that come with the 1 ct plus territory.” In fact, she believes the average sizing range now goes from 1.75 to 2.00 ct. “This is the sweet spot for many couples, as it’s a great aspirational, yet achievable size.” Akhavi says diamonds in this size range have an impressive on-hand look, without feeling too large or uncomfortable. “As a diamond gets larger, it gets deeper too, so wearability is a factor with diamonds over two carats as some consumers want a ring that sits lower on the hand.” While the style of ring or shape of your diamond may be more intuitive based on your aesthetic, experts have a few recommendations to keep in mind when seeking the right carat size.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
While the average diamond size might be on the rise according to some designers, according to Lorraine Brantner, a gemologist at JamesAllen.com, 1.0 to 1.25 ct remains the benchmark for many couples. “Many customers want to say they have a ‘one-carat diamond’ and this has been a landmark weight for many years,” she explains. If you’re not sure where to start when first beginning to look for a ring, the longstanding interest in a single carat ring makes it a classic choice and a good introduction to what you may want or feel comfortable wearing.
“There are many ways to adjust your color and clarity levels to find the perfect diamond within your budget, and all of the 4 C’s [color, clarity, cut, and carat weight] impact the price of a stone,” Bratner explains. Meaning, the weight of a diamond doesn’t always determine the price. Considering other factors such as the clarity and the specific diamond you choose can allow you to fit a wider range of options into your budget. “Always make sure your cut is the number one factor you focus on because that determines how nicely your diamond sparkles,” Brantner adds.
Additionally, Kristen Trustey, De Beers Forevermark Diamond Expert, explains, “a 2020 study on diamond acquisition conducted by De Beers and The Knot found that while the size of the diamond is important for most (falls within the top five factors for 65% of respondents), the shape of the diamond is the number one more important factor, followed by the style or setting of the ring.”
While diamonds are still the most popular ring choice on the market, there’s also been a rise in the popularity of non-diamond engagement rings, such as sapphires, rubies, and emerald stones. These up-and-coming styles could impact a ring’s total carats. “Carat weight depends on the gemstone as they all have different densities,” explains Sarah Dickinson, Director of Ecommerce at Brooklyn-based jewelry label Mociun. For instance, she says a diamond is less dense than sapphires — meaning, a 1ct diamond will be larger than a 1ct sapphire of the exact same cut.
According to Trustey, “most diamond engagement rings have a total carat weight (center diamond and any side or accent diamonds in the ring setting) between 0.5 and 1.5 with common weight for center diamonds being 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.2, and 1.5 ct.”
Adds Dickenson, “just as a gemstone's size depends on a variety of factors, like carat weight and cut, so does the individual's preference. I think in 2021, clients are leaving behind traditions that stipulate how large an engagement ring is and leaning more toward what feels best for them.”
Age Plays A Role
“My observation is that younger generations are increasingly opting for unique designs with more personality in lieu of solitaires with larger diamonds,” jewelry designer Selin Kent tells TZR. “This might translate to a smaller diamond with a different cut such as a half-moon or a kite-shaped diamond.” But, she says that’s not to say millennials and Gen Z are eschewing diamonds altogether. “They just don’t seem to have the same pressure as earlier generations such as Gen X to opt for large diamonds.” Kent notes that many millennials might not have the same financial security as previous generations, plus, they tend to value experiences like travel more than they do material possessions, which could also impact their shopping choices. This means that while there may be an overall increase in the carat size of what’s considered an “average” ring, this determination may be skewed based on who is doing the shopping.
Trust Your Taste
Still not exactly sure what size is right for you? “My advice to someone looking for their perfect carat size is to trust their instincts,” Eva Zuckerman, creative director and co-founder of Eva Fehren, tells TZR. “Think about what will make you happy for a lifetime and integrate seamlessly into your life and style.” As it turns out, she says sometimes that doesn't translate to a bigger carat. “The carat size of a diamond is not the most important factor, but rather focus on the feeling you have when you look at the right stone. And definitely do not think about what the people around you have... pick what's right for you and your partner.”
Below, shop an assortment of stunning rings that fall between 1ct to 2ct. Ultimately, the size is up to you.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.