Buying an engagement ring can be an exhilarating yet stressful process. If you’re purchasing an engagement ring, it means you have an exciting event coming up and are also taking steps to solidify your relationship with the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with.
With so much on the line when it comes to proposing to your special someone, and with so many different engagement ring options out there, it can be challenging to find the perfect ring for your loved one.
When shopping for an engagement ring, there is a wide range of critical factors that you’ll need to consider before making your purchase. For example, you need to factor in your budget and basic expectations on the amount one typically spends on an engagement ring. You also need to consider the personal style and preferences of the person you propose to.
Out of all the factors people need to keep in mind; however, one could argue that the essential one that everyone needs to consider regards the four Cs of the rings you look at. These stand for carat, cut, color, and clarity, though many believe carat to be the key when selecting the best possible engagement ring for your future partner.
In short, carat refers to the weight of an engagement ring. But what’s the average carat size of engagement rings? When selecting an engagement ring, do you always have to abide by the average carat size? And are there any other factors that might be more important when choosing the perfect ring for your spouse-to-be? Read on to find out.
Related: The Evolution of Engagement Rings
What is the Average Carat Size of Engagement Rings?
Carat sizes can vary drastically depending on location and demographics. For example, the average carat size in the US is about 1.0 to 1.2 carat, while the average carat size in the UK is about 0.6 carat. In the rest of Europe, the average carat size is about 0.5 carat.
Age can also make a huge difference. This makes sense because our disposable income tends to grow as we get older. Typically, the older the person, the larger the carat size.
So, does this mean a “big” engagement ring is anything bigger than one carat?
Well, that depends on various factors, which is why many jewelers suggest you don’t get too hung up on the number of carats. The shape can contribute to how large a diamond ring looks, as can the size of the hand wearing the ring. This is why it’s best not to worry too much about the numbers and what everyone else is buying. Instead, think about what’s best for you and your loved one.
Related: Guide to Men’s Wedding Bands
Which is More Important: Carat Size or Style?
When shopping for engagement rings, many people wonder if they should focus on the carat size of style more. Generally speaking, you should consider both the carat size and style.
A large carat size may look great in a particular style, but it may look ridiculous in another style. Also, don’t assume your loved one will love the engagement ring just because it has a large carat size. If the ring doesn’t fit their style, then it’s not the right ring for them.
It’s essential to look at various sizes and styles before making a decision.
In many cases, it can be a good idea to work directly with a friend of your partner or your future partner themself when choosing their engagement ring.
While this does take a lot of the “surprise” aspect out of your upcoming proposal, shopping for a ring as a couple will ensure your partner ends up with an engagement ring they legitimately love and will enjoy wearing for the rest of their life. It will also ensure that the ring you pick fits your partner correctly and doesn’t need to be resized.
Additionally, shopping for an engagement ring with your partner will help make for a risk-free proposal that won’t result in a rejection. It also offers a great bonding opportunity to spend time with your future spouse.
While some people may balk at the idea of not picking out a ring for their intended spouse alone, as many as 62% of couples have abandoned that traditional practice and now shop for engagement rings together, whether in person or online.
Take Your Time and Comparison Shop
Whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring alone or with your partner, the best way to buy an engagement ring is to do some comparison shopping. If you’re shopping for the ring online, make sure to check out multiple websites. If you’re buying in person, you should head to numerous jewelry stores.
When comparison shopping, make sure to take notes on each ring. Trying to remember price points and style information about 20 different rings isn’t going to happen, so we suggest writing everything down. For each ring you’re considering, make note of the size, cut, color, carat weight, clarity, certification, and jeweler.
Also, make sure to get multiple pictures of each ring to better remember what you’re comparing.
Understanding the Four Cs (Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat)
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to understand the four Cs when shopping for engagement rings. We already talked about the carat size, so what do you need to know about the other three Cs?
Let’s take a quick look:
Diamond color varieties can appear subtle at first glance, but the differences can be pretty significant when you’re wearing the diamond. Colors can range from icy white to light yellow. We suggest comparing the colors side by side so you can better notice the differences.
Colorless diamonds are the rarest and therefore the most expensive, while yellow diamonds are the most common and therefore most affordable. Diamond color is rated along a grade scale of D through Z, with D representing perfect and clear diamonds. Most of the diamonds used in engagement rings within the U.S. are rated as either H, I, or J, making them imperfect but more affordable.
Interestingly enough, while many prefer diamonds that have a higher grade and are as close to “perfect” as possible, diamonds that show prominent color are also in high demand. Depending on how apparent the color of the diamond is, it might be priced higher than some diamonds with a higher grade.
Contrary to popular belief, the cut doesn’t refer to the shape of the diamond. Instead, it refers to the diamond’s shape, symmetry, and proportion. Diamonds that are well-cut direct more light through their crowns. If a diamond isn’t cut well, the light will escape through the bottom or sides of the stone.
While we emphasize the importance of carat weight in the section above, many people believe that a diamond’s cut is the most critical element of the 4Cs since it indicates how “sparkly” a diamond is.
Clarity refers to the imperfections on the surface of the diamond and within the stone. Surface flaws are referred to as blemishes, while internal flaws are referred to as inclusions.
Since the naked eye can’t see most inclusions, most gemologists don’t consider them flaws. Instead, you’ll often see gemologists refer to these inclusions as internal characteristics.
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Differentiating Between Carbon Vaccinated Versus Natural Diamonds
When buying an engagement ring, you may hear a lot of talk about carbon-vaccinated vs. natural diamonds.
Carbon-vaccinated diamonds are lab-grown diamonds that are made through a process called chemical vapor deposition. These diamonds are real diamonds, and they are cut and polished the same way natural diamonds are, making their appearance indistinguishable.
Natural diamonds are made from carbon, the hardest known substance on the planet. These diamonds are created in underground conditions over billions of years and are mined once they come to the earth’s surface.
Picking Engagement Rings That Match Personal Style
Style is another important factor to consider when buying an engagement ring. For example, if you’re looking for something traditional and elegant, you may want to buy a ring with a classic solitaire setting.
If you’re looking for something to match her stylish and outgoing personality, a sparkling pavé set diamond may be best. If your partner is outdoorsy and natural, then a ring set with organic elements may be best.
Again, we want to note the benefit of picking out an engagement ring with your partner or at least relying on the opinion of one of their good friends or relatives who can provide you with a different perspective on what will or won’t fit their style. No matter how long you’ve been with someone or how well you think you know what they’ll like, there’s no way to be 100% sure they will love the engagement ring you select without getting their direct input.
Picking the Right Shape of Diamond for Your Engagement Ring
Additionally, it’s essential to consider the shape of the diamond ring. The shape is often referred to as the cut. Some popular shapes worth considering include:
- Oval-cut diamonds
- Round brilliant-cut diamonds
- Princess cut diamonds
- Marquise diamonds
- Emerald cut diamonds
- Cushion cut diamonds
- Heart-shaped diamonds
- Pear-shaped diamonds
- Old European Cut
Pick the Perfect Ring Out
Now that you know what the average carat size is for an engagement ring, it’s time to start shopping. Pretty soon, you’ll have the perfect engagement ring for your loved one.
If you’re looking to buy another type of ring besides an engagement ring, check out our new ring arrivals!