Choosing an engagement ring, for yourself or your partner, is no easy task. There are lots of choices to make, like what type of metal you want the ring to be made of and what setting style you want the stone to be mounted in. However, one of the most important choices is deciding on the right engagement ring diamond size. While the common thought is that the bigger a diamond, the better, this isn’t always the case.
How is diamond size measured?
Diamond sizes are measured in terms of both dimensions in millimetres and weight in carats. These two measurements together indicate the size of the diamond, contrary to the popular belief that carat alone refers to a diamond’s size, or indeed its value, rather than its weight. Because of the range of cuts and shapes that diamonds come in, weight alone can never be a true indicator of size.
For example, a particularly deep diamond with a small table might weigh more than a diamond with a bigger table but less depth, but it would look smaller from above when set in a ring. Similarly, a 0.75 carat oval shape diamond might be up to 1.5 times larger in terms of dimensions than a princess cut diamond of the same weight, due to the different shapes.
What’s the average diamond size for engagement rings?
The average engagement ring weight in the UK is around 0.8 – 1.0 carats, which is equivalent to a value of about £3000 to £4,000, depending heavily on the cut, clarity, and colour of the stone. However, the average weight and value of diamonds in engagement rings varies around the world, with the USA average size reported to be 0.9 carats, while China’s average is 0.5 carats. Because they’re average figures taken from engagement rings bought by a diverse range of respondents, these numbers could be getting over or under-inflated by rogue values so should be taken with a grain of salt.
How can you maximise diamond size?
If you’re interested in getting the largest diamond for your money, whether in terms of dimensions or weight, you can make trade-offs in other elements of the diamond to fit your budget. Accepting sacrifices in the colour, clarity, or cut quality of your diamond (known as the 4Cs, along with carat), will mean that you can get a higher carat diamond ring for a lower price. This can be a good choice, as some inclusions (faults in the clarity of the diamond) or colour defects are essentially unnoticeable to the human eye and would only be picked up on by a diamond expert. So, if you’re looking for impressive size, consider decreasing your expectations elsewhere.
Are large diamonds better?
Although large diamonds can look impressive, especially if the cut and shape complement the carat, they’re not the only thing that makes a diamond special. If you’re more interested in a diamond that’s perfectly crystal clear, completely colourless, or cut perfectly, you’ll get different benefits such as improved light dispersion or shine. Other things to take into account are the size of the shank that the stone will be set on and the size of the hand that the ring will be worn on. Both of these considerations determine the visual context that the diamond will find itself in, and you want to make sure that it won’t look out of place by being too large or too small.