Are you wondering what size carat engagement ring to buy? Then this guide will help you understand diamond sizes in rings, and how they look on your hand.
1. First, understand what carats are
A diamond’s weight is measured in carats. The more carats your diamond has, the more it weighs and the bigger it looks. Carats are usually denoted with the letters ‘CT’. For example, a one-carat diamond would be written as 1.00CT and a half-carat diamond would be 0.50CT.
2. Size matters, but there are other factors you should think about first
When it comes to diamonds in engagement rings, many people assume that bigger is better. However, a big diamond is not always the best diamond, nor the sparkliest one. What’s more, big high-quality diamonds are also extremely expensive. So when you start considering engagement rings, it’s good to take into account all the factors that influence the look of your diamond, namely its cut or shape, the overall style of the ring and the shape of your hand.
3. Why you should decide carats last
First, we recommend that you decide the overall style of ring that you’d like to buy. Next, selecting the cut of the diamond you’d like will come naturally. Then, you should pick the clarity and colour you’ll be happiest with. Only last, if you have some budget left, should you invest in size.
4. Know that a small diamond isn’t always cheaper
As we mentioned above, size is not the only factor that influences a diamond’s price. Its clarity, colour and cut also make a difference in the final price tag. For example, a tiny diamond with excellent clarity can be far more expensive than a large diamond with poor clarity.
5. Learn what diamond sizes look like on the hand
Below is a basic visual guide to round cut diamonds in different sizes. You can see what a small 0.25CT diamond solitaire ring looks like on a real hand and then see the same ring with progressively larger diamonds. Would you like to see how more diamond sizes and shapes look on a real hand? Try our Diamond Size Widget now.
Try our Diamond Size Widget now. See how different diamond sizes look on a hand.
6. Understand the ‘illusion of size’ created by different diamond shapes
A diamond’s shape is called a ‘diamond cut’. When it comes to the appearance of size, no two diamond cuts carry their size the same way. What we mean by this is that two different diamond shapes that have the same carat weight can appear very different in size.
For example, as you can see below, a 0.50CT round diamond can seem bigger than a 0.50CT princess cut stone. Although they weigh exactly the same, each diamond’s bulk is distributed differently, and this can fool the eye:
7. Consider the average carat weight that people buy
The average diamond size that people buy is half a carat, or 0.50CT. A half-carat may not sound large, but in fact it looks quite sizeable on the finger:
8. If you’re on a low budget…
A diamond with a low carat weight does not have to look or feel small. If you have a small budget, buy a round or oval cut diamond. As we saw in point 4, a round diamond has a larger diameter than other diamond shapes of the same weight, and the eye will perceive it as bigger.
9. There are other clever ways to boost the size of your engagement ring
You can make your diamond ring look bigger if you choose the right setting. For example, a halo setting features several small accent diamonds around the main stone. Since small diamonds cost less per carat than large ones, you’ll get lots of extra sparkle for less money. Read our article on 7 Ways to Get a Bigger Engagement Ring for Your Money for more tips like this.
10. Consider a genuine lab grown diamond to add 50% more carats for your budget
It’s worth mentioning lab grown diamonds here too. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds, just like mined diamonds. The difference is that they have been created sustainably, by scientists in a high tech environment, mimicking their formation process under the Earth’s crust. Because there are no mining costs, lab grown diamonds can give you up to 50% more carats for your budget.
11. Buy just under the popular carat weight
Another way to save on a ring is to look for diamonds just under the popular carat weights like 0.50ct or 1.00ct. For example, go for a 0.90ct diamond instead of a full 1.00ct. You’ll pay less, but the size difference is almost impossible to distinguish.
12. Consider the shape of your hand
Finally, you should also consider your hand shape when choosing an engagement ring. For instance, a large diamond could look out of place on a dainty hand.
To learn more, read our article Find the Best Ring Style for Your Hand Shape.
CONCLUSION – What size carat engagement ring?
The final decision is up to you. But the rule of thumb is, decide the cut and quality of the diamond first – then spend whatever budget you have left on size. This way, you’ll always get the best possible diamond for your money.
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