What is a Good Size Diamond for an Engagement Ring?

There are multiple factors to consider when purchasing a diamond engagement ring, including carat weight. Different diamond sizes impact the look of an engagement ring and choosing the one that’s right for you is subjective. Follow this guide to help you decide the diamond size that’s right for you whether you’re dreaming of a 2-carat diamond ring or a 1/2-carat diamond ring.

Big Engagement Rings: Is Bigger Always Better?

In the U.S., the average diamond engagement ring is just a little over 1 carat total weight (TW). That includes not only a center stone, but any smaller diamonds surrounding it or mounted on the band. 

While some may prefer big engagement rings with a large center solitaire, others may find smaller diamond sizes are more their style.

When choosing your engagement ring, it’s important to remember that the diamond size is not the only factor that determines the quality of an engagement ring. The “4Cs” are the criteria jewelers use to establish value and price. These include:

- Cut (Round Diamonds). The way a diamond is cut is the most critical of the 4Cs because it is what creates the diamond’s sparkle. If it’s cut poorly, none of the other factors can make up for it. Only round diamonds always have an official Cut grade, though some non-round diamonds are given Cut grades by certain grading labs.
- Color. Diamond Color grades are based on a scale from D-Z, D-F being considered "colorless,” G-H considered "near colorless," and so on. The lower the color grade, the more yellow or brown hues you'll start to see in a diamond.
- Clarity. Diamond clarity measures the purity of a diamond under 10-power magnification. A “flawless” diamond is one that has no internal flaws or external imperfections.
- Carat. Carat is the weight of the diamond, which is not the same as size, although we often use the words interchangeably. The appearance of a diamond’s size can vary depending upon the cut. For example, a 1-carat engagement ring with a round cut might appear larger than a 1-carat engagement ring with an emerald cut pear-shaped diamond, even when they are both the same carat weight.

emerald cut diamonds shown in different sizes

    How Different Diamond Cuts Affect a Ring’s Appearance

    As mentioned, different diamond cuts can visually impact the appearance of a diamond’s size. For example, if the stone in a round diamond engagement ring is cut correctly it can make the diamond look larger.

    Princess cut diamonds can look bigger than they actually are because they have a greater surface area.

    With its deep, mirror-like facets, the gem in an emerald cut diamond engagement ring looks smaller than other shapes because so much of its weight is underneath.

    The same is true for cushion cuts, which are cut deep and carry a lot of their weight below the top. 

    And finally, pear-shaped diamonds and oval diamonds can appear larger because of their elongated shape and shallow cuts.

    This picture shows 2.50cts lab diamonds in different shapes. From top: Oval, Pear Cut, Emerald Cut, Radiant Cut lab diamond solitaires in yellow gold.

    diamond shape example solitaire rings

    How Different Diamond Engagement Ring Settings Impact Appearance

    Diamond engagement ring settings can also give the illusion that a diamond is larger than it actually is. Settings that tend to make a center stone appear larger include:

    - Four-prong setting will make a diamond look larger because the stone is more visible with less metal surrounding it. Plus, your eye will tend to travel around the diamond to each of the four “corners”.

    - Cathedral setting in which the center gem is flanked by metal arches rising up from the shank of the ring.

    - Bezel setting features a metal rim that encircles the center stone.

    - Halo setting in which a ring of smaller diamonds surrounds the center stone.

    - Pavé setting with a thin band of smaller diamonds that accentuates the center diamond.

    - Skinny bands can make center diamonds look larger by comparison. (Just don’t go too skinny, otherwise you’ll compromise setting durability.)

      Settings that can make a center gem appear smaller include:

      - Six-prong setting because it has more prongs that obscure the surface of the diamond.

      - Three-stone mounting with large side stones flanking the main stone can often make the center diamond appear smaller.

      - Wide bands can make a center diamond look smaller by contrast.

        Factors to Consider When Choosing Diamond Size for an Engagement Ring

        There are many elements that can influence your decision when choosing diamond sizes. All should be considered carefully to ensure you purchase an engagement ring that you’ll love for years to come:

        - Budget. There are many factors that affect the price of an engagement ring, including the ring’s carat weight. When shopping for an engagement ring, we recommend determining your budget before you begin shopping. Once you’ve established a price range with which you’re comfortable, you can explore options that fall within that range.
        - Finger size. If you have smaller fingers, a big engagement ring might not look balanced on your hand. The same consideration would apply if you have larger fingers and are considering a small diamond engagement ring.
        - Lifestyle. For those with an active lifestyle, big engagement rings may prove impractical. This would also be true for someone who works with their hands or operates machinery.
        - Personal style. Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to style. While some may love dazzling big engagement rings, others may prefer a more modest or delicate style of ring.
        - Quality. A smaller diamond with superior cut, clarity and color may be preferable to a larger, inferior diamond with less sparkle.

          In the end, deciding on the diamond size for an engagement ring is a very personal decision influenced by a wide range of factors. Ultimately, the best diamond size for your engagement ring depends on what criteria influences you and your partner.

          Our Collection of Stunning Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings

          Unsure of how to get started finding your ideal ring? Try our customized diamond kit! For a refundable $100 deposit, we’ll send you a kit you can keep for five days that will enable you to find the perfect diamond shape and carat weight for your ring. We’ll even include a pro-jeweler approved sizer so your customized ring is the perfect fit. 

          Or, simply browse our collection of shimmering lab grown diamond engagement rings online. Explore our gorgeous settings in all metal colors to find the one that’s just right for you. Then choose your lab grown diamond. We offer a variety of cuts in a range of carat weights. Choose a timeless classic cut or something bold and memorable. We’ll handcraft your engagement ring to ensure it’s a beautiful reflection of you and your commitment to one another.

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