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What’s the Average Diamond Engagement Ring Size?

Celebrity engagement rings aside, what does your typical engagement ring look like?

By Mike Fried,

Bottom Line Recommendation:

If you turn to celebrity gossip to see what a typical engagement ring looks like, you may think this stunning ring from Blue Nile is what everyone is putting on their fiance’s hand. That is certainly not the case. In this article we will discuss what the typical engagement rings look like and how much they cost.

The average carat weight of an engagement ring diamond in the United States sits somewhere between 1.00 and 1.20 carats. Just this week, we helped one reader get this beautiful one carat cushion cut ring from James Allen and this 1.20ct round diamond stunner from Blue Nile.

However, when it comes to diamonds, size isn’t everything. Instead of looking solely at the size of a diamond (or, more accurately, its carat weight), it’s best to look for a diamond with the right combination of cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

If you feel like you are getting hung up on size, consider going with a lab-grown diamond from James Allen or Blue Nile. That decision is up to you if you go that route instead of a natural diamond (you can read more about it here). Compare this diamond to the one carat from above. They are the same price but more than twice the size.

To get the highest quality diamond engagement ring for your budget, it’s important to shop from a trustworthy vendor like James Allen or Blue Nile. Both of these vendors offer excellent pricing, with a huge selection of high quality diamonds and settings for you to choose from.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Mike Fried has written hundreds of articles and helped answer more than 30,000 emails from our readers. This has given him a unique perspective on what information truly helps our readers in their quest for finding the perfect diamond engagement ring or piece of jewelry.

Mike is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

To read more about our process for secret shopping and reviewing companies and additional details about how we operate, check out this article.

Buying an engagement ring can be a stressful, difficult experience (although our guides can make it significantly easier). From cut and clarity to color and more, there are several factors you’ll need to keep in mind to make sure you get the highest quality ring for your budget.

J-VS2 Oval in Yellow Gold Solitaire Engagement Ring

One factor that people often worry about when buying an engagement ring is the size of the diamond. Thanks to the countless articles published every year about celebrity engagement rings, it’s easy to assume that the average diamond is far larger than it really is. If all your diamond information is coming from celebrity gossip, you may think its expected to buy this 1.1 million dollar oval diamond from Blue Nile.

Below, we’ve looked at the data to determine how large (or more specifically, how heavy) the average diamond engagement ring is. We’ve also covered how you can get the best possible value on an engagement ring, helping you buy the highest quality ring within your budget.

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How Large is the Average Diamond Engagement Ring?

There’s no single source that tracks the average diamond engagement ring size (after all, it’s not the type of question you can ask on the census). This means that the average is part of a range, rather than an exact number.

Depending on the data source, the average weight of an engagement ring center stone in the United States is between 1.08 and 1.2 carats.

According to a 2014 article in USA Today, it’s just over one carat for the center stone, with a two carat average weight for the entire ring (this weight takes into account any additional diamonds and gemstones, such as those used in a halo setting.)

Outside the US, diamond engagement rings are usually a lower carat weight. In the UK, the average is about 0.6 carats, while countries like Japan and China, which don’t have the same diamond culture as North America, have an even lower average carat weight.

Average diamond ring size throughout countries

Within the US, the average size can vary based on where you are in the country. In general, if you’re in a large city like New York or Los Angeles, you can expect to see a significantly larger average diamond size than in a smaller city.

Age also affects the average diamond size. While the national average is somewhere between 1.08 and 1.2 carats, millennials usually spend less on diamonds than older generations, making their average diamond carat weight lower.

In short, there’s no absolute average — instead, the diamonds used in engagement rings vary hugely in carat weight based on factors such as your age and location.

If you’re looking for an engagement ring that’s close to the average size, you’ll find our guide to one carat diamond rings helpful. It includes everything you’ll need to get the highest quality ring for your budget, as well as common diamond-buying mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

If you’re looking for a diamond ring that’s larger than average, we also have detailed guides to buying two carat and three-carat diamond rings.

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Just like there’s no absolute average for diamond carat weight, there’s no exact amount that you should spend on a diamond engagement ring.

According to USA Today, couples reported spending an average of $5,598 on their engagement ring in 2014. Interestingly, the average engagement ring budget was $5,095 in 2011, indicating that couples are usually willing to spend more on rings when the economy is stronger. According to Idex Online “36% couples would go over their budget” in order to purchase a larger lab grown diamond .

While the average amount spent on a diamond engagement ring can be a useful statistic, it’s important to put it in context. Just like average carat weight, the average amount spent on an engagement ring can vary based on factors like location, age, and average income.

Instead of aiming for a diamond that’s larger than average, it’s best to focus on getting the best possible diamond for your budget. This means looking at your financial situation along with the needs of your fiancé-to-be, then working out how much you can afford to spend.

It’s also best to ignore any “rules” of budgeting for a diamond that you read in magazines or see in advertisements, such as setting aside a certain number of months worth of your salary for an engagement ring. Most of the time, these “rules” are created by marketers and jewelry brands.

Our guide to budgeting for an engagement ring covers this topic in more detail, with a variety of tips and tactics to help you buy a diamond ring that matches your fiancé-to-be’s tastes and your budget.

How to Get the Best Value Diamond For Your Budget

If you’re looking for a diamond that’s close to the average size, there are several techniques that you can use to get the highest quality diamond without going over your budget.

Buy Your Diamond From a Reputable Online Vendor

One of the best ways to save money on your engagement ring is to purchase both the diamond and the setting from a reputable online vendor, instead of shopping offline.

As we’ve covered before, brick and mortar stores have significant costs that affect the price of their diamonds. From rent to utilities, salaries and inventory costs, these costs add up quickly and have a real, noticeable impact on the amount you’ll pay for a diamond.

Round Cut Halo Engagement Ring in White Gold

Online vendors, on the other hand, don’t need to pay for rent in upmarket shopping districts or other major operating costs. This allows them to offer diamonds of equal or better quality for as much as 50% less than most brick and mortar jewelry stores.

We recommend buying from James Allen or Blue Nile. Both of these vendors sell high quality, GIA or AGS certified diamonds at the best prices in the industry. They also both have diverse selections, allowing you to easily choose a diamond and setting that fit within your budget.

Understand the Four Cs Before You Start Shopping

The four Cs — cut, color, clarity and carat — all play a role in determining how much you’ll spend for an engagement ring. Because of this, it’s important to understand how these factors affect a diamond before you choose a specific stone and setting.

While it’s easy to focus solely on carat weight, a diamond’s cut can have a greater impact on its appearance. For example, a large diamond with a Fair or Poor cut won’t look as impressive as a smaller, lighter carat weight diamond with a higher quality Excellent or Ideal cut.

Color and clarity also play important roles in the appearance of a diamond. While flawless color and clarity aren’t essential, a diamond should appear colorless and eye-clean when you view it in person.

We have recently developed Ringo, a patented artificial intelligence model, that can examine videos of diamonds and determine if they are eye-clean. Ringo will also filter for other parameters like making sure the diamond is well-cut, doesn’t have fluorescence issues and will match the style setting you choose.

Ringo Approved Eye Clean Diamonds

What is Ringo?

As a general rule, it’s best to look for diamonds that have an Ideal or Excellent cut, as well as a clarity grade of VS1 or VS2. When it comes to color, it’s best to look for diamonds in the nearly colorless range of G to I, although this can vary based on the type of setting you choose.

A diamond with these specifications will look brilliant and impressive, especially under a direct source of light. It will also look clean to the eye, with no visible inclusions and a near-colorless appearance, all at a far lower cost than a completely flawless, colorless diamond.

Our guides to cut, color and clarity cover these three aspects of the four Cs, while our guide to carat weight puts the weight of a diamond in context as part of its overall appearance.

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If You’re on a Budget, Consider a Yellow or Rose Gold Setting 

As we mentioned above, the optimal color grade for a diamond can vary depending on the type of setting you choose.

In general, the trick is to make sure that the diamond you choose looks colorless in comparison to the setting. With a metal like white gold or platinum, a diamond with a faint tint (for example, a J or K grade diamond) will usually look slightly yellow, even to the naked eye.

However, because metals like yellow and rose gold have a distinct, slightly darker color of their own, it’s okay to choose a diamond with a slightly poorer color grade.

Rose Gold Petite Engagement Ring with J Color Center Diamond

As we mentioned in our guide to diamond color, a round cut diamond with a color grade of K to M (indicating a faint yellow tint) can often look warm and beautiful in a yellow gold setting, even if it looks unimpressive when it’s set in a metal like white gold or platinum.

Buying a diamond with a K to M color grade and pairing it with a yellow or rose gold setting can help you save a significant amount of money. Because the yellow tone of the gold usually shows through the diamond on its own, there’s often no perceivable difference to your eye.

For example, this 1 carat VS2, K color, excellent cut round diamond from James Allen is priced at $3,100. Add this 14K yellow gold solitaire setting for $480 and the price for the complete ring is $3,580 — a significant amount less than the average engagement ring price of $6,351.

In comparison, this I color diamond from James Allen, which has almost identical specifications and comes from the same vendor, is priced at $4,330. By buying it, you’ll spend an extra $1,000 for a diamond that will likely still look slightly yellowish anyway due to the color of the setting.

In addition to the type of setting you choose, the cut of a diamond can affect which color grade offers the best value with the smallest effect on its appearance. Our diamond color guide goes into more detail on this, with recommended color grades for each cut and setting type.

In Conclusion

In the United States, the average engagement ring diamond is somewhere between 1.08 and 1.2 carats. However, as we’ve explained above, there are several factors beyond a diamond’s carat weight that affect how impressive and elegant it looks in an engagement ring.

Apply the techniques we’ve listed above you’ll be able to purchase the highest quality diamond for your budget. As always, you’ll get the best value from a trusted online diamond vendor such as James Allen or Blue Nile.

Need expert help choosing the right diamond and setting? Contact us and our diamond experts will help you find the best diamond for your budget.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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