How to Determine the Right Carat Size for an Engagement Ring

Cartoons, movies, and (more recently) social media have influenced the taste and fantasies many ladies have of their engagement rings. On the other hand, the average young man is oblivious to the nuances involved in selecting an engagement ring. You must get some basic engagement ring knowledge to avoid making this once-in-a-lifetime moment a miss.

How Diamonds Became Popular With Engagement Rings

Carats For An Engagement Ring
Moissanite 2.00ct Emerald Cut Ring in Sterling Silver
Source: Pestrak Austin

The origin of engagement rings as a sign of engagement is unclear, with different authors giving credit to the Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans. In the second century BC Rome, it was common for a man to present his bride-to-be with two rings, a gold one for public use and an iron one to be used at home.

The gold ring was for public use because of its luster, and the iron ring was a way to prevent her from scratching the ring while she carried out domestic duties.

More recently, Pope Innocent III’s declaration of a waiting period between betrothal and marriage made engagement rings increase in popularity. These rings were not just a statement of commitment to the forthcoming marriage but a show of social rank. Apart from the fact that it was expensive, members of the noble class were the only ones allowed to wear bejeweled rings.

The earliest recorded use of diamond on an engagement ring was in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria in his proposal to Mary of Burgundy. The rarity of diamonds at this time gave the gift extra importance and became a standard that other royals began to uphold. Over centuries, diamond has become arguably the most popular gemstone used on engagement rings.

Some of the reasons diamonds people have popularly used diamonds on engagement rings are:

1. Hardness And Durability 

Diamond has long had a reputation for its hardness, and scientists have proven it to be the hardest known natural material on earth. While this does not make it indestructible and unscratchable, it can withstand a degree of abuse higher than other gemstones. Therefore, a lady can use one diamond ring for the rest of her life, rather than using less durable gemstones that would require care and constant change.

2. Beauty

Diamonds are naturally beautiful to look at in a still position; however, a well-cut diamond reflects light to enhance the jewel’s beauty. The “bling” factor has been vital in maintaining the popularity of diamonds as the ultimate engagement ring pearl. Also, they maintain their polish exceptionally because only other diamonds can scratch diamonds.

3. Class And Prestige

According to leibish, diamonds take 1 to 3.3 billion years to form naturally, and this rarity makes its owners feel like they have an exclusive item. Even artificially-made diamonds cost a lot to produce and are costly when put on engagement rings

Diamond rings vary in cost; however, you would not find any that cost less than a couple of thousand dollars. For many middle-class citizens in America, this amounts to them shelling out a few months’ salaries to buy one. As a result of this cost, a degree of prestige comes with having a diamond engagement ring.

4. Sell-on Value

You won’t find many people who buy engagement rings to sell them off. However, diamond jewelry is one of the most commonly sold items on eBay, meaning that if you eventually want to change your ring or get your money back, it’ll still be valuable. In some cases, diamond rings appreciate if a vintage piece is on sale.

Diamond Grading (The 4Cs)

14KW gold .95CTW engagement ring
14K White Gold .95CTW Engagement Ring
Source: @Kirstin Neufeld

All diamonds might look the same to the untrained eye, but that is far from true. The value of diamonds varies based on four attributes they all share– color, clarity, cut, and carat weight (also known as the 4Cs).

1. Color

Diamonds vary in color, and the highest quality ones are colorless; on the other end of the spectrum are those with a yellow/brown tint. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a color scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).

2. Clarity

The clarity test deals with any blemishes the diamond might have; jewelers call these blemishes “inclusions”. Inclusions on a diamond are mostly not visible to the naked eyes; however, each diamond is analyzed using magnifying lenses and graded based on its clarity.

3. Cut

The cut of a diamond deals with its symmetry, polish, brilliance, and fire. The quality of a diamond’s cut would determine its brilliance and how well it reflects light. Beauty is arguably a diamond’s central selling point; therefore, to many jewelers, the cut is the most important of the 4Cs because it can undermine everything else that’s good about the stone.

4. Carat Weight

Diamonds have their custom unit of measurement known as a carat (not to be confused with karat for gold). A diamond carat measures the weight of the stone, not its size, and one carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Diamond Size

How Many Carats For An Engagement Ring
10k Gold Engagement Ring Set
Source: @Ara Hanceroglu

People in the United States prefer bigger diamond sizes than most other parts. However, every woman is different, and there isn’t a universal answer to how many carats an engagement ring should have. There are some factors that you can consider when choosing the diamond size of your engagement ring:

1. Budget

Most diamond marketers would tell you that spending two or three months’ salary on an engagement ring is normal. However, this statement is not true, and the last thing you want is for an engagement ring to cause a massive financial setback. On the other hand, if the financial aspect isn’t an issue for you, you can look out for other factors.

2. Setting

The setting of the diamond on your engagement ring can alter its look. A setting with bulky prongs and a wide band would make your diamond look smaller, while a slim band and prongs would make the diamond stand out and look more prominent. Therefore, your ring’s setting would determine how many carats you should put on your engagement ring.

3. Shape

The shape of your diamond would also influence how big or small it looks to the naked eye. Round diamonds look more prominent than diamond shapes of equal weight, while cushion cut diamonds look smaller because most weight is below the surface. 

4. Finger Size

The size of a person’s finger is also an essential factor to consider when you want to buy an engagement ring. A lady with bigger fingers would need a larger carat size for the diamond to stand out than someone with smaller fingers. It’s crucial to find out the ring size of your special lady before getting her an engagement ring.

5. Personal Preference and Personality

A person’s personality usually affects their choices and the things that would satisfy them. If the person you want to get engaged to does not like flashy things, it would be best if you get her a small carat-sized ring. However, if she likes to stand out, you can get her a larger carat size and use the other tips above to see how you can make it look “bigger”.

6. Possibility of Change

Many people change their engagement rings at least once after they get married. If there’s some sentimental value that your first engagement ring has to you and your partner, you should aim for something you would be happy to use forever. However, if you plan to change the ring later, you can get the most economically feasible choice until you’re ready to switch it.


The most important thing to consider when choosing an engagement ring is your partner’s happiness since she’ll be the one wearing the ring all day. Also, consider what you can afford without breaking the bank, and you should be good to go.

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