Congratulations! You've decided to ask the love of your life to marry you. Now all you need is the perfect ring for when they say “yes!” Even if you understand the 4C’s that define a diamond's quality (cut, clarity, color and carat), figuring out which cut you should get can be harder than deciding to pop the question in the first place. You want to pick the one that gives you the most bang for your buck.
Each diamond cut reflects light differently, affecting the overall look of the stone and ring size.
Popular Engagement Ring Sizes
Stop in any jewelry store or take a quick browse online and you’ll find engagement rings available in all styles, cuts and sizes. Some of these are more traditional, using classic metals and cuts, while others are modern, using cuts that are unexpected, unusual and as unique as the person receiving it. While there are many options, the majority of engagement rings end up sharing similar characteristics.
Most engagement rings boast a traditional round cut diamond weighing around 1-carat. This cut gives any ring a classic, sophisticated appearance. A well-cut diamond reflects light off internal surfaces and bounces back towards your eye. With a round cut diamond, the stone is cut in a way that is precisely designed to maximize the amount of light it reflects. This makes round cut diamonds one of the most brilliant diamond cuts, meaning round cut diamonds will gleam more than other popular cuts.
Average Carat Size for an Engagement Ring
While the movies and magazines tend to exaggerate the size of engagement rings, the reality is that the average engagement ring holds a 1-carat stone. Average doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best. While there are high-quality 1-carat diamonds on the market, stressing to get a diamond that meets the average size while staying in your budget may require compromising in other aspects of quality such as color and clarity.
What Carat Size Is Considered Big?
The way a diamond looks on your hand varies by individual. The size of your hand and fingers and the composition of the ring will affect just how big a stone looks. With the average-sized engagement ring being a 1-carat stone, it’s safe to say anything larger can be considered big.
Most people think diamonds are big when they start to reach 2-carats or bigger. However, rings of this size are less common. This is one of the reasons that most people feel 2-carats is a big diamond. However, even a 1.5-carat diamond can look big if it is a cut that enhances its size and has good clarity and color.
It’s important to also keep your partner’s lifestyle and personality in mind when selecting an engagement ring. While it may be tempting to select a large stone, if their style is typically on the simpler side they may not feel comfortable walking around with a 2-carat diamond. On the other hand, if their profession requires them looking flashy and classy, selecting a larger stone may be important.
What Diamond Cut Looks Biggest?
The sentiment that bigger is better is often seen when it comes to engagement rings. But the interesting thing with diamonds is that size is only part of the equation. The depth and shape of the diamond’s cut also play a role in just how big the stone looks. Modern engagement rings are available in a wide variety of cuts, some of which enhance a diamond’s glow, while others focus on the perceived size of the stone.
Oval Cut Diamonds
While the round cut diamond is the most popular cut, elongated shapes like oval actually appear larger. But before you opt for the shape that looks the biggest, you should understand other aspects you’re compromising. While elongated shapes look larger, they don’t have an ideal facet pattern like a round brilliant. This means they won’t have the superb sparkle that a round emits. If this doesn’t bother you—as any shape will still look stunning—then opt for an elongated stone to get more diamond for your dollar.
Princess Cut Diamonds
Princess cut diamonds are another popular choice for engagement rings. The princess cut is a more modern, edgier cut. Unlike the round cut, the princess cut is square. However, of the non-round cuts, this cut has the greatest brilliance and shine. This is because the princess cut has a close to ideal facet pattern. However, another important thing to keep in mind when considering a princess cut is that there are corners, making the stone susceptible to chipping depending on the durability of the setting you choose.
Which One is Bigger?
Figuring out whether an oval-cut or princess-cut is bigger is a bit complicated. It will depend on a few different things, like other accent stones and the setting you choose. When comparing side-by-side, an oval-cut diamond will look bigger than a princess or round-cut diamond.
One point to keep in mind is that oval-cut diamonds are typically more cost-effective as they are less popular than princess-cut diamonds and further away from an Ideal facet pattern. But, if popularity and facet patterns aren’t at the top of your list, then an oval center stone might be the best and most budget-friendly shape to opt for.
How Big of an Engagement Ring Should I Buy?
When you buy a diamond engagement ring, you want to get something that you both love. Stressing about hitting the average size of 1-carat or more is an added stress that is unnecessary. If it fits in your budget and you find a stone that suits your personality, then choose a stone that is 1-carat or bigger. However, if your budget does not allow a bigger stone, getting a smaller stone with better clarity and choosing a setting to help your diamond shine can make just as big of an impact.
In short, you want to buy an engagement ring that you can afford but still adore, even if that means your ring falls short of the average 1-carat.