How Many Carats Should Your Diamond Engagement Ring Be?

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Does size matter? …for your diamond engagement ring of course. In many cases, bigger isn’t always better. The carat weight of your diamond ring may be a perfect example of that. But what exactly is the recommended carat weight your diamond engagement ring should be? In this guide, we’ll uncover the average carat size of a diamond engagement ring that many shoppers choose, and what we recommend you should pick.

Short Answer
0.9 to 1.2 carat weight is the sweet spot when choosing your diamond.
Here’s what we’ll cover…
What is a Carat?
What’s the Average Diamond Size for an Engagement Ring?
How to pick the right Carat Weight for your Diamond Engagement Ring
Bottom Line Recommendation
Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Carat?

Simply put, a carat (also known as carat weight) is a unit of weight (or mass) to measure the size of a diamond (or other precious stones).

In other words, more carats = larger diamond = heavier diamond.


1 carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams (or 0.200 grams) in weight.

There’s really not much else to explain here. Pretty straightforward, right?

Let’s jump to next section…

What’s the Average Diamond Size For an Engagement Ring?

When shopping for an engagement ring diamond, most couples opt for an average carat weight of just over one carat. More specifically, 0.9 to 1.2 carat weight is the sweet spot.


Some may even say 1 to 2 carats, but from past experiences, many couples don’t typically go past the 1.2 carat mark. At the 1 carat mark, couples tend to prioritize shine and brilliance through a better clarity, cut, and color grade.

Now, there are some couples that opt for a smaller diamond or a much larger diamond. But the most important factor when choosing your engagement ring center stone is not just the size, but rather the quality of the diamond.


The quality of the diamond comes down to the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, carat, and color). The carat weight is only a portion of what makes diamond engagement rings “high quality”.

In other words, bigger isn’t always better. A smaller diamond (0.5 carat weight) can have the highest cut, clarity, and color grade, and will easily outshine the larger 2.00 carat weight diamond that doesn’t have the best cut, clarity, or color grade.


You can definitely go with a large carat diamond with the best cut, clarity, and color, but be prepared to spend a lot for any diamond jewelry like that. But if you’re on a budget, this isn’t ideal.

Related: How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

And truth be told, a large carat diamond with the best cut, clarity, and color can be overkill most of the time. Not to mention that a large diamond may not look particularly fashionable on small fingers.

Tools like James Allen’s Virtual Ring Try-On feature are great at showing you how a ring will look on your finger before purchasing.

james allen carat size preview

So that brings us to our next section. What are some foolproof methods to pick the right carat weight for your diamond engagement ring?

How To Pick The Right Carat Weight For Your Diamond Engagement Ring

While we did mention previously that the average engagement ring size for a diamond is about 0.9 to 1.2 carat, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach here.

Some couples prefer to go larger and some prefer to go smaller.


But what does matter for picking the right carat weight (and in our opinion is non-negotiable), are the following three points:

  • Set Your Budget in Advance

  • Browse Multiple Shapes and Styles

  • Consider Your Lifestyle

Let’s dive into each…

Set Your Budget in Advance

Being a smart shopper is all about having the right budget in mind before you decide to look around for engagement rings.


Consider your income and expenses, and factor in any financial obligations you may have like a car loan, student loan, credit card debt, etc.

If you’re on a tighter budget, you can’t expect a large carat size diamond for your engagement ring.

We have a detailed guide here on how much you spend on your engagement ring, which will help you create a budget.

Browse Multiple Shapes and Styles

Once you have your budget set, browsing engagement ring styles is a great way to know what carat weight you can expect to get in your price range.


We also recommend you learn the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, carat, and color). This will help you a ton in your search as these factors all play a huge role in the overall quality of your engagement ring.

The best places to start looking for your next engagement ring? We suggest James Allen or Clean Origin.

Related: James Allen vs Clean Origin: Head-to-Head Comparison

Consider Your Lifestyle

This one might the most important factor when it comes to picking the perfect carat size for your diamond engagement ring.

If you have a budget for a large carat diamond, and you’ve browsed for a gorgeous style that fits your preferences, all of that can easily go out the window if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle.


Having a large carat diamond may not make the most sense if you or your partner’s lifestyle is on the active side. Careers or lifestyles that involve a lot of activity like medical professionals, gardener, or personal trainer, may not be able to necessarily enjoy a large carat size engagement ring.

While yes, you can always set the ring aside or store it in a safe place, that tends to defeat the purpose of an engagement ring, especially if you plan on having it off your finger for a career which may require long hours.


At the end of the day, considering you or your partner’s lifestyle and career can help you better decide what carat size will be perfect for the both of you, and might also help you avoid wasting money if you’re on a budget.

Bottom Line Recommendation

To sum it all up, a carat is basically a unit of weight to measure the size of a diamond – More carats = larger diamond = heavier diamond.

Most couples typically prefer a carat size of 0.9 to 1.2. Some may go with higher and some may go with lower. But factors like the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, carat, and color) all play an important role in the overall quality of your diamond. So it’s not just the size that matters!

When deciding what carat size is right for your engagement ring, consider your budget, then see what type of styles and shape of diamonds your budget can get you. And finally, consider your lifestyle. Avoid large carat sizes if your career involves a lot of activity like personal trainer, medical professional, or a gardener for example.

And remember, celebrities with large diamond rings are not a representation of their love and commitment to their partner. It’s their job to be flashy! Do what’s best for you and your partner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a 1 Carat Diamond Big Enough?

Things like the cut of a diamond can make small diamonds appear larger. Even the setting plays a big role in how big a diamond can look. However, majority of diamonds are between 0.9 to 1.2 carats. Keep in mind that an engagement ring represents the bond and commitment between two people. So don’t get too worried about if your diamond isn’t big enough!

Is a 2 Carat Diamond Too Big?

A 2 carat diamond would definitely get some attention. The cut, clarity, carat, and color of the diamond all play a big role in how the overall diamond looks as well. The size of your finger is also a huge factor in how big a diamond looks. For instance, a 2 carat diamond on a small finger will always look bigger as opposed to a larger finger.

What is the most popular diamond size?

The most popular diamond size is between 0.9 to 1.2 carats. Some may even say 1 to 2 carats. There is no one-size-fits-all, but the 0.9 to 1.2 carat size is very popular from our experience in helping numerous clients secure gorgeous diamond engagement rings.

How much does a 4 carat diamond cost?

This depends on many factors like the cut, carat, clarity, color, and even types of diamonds like lab created diamonds or mined diamonds. But a 4 carat diamond, depending on the vendor, can typically cost upwards of $20,000.

Are more carats always better?

More carats are not always better. The cut, clarity, and color play a large role in how the diamond looks, and its overall quality. Even the setting and style of the ring can affect how your engagement ring will look.

Do bigger diamonds make fingers look smaller?

Yes, bigger diamonds do make fingers look smaller. We recommend using a tool like James Allen’s Virtual Ring Try-On feature to see how different diamond sizes will look on your finger before purchasing a ring.

How big is Meghan Markle’s Diamond Ring?

Meghan Markle has a 3 carat cushion cut diamond ring.

How big is Beyonce’s Diamond Ring?

Beyonce’s diamond ring is 24 carats and Jay-Z paid around $5 million for it.

How big is Kim Kardashian’s Diamond Ring?

Kim Kardashian used to rock a custom-designed 20.5 carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring.

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John Anderson
With over two decades of wedding experience, John Anderson is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor at Life Line Wedding. He writes a variety of articles spanning over multiple areas of expertise including engagement rings, diamonds, wedding jewelry, and wedding planning. John's mission is to help soon-to-be-married couples make educated and well-informed decisions. He now spends his time writing articles to help couples on John is based in Brooklyn, NY.