Tips and Tricks

Is a One Carat Diamond Engagement Ring Big Enough? Written From an (Honest) Woman’s Perspective

How to Decide if a 1ct Diamond is Best

Why are at least one in six women are instantly disappointed by their engagement ring?

A lot of women are conflicted. We don’t want to say how much size matters because it makes us look shallow. And so women say we don’t care (and some of us truly don’t). As a guy you take that at face value, because it makes sense.

Some women will say that one carat is large enough - and mean it. And to these women, it really will be. One carat rings used to be the gold standard. The perfect size. With so many conflicting factors, how do you decide what size is right (other than budget, of course)?

Diamond Size Where You Live

This plays a huge part in what is seen as a “large” ring. If you live on the coasts - LA, SF, NYC etc., you’ll see that the average size diamond is larger - Refinery29 helped Rare Carat break down data from our first million searches here.

If you’re from the Midwest or a smaller town, you’ll notice that a 1 carat stone is still considered the “classic” weight. Look around and see what most of your social circle is sporting and you’ll have a good idea if your one carat rock is considered large, geographically speaking.

The Size of Her Finger

Small fingers make small diamonds look bigger. If your gal has a size 4 or 5 finger - a one carat stone is going to look much bigger than “just” one carat on her tiny hand. We’ve seen excellent cut  .75 carat diamonds look like a full carat on small hands. On the flip side, larger fingers will make stones look smaller - so it’s important to consider what will look nice on her finger. Proportions matter.

Keep in mind that because of proportions, a lot of women with tiny fingers DO opt for a smaller carat weight to avoid that Mariah Carey/Kim K look. The carat weight should always come second to how it actually appears.

Not sure how it would look - especially if you’re buying online? We have a snazzy ring viewer that allows her to virtually “try on” her perfect stone.

Diamonds with a Great Cut Look Larger

That blinding bling she loves so much? That dazzling sparkle?  That’s all about the cut thank you very much. But a great cut adds more than just sparkle. It adds size.


People mistake “carat” with how big a ring is - when in actuality a carat is simply speaking to the weight. Which means a one carat diamond that’s not cut to ideal proportions can actually look smaller than one carat (i.e. if it’s cut too deep) and on the flip side a one carat diamond that’s cut oh-so-right can actually make the stone look larger. In other words? Splurge for an excellent cut stone. You’ll never regret it.

A Diamond that Fits Her Lifestyle

Some gals truly don’t want a big ring. It’s totally one-sided to say all women value size. A lot of us do. But some of us prefer smaller, more delicate jewelry. Some of us work with harsh chemicals and some of us lead a really active lifestyle and the last thing we want to do is knock 6 months of your income off our hand and into the abyss.

Have An Honest Talk

Yep. So simple, right? An honest talk about ring expectations, budget and what you can comfortably spend is always a good idea. Truth is many couples opt to split the cost of the ring now - if size matters and you both chip in - it may be easier to have an objective conversation about the qualities in the ring that are important.

Whether you think a one carat diamond is large, small or just right there isn’t any doubt that a one carat sparkler is a lovely, timeless size that we’ll still be talking about for decades to come.

Jenny Beres
Jenny Beres
Jenny is an experienced copywriter and recovering diamond-aholic. She’s been writing for Rare Carat since 2016.