How Big Is Too Big for an Engagement Ring?

Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring or already have one, finding the right one for you can be a challenge. Not only is the design and quality important to consider, but also the size. 

Most jewelers would agree that a stone of over two carats is too big for an engagement ring. While this is not the case for everyone, you should consider smaller diamonds if your significant other has small hands or thin fingers for the most flattering size.

In this article, we will talk more specifically about engagement ring size and what you should consider when looking for the right ring. 

Average Carat Size for Engagement Rings

The average carat size for engagement rings in the US is just over one carat. This varies based on the taste of the recipient, the cut you choose, and what you can afford. This doesn’t mean that your ring should be over one carat, as it may not work for you as well as for others. 

Getting too hung up on the carat size and how big the diamond looks can have you spending a lot more money on a ring than you need to. You need to consider many other things before looking at the size. 

Benefits of Buying a Big Engagement Ring

While the average ring size in the US is about one carat, there are some benefits to buying a big engagement ring that you should consider before deciding. 

Helps the Ring Stand Out

Between your friends and your loved ones, you have probably seen a lot of engagement rings over the years. One of the first things that people tend to notice about your ring is its size. Sure, rings can stand out because of their color or shine, but a large diamond will immediately draw the eyes of everyone in the room. 

While you should not sacrifice quality for size, combining both can really cause your ring to shine. Facets are there to help reflect light that hits your ring. With a good-quality and large ring, the diamond will catch even more light and reflect it just as well as a smaller diamond. 

Setting Options

Choosing a big diamond for your engagement ring gives you the opportunity to choose any setting option you want. Smaller diamonds may seem to disappear or shrink with certain setting choices. You don’t have to worry about that with a large diamond in the center of your ring. Setting options like a halo or large band will only accentuate your chosen diamond. 

With a big diamond, you can choose a thicker setting without fear of making your diamond look small. This means you can add small diamonds to your band and even get different colors that won’t distract from your diamond. 

Avoiding an Upgrade

Choosing a large diamond now can help you avoid upgrading to a larger ring later. It is common for couples to upgrade their original engagement ring on anniversaries and other important milestones. They tend to do this because they are now more financially stable or just want something different. 

If you choose a large diamond for your engagement ring, you can avoid the need to upgrade later on. Instead, you can save your future money for an anniversary trip rather than paying for another ring. With a large diamond, there is no need to upgrade unless you damage the ring or just want something different. 

Downsides of Buying a Big Engagement Ring

While there are benefits to buying a large engagement ring, there are also some downsides to doing this. 

Easier To Damage

One of the biggest risks of choosing a big diamond for your engagement ring is the potential damage that can occur. If you aren’t used to wearing a ring all day, then you may end up catching your ring on fabric, surfaces, and even your hair. While this may seem only annoying, it can also cause damage to the diamond. 

Diamonds only have so much durability. If you continuously snag your diamond on surfaces or fabrics, you can eventually cause permanent chips. Of course, this can happen over time anyway as we wear our rings. It can be a lot more noticeable on larger diamonds. So, be careful not to snag your ring repeatedly and damage it. 

Sacrificing Quality

Many people do not know that when you purchase a large diamond, you may be sacrificing the quality of the ring. This is why finding the right balance of shine and size of your diamond is important. Quality is one of the main things to consider when choosing your diamond, and trying to afford too large of a ring can mean sacrificing quality. 

You should always seek a balance in quality and size with a diamond. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a large diamond with less shine than you would prefer. What makes a diamond shine is not just the overall quality. It also shines because of the facets within the diamond. 

Facets are the angles at which the jeweler cuts the diamond, allowing light to pass through the diamond, reflecting off multiple angles. This is what gives a diamond that shines that seems to reflect in any light. Larger diamonds that are lesser in quality may not have as many facets to reflect light. So, even though you have a large diamond, it may not shine as well as a smaller one. 

Tips for Making a Smaller Engagement Ring Look Bigger

There are plenty of reasons to consider buying a large engagement ring, but there are also plenty of downsides. If a large engagement ring is not in your budget, we have some tips to help a smaller diamond look bigger. 

Small Hands or Thin Fingers

Even smaller diamonds may look bigger if you have small hands or thin fingers. Larger diamonds may not work as well for people with smaller hands as they can be too large or bulky to be comfortable. It is important to always see how the ring looks on your hand before making a final decision, as a big ring may look out of place on a small hand. 

Halo Setting

A halo setting consists of smaller diamonds surrounding a large diamond on a ring. Because other, smaller diamonds surround your diamond, it looks bigger. Some jewelers estimate that it can make your diamond look a half-carat larger. 

Halo settings are not cheap. However, they are cheaper than sizing up the diamond to make it large enough to look as big as it does with this setting. Now, we understand that the halo setting is not for everyone. For some, it’s just not their style. But it is cheaper than a huge diamond and can give you the same look. 

Slim Surroundings

Another effective way of making your engagement ring look smaller is to choose small things to surround the diamond. A thin band and thin prongs can go a long way in making your diamond look a lot bigger. While you may be more comfortable with the thicker surrounding as they provide a more secure hold, they can also make the diamond look smaller. 

Choosing a thin band can make the diamond stand out even more. We are used to seeing thicker bands. So, it can create an illusion of a much larger diamond. Prongs are required for most cuts as they help keep the diamond secure. However, you can control how small or large they are. So, use this to your advantage, making the diamond look bigger. 

Diamond Cut

The shape of the diamond makes a big difference in how large the diamond looks. There are many different diamond cuts available, and each cut has its own benefits. Some of them make the diamond look a lot larger without raising the cost of the ring too much. Let’s talk about some diamond cuts that look the biggest


A round diamond is the best example of how the cut of the diamond can make it look larger than it is. This cut is flattering for almost anyone who wears it, and it is one of the most popular cuts available. Of course, that popularity makes it expensive. However, the trade-off for the price of the cut compared to saving money on a smaller diamond can make this cut worth it. 

Round diamonds aren’t only expensive because of their popularity. They also cost a lot of money because of the facets they provide. It takes a lot of money and time to create a round diamond to ensure it shines as much as possible. And you will get a ton of shine if you choose this cut. 


The oval is another great cut for those who want their diamond to look bigger than it actually is. The design of the oval allows it to take up more of your finger than other, more basic cuts. This designs elongates the ring making the diamond look bigger than it is. 

Oval is a classic cut that remains an instant classic. Oval rings also work very effectively with halo settings if you choose one. The oval diamond alongside the halo setting can make your ring look huge. Oval is not as popular as round-cut diamonds, but it remains a top contender. You don’t ever have to worry about this cut going out of style. 


Marquise is more of an old-fashioned cut, but it still remains popular. It is similar to an oval cut, but it is thinner with a point at both ends. Marquise cut rings can make your finger look thinner, therefore making the diamond look larger. This football-shaped cut creates the illusion of a larger diamond due to its unique length. 

What really helps this cut look so large is that you can control just how wide and long you want it. This means that you can easily choose the right width that looks best with your finger size. Marquise diamonds are not as expensive as round or oval. However, the cut may go in and out of style over the years as it is more old-fashioned. 


Pear is a nice mix of some other cuts on this list. With a pointed tip like marquise but a large, round body, this cut can look a lot bigger than it actually is. Like other cuts, you can choose how wide you want the bottom of the pear cut and how long you want it as well. We always recommend choosing whatever length and width suits your finger best. 

The unique shape of the pear-cut diamond makes it look bigger than it is. This is because of the teardrop effect that the bottom of the design provides. You can also use this cut to elongate your finger. So, this cut looks large and can make your finger look longer. 


The emerald cut is a long, rectangular diamond shape. It has linear facets rather than rounded or sporadic ones. This gives it a completely unique look compared to other options. The facets in the emerald cut not only provide a smooth-looking surface but also help make the diamond look longer than it is. 

Don’t let the different facet organization fool you. The emerald cut still provides plenty of shine and reflection. There are also a lot of shape variations to choose from with this cut that can help you find the exact right choice. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to your engagement ring, the size of the diamond will vary based on what you like and can afford. If you choose a large diamond, it will certainly draw the eyes of people around you. However, you should always be careful not to sacrifice quality. 

Even if you can’t afford a huge diamond, there are ways you can make the diamond within your price range look bigger. So, pay attention to the cuts and quality of the diamond you choose, and it will look even bigger than it is. 

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