Guide to Big Engagement Rings

If you’re looking to really up the wow factor of your engagement ring, a big diamond may be just what you’re looking for. Big engagement rings make a statement, leave an impression, and showcase mouthwateringly stunning center diamonds. If your mind is wandering to the over-two-carats side, we’ve got everything you want to know about carat weight vs. size and some of our very own creations for your big engagement ring inspiration!

Average Diamond Size of Engagement Rings

Before jumping into the big engagement rings, it helps to have perspective on how average diamond size has evolved. The average carat size for a diamond engagement ring varies widely based on geographic location as well as other demographics. For example, in the United States, the national average for a diamond used for an engagement ring is 1 to 1.2 carats. That compares to 0.6 carats in the United Kingdom and an average of half a carat for greater Europe, China, and Japan. To see various diamonds of different sizes on hands, see our diamond size chart.

Throughout history, diamond size for an engagement ring has had just as much of a range. The Edwardian era of the early 20th century was the first time engagement rings became a widely accepted social custom outside of just royalty. In the 1920s and 30s, diamonds were on the smaller side and incorporated into intricate Art Deco style designs.

The 1940s saw diamonds get larger, often hitting the 2 carat size. That decade culminated with the infamous De Beers ad campaign based around the slogan “A Diamond Is Forever.” The marketing of diamonds and a diamond culture that was heavily invested in diamonds and celebrity helped to keep average diamond size at 1 carat and above for an engagement ring for the rest of the century.

3 carat vs 1.5 carat oval ring

3 carat vs. 1.5 carat oval diamond rings

A diamond’s carat and its size are often confused. A diamond’s carat is the measure of the diamond’s weight. A diamond’s size is typically based on face-up dimensions. This creates a major difference when considering a diamond for your engagement ring because a diamond is priced by carat and quality features, not by size. However, the size is going to be much more noticeable than the carat weight.

What we mean by that is that you could take ten, 1 carat diamonds in different cuts and shapes and they will all appear to be different sizes even though they are the same carat weight. This happens because the weight of the diamond is distributed differently based on the specifications of each cut. By taking a closer look at this feature of diamond cuts and shapes, a clear pattern emerges that shows how the diamond cut affects size and how you can use that to help create your perfect big ring look.

marquise diamond vs. emerald cut diamond

Shown here is a fun design that features two diamonds in different shapes. While these two stones look similar in size, the emerald cut diamond weighs 1.5ct, while the marquise cut diamond weighs only 0.75ct.

When looking at how a cut affects the appearance of diamond size, the frame of reference is most often based on the most popular cut and shape, the round brilliant. By nature of the circular shape, a round brilliant is only ever going to be one shape and have even proportions – that is, the dimensions are based off of the diameter instead of separate length and width measurements.

Fancy diamond cuts – like oval, pear, and marquise – will appear 10-15% larger than round cut diamonds from a face-up angle. This is because the way these shapes are cut distributes more weight toward the top of the stone, providing better spread of the diamond’s weight, and enhancing the overall surface area.

Choosing a fancy shaped diamond cut will automatically make your diamond appear larger for a similar carat weight without having the extra cost that comes with a higher carat weight. It’s also a great way to have versatility in the style and design of your engagement ring.

different 1.5 carat diamonds shapes and cuts

Shown here are 1.5 carat diamonds in various shapes.

Large diamonds create a standout engagement ring all on their own, but if you’re going for a large diamond, why not showcase it in the best way possible? When working with 2, 3, 4 and even 5 carat diamonds, we love to find creative ways to enhance the diamond and infuse the ring with personality.

A solitaire setting will always be a classically beautiful choice for a large diamond. For our Vee, we’ve set a 3 carat oval diamond in a delicate double band made of yellow gold. The slim double band and swirling metal in the basket create subtle intrigue around a stunning diamond. The same goes for our Matilda, where the nature-inspired twisting band is sprinkled with diamonds. Securing the oval diamond are leaf engraved prongs for a gorgeous nature feel.

A pavé band is another perfect choice to add sparkle and a delicate femininity to a larger diamond. In our Ophelia, a 5 carat exquisite cushion cut diamond is the epitome of sophistication with double claw prongs and an elegant pavé band. For our Chelsea, we were tasked with combining elegance, beauty, and sophistication in a unique take on a double band that is drenched in pavé-set diamond.

A three-stone ring will maximize shine and sparkle, and larger side diamonds can be used that won’t overwhelm your big center stone. In our Rebecca, you get a textbook example of a classically elegant three-stone emerald cut diamond engagement ring. More emerald cut side stones flank a stunning 3 carat emerald diamond for an eye-catching look. For our Guadeloupe, we maximized the vintage appeal with a 3 carat round diamond flanked by two smaller, shiny round diamonds and then accentuated the basket and band with filigree and milgrain details throughout.

3 carat oval diamond

5 carat Ophelia ring

3 carat center stone, three stone setting

4 carat cushion cut diamond

Finally, a large diamond provides the perfect opportunity to design a truly artistic engagement ring and not shy away from all the design techniques and flourishes you love. For our Marigold, we set an outstanding 4 carat cushion cut diamond in a ring, then surrounded her with tons of sparkling diamonds, hand engraved details, and metalwork forming bows to make her the ultimate gift. Then for our Rena, a client asked for an old world charm with unique elements to accentuate a gorgeous 3.03 carat cushion diamond. Starting with a peekaboo pavé halo and embellished basket leading into a split shank band set with small diamond in a vintage pattern, the design features many small diamonds as the perfect accompaniment to a large center stone.

With a big engagement ring, the sky's the limit for what you can create and the look you can achieve. Discover the diamond size that’s going to make your heart sing with our engagement ring size quiz and get inspired today!

4 Carat Cushion Cut Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring

Have questions? We're happy to help.