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A diamond's weight is measured in what is known as a “carat,” which equals 200 milligrams, or 1/5 gram – not to be confused with “karat,” which refers to the purity of gold.

Diamonds are rare, natural materials of the earth that take millions of years to form, and typically are found only in small amounts. That means that when diamonds are mined, larger diamonds are uncovered less often than smaller ones. Thus, diamond prices rise exponentially with carat weight. Before you decide on the carat weight that will fit into your budget, make sure you are familiar with the cut, color, and clarity of your preference.

The chart below demonstrates the relative size of different carat weights look when set in a ring. (Note: the chart is a relative guide only).

What carat is right for me?

The right carat for you is contingent upon your budget, style of setting, and her finger size. Here are few tips to keep in mind that can help you make the right decision:

  • We all have heard the general rule of thumb when buying a diamond is “two months salary”. While this is not an absolute standard, it helps establish a budget for how much you can comfortably invest in her diamond. You will be surprised of how many options you have.
  • Typically slender fingers will make smaller diamonds appear bigger. A 1 carat diamond will look proportionally bigger on a size 5 finger than a size 7, and even more so with a larger diamond.
  • There are certain settings that match best with certain diamonds. If you haven't decided on the setting in which to mount your diamond, our “Design Your Dream Ring” feature will help you match the right setting for your diamond size and shape.
  • If you'd rather not compromise on carat weight and working within a budget, consider a diamond with a good cut, eye-clean clarity, such as SI, and a near-colorless color grade, such I or J .
It is not uncommon to discuss with your partner what she is expecting. Even if you just get an idea from her in casual conversation will help you narrow down some of your options. However, if this is a complete surprise we recommend that you review our Engagement Ring Buying Guide to get ideas and suggestions.
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