Engagement rings are more than a sparkling accessory — they are a symbol of promise, commitment, and above all, love. When the time comes to choose a ring for your soon-to-be-fiancé, you want every aspect to bring your beloved’s dreams to life. Plenty of time and dedication should go into selecting an engagement ring, and every detail should be taken into account. If you’re not familiar with the many aspects of an engagement ring, the task can be intimidating. What metal should you choose? Would your fiancé prefer diamonds or another stone? Most importantly, how big of a stone should you choose?

In this day and age, there is a lot of debate surrounding the size of diamonds in engagement rings. This can be troubling when trying to make the right selection. Fortunately, there’s no right or wrong answer — but if you’re still struggling to choose a size, there is a national average you can use as a guide.

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How Are Carats Measured?

Carats are one of the main classifications of a precious stone, the others being color, clarity, and cut. Carats describe the weight of your stone. Two different shapes can vary in size based on their carat weight. If you’re comparing two diamonds of the same shape generally the bigger the number, the bigger the diamond. The scale measures from 0.001 to 5.000 carats, with a single full carat weighing in at about 200 milligrams.

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How Does Size Affect Price?

Since a higher carat generally means a larger stone, the price will usually increase along with the size. A single-carat round diamond can be purchased at around $2,750, while a two-carat diamond could cost $8,000. The only time this wouldn’t be the case is if you purchased a lab-grown diamond, which can be up to 40% less than a mined stone. A certified 1-carat lab-grown diamond would start around $1,100, while you could find a 2-carat for just over $3,000.

A diamond’s size is usually the largest contributor to its price, but it isn’t the end-all, be-all. Cut, color, and clarity also play large roles in the cost of your stone. Certain shapes of a diamond can sometimes be more expensive than others.

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What is the Average Size of Engagement Rings?

Research has shown that the most common diamond carat size is somewhere between 1.0 and 1.2 carats. A single-carat diamond is just over half a centimeter in diameter, less than half the size of a penny! Diamonds of this size tend to be popular for their refined elegance, which gives off a sense of luxury while still being modest enough to complement most wardrobes and other accessories.

Another great thing about a medium-sized diamond is how it is affected by the ring itself. The setting of a diamond can make a huge difference in how large or small it appears, as can the type of band. Slim bands with a marquise or emerald cut tend to make the diamond look bigger, whereas a thicker band with a round brilliant cut will usually make it seem smaller.

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What Size Should You Choose?

The most important thing about engagement rings isn’t the size of the diamond — it’s your partner’s taste. Non-traditional engagement rings with more intimate, personalized details have begun taking precedence over just having a large stone. Engagement rings are deeply personal gifts that represent your connection to the love of your life, and as such, it’s important to make them special. Whether you slip it into casual conversation or clearly bring up the topic of marriage, ask your partner what types of jewelry they like; learn about their favorite colors and metals, and try to consider their personal style. An engagement ring is meant to be worn every day and having a clear idea of what your partner wants can help you choose something they’ll be overjoyed to wear.

Marriage is a bond that will last you and your partner a lifetime, and choosing the right engagement ring is an unforgettable way to capture the magic of your proposal forever. Diamonds are available in a variety of sizes, but more often than not, a nice medium size is a sure winner. Always remember to choose your stones, style, and details with your partner’s desires in mind, and don’t be afraid to ask questions before you make this important purchase.