Research Reveals Sweet Spot For Aussie Engagement Ring Size & Price

New research of a group of some of Australia’s most discerning fine jewellery clients has revealed that a 1 carat diamond engagement ring will satisfy almost 1 in 2 buyers.

The size of diamonds in celebrity engagement rings seems to be getting ever bigger, with the recent example of Mariah Carey’s 35-carat diamond from James Packer being the ultimate display of extravagance in fine jewels. However, while celebrities no doubt have an influence on consumer choice, new research of a group of some of Australia’s most discerning fine jewellery clients has revealed that a 1 carat diamond engagement ring will satisfy almost 1 in 2 buyers.

The representative survey of fine jewellery buyers ¹ carried out by BUNDA, one of Australia’s leading fine jewellery houses, showed that 43% chose 1 carat as the solitaire size that would satisfy them. However, in stark contrast, only 6% of respondents said they would be happy with under 1 carat, suggesting that 1 carat is the minimum as well as the satisfaction point. Interestingly, the sentiment for under 1 carat was the same at 6% whether looking at all respondents, or only female.

When it comes to how much people expect to pay for their preferred size of diamond engagement ring, results ranged across price categories, with the $10k mark shining through as the middle ground for most couples (41%). Broken down by price category, 21% would spend $5-10k, 20% would spend $10-$15k, and 24% would be willing to pay $15-20k.
Ben Bunda, founder and creative director at BUNDA says that the research reflects the experiences he encounters with his clients.

“While many engaged couples love the idea of a larger diamond, the ‘sweet spot’ for most sits at around 1 carat. This is because once they go through the consultation process of buying a quality diamond, they can appreciate all of the elements that make a diamond beautiful and right for them – and these factors go beyond size alone. But there seems to be a perception amongst many couples that 1 carat and around $10k is the benchmark, even though a smaller very high quality diamond can be much more expensive than a larger stone of lower quality,” says Ben.
Findings also showed that the other half of respondents would only be satisfied with a bigger stone. After 1 carat, the second choice was a preference of 2 carats, with 38% of respondents coveting this size. Only 12% indicated that they would choose 3 carats or more. This differed slightly when looking only at the preferences of women, who leaned more between 1-2 carats as their sweet spot, with 41% choosing 1 carat, closely followed by 40% preferring 2 carats, and 13% wanting 3 carats or more. For men, half (50%) said they’d be satisfied buying a 1 carat diamond, while almost a third (32%) would go for 2 carats, and only 10% would aim for 3 carats or more.

Interestingly, almost a third of respondents (32%) had upgraded their engagement ring to a larger diamond: starting with smaller stone during their engagement, they chose to upsize later in life.
Ben explains that these findings are due to the demographics of fine jewellery buyers.

“Many fine jewellery buyers fall within the over 40 age bracket, as this is when people who appreciate jewellery can start to invest in pieces they love, or even choose to upgrade their engagement rings from decades ago when they become able to afford a finer diamond.

“In fact, around 12% of the larger diamond rings sold at BUNDA last year were to clients who were upgrading their engagement ring. The women, all in their 40s, who had been married for 10 to 20 years, drove the upgrades in each case. All of them upgraded from an original diamond size of 1-2 carats, to much larger sizes of 4-7 carats.
“This is something for younger couples to keep in mind if they can’t afford the diamond of their dreams at the time of engagement: there is the option to upgrade down the track.”
Representative survey of a top-tier pool of 100 fine jewellery buyers, conducted by BUNDA January 2016.

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