Engagement rings: Europe vs. US vs. Asia?

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  1. So, I came across this article online, which I found very interesting:

    “Today, the national average for the diamonds chosen for engagement rings with regard to carat weight is 0.38 carats. In general, the carat weight averages of engagement ring diamonds are increasing. However, in order to truly understand the average relating to diamond carat weight for engagement rings it is important to look at the specific regions in which the engagement rings are being purchased as trends can be seen throughout these areas as well.
    Larger cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York City have an average of 1.6 carats as it relates to diamond engagement rings. When viewing diamond carat weight averages in some of the Southern states and "Bible Belt" regions, the carat averages are anywhere between 0.25 and 0.40 carats. The state of Alabama has an average of 0.50 carats when it comes to diamond carat weights for those who are about to be married. When considering the entire state of California, the diamond carat weight average has been seen as over 1.0 carats. Focusing in on a more specific region within California such as the La Jolla/Del Mar area, the carat size is quite generous and is stated to be around 2.75 carats. When looking at carat weights with respect to engagement rings outside of the United States, such as in Europe, the average there is 0.30 carats and the stone within the engagement ring is not always a diamond gemstone.”
    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1034380

    I'm from Europe, but I have studied at UPenn in Philadelphia during one year and one of the things that struck me most during that year was the size of the engagement rings I saw there! Lol! :smile:
    I've posted my ring in this thread before (page 82, #1224) and I'm always perfectly happy with it, except when DH and I are in the US (ever since we've lived there, we like to travel back to the States, since we both miss it a lot) and I'm surrounded by waaaay bigger stones! :rolleyes:
    Seriously, I have some very wealthy friends here, but none of them have the kind of rocks I see when I’m in NY, Phily, …
    Of course, I do also know people with huge e-rings, but seriously not half as much as I see in the States…

    Moreover, I feel like an upgrade is really not that common over here and most wedding bands are still plain versions instead of diamond ones…

    Where do you ladies think this comes from? I find all this very intriguing…

    With respect to the differences between the several states in the US, do you think it’s all just related to “where the money’s at”?

    And how do you Asian ladies see this?

    I would love to hear your opinions!
  2. That's very interesting!
  3. Hi! I'm not Asian but I do live right outside Philly. And I agree that most diamond e-rings I see are around 1.5 carat or so. Mine is 1.25. I found photo of your ring from Tiffanys and it is so beautiful. What size carat is it? Sometimes I wish I had a closer to 2 carat stone but it is not necessary. I will cherish what I already have!
  4. Thanks, Hokaplan! I saw a picture of your ring as well and it soooo gorgeous!
    Mine is 0.85 ct, but since I have tiny fingers, it seems a little big bigger! :biggrin:
    I wear it with the Tiffany shared-setting band ring with diamonds (my wedding band) and the Tiffany channel-set band ring with diamonds (a first-year-anniversary gift)... I really love my stack!
    The proposal was a total surprise and DH picked the ring out himself, so it is really special to me! I get a lot of compliments on my rings as well! :biggrin:
    I also love that my e-ring was purchased in Philadelphia (we got engaged soon after we started our studies at UPenn - during a surprise weekend in Miami), where we have tons of sweet memories and our wedding bands and the anniversary ring were bought in the States as well...
    [Not to mention that the customer service in Tiffany Brussels is really horrible, if you ask me!] :sad:
  5. Woops! So I THOUGHT I saw a picture of your e-ring, but I'm not sure I actually did anymore! I wanted to see it again, but I can't find it no where! I think I might have mistaken you for Antakusuma, who recently posted her gorgeous ring of about the same size! :shame:
    So sorry, really thought I saw yours!
    I'm sure it's beautiful though! :biggrin:
  6. Hey so freaky that i clicked on this thread because i was interested in the topic and then to see my name mentioned. I swear i didn't do a search.

    U are right Asians have way smaller diamonds. But having said that Asia is not homogenous so some parts of asia like Indonesia (my country of origin), Thailand where diamonds are cheaper and more available we do see bigger carats on the wealthier population.

    But in Singapore (where i lived most of my life) bigger carats are more an exception than a rule because of the price, availability, brand consciousness, focusing on the perfect diamond characteristics not just the carat size etc...
  7. I thought the piece about wedding bands was interesting. I have a wide plain wedding band in YG, and it wasn't in style at all when I got married, but I was 100% that was what I wanted, because it looks exactly like my Mother and my Grandmother's bands, who are both from Ireland.
  8. I think upgrading is not particularly common in the US among the general population (though one gets a distorted perception from this forum as we are all fervent jewelry enthusiasts!). I also think the practice of getting diamond wedding bands is relatively new in the US. Most of my friends who have been married more than 15 years have plain gold or platinum bands (though some have a few, small diamonds sprinkled in their bands) but then friends who have been married within the last 10 years or so seem to have eternity bands as wedding bands. (Personally, I was married 11 years ago with a plain, platinum band but now I wear an eternity band that I received as an anniversary gift and only bring out the plain band if I'm traveling or spending the day getting my hands dirty.)

    I also think the size of diamonds depends a lot on one's social circle here in the US. The old "rule" was that an engagement ring should be equivalent to two months of the groom's salary. I don't know if this is widely adhered to anymore but I work in financial services where a lot of the women have big engagement rings and my sister is in the medical field and her colleagues - including some very affluent researchers and physicians - tend to have more modest-sized rings.

    Even within Europe, there are differences. I have lived in England and Germany and spent a lot of time in Denmark and in Denmark, engagement rings aren't common at all whereas they are expected in England (though to your point, the size of the stones is considerably smaller than in the US).

    I think the reason diamond engagement rings are so much more common in the US is simply because of marketing:

    From the Feb 1982 issue of Atlantic Monthly, an article by Edward Jay Epstein on how diamonds became so popular and so valuable <www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/1982/02/have-you-ever-tried-to-sell-a-diamond/4575/>:

    By 1941, The advertising agency reported to [De Beers] that it had already achieved impressive results in its campaign. The sale of diamonds had increased by 55 percent in the United States since 1938, reversing the previous downward trend in retail sales. N. W. Ayer noted also that its campaign had required "the conception of a new form of advertising which has been widely imitated ever since. There was no direct sale to be made. There was no brand name to be impressed on the public mind. There was simply an idea -- the eternal emotional value surrounding the diamond." It further claimed that "a new type of art was devised ... and a new color, diamond blue, was created and used in these campaigns.... "

    In its 1947 strategy plan, the advertising agency strongly emphasized a psychological approach. "We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to ... strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring -- to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services...." It defined as its target audience "some 70 million people 15 years and over whose opinion we hope to influence in support of our objectives." N. W. Ayer outlined a subtle program that included arranging for lecturers to visit high schools across the country. "All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions," the agency explained in a memorandum to De Beers. The agency had organized, in 1946, a weekly service called "Hollywood Personalities," which provided 125 leading newspapers with descriptions of the diamonds worn by movie stars. And it continued its efforts to encourage news coverage of celebrities displaying diamond rings as symbols of romantic involvement. In 1947, the agency commissioned a series of portraits of "engaged socialites." The idea was to create prestigious "role models" for the poorer middle-class wage-earners. The advertising agency explained, in its 1948 strategy paper, "We spread the word of diamonds worn by stars of screen and stage, by wives and daughters of political leaders, by any woman who can make the grocer's wife and the mechanic's sweetheart say 'I wish I had what she has.'"
  9. Over here, average size is 0.30 carat. 0.50 ct is considered big. Very few wear a carat.
  10. Interesting! Thank you for the post. A lot of products follow the same model of marketing today and i must say tapping on aspirations really do work!

  11. I can believe that the average e-ring is under a carat.

    A previous poster hit the nail on the head that it really depends on your social circle/lifestyle.

    I have a larger than average e-ring (and it looks much bigger because I am petite with 2.07 cttw on a size 3 finger) but there are times that I have the smallest engagement ring in the room. I recently went to dinner at my in laws' home and I was the only woman there that didn't have a 3 ct center stone... Actually, his cousin's wife didn't... She was wearing a 10 ct eternity band. These women skew e-ring statistics for large metropolitan areas and definitely do not represent the average, middle-class person's normal.
  12. The power of marketing, that’s interesting! :smile:

    Personally, I find the ‘two months salary’ rule a little bit odd… So it all just depends on your DF’s timing?? The ‘two months salary’ rule would mean that if my DH proposed today, instead of 3 years ago, I would have had an e-ring of more than double the size that I have now (although he could have afforded both at both times)… So that sounds so silly to me! :biggrin:

    I feel like over here, it’s more like middle-class people wear e-rings of another style (relatively small or no solitaire/e-ring look) or no engagement ring at all…

    I do believe quality is really important as well. I know a lady who has a 2.5 ct stone, but no one was like ‘ooooh, look what a big ring she’s got’. Instead, people were all like ‘ooooh God, that color is way to “milky”!’… :weird:

    I also must say that I met women in the States (some of which are still friends) with 1.5 to 2 carat rings of which I’m 100% sure that they’re not as “lucky” as DH and I from a financial point of view…Besides, last night, I saw a small part of an episode of Bridal Plasty (I can’t believe I just said that out loud :blush:) and I saw women with e-rings bigger than mine, complaining that they couldn't afford their dream wedding.

    Then again, I’m not saying you don’t see big rocks over here, I’m just saying that I have the feeling that you see it way less over here than in the US.
    DH and I spend every weekend in a place where you see lots of highly expensive jewelry, Birkin bags, high-end watches, etc. and where I have seen some RHR that made my jaws drop, but I never had that feeling of being surrounded by huge e-rings ALL the time.

    In the end, I can say that my social circle/lifestyle at this time is quite similar to when we lived in Philadelphia, and when I make the comparison, I do feel like people in the US buy bigger rocks in general... :amuse:
  13. I've lived in the Philadelphia area all my life, and I agree with the carat size. I think it may be due to the higher economic status of the residents (a high-falutin' way of sayin' we gots more money in this neck of the woods. :biggrin: The county (not Philly) is the richest county in PA, supposedly. I don't have the money, though! :biggrin:).
  14. ^ Are you in Western Suburbs or Main Line area - just curious. I'm in Montgomery County.
  15. I've also wondered about the difference too!

    I'm newly engaged and trying to pick out a ring. I'd love a gorgeous 2ct+ legacy but here in Europe you don't seem to see many large e-rings at all.