There can be a lot of pressure when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring for your future spouse. If you’re not a wedding guru—or someone like me who binges TLC wedding shows—it's hard to know what to spend. And no, you shouldn't just go with whatever the jewelry store clerk is telling you is "normal." Fortunately, Rare Carat is giving future brides and grooms some help in the how-much-diamond-should-I-buy department.
Rare Carat works like a Kayak for diamonds, connecting users to conflict-free diamonds that fit their criteria (price, carat, color, clarity, etc.) at independent jewelry stores. Now they've taken the data collected through their online search system and released the stats on what people in cities across the country—including Houston—look for in their nuptial bling.
According to their numbers (which are updated in real time), the average Houstonian is looking to spend about $9,600 on a diamond when they put a ring on it, with the average weight coming in just above 1.5 carats. That’s even higher than the average for Texas, which is about $9,000. Of course, averages are skewed by the Kanye Wests of the world who shell out for 15-carat stunners. In Houston the most popular searches are for diamonds costing just over $2,000, around $5,000 and just under $6,000. Even better: based on search popularity, the median search is for a stone that's just shy of $1,500.
The most popular shape searched in the Bayou City is round, followed by oval and cushion. Houstonians also favor stones classified as H, or near colorless, and are more likely to sacrifice clarity, with a fifth of searchers opting for VS2 or very slightly included stones.
Rare Carat has published diamond search stats for nearly 20 cities, so of course we had to see which metros are most likely to think a giant diamond is a girl's best friend. We were surprised that Houstonians are willing to spend more on diamonds compared to Dallas (average: $9,114). In fact, Houston's average is higher than almost every city analyzed, with only New Yorkers ($11,373) and Californians (San Francisco $11,894; Los Angeles $10,294; San Diego $9,722) searching for more expensive stones on average. And the most frugal cities when it comes to engagement bling? Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Atlanta.
So what have we learned from sorting through the data? First, there's no right or wrong price when it comes to a diamond—in Houston, the same percentage of people search for diamonds priced between $500 and $750 as search for stones that are $4,250 to $4,500. So pick out a sparkler that speaks to you, and fits your budget—it's love, not any rock, that we all want to last forever.