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Average diamond size in NYC: myth vs. reality.

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fanboy

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I''ve often heard that the average engagement ring in New York City has a ~2 carat diamond. Is this really true? I''ve lived here for several months now, and find this very hard to believe. I see plenty of women in their 20''s and 30''s marrying (or married to) lawyers, investment bankers, or doctors that have diamonds much closer to 1.25-1.5 carats.


Am I just hanging around the an unrepresentative crowd? Do people just not commonly know how big a 2 carat diamond looks? Or, are people referring to the total carat weight of the ring, rather than that of the center stone?

 

elle_chris

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Depends on the borough.
In Manhattan, i''d say the average is around 1.50-2.00, Brooklyn and the rest no way. anywhere from .50 to 1.00
 

elle_chris

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Oh, and i have to agree that i rarely see anything above 2 carats even in manhattan, and i live here. Not sure where that average is coming from.
 

fanboy

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I should have clarified: I meant Manhattan in particular. No offense to the other burroughs intended!
 

Madam Bijoux

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I''ve seen a full range of sizes at Broadway theaters. I see larger sizes more often in stores like Bergdorf''s and Saks.
 

neatfreak

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It's totally a myth IMO. I DO think that a much greater proportion of women in NY have a very large erings so that skews the "average" upwards. But there are many many women who have small stones or wear none at all. Especially if you take EVERYONE into NY into consideration, not just wives of bankers, lawyers, etc.

Just my .02
 

fanboy

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Date: 7/31/2007 2:31:44 PM
Author: Madam Bijoux
I''ve seen a full range of sizes at Broadway theaters. I see larger sizes more often in stores like Bergdorf''s and Saks.
Err, okay, granted. I''m realizing that I should have narrowed my inquiry a bit.

Barring tourists, and assuming the woman in question is a high-earning professional or marrying a high-earning professional, what''s your sense of the typical diamond size in an engagement ring?
 

Madam Bijoux

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The high-earning professionals I know tend to buy larger diamonds. Sometimes it's pure competition: one man I know told me "I want to get her a stone so big, all her friends will hate her."

I forgot to mention that I also see a full range of sizes in the restaurants of hotels like The Pierre.
 

fanboy

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I would have supposed that any significant disparity in diamond sizes between major U.S. cities would have less to do with income and more to do with cultural norms. For example, I wouldn''t be surprised if engagement ring diamonds in NYC are bigger than those in Boston or DC, though the latter two cities have their fair share of affluent consumers.
 

Madam Bijoux

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For the most part I see the same range of sizes in Philadelphia that I see in NY. I have seen larger stones at some Philadelphia events than I've seen in NY (I'm talking double digits). Philadelphia isn't as circumspect and correct as it's made out to be.
 

elle_chris

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It really varies even among high earners.
I''ve read so many posts about all this supposed competetion with size, but it''s rare that i''ve seen it. Find out what she likes size and style wise then work from there.
 
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How do they determine the average in the reports you were looking at? do they list any type of methodology? A survey? If most of the data is from people determining average ct size in a given region is largely based on purchases then maybe alot of that 2 ct figure is inflated. And that would be accounting for rich Tourist who travel to the diamond district to buy diamonds in New York--probably having a significant impact on diamonds sold.

my understanding is that the average is something like 1.3-1.5, though that is simply what I have heard on Pricescope.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 7/31/2007 8:48:18 PM
Author: WorkingHardforSmallRewards
How do they determine the average in the reports you were looking at? do they list any type of methodology? A survey? If most of the data is from people determining average ct size in a given region is largely based on purchases then maybe alot of that 2 ct figure is inflated. And that would be accounting for rich Tourist who travel to the diamond district to buy diamonds in New York--probably having a significant impact on diamonds sold.


my understanding is that the average is something like 1.3-1.5, though that is simply what I have heard on Pricescope.

I don''t know where all the numbers come from, but often I see sites like theknot, tv shows, etc. citing "averages" that come from Bluenile. They use the shipping zip code to calculate where it''s going to determine the area averages and then BN gets a promo as well.
 
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Date: 7/31/2007 8:59:01 PM
Author: neatfreak
Date: 7/31/2007 8:48:18 PM


I don't know where all the numbers come from, but often I see sites like theknot, tv shows, etc. citing 'averages' that come from Bluenile. They use the shipping zip code to calculate where it's going to determine the area averages and then BN gets a promo as well.


Well my first question would be if they determine it based on actual engagement rings. Could be an number of upgrades and non-engagement rings involved if it is simply diamond rings.

Then there is also the fact that BN really doesn't represent that significant a % of diamond purchases. So then I would want to know what % of more affluent individuals looking at 1.5-2 cts buy online vs the % of less affluent individuals who buy in the stores. Maybe I am crazy, but I believe that the less affluent individuals are more likely to just drop by a local mall/store and get ripped off. Whereas the more affluent one's (the men alone, but especially when the women get involved in non-engagement/upgrade rings), are more likely to study enough to understand AGS and GIA certs and thus buy it online. Thereby boosting the numbers that BN sells % wise in favor of the larger diamonds when compared to local stores? Just a theory, and I could see how it might not be true, but it makes sense to me.

I would also like to know where Blue Nile does most of its advertising. I bet it is somehow associated with the wealthier side of New York city.
 

echelon6

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Date: 7/31/2007 9:05:22 PM
Author: WorkingHardforSmallRewards

Date: 7/31/2007 8:59:01 PM
Author: neatfreak
Date: 7/31/2007 8:48:18 PM


I don''t know where all the numbers come from, but often I see sites like theknot, tv shows, etc. citing ''averages'' that come from Bluenile. They use the shipping zip code to calculate where it''s going to determine the area averages and then BN gets a promo as well.


Well my first question would be if they determine it based on actual engagement rings. Could be an number of upgrades and non-engagement rings involved if it is simply diamond rings.

Then there is also the fact that BN really doesn''t represent that significant a % of diamond purchases. So then I would want to know what % of more affluent individuals looking at 1.5-2 cts buy online vs the % of less affluent individuals who buy in the stores. Maybe I am crazy, but I believe that the less affluent individuals are more likely to just drop by a local mall/store and get ripped off. Whereas the more affluent one''s (the men alone, but especially when the women get involved in non-engagement/upgrade rings), are more likely to study enough to understand AGS and GIA certs and thus buy it online. Thereby boosting the numbers that BN sells % wise in favor of the larger diamonds when compared to local stores? Just a theory, and I could see how it might not be true, but it makes sense to me.

I would also like to know where Blue Nile does most of its advertising. I bet it is somehow associated with the wealthier side of New York city.

I''m almost certain you''re right.

There is a high chance of a selection bias, if using BN clients as a sample size.

Btw anyone know the actual average size according to BN?
 

Kissmark

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Date: 7/31/2007 9:05:22 PM
Author: WorkingHardforSmallRewards


Well my first question would be if they determine it based on actual engagement rings. Could be an number of upgrades and non-engagement rings involved if it is simply diamond rings.

Then there is also the fact that BN really doesn''t represent that significant a % of diamond purchases. So then I would want to know what % of more affluent individuals looking at 1.5-2 cts buy online vs the % of less affluent individuals who buy in the stores. Maybe I am crazy, but I believe that the less affluent individuals are more likely to just drop by a local mall/store and get ripped off. Whereas the more affluent one''s (the men alone, but especially when the women get involved in non-engagement/upgrade rings), are more likely to study enough to understand AGS and GIA certs and thus buy it online. Thereby boosting the numbers that BN sells % wise in favor of the larger diamonds when compared to local stores? Just a theory, and I could see how it might not be true, but it makes sense to me.

I would also like to know where Blue Nile does most of its advertising. I bet it is somehow associated with the wealthier side of New York city.
Actually I would think that the more affluent lawyers, bankers, etc. in NYC would just go to a BM store, maybe branded ones like Tiffany or Cartier, or maybe the diamond district, rather than shop online. One reason is because there are so many jewelry shops in NYC, or they may not feel comfortable making a 20, 30K purchase online, or they might not want to admit to their friends that they got it from blue nile. Just what I''ve observed among my friends
 
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Date: 7/31/2007 10:10:05 PM
Author: Kissmark
Date: 7/31/2007 9:05:22 PM

Author: WorkingHardforSmallRewards



Well my first question would be if they determine it based on actual engagement rings. Could be an number of upgrades and non-engagement rings involved if it is simply diamond rings.


Then there is also the fact that BN really doesn't represent that significant a % of diamond purchases. So then I would want to know what % of more affluent individuals looking at 1.5-2 cts buy online vs the % of less affluent individuals who buy in the stores. Maybe I am crazy, but I believe that the less affluent individuals are more likely to just drop by a local mall/store and get ripped off. Whereas the more affluent one's (the men alone, but especially when the women get involved in non-engagement/upgrade rings), are more likely to study enough to understand AGS and GIA certs and thus buy it online. Thereby boosting the numbers that BN sells % wise in favor of the larger diamonds when compared to local stores? Just a theory, and I could see how it might not be true, but it makes sense to me.


I would also like to know where Blue Nile does most of its advertising. I bet it is somehow associated with the wealthier side of New York city.

Actually I would think that the more affluent lawyers, bankers, etc. in NYC would just go to a BM store, maybe branded ones like Tiffany or Cartier, or maybe the diamond district, rather than shop online. One reason is because there are so many jewelry shops in NYC, or they may not feel comfortable making a 20, 30K purchase online, or they might not want to admit to their friends that they got it from blue nile. Just what I've observed among my friends

Yea, when I said that I could see the argument against what I had said that was, specifically, what I meant
25.gif
.

And while I agree that there would be a lot of people that feel that way, probably the vast majority, I think that the fact that round diamonds can be so well evaluated using science, math, and technology, that there will be a larger % of intellectuals willing to risk the venture online, especially when they don't have a WHOLE lot of money and are looking for an upgrade or more expensive ring to wear in addition to the Ering and can get a larger diamond of the same or better quality online--which seems to be a fact from my observations. So for the sake of upgrades, or prudent intellectuals who study about diamonds before buying them, it makes sense to me that a larger percentage of them would go online to make a purchase than your less intellectual individuals. And there are certainly a larger % of higher I.Q. in the more affluent communities.

Also, I believe that most people, in order to really learn about diamonds, will go online to learn. I am suggesting that a larger % of the affluent would actually learn about diamond, often doing so online, and would thus yield a higher ratio of % of larger diamond purchases online Vs. the same ratio in local stores.

So bassically, in clearer explanation, I think that there are a higher % of higher I.Q.'s in the upper financial category and that there will be a larger % of more intelligent individuals that will purchase online.

So the real question I am wondering is if the Average IQ of an online diamond shopper is higher than the average IQ. I would guess yes
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though I feel ridiculous suggesting it.

And one final thought, is that if you make a 2-3k purchase instore most people won't spend too long learning about them. If you make a 15-40k purchase you will probably learn more about them. That would thus lead to a larger % of people buying online for the sake that, as I mentioned most people would come online to learn.
 

DiamondDeenie

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I found this topic interesting, as I live and work in NYC. I handle insurance for ultra high net worth individuals and have noticed a distinct trend. There seems to be a difference in sizes based upon several factors. Amongst the younger "blue bloods" their rings (center stone) tend to run anywhere from 1 to 2 carats, most often closer to 1, however, color and clarity seem to prevail. It is quite common for me to come across a 1.16ct D IF on a woman of about 30. Older women (50 +) seem to be in the 2 - 3 carat range, again focusing on color and clarity for this group. Those in the entertainment industry or married to pro athletes are simply about size. I''ll see anything from D - K in color, rarely anything below VS2 in clarity. Stone sizes are usually well above 3 carats. Professional women (lawyers, financial advisers) seem to be in the 1.5 - 2 carat range, however, most of these women do not wear their rings on a daily basis, and those that do tend to have very simple settings. Young male brokers seem to aim for 3+ carats with ornate settings, they tend to buy from a friend of a friend and usually end up with poorly cut stones carrying EGL certs.
 

fanboy

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Date: 8/1/2007 9:41:42 AM
Author: DiamondDeenie
I found this topic interesting, as I live and work in NYC. I handle insurance for ultra high net worth individuals and have noticed a distinct trend. There seems to be a difference in sizes based upon several factors. Amongst the younger ''blue bloods'' their rings (center stone) tend to run anywhere from 1 to 2 carats, most often closer to 1, however, color and clarity seem to prevail. It is quite common for me to come across a 1.16ct D IF on a woman of about 30. Older women (50 +) seem to be in the 2 - 3 carat range, again focusing on color and clarity for this group. Those in the entertainment industry or married to pro athletes are simply about size. I''ll see anything from D - K in color, rarely anything below VS2 in clarity. Stone sizes are usually well above 3 carats. Professional women (lawyers, financial advisers) seem to be in the 1.5 - 2 carat range, however, most of these women do not wear their rings on a daily basis, and those that do tend to have very simple settings. Young male brokers seem to aim for 3+ carats with ornate settings, they tend to buy from a friend of a friend and usually end up with poorly cut stones carrying EGL certs.
Very enlightening, thank you. So, it sounds like 2 carat stone isn''t so far-fetched, but somewhat above ''average''. Is that correct?
 

Stone Hunter

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Interesting thread. I''m origionally from NY. I''d have thought that 1ct was the minimum for professional people in any part of the city or Long Island. That''s not taking artists -- who may have different tastes -- into account.

I remember being at a tennis game and my father pointing out the really large "Rocks" some of the mothers were wearing. They looked good to me. Probably 1.5 to 2ct and that was closer to the city.
 

fanboy

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I work at a major law firm in the city with several hundred attorneys; from what I've observed, 1.75-2 carats is the very upper limit amongst mid-level and senior associates. Even partners rarely have gigantic rocks--maybe to remain 'professional' or because they never upgraded? Female staff members engaged or married to investment bankers and other lawyers rarely have anything touching 2 carats.

All in all, most diamonds at the firm seem to fall within the 1.25-1.5 carat range. However, perception is definitely something else. For example, at a recent retreat, I heard one female associate commenting to her boyfriend about another female associate's engagement ring, attempting to justify an expensive diamond: "See Tom? That's like 2.5 carats. That's a $30,000 ring." The common understanding is that this particular female associate has quite a 'rock', but I know for a fact that the diamond is about 1.6 carats (it's a round brilliant).

In another instance, outside the firm, a friend reported to me that her best friend had just been proposed to by her investment banker boyfriend with a 2 carat ring. It turns out, that's 2 carats including all the melee for the pave in the halo and around the shank.

Merely anecdotal? Perhaps. But from what I'm hearing here, 2 carats for the center stone may not be atypical, but it's not the norm either. I suspect the myth now feeds itself to some degree; this can only be exacerbated by the desire of people both inside and outside Manhattan to glamorize life in the city.
 
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Man I hate when people do that. Girls at work comparing their over 1ct ring to mine and telling me I overpayed. Then it turns out they had a center stone of .3 cts. (the particular example I am referring to is a woman that is not divorced, hence the past tense)

Some people don't quite understand how the pricing works....
 

solange

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We live in Manhattan and I have a 4.10 stone. I want to make it clear that this was not my engagement ring. It is an upgrade after many years of marriage. We could never have afforded this when we first got married.
Many of my friends are of modest means and have never seen my ring. It would look very ostentatious in most of the circles I travel in. I love it and wear it nearly every day--in my home. However, I have worn it to the theatre, restaurants and formal events where my ring does not stand out at all. Many people have much larger stones than mine and other outstanding jewelry to go with it.
There probably are more larger stones in Manhattan than most other places but it reallly depends upon where yu go and whom you are with.
 

dtnyc

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I lived in NYC for nearly 6 ys (from the time I had just turned 25 ''til right before my 31st b-day.) While there I worked in legal consulting, financial services & inv. banking. Within my age group (28-32 yr old newly-engaged/newlywed women) the smallest diamond that I saw was a 1.27- tiffany solitaire- she had to have a ring from Tiffany and it was I-VS2 (lowest color & clarity they carry I believe.)
I would say most of my friends & colleagues (and their wives) were in the 1.5 - 2 ct. range for center stone. I have one friend who probably has a 3ish ct emerald- but I never got exact specs on it- it was gorgeous- but it was definitely more than 2.5 cts.

When I got engaged (w/ a family stone, only reason I got a bit over 2ct) and came "home" to visit friends from home were definitely surprised by the size- at one friend''s b-day party in a rest/bar, the bartender basically grabbed my hand and told me she had never seen a stone so big. Meanwhile in NYC 2 cts. doesn''t really turn heads. I have definitely seen much larger rings- on women of my age and older.

Whoever mentioned that not all women where their eng. rings all of the time is correct- I got an eternity wedding band (as well as some of my friends) and many times while doing errands or going to work we don''t always wear the e-ring.
 

fanboy

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Yeah, I wouldn''t expect a 2 carat diamond to necessarily turn heads in Manhattan. But, to be fair, it takes a lot to turn heads in Manhattan :). I passed a man in a neon green body suit and cowboy hat on the way to work the other day and didn''t bat an eyelash.
 

dtnyc

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Date: 8/1/2007 12:05:31 PM
Author: fanboy
Yeah, I wouldn''t expect a 2 carat diamond to necessarily turn heads in Manhattan. But, to be fair, it takes a lot to turn heads in Manhattan :). I passed a man in a neon green body suit and cowboy hat on the way to work the other day and didn''t bat an eyelash.

This is true- I mean NYC is a city that has embraced public urination.
Still you get my point...
 

Haven

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It has been really interesting reading everyone''s responses to this post because my BF and I have been having this conversation for a while. We don''t live in NYC, we live in Chicago, which is totally different but still filled with successful, young professionals.

I have an interesting perspective because I work in the suburbs and live in the city, and the difference in engagement ring trends between the two is really astonishing. Of our close friends, all of whom are "cityfolk", 2 cts is the smallest ering center stone, and the largest is a bit over 3 cts. 2 cts is definitely the norm from what I can see in the city. Yet, out in the burbs 1 ct seems to be closer to the norm.

I agree with fanboy when he said this disparity likely has more to do with cultural norms than with income--the city just seems to be flashier in general. Also, people tend to marry earlier in the suburbs than in the city, so perhaps it follows that younger grooms have less money to spring for a large stone.

Regardless, it''s really interesting to see how different ering trends are around the country.
 

surfgirl

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This is true- I mean NYC is a city that has embraced public urination.

Still you get my point...
Ahhh, dtnyc, you''re making me homesick!
28.gif


I grew up in Manhattan and ering sizes are all relative. If you''re only going on "upper middle/upper class" folks, then as others have said, anything from 1-3cts is probably considered in the "typical" range. But, it is quite possible that women in your firm dont even wear their "real" erings at work. It is not uncommon to wear a decoy ring - a nice ring, but it''s not the rock - I''ve known my fair share of women who only wear the rock at home and with friends. To wear it at work would call too much attention to oneself and might be considered gaudy of showing off. I haven''t been back home to NYC since I got engaged but I have a feeling I''ll be scooching my ring inside my finger when on the subway simply because its bigger than what you usually see on the train. It''s all relative. If you''re a lady who lunches for a living, you may well wear your big ering all the time. If you work in a corporate setting, you might want to be more discreet. I know if I was working in NYC in my field, I would not be wearing my ering to work...(but I''d have it''s photo in my wallet!).
 

baby monster

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Date: 8/1/2007 12:56:40 PM
Author: surfgirl

This is true- I mean NYC is a city that has embraced public urination.

Still you get my point...
Ahhh, dtnyc, you''re making me homesick!
28.gif


I grew up in Manhattan and ering sizes are all relative. If you''re only going on ''upper middle/upper class'' folks, then as others have said, anything from 1-3cts is probably considered in the ''typical'' range. But, it is quite possible that women in your firm dont even wear their ''real'' erings at work. It is not uncommon to wear a decoy ring - a nice ring, but it''s not the rock - I''ve known my fair share of women who only wear the rock at home and with friends. To wear it at work would call too much attention to oneself and might be considered gaudy of showing off. I haven''t been back home to NYC since I got engaged but I have a feeling I''ll be scooching my ring inside my finger when on the subway simply because its bigger than what you usually see on the train. It''s all relative. If you''re a lady who lunches for a living, you may well wear your big ering all the time. If you work in a corporate setting, you might want to be more discreet. I know if I was working in NYC in my field, I would not be wearing my ering to work...(but I''d have it''s photo in my wallet!).
ITA, very common practice. Some go even further. Some of my guy friends mentioned to me that they purchased a cz replica of the e-ring together with the real ring. Their ff/wife wears the cz ring every day and the real one comes out of the safe only for special occasions. I was more than puzzled by this practice because none of the rings were more than 15-25K. I''m not discounting the amount of money, it is a significant number, but why spend that much then? You can have 20K in cash sit in the safe and take the stack out for special occasions.
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