If your friend's new engagement ring seems to sparkle just a bit more than all the others, here's why: North Carolinians spend more money on engagement rings than almost any other state on average.
That's according to wedding website The Knot, which released its 2017 Jewelry and Engagement Study just in time for proposal season, a time of year when about 37 percent of couples get engaged.
Americans overall spend an average $6,351 on an engagement ring with the average amounts by state ranging from $3,518 up to $10,241.
In North Carolina, ring-buyers plunked down $9,225. That's second in the country after California, according to Ritani, an online diamond retailer specializing in engagement rings.
The Knot surveyed more than 14,000 engaged or recently married people from across the country about ring shopping, proposal planning and more.
Among other findings in The Knot's study:
▪ The average American spends about 3.5 months searching for a ring and about 4.4 months planning a proposal.
▪ Couples said they looked at an average of 26 rings before deciding on the one, and online ring shopping is more popular than ever.
▪ About 45 percent of all engagement rings are a custom design, and the most popular stone cut is round (52 percent).
▪ The average carat size for a center stone is 1.2, and the average size for the total ring is 1.8 carats. The most popular engagement ring setting metal is white gold, at 61 percent.
▪ The average spending for engagement rings is up 25 percent from 2011 ($6,351 from $5,095),
▪ One in three proposals are a surprise, and more people are turning to the Internet to date, shop for rings and plan weddings.
For more information, go to www.theknot.com/content/the-knot-2017-jewelry-and-engagement-study.