How Much To Spend On Engagement Rings: Should They Cost A Fortune?

If the price of engagement rings is the only thing that prevents you from popping the question – or if you cannot decide how much to spend on it – fear not. Today many rules related to ring costs are lifted, and you can spend as much as you want.

The most known rule was that an engagement ring should cost at least two monthly salaries to be a ‘proper ring.’ Fortunately, no one measures the ring’s significance like that anymore. Yes, definitely, people still may want to flaunt a bauble and pay fortunes for this jewelry piece, but it is just one of many options, not a default step to take.

To help you find your way around and offer some helpful benchmarks, we’ve compiled this brief guide to engagement ring pricing and what you can get for your money.

The rules that work no more for choosing an engagement ring

As said, the previously unshakable rule to spend two monthly salaries on a ring is not obligatory anymore. You can spend as much or as little as you want or your budget allows.

Besides, wedding planners in the know say some couples try to follow other budgeting rules. Namely, it’s necessary to spend a one-month salary or three-month salary on a ring for it to be appropriate. If a one-salary budget makes sense, then a three-salary budget seems a little over the top for people of middle financial standing. These rules nowadays are frequently discarded, as the same wedding planners confide.

Finally, the key idea behind this strict pricing was that an engagement ring obligatorily sports a diamond, and the bigger the better (hence the eye-watering prices). This tradition started in the first half of the 20th century, bloomed lavishly in the 50s and 60s, and is now losing its grip on bridal styles and trends. You can get a diamond or diamonds, for sure, but picking a colored gem or non-traditional stone will be equally great and on-trend.

The rules that actually work in engagement ring shopping

Well, if certain rules are happily ignored today, what rules apply?

They are not rules but rather tips and guidelines that can help you set a budget and pinpoint the best ring option.

If not the salary ratio, then what is used to measure the average price for a really good ring? There should be a measuring stick, right?

Jewelers and experienced wedding assistants agree that a starting point for a ring that is special enough to mark an engagement is around $550. This is the lower bracket from which you can safely proceed upwards (if you want).

For this price, a diamond in the ring may be modest but of good quality, set in white, rose, or yellow gold. If you opt for other gem types, the stones will also be not that big, but good.

What about upper brackets? The sky and your bank account are the limit, but the good average for an eye-catching diamond ring is around $5,000. This price includes a reasonably big good-quality diamond and a fancy setting, possibly with a diamond halo or other interesting elements. A colored gem will be large and envy-inducing, no less, and the ring will be a real heirloom piece.

If you plan to spend above that – well, congrats, you can score a true boulder of a diamond and get a celebrity-worthy ring. Yet if you want to keep within these approximate brackets you’ll fall into the happy majority of people getting a good ring for a reasonable price - and saving some money for a reception and a honeymoon. Looks like a perfect way to start a married life.

4 ‘Know it’ points before you actually head to a checkout

Before you start that important debate with yourself whether you can afford that big bold ring, step back and decide whether this very ring is the one. How to do it? Well, consider the tastes of the person you will give this ring to and the details about the ring itself. It may turn out, you should look in a different direction and ponder over totally different prices. Let’s look closer at every benchmark.

1. Know what your loved one actually wants

The engagement ring will be worn every day, so it should be comfortable and pleasant to the wearer. So get answers to the following questions:

  • What are her jewelry preferences? Does she like big bold items or prefers more demure and subtle styles?
  • Does she work with her hands actively or engage in rough sports?
  • Is her jewelry collection on constant rotation or is it mostly collecting dust?
  • Will your sweetheart appreciate big spending or is she more prone to bargain hunting?
  • Diamond, diamond alternative, or no stone at all?

We actually suggest that you write down the list and add answers as you get them. When you skim through them all, you’ll get a profile of a perfect ring. So when it comes to actual shopping, you efficiently narrow down the choice and the price range, correspondingly.

A slim ring with a small colored gem, or even a small diamond will cost much less than a designer’s creation with big stones and a brand name attached. A ring for an active lady should be streamlined and durable, while a fashion girl may want something outstanding and flashy, where durability is not a primary concern. You get the idea, we hope.

2. Know how much you can safely spend

Engagement is the first big step towards a wedding and the start of family life, so money will be running in wild streams through your fingers. That’s normal, so don’t fret. Yet before it all begins, weigh carefully how much you can afford to spend on engagement rings without breaking the bank.

It’s not the best idea to pay for an engagement ring with borrowed money (whether from a credit card or borrowed from someone else) for many reasons. If you feel you have to, consider what interest rate will be charged and how fast you’ll be able to repay it. Remember the benchmark at the beginning? $550 is totally OK for a decent engagement ring, and a couple of thousands are just perfect. No need to strive for that $5,000 mark just because someone does it. Carefully assess your financial standing and how the ring purchase will impact it before you spend money.

Here’s a checklist to run through:

  • Does the ring price fit into your earning potential together?
  • Do you have to go into debt to buy a ring?
  • If yes, at what interest rate and under what conditions?
  • How fast will you be able to repay it?
  • Can you repay it if your financial matters suddenly change (earning changes, unforeseen expenses, wedding overspending, whatnot, life’s unpredictable)?
  • How much do you plan to spend on the wedding?
  • Do you plan a down payment for your family home? Do you plan to have children immediately?

Well, if money is of no concern to you, just skip this section and move on happily to the next one. If you feel financially strained or just don’t want to jeopardize your current situation, think about what sum won’t hurt you right now and set it as an upper bracket. Or consider buying a simpler ring and getting a luxury item when you are settled and more financially stable. That’s totally acceptable today.

3. Know about the quality of diamonds or gems you prefer

Whether we like it or not, it’s the stone that mostly impacts the price of the ring. Whether we speak about diamonds or other gems, the quality and the size of the stone determine whether a ring will be very affordable or eye-wateringly expensive. It is for this reason of quality that two rings with diamonds of roughly the same size will cost radically differently. That’s why we recommend that you learn a bit about the 4C’s of diamonds or the main parameters of the chosen stone before you make a decision.

4C’s stand for Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat. And for rings of the same carat weight, clarity and color can make all the difference. For example, a 1-carat diamond ring is considered to be a luxury claim, although not that loud one. But one stone may cost around $2,500 - $3,000, and another one up to $12,000, both being of the same 1-carat size. Why such a huge price gap? Because of quality!

A stone that costs $2,500-$3,000 will have poorer color and clarity parameters (yellowish tint, visible black inclusions), although its cut can be rather good. Sometimes such diamonds are called salt and pepper diamonds, and they have their own charm and use in jewelry. But they should be openly sold as such, not as good-quality clear diamonds.

A ring that has a price tag of 12k dollars will have a nearly perfect white color (no yellowness) and literally perfect clarity without the slightest inclusion.

As you see, knowing the basics can help you understand why the ring is so expensive – or surprisingly cheap. So before you pay, look at the certificates for the stone (they are a must) and compare them to the 4C’s.

We recommend that you look at smaller stones with better 4C parameters, for that matter. A 0.76 or 0.80-carat stone with excellent clarity and color will look better and more impressive in a ring than a slightly larger but yellowish stone.

Or else, buy the ring from a jeweler shop you trust. Then you’ll know that no one is trying to sell you something that will be a source of disappointment.

4. Know how to enhance the ring without boosting its price

If you don’t want to spend a ton of cash on a boulder of a ring but still want it to look cool, here are some innocent design tricks that can help.

  • Pick a ring with a halo or with a cluster of smaller diamonds. A halo around a central stone adds a sparkling boom to the ring and makes the centerpiece look much larger. A cluster of stones also looks larger than one stone and sparkles magnificently. If the goal is to score a ring that will be visually impressive, choose this design.
  • Buy a ring at a small jewelry shop that does not have a middleman who wants his share of revenue. Then you’ll find a piece that gives more vibe for the money. In large retail chains or with big brand names there comes a price increase just for the name.
  • Order a custom ring. Decide what is obligatory and what is not necessary in the design, and you may get a perfect and unique ring within a reasonable budget.

Rings from YourAsteria

Whether you want to spend on engagement rings under $1,000 or more than $15,000, it’s totally up to you and your sweetheart. You are going to join your lives, hopefully forever, so it’s up to you two to make this important decision.

Yet here’s one friendly wink from us at YourAsteria: an engagement ring is only a symbol. The main part here is your feelings and relationship, the love you share, and the plans you hope to fulfill together.

So no matter what you decide, we at our shop of custom dainty rings are ready to assist you. You can buy a perfect stylish ring with flawless stones for a reasonable price or order a ring that will be crafted after your design. We can deliver and exceed expectations because we’ve been doing it for many years already. And we’d be happy to create this special engagement ring that will bring joy and thrill to your future spouse for many more years to come.

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