How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring: A Detailed Guide

If you’re planning on proposing to your significant other, asking yourself how much to spend on an engagement ring is likely to be one of your first questions. Set aside the strange myths and traditions surrounding the all-important engagement ring spend; instead, use this guide to accurately assess how much you should be spending.

Engagement Ring Conventions

The tradition of spending three months’ salary on an engagement ring was another clever advertising campaign by industry giants, De Beers. In spite of this, it has been loosely followed for decades with some people viewing it as a compulsory factor in buying an engagement ring.
Another tradition is the element of surprise. Traditionally, grooms to be have been tasked with finding and purchasing a ring on a solo venture. In our experience, this convention has shifted dramatically, and we regularly see brides choosing their own ring, family members chipping in on the cost, grooms buying engagement rings for grooms and brides buying for brides. A wedding is a celebration of your own unique love, and the engagement ring buying process should be no different.

Setting a Budget

If you do away with the ‘three months’ salary’ tradition, how do you set a budget for an engagement ring? The answer is entirely dependent on your financial position at the time of proposing and whether the engagement ring is a priority at that time.
The average spend on an engagement ring in the USA is around $7,000 but consider this; some people will spend below $500, others will spend upward of $100,000 – so does the “average” spend really matter and should it really be used to guide your decision? Perhaps your eyes watered at the thought of spending $7,000, perhaps you feel this is too low – there is no right or wrong answer.

Our Advice

Here are some general tips for setting a budget:
  • Loose diamonds VS Pre-Set Rings - Decide if you will be buying the setting and diamond separately or as one complete engagement ring. Buying separately allows you to truly scrutinize the quality of the diamond and adjust the quality factors to better suit your budget. For example, a jeweller may be offering a 1.00ct round brilliant ring, pre-set. Say the diamond is an F-VS2 – an F color diamond is in the ‘colorless’ category and commands a higher price, even though its barely distinguishable from a G color diamond. And say this VS2 diamond has an inclusion that bothers you, so you’d rather have a higher clarity. But you cannot make these changes when a ring is already set and sold with the diamond. We suggest that choosing a loose diamond allows for a greater flexibility in both taste, options and budget.
  • Research the Four C’s - Knowledge really is power for engagement ring buyers; this is one of the reasons we dedicate so much time and attention to our detailed education pages. Get a realistic understanding of how The Four C’s impact the price of a diamond before you make any decisions.
  • Room for change - Perhaps the most important fact of all, which we will expand on shortly, is allowing yourself the option to change! Over the course of your life and your marriage, it is likely there will come a time where you have more disposable income. This is where a good trade up policy is so important.
  • The price range is wide - You can find a stunning diamond engagement for $25,000 or for $1,000 – don’t feel pressured by price tags. A focus on quality will ensure the best use of your money. Thoughtful, personal and beautiful doesn’t have to mean expensive.
  • Certification is essential - All of our diamonds are certified. Furthermore, they all carry an AGS or GIA certification; these labs are the world leaders in providing unbiased, accurate and reliable reports. From a spending perspective, a top tier diamond report is the only way to know exactly what you’re paying for. Our guides on diamond certification will illustrate the significance of a reliable diamond report.

Why a Trade Up Policy Matters

A trade up policy is a guarantee the seller provides giving the buyer the option to upgrade their diamond in the future. Our customer-friendly lifetime trade up policy allows our clients to trade up to any in-house diamond of equal or greater value. Not all jewelers offer a written trade up guarantee, and those that do usually place significant restrictions on the trade such as requiring the new diamond to be much more expensive than the original. This is why checking a policy is essential.
We know that you want to get it right first time, so get it right with a beautiful diamond engagement ring that won’t cause financial distress – do this, safe in the knowledge that when the time is right, you can pick a perfect upgrade.

Spend on Setting VS Spending on a Diamond

In almost every case, the central diamond is the star of the engagement ring (or at least, it should be if it has been chosen with care). However, whether you choose an ornate setting or a simple style is up to you and will come down to both personal preference and your given budget.
Tacori 2647RD Ribbon Diamond Engagement Ring
Tacori 2647RD Ribbon Diamond Engagement Ring
Designers such as Tacori and Verragio are renowned for their intricate and detailed engagement rings; adorned with diamonds, the most ornate styles command higher prices than a traditional, metal setting.

Maximizing Budget

Most customers want to maximize value within their budget; whether that means a bigger looking diamond, a more ornate setting or a better cut, getting the most wow factor for your money is often the goal. Here are some Whiteflash tips:
Focus on cut quality: A precision cut will showcase a diamond at its very best. Our A CUT ABOVE® diamonds are designed and crafted for optimum light performance - sensational sparkle and beautiful fire.
Halo settings: For maximising the impact of a diamond, halo settings are a wonderful way to boost the drama and presence of a diamond when worn in a ring.
Use diamond imaging: Our advanced diamond imaging will show you exactly how well a diamond is performing. Our 360 degree diamond videos also allow you to visually assess the color and clarity of diamond, giving space to play with these qualities and adjust them to suit your budget.
Ask an expert: Our GIA trained diamond consultants are on hand to help with all your questions and needs. They will give you the best advice on choosing the perfect ring. Our philosophy of customer care is to provide expert guidance without any pressure. We believe in the right diamond, for the right person, at the right price. We believe in providing you with a brilliant experience! Contact us any time for friendly advice ahead of your proposal.

Be Inspired By Our Designer Engagement Rings

Find the perfect Designer Ring for your special diamond by clicking the links below, and let us build the ultimate ring for the love of your life!