How Much Should You Pay For An Engagement Ring
12th May 2017
Whether you plan to purchase an engagement ring to surprise your other half or you are ready to start searching as a couple, you have a lot of important decisions to make when it comes to choosing that perfect ring.
From design to materials and beyond, engagement ring shopping can seem like a stressful process. And it’s no wonder: there are arbitrary rules about engagement rings that we’ve all heard repeated over and over again. And at the core of all that is the age-old question: how much should you pay for an engagement ring?
Before rushing into a decision, let us clear up a few myths and answer some of the most common questions about the price of engagement rings.
How Much are Engagement Rings
The engagement ring you choose can be as much or as little as you like – just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean your proposal can’t be romantic and lovely. There are many factors that can affect the price of an engagement ring – read on to learn more.
What is the Average Engagement Ring Cost in the UK?
According to our research, the average amount of money spent on an engagement ring is around £1,865 in the UK. However, this varies region by region and age group, with averages across the country ranging from about £1,400 to £3,000+. On the lower end, the average cost of diamond engagement rings tends to start in the triple digits, climbing up to five digits at the higher end.
How Many Months’ Salaries Should I Save for an Engagement Ring?
The common theory is that an engagement ring should be worth between one to three months of your salary. This can be a helpful benchmark but is by no means a hard and fast rule.
It is believed that the commonly referred to ‘one-month rule’ was historically introduced by jewellers in the 1950s to encourage bigger spending when it came to diamond jewellery – diamond manufacturer De Beers, in particular, is said to have inspired the craze for big, expensive diamond rings to be gifted at the proposal and the reason why this is still a tradition today. Comparing the national average monthly salary to the average amount spent on an engagement ring, these values are not far off from one another.
What Affects The Price of an Engagement Ring?
Different factors can affect the price of your engagement ring. The type of metal can have an impact but the main contributing factor will be the quality of the diamond you choose. Understanding what makes each diamond unique and valuable will help you figure out what your budget will afford you, narrow down your choices, and make the right decision.
1. The Four C’s
The first thing you should know about diamonds is the meaning and importance of the 4 C’s: carat, cut, clarity and colour. Bigger doesn’t always mean better or more valuable – each of these plays an important part in the value of a diamond.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond, but not its size or dimensions. Two diamonds of a similar carat can look very different, depending on their cut. A larger-carat diamond with a poor cut grade can appear smaller than a diamond of the same size with a higher cut grade. In the UK, the average carat of a diamond engagement ring is between 0.5 to 1 carat.
Cut refers to how a diamond is chiselled and polished, giving its faceted sparkle. A better quality diamond cut is perfectly proportioned, symmetrical and beautifully polished so that the highest amount of light can enter and reflect out of the stone. A more affordable, lesser-quality cut will appear dull in comparison, reflecting less light.
Clarity is an evaluation of small defects in the shape of surface blemishes and internal inclusions. Very few diamonds are completely flawless – a higher grade diamond will have fewer defects while having more, bigger inclusions will affect a diamond’s brilliance and reduces its value.
Colour is one of the most important factors that determine the value of a diamond. The brighter the white, the rarer and higher quality the diamond is considered. Lower-quality diamonds will have a lower colour grade, though these differences aren’t always visible to the untrained eye.
The second consideration that can affect a ring’s price is the gemstone. While a white diamond ring is a traditional choice for engagement rings, there are plenty of other options, like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, available at different price points. Similarly to diamonds, colour and clarity play a big role in determining the value of these gemstones, where a vivid saturation and lack of inclusions are more desirable features.
Whether you prefer a single bold splash of colour like a simple oval ruby engagement ring or paired with white diamonds, like an emerald halo emerald ring, there are rings in all hues and shapes available at various price points.
When it comes to the different types of materials used, there is more than just the appearance of the ring to consider. Precious metals have different qualities and properties, affecting durability and price. With gold, karat refers to the percentage of gold that has been mixed with another metal alloy – the higher the purity, the more valuable the material (but 100% gold purity is too soft to be used for jewellery).
From a simple metal band to clustered diamond engagement ring, the design of the ring itself is another factor to take into account when budgeting.
For example, the most popular engagement ring style is without a doubt the classic round solitaire diamond engagement ring, consisting of a single stone with a simple and timeless appeal. When round diamonds are cut, more rough parts are discarded – making them more expensive than rings with shapes like the princess or emerald cut, which offer more value for the same carat size.
Additionally, other designs such as a halo style feature more stones which will, naturally, require a larger budget.
How Do I Workout My Engagement Ring Budget
It’s essential to understand how much you can afford before beginning your search, rather than the other way around. Whatever the rules say, the amount you spend on an engagement ring should be what you are able to set aside for it, and no more.
A good approach is to look at your annual salary, monthly expenditure, current savings, and the amount of time you have before you want to pop the question.
Our engagement ring budget calculator will help you crunch the numbers to find out how much money you can save based on your lifestyle and proposal timeline. Whatever your budget, there is a ring out there for you!
How To Plan an Engagement Ring Budget
Not every ring is created equally – from the diamond colour to the setting, there are a number of elements that can be customised and bring the value down. Your budget can go a long way if you know what to look out for!
Do Your Research
Look at different designs and price ranges to develop a good sense of what’s available on the market and what you can afford before buying. Beyond just the factors that value diamonds, check out our metal guide to understand the differences between the precious metal types. For example, 9k gold is a great option that is more affordable and durable than 14k gold. But because gold is a very soft metal that can become damaged over time, it may be worth investing in high durability upfront with the more premium platinum.
You can choose a more affordable design based on your personal preference – for example, if you’re looking for a ring with a large centre diamond, instead of going for a big (and more expensive) solitaire diamond ring you could opt for a more affordable halo ring with a smaller centre diamond while getting the same surface area of shine thanks to the smaller diamonds.
Understand What Affects The Price of Diamonds
Once you’ve done your preliminary research, make sure you understand how diamond cut, clarity, colour, and carat will affect the price of your ring by reading through our diamond guide.
If you’re looking for a larger diamond at a lower price, you can opt for a lower diamond quality in terms of colour and clarity – a higher-carat diamond with a good cut can outshine a lower colour grade or inclusions. On the other hand, a larger-carat diamond with a poor cut grade may appear smaller than a diamond of the same size with a higher cut grade.
Some cuts, like the marquise cut engagement ring and pear cut engagement rings, are great at maximising carat weight with a larger-looking stone and are better value as they use more of the rough diamond. They will look larger when set in a ring compared to a round cut, while also being more affordable.
If size is less important, you may prefer to choose a smaller diamond with a higher-quality cut, clarity, and colour grading. Or you can reduce the cost by compromising on colour: a nearly colourless grading around G-I is more affordable than a colourless F, without strongly affecting the appearance of your ring.
Set Your Budget and Stick to it
Once you’ve explored the market and set your budget based on your salary and lifestyle, forget about the other rules and opinions, and commit. With so many types of engagement rings available and customisations possible, it can be tempting to stray from your budget, but don’t give in. A good jeweller will respect your budget and showcase rings at a price you can afford.
Save for an Engagement Ring
Once you’ve worked out your budget, do your research, and worked out how long it will be before you propose, it’s time to save!
Divide the cost of the ring into parts that lead up to around a month before your proposal date and set up a separate savings account to keep the ring money in. Arrange automatic payments to go in each month equal to those monthly instalments – by making the automatic, you don’t have to worry about how much to put aside each month. You’ll have your goal amount saved up in time to order your ring and have it delivered with plenty of time to spare before the big day.
Buy Your Engagement Ring Online
From manufacturing to retail, traditional high street jewellers are part of a chain that involves many steps before rings reach customers’ hands. At Diamonds Factory, we skip these intermediaries to deliver pieces at much lower prices. We design, craft, and deliver rings directly to save you up to 78% compared to traditional retailers, using certified and ethically sourced diamonds.
Buying the Perfect Engagement Ring
In sum, your engagement ring budget is 100% up to you! There is no one-size-fits-all diamond engagement ring, and you don’t have to stick to a strict figure or play by any rules. Choose something you know your partner will love and that you can comfortably afford.
If you’re still unsure about how to find the perfect ring for you or your partner, check out our engagement ring buying guide. We offer a huge range of stunning engagement rings to suit all tastes and budgets, so take some time to browse through our collection!