Step One: On a Budget

Step Two: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Setting
Step Three: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Diamond
Step Four: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Gold or Platinum?
Step Five: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Certification

It’s a big decision: How much to spend on an engagement ring.  It’s also a decision that comes with a fair amount of pressure.  After all a diamond engagement ring is a symbol of your love and commitment and represents the promise that you will make on your wedding day.  Before you start searching for the perfect diamond and the perfect setting, although you probably already have – don’t feel bad everyone does, we suggest starting with cost.  Here are some things to consider which should help you determine your budget.

Cost of the Average Engagement Ring

So the obvious place to start is by asking what is the average price for engagement rings.  We were curious too.  After searching and searching we decided it lies somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000.  Why are we offering such a large range?  Well there is not one single source which we believe is reliable enough to say the absolute average price.  Here are 2 sources with very different numbers:

$3,150
IDEX Online Research, 2009 (A diamond industry website)
$6,348
Brides.com survey, 2009 ($4,435 in 2006)

Every survey is different based on the criteria used, hence the different numbers.  In our experience as a diamond and jewelry manufacturers for almost a century the average price is somewhere in the middle.  But of course we are basing our own numbers on sales through our company.

The 2 Month Rule (or is it 3?)

Many of us have heard of the 2 month rule, spending 2 months of the groom’s salary to purchase an engagement ring.  Question: if the bride makes more money than her groom .. should she be entitled to a more expensive ring?  I guess it depends on many factors, including who is paying.  But we digress.

Back to the 2 month rule.  We looked to find where that rule came from, someone had to have the idea to start it.  De Beers, the largest diamond producer at the turn of the century, is credited with the idea as a way to market diamonds to the average consumer.  However we could not track down the exact source and in turn we could not determine whether it started as a 2 or 3 month rule.  Regardless of the source it’s certainly a tradition that everyone knows.  The question is, does everyone follow it?  Of course not.  We often get questions about the 2-3 month rule and we know from experience that the rule is often broken, usually on the lower end – people spend less than 2-3 months salary on average.

Average Diamond Prices

So what do you get for your money?  This is a very tricky question indeed and will be the focus of the next 3 steps in our buying guide.  However we think it would be helpful to show now average diamond prices.  Remember these are only the diamond and do not include the setting, which usually adds a few hundred dollars.  Additionally these are average retail prices and do not include VAT which European customers must add.  For an example we are using round brilliant cut diamonds, the most popular, between G VS2 and G SI 1.  You can spend more or less depending on how you adjust the 4 C’s, see the parenthesis for a wider range.  Finally, all of these prices are for certified diamonds, which we believe is very important.  More on that in step 5.

.30ct — $400 ($330 – $570)
.50ct — $1,025 ($870 – $1,500)
1.00ct — $6,000 ($3,700 – $8,100)
1.50ct — $13,800 ($9,800 – $17,000)
2.00ct — $24,000 ($18,550 – $31,500)

These prices are just examples and can vary.  Don’t worry too much at this stage about exactly what size (diamond carat weight) is right for you as step 3: choosing a diamond will provide much more detail.  We just wanted to demonstrate what your budget might be able to afford in a very general way.  As we mentioned, you can get a larger diamond for much less when you change the various characteristics of the stone, the amounts in the parenthesis demonstrate that.  However we suggest sticking to certain standards to insure that your diamond will exhibit fire & brilliance, more details in step 3 as well.

A Very Personal Decision

As a diamond and jewelry manufacturers for 3 generations we have something very important to say.  Many people incorrectly believe that the size and price of your diamond are a reflection of your love and devotion.  Just like the famous saying “A Diamond is Forever” we hope that the same holds true for your marriage.  That’s what is truly most important.  You don’t need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to show how much you love someone.

Regardless of your budget you should be comfortable with the price.  Remember, no two diamonds in the world are exactly alike.  That means no matter which one you choose it will be unique and special.

Now that hopefully you have some sense of your budget lets discuss how to find the perfect setting to fit your style.

On to Step 2: The Perfect Setting Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Setting

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