How Much Should I Spend On An Engagement Ring?
Google ‘how much should I spend on an engagement ring’ and you’ll be overwhelmed by the different answers, engagement ring ‘calculators’ and national averages of what we’re now spending. Often more of an emotional than a rational decision, many grooms-to-be are left flummoxed - how much is enough, and how much is too much? Here’s our decisive guide, to bust the myths and give you a straight answer.
Debunking The Myths
One of the most well known ideas around how much to spend on an engagement ring is three months’ salary. With living costs rising do we really need to spend that much?
The idea all originates from a De Beers marketing campaign in the 1930s, after the great American Depression, which saw their profits drastically fall. At this time, De Beers controlled 60% of rough diamond trade, so needed a way to boost the demand for diamonds. Prior to this, proposing with a diamond engagement ring was not a popular norm. So, De Beers set out their campaign - a change in fashion to encourage men to purchase diamond engagement rings for their partners; this was to become the new norm. And how much should they spend per ring? One month's’ salary, suggested the campaign. By 1980, this had become two months’ salary. In Japan, De Beers encouraged men to spend three month’s wages by 1970 with their (not so catchy) slogans such as, ‘a diamond engagement ring: worth three months’ salary’. So it all comes down to one marketer’s clever campaign - and we’re not sure this qualifies as a logical rule to follow.
The New Normal?
The group Jewellers of America recently suggested that the average American spends $4,000, or just under £3,000, with the average salary at $37,000 a year, or £27,500, suggesting most Americans splurge a little less than the De Beers’ ideal. Other reports suggest Brits are spending £2,700 with other sources claiming as little as £573. Equally, a ring worth upward of £5,000 isn’t exactly uncommon. In the UK, the majority of us are buying 0.5 carat diamonds to adorn our partner's’ ring finger, with things getting a little bigger and better in London. Americans and Australians take their diamonds pretty seriously, and on average purchase 1 carat diamonds for their engagement rings. So to put it bluntly - there is no normal.
Our 7 Easy Steps for Setting A Budget
1. Spend what you can, but don’t start married life in debt!
2. Don’t prioritise a cheaper ring that may have been poorly mass produced. Poorly made settings can break and wear easily, and in worst case scenarios irreplaceable diamonds and precious stones fall out. With an in-store workshop, we create every ring to order onsite.
3. Do your research. At Queensmith, we pride ourselves on being able to cater for a plethora of budgets - we’ve seen it all and we’ve made it all. If you’ve got ideas of what you want, we’ll be able to work with you to create the perfect design. Expertise and transparency are key to what we do.
Be creative and clever with your design - there are various ways of optimising your budget, and certain designs go a long way.
4. It should hurt a little, but don’t break the bank. This is a lifelong investment and you should be realistic about what your partner might expect.
5. If you want something bigger and better than what your wallet will allow, why rush? There is no need to go overboard before you’re financially capable.
6. There is no normal. Don’t feel you need to follow a set guideline - don’t break the bank, and equally, if you’ve got the cash, why not splash it!
Quick Top Tips for Choosing a Diamond
For peace of mind - Choose a hand selected GIA certified diamond
To optimise your budget - Compromise on diamond clarity first
For the ultimate sparkle - Choose a round brilliant excellent cut diamond
For pure natural beauty - Choose a colourless diamond (D-F colour)