How Much Should You Spend On The Engagement Ring?

getting engaged

Engagement rings used to not only show a commitment to marriage, they also represented monetary value and were expected to be expensive to give a message to both the bride and her family that:

  • The groom had made a conscious effort at saving in order to propose
  • By saving for the ring the groom proved that he was capable of saving for a future home
  • If the couple fell on hard times, the ring would always be there to pawn to help them get through

Two Months' Salary?

The largest diamond producer and marketer in the world, DeBeers launched a marketing campaign in the United States in 1947, following a depressed wartime market in an effort to increase diamond sales. Their famous slogan was 'A diamond is forever' and it was through DeBeers that the origin of two months salary as the price to pay for an engagement ring was set. Therefore the old adage of spending two months' salary is no more than an arbitrary guideline established by the jewelry and diamond industry.

In present times the two months salary guideline should be viewed as just that, a guideline. There are a vast amount of stones, settings, metals, styles etcetera that need to be taken into consideration when looking at engagement rings and the budget can be as little or large as you wish.

The ring was seen as more than just a representation of union, it was also viewed as an investment in family jewels.

Tips for the groom

engagement ringIf purchasing the ring as a surprise proposal for your future bride, to make the moment special and ensure that no-one is disappointed, grooms should take the following into consideration:

  • Do you know her ring size?
  • Do you know what metal she would prefer, i.e. white, gold or platinum?
  • Would she prefer a simple style ring or something that will be instantly noticed?
  • Do you know what kind of cut of stone she prefers?
  • Do you know what kind of stone she prefers?

By studying the bride to be, the groom can find out a lot about her tastes, styles and preferences. For example if she usually wears simple, elegant jewellery then that would be the choice for her engagement ring, however, if she usually likes to make a statement with big jewellery then larger styled rings (probably with a lot of bling) would be the better option. If she expresses a preference for a certain type of engagement ring or admires a friends, one in a shop window etc, make a mental note of the cut, colour and shape of the stone and the metal it is set in. The ring the groom chooses should reflect the bride-to-be's personality as she will be wearing it every day for the rest of her life!

Budgeting for an Engagement Ring

The tradition was for the future groom to privately select and purchase a ring prior to the proposal. Nowadays however it is more common for the couple to go ring shopping together, especially is they are to purchase engagement rings for each other.

Generally the purchasing of an engagement ring is a joint effort between couples, the groom may still bear the brunt of most of the cost but the bride-to-be will most certainly have her say in the style and price of the ring expected. When budgeting for a ring there are several things to take into consideration such as:

  • Cost versus quality of the engagement ring
  • Reputation of the jewelers
  • Upcoming expenses including living costs and household costs
  • Income and earning potential of both individuals

It is very tempting, and easy, when surrounded by gorgeous diamonds and gems in a Jewelers to want the stone to be 'just that much bigger' or for it to 'be ok' to up the budget. It is always a good idea to research your ring in advance to get an idea of the cost expected, fix your budget, and then stick to it, the key is for the couple to work together to set guidelines they are both comfortable with and that won't bankrupt them before reaching the altar.

The ring was seen as more than just a representation of union, it was also viewed as an investment in family jewels.

Types of Metals

There are three different types of metal to choose from which are:

Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

Previously being the most common and preferred metal for engagement and wedding rings, yellow gold has fallen out of favour over the last 20 years, as yellow gold is considered not to reflect the colours of diamonds as well as white gold and platinum. 18K gold it considered to be the optimal karat, however the higher the karat, the softer the ring and the more easily it will get scratched and dented.

White Gold Engagement Ring

engagemnent ring 3White gold has increased in popularity due to its colour and ability to reflect colours of diamonds better than yellow gold. It is also particularly popular as a less expensive option than platinum. However, the pitfalls of white gold are due to its chemical makeup which means that as much as 42% of the ring could be made up of something other than gold, the appearance ranges anywhere from pale to silver and alloyed to add strength and colour.

Today, many white gold rings are also coated with rhodium for extra brilliance. All of this means that after a couple of years (or even months) the rings may need to be re-coated as the base metal may show through.

Platinum Engagement Ring

The most expensive option and most popular style for brides nowadays, platinum is known as the king of precious metals. Platinum is alloyed with other metals such as titanium, iridium or ruthenium (depending on the commodity price), however they are used in small quantities in order to maintain platinum's high purity. Look for platinum that has 'PT 900' or '950 Plat' imprinted on the inside of the ring as this means that the metal is 90 or 90% pure platinum with 5% of some other metal.

With the usage of the internet, budgeting and knowing what your bride-to-be would prefer, the options available for the groom to choose from are endless and the budget for the ring can be as little or as much as circumstances will allow.

The choice of ring should show the love the couple have for each other, make the bride feel beautiful wearing it and the groom proud that she has his ring on her finger.