How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Pave Kamellie image

Pave Kamellie

The short answer is, "it depends". The right ring matches your lady’s expectations, fits your budget, and pleases both of you visually. 

Most couples have no idea how much an engagement ring should cost. They plan to spend $1,000 to $5,000 but end up spending $3,000 to $6,000+.

Having helped over 10,000 couples with their engagement rings, we'll use this article to clear things up.

We'll explain why "rules" like the 2-months' salary rule don't work; how you can get the perfect ring on any budget; which mistakes you want to avoid.

We'll start by looking at average engagement ring cost statistics.

Skip to our ring price calculator.

Average Engagement Ring Cost

The average engagement ring cost depends on who you’re talking to. 

One 2017 study found the average engagement ring was $5,764. A 2018 study returned an even higher figure: $7,829. 

The thing is, these figures come from jewelry companies. When you ask the general public, you get much smaller numbers. 

CNBC reports millennial couples spend just $3,000 on rings. Post-pandemic research shows an average price of $3,756. The NYT reports an even smaller figure: $2,500 or less.

In other words, jewelers say people are spending around $6,000-$,8000… But consumers report spending just $3,000-$4,000.

We can’t tell you the reason for this difference. It could be that jewelry companies interview a narrow market segment, e.g. their own customers. It could be that company-ordered surveys exaggerate ring prices for marketing reasons. 

Going by our own 10,000+ rings sold, the average engagement ring costs $2,500-$4,500… With at least 20% being under $1,000 or over $10,000. 

4 Engagement Ring Myths to Ignore

Solitaire Natalie image

Solitaire Natalie

The 2-Months' Salary Rule

You’ve already heard you should spend 2 or 3 months’ salary on an engagement ring. It’s a handy way to decide how much you’ll spend on a ring:

But where does this rule come from? 

From an old DeBeers ad. DeBeers owned and sold 80% of the world's diamonds prior to 1991. The “2 month rule” was their way to move more product.

In other words, the 2 month rule benefits companies like DeBeers; not you. If you think about it, it’s a silly rule. You’ve got to think about what your lady wants, what you can afford to spend, etc; not just your salary. 

Bigger is Better

As consumers, we’ve been taught that bigger stones are always better. But is this really the case? 

Not always. First, a poorly cut stone with inclusions and coloring looks bad - even if it’s very large. Second, big diamonds can cost a fortune - and they don’t necessarily look much bigger. Take a look at this carat-to-radius chart: 

Buying bigger stones can mean taking on debt or eating into your wedding budget; not something you want. 

If you do want a big stone, you can consider moissanite and lab-grown diamond rings. These will give you the same sparkle and hardness - more sparkle in the case of moissanite - without eating into your budget. 

Natural is Best 

The idea is that natural diamonds are rare and precious. In the past, this was true. It was hard to find or buy new diamonds - so you could resell your old ones for a fair price. 

Cushion cut Diamond image

Cushion cut Diamond

Today, things are different. A Guardian journalist found out her 0.4 carat diamond ring, bought for over $1,500, was essentially worthless (source). Another consumer found out her $1,200 natural diamond ring was worth less than $100. 

In other words… Natural diamonds aren’t particularly precious - and they don’t retain value well. Once bought, they depreciate faster than brand-new cars. 

This is why a growing number of couples is choosing lab-grown diamonds or moissanite stones.

Lab-grown diamonds are physically identical to natural ones. They’re just significantly cheaper - and usually have better cut, clarity, and color. 

Moissanite has more sparkle than a natural diamond at a fraction of the price.

All Gemstones are Fine to Use

Colored gemstones are a popular diamond alternative. The problem is, many aren’t suitable for engagement rings because of their softness. 

Stones that will tarnish, cloud and even chip over time include topaz, emerald, aquamarine, and others. The only stones you should consider for engagement rings are those with a hardness score of 9 or above, e.g.: 

Diamond (lab-grown or natural)

Engagement Ring Price Calculator

The Most Popular Engagement Rings

Most Popular Engagement Ring Styles

White gold is the most popular engagement ring metal. It gives the center stone a clean look and doesn’t change its coloring. 

As far as settings go, most engagement rings will have one center stone and side accents. This is true in general and for Keyzar Jewelry, where our top 3 best-selling rings are…

1. The Twig Emily

TTwig Emily image

TTwig Emily

The iconic Emily puts an exciting twist on the classic solitaire ring. Its slender, dainty lines are made to look like a twig. It features two small side stones and comes in two finishes: polished and unpolished. 

2. The Solitaire Penelope

Solitaire Penelope image

Solitaire Penelope

The Penelope combines classic solitaire ring styling with a new, exciting look upfront. The side accents add sparkle to the whole ring without distracting from the center stone.  

3. The Pave Alex

Pave Alex image

Pave Alex

The Alex is our flagship pave engagement ring. With 0.44 carats in the ring shank and hidden halo, it has as much sparkle as a solitaire ring can have. Even smaller stones look outstanding in this decadent setting. 

Most Popular Diamonds

With natural diamonds, most fall between 0.5 and 1.5 carats. With moissanite and lab-grown diamonds, there’s more variety in size. Consumers find they can go all the way up to 4 and 5 carats without breaking the bank. 

In our experience, most people spend anywhere between $1,500 and $4,000 on the center stone. 10% spend under $1,000, and about the same proportion of people spends way more; $10,000+. 

The most popular engagement ring shapes are…

The Round Cut

The Michelle image

The Michelle

Round-cut diamonds have superior spark. They are universally appreciated by brides and look good from all angles. They work with all ring settings and are probably the most common type of stone shape for engagement rings. 

Oval Cut

Pave Kamellie image

Pave Kamellie

The Oval is a lot like the round diamond. It tends to have a little less sparkle and a lot more size - although a well-cut Oval can have just as much fire as a Round. If you want a stone that looks as big as possible, this is an excellent shape. 

Elongated Cushion

Solitaire Natalie image

Solitaire Natalie

As recently as 100-120 years ago, the Elongated Cushion was the most popular engagement ring stone cut. It has lots of fire thanks to its 58 facets and looks bigger than its carat weight. (source)

Our customers love pairing elongated cushion stones with the Pave Kamellie setting for an intensely sparkly-but-tasteful ring. 

Budgeting For a Ring

Most couples end up overspending on engagement rings. If you want to avoid making the same mistake, budget for your ring ahead of time. Here are some key tips to use. 

1. Don’t Overspend

This is probably the #1 rule for engagement ring shopping. Many retailers will persuade you to spend more money on their products. But the truth is, your fiancee probably wouldn’t want you going into debt to buy the ring...

Especially when you still have so many things to pay for ahead of you. There’s the wedding, your honeymoon, and your new life together. 

If you want to get her dream ring without breaking the bank, consider moissanite and lab-grown diamonds. 

Lab-grown diamonds are physically identical to natural ones. Moissanite stones are more sparkly but a little less hard. Both let you get more stone without going over budget. 

2. Prioritize

What’s most important to you and your partner? Is it size, clarity, color, or something entirely different? Does she want the biggest stone possible - or a smaller, dainty-looking one? 

It’s important you know the answers to these questions. If you try to go for everything at once, you may end up overpaying unnecessarily. 

3. Shop Online

Shopping online gives you plenty of time to review your options. You get the opportunity to look at stones, compare settings, and discuss options with your fiancée. (If you don’t want to be direct, you can ask questions like - “How do you like moissanite rings?”)

Shopping online also makes you less likely to overspend spontaneously. It puts you in the driver’s seat of the shopping process, preventing salespeople from pressuring you to spend more than you budgeted for. 

Money-Saving Engagement Ring Hacks

1 to 5 Carat Cushion Cut Moissanite image

1 to 5 Carat Cushion Cut Moissanite

Moissanite Stones

Moissanite is a naturally-occuring, diamond-like stone. It’s sparklier than a diamond but a little less hard. Still, it’s harder than any other diamond alternative - and a lot cheaper. 

Given that natural diamonds lose most of their value once you buy them (LINK), many couples are choosing to buy moissanite and spend on other things instead. 

Lab Diamonds

Lab diamonds are 100% identical to natural ones. The only difference is that they’re created in a lab rather than underground - and 40-50% cheaper. If you want to maximize your stone’s carat weight, clarity, color, and cut, consider going lab-grown.

The Right Setting

Want your center stone to look bigger? Get a halo or a hidden halo. A halo will add size, volume, and fire to the center stone. A hidden halo will maximize sparkle and give your ring “pop”. 

Dainty, delicate bands will make the center stone look bigger as well. Our best-selling Twig Emily is a prime example of this. The band is delicate and it tapers down to a thin sliver in the center, really making the stone pop.

Rings Collection

Choose your engagement ring from our Collections

The Pave Nelly WG R

The Pave Nelly

Round White Gold 14K Low Profile Pave Maia, Round White Gold 18K Low Profile Pave Maia

Low Profile Pave Maia

The Alex WG R

The Alex

Round White Gold 14K The Low Profile Kamellie, Round White Gold 18K The Low Profile Kamellie

The Ellie

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