How much to spend on an Engagement Ring?

How much to spend on an engagement ring? Three months’ salary? Really? Is that a real rule? What if I want to spend more? What if I spend less? Will I get arrested?

PriceScope Pointer: Don’t let anyone tell you what to spend. It should be based on the three critical concerns outlined below.

Before going on: Check out the PriceScope Diamond Buying Guide


Basics-1 | The Diamond Tradition

You’ve found “the person” and want to propose.


Now you’re looking at the cost of diamonds as you seek a symbol of connection and affection. An icon to represent your lives together. A gesture of both emotional and economic commitment. A ring. It raises the question, how much to spend on an engagement ring?

The exchange of wedding rings is one of mankind’s oldest and strongest traditions. And while humans have been giving each other rings for around 6,000 years the “diamond tradition” is rather new. But there is a reason that the diamond tradition and diamond prices have not only endured, they have increased – growing into a tradition practiced around the world.

engagement ring - proposal

Diamond Prices and Symbolism

  • Being ancient, a diamond represents eternal love and commitment
  • Being hard, a diamond reflects a relationship’s strength and resolve
  • Being valuable, a diamond is a monetary commitment from the proposer to the intended
  • Being beautiful, a diamond is the perfect motif for a beautiful life together

How much to spend on engagement is not a new question. When introduced in the mid 1900s the idea of a diamond engagement ring was appealing to recipients and proposers alike. For the wearer, the value of a diamond serves as a form of insurance against (or compensation for) a broken engagement. And, for the proposer, a diamond sparkling on the wearer’s ring finger proclaimed “no longer available” to competing suitors.

Basics-2 | How Much to Spend and Critical Concerns

When deciding how much to spend on engagement we urge you to consider three critical concerns.

  1. Your intended’s expectations
  2. Your financial situation
  3. The cost of diamonds

The goal is finding harmony between the three.

Your intended’s expectations

Diamond Expectations: Does your intended want a natural diamond? A lab grown diamond? What shape of diamond?

Ring Expectations: How much to spend on an engagement ring must also consider the ring itself. Does your intended want a simple solitaire ring? A halo ring? Some other ring? What about the precious metal? Platinum? White gold? Yellow gold? Rose gold? Are you aware of any metal allergies?

Spending Expectations: And that’s not all. “Your intended’s expectations” should consider spending philosophy weighed against the cost of diamonds. Before you take irregular action – such as emptying your savings or taking on debt – consider whether the amount would make your partner feel guilty. Or angry. Financial distress is a homewrecker. Deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring shouldn’t bring stress or discomfort into your lives. Diamond engagement ring prices run from very affordable to very pricey.  Know your intended’s expectations in advance.

engagement ring - expectations

Your Financial Situation

Calculate your current monthly income against debt. Determine what is constant, forecast the future and make a reasonable plan. If you have nothing saved, calculate a monthly amount you can comfortably apply – whether you use credit now or save up to pay cash. On the other hand, if you’re flush and like to spend big on your own hobbies and toys, you may want to reflect the same approach in your engagement ring purchase. When determining how much to spend on an engagement ring, remember that you may also have wedding and honeymoon expenses ahead.

The Cost of Diamonds

Depending on how you approach the purchase, the various combinations of 4Cs makes the cost of diamonds a rather vast range. Natural diamond prices are notably higher than laboratory grown diamond prices. Round diamond prices are a bit more expensive than fancy shaped diamond prices. Color and clarity differences have major impact on diamond prices. The cost of diamonds can be relatively low or relatively high, depending on how you approach the topic.

Basics-3 | Do your homework

Before you pop “THE” question you might consider polling your intended partner. This doesn’t have to be a full proposal confession or a detailed discussion about diamond prices: you can tease with hypothetical “ifs” and “what do you thinks” to learn tastes and expectations. If you prefer a more stoic approach consider enlisting her family or friends to help you.

A helpful side effect of the collaborative process is knowing for certain, in advance, what the answer will be when you pop the question.

The only drawback could be tipping your hand, somewhat. But, in our experience, this has never dampened the excitement and passion of the actual moment. And the time and place you choose for your proposal can always be a surprise.

engagement ring - engaged couple

Ultimately, how much to spend on an engagement ring should be comfortable with your partner, especially since you’re using that very object to seal the partnership.

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