How Much Should a Woman’s Engagement Ring Cost?

Rings have been exchanged for centuries, dating back to ancient civilizations.

The circular shape of a ring represented eternity, love, and commitment. Back then, these rings cost very little to make, being of materials like rope and stone.‍

Today, the cost of a woman’s engagement ring has gone far beyond the cost of rope and stone.

The age-old question of how much a woman’s engagement ring should cost is still on every proposer’s mind.

In this post, we’ll show you how the cost of an engagement ring today differs from the ideas of the past, plus learn how to make the most of your budget when buying an engagement ring.

The Three Month’s Rule

A lot of people have heard about the three month’s rule.

This is the idea that one should save three month’s worth of their job salary to purchase an engagement ring.

The idea was first introduced during a marketing campaign held by DeBeers in the 1940s.

This was the same campaign where the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” was born.

DeBeers used slogans and concepts like the three months rule to communicate the idea that love was eternal, and diamonds represented that. 

Engagement Ring Costs Today

For many, the idea of saving up three month’s worth of their salary seems far-fetched.

The economy has stretched many people thin when it comes to money  and have prioritized other things over costly engagement rings and wedding bands.

In 2023, the average engagement ring cost $5,500 according to a survey done by The Knot.

Every year, the mega wedding site conducts yearly research to find out the average costs, styles, and other ring details of a large group of participants.

Diamond Quality Over Diamond Price

Majority of engagement ring industry professionals and consumers alike have agreed the three month’s rule is an antiquated idea and concept.

Back then, price was synonymous with quality.

Diamonds and jewelry were such luxuries only the wealthy and elite were able to partake in.

Today, that’s not the case.

Today, we are able to lower the cost of a woman’s engagement ring without sacrificing quality.

The price of a diamond does not equate to its quality or even its beauty.

Don’t Buy Engagement Rings According to Their Price

Just because an engagement ring is highly expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s high quality.

Or maybe it is high quality, but overpriced when it’s just as good as another engagement ring that costs less.

We live in an age where there are many factors that affect the cost of a diamond engagement ring.‍

Some of these factors contribute more to the overall cost than others.  ‍

Factors that Affect The Price of Woman’s Engagement Ring

The 4Cs of Diamond Quality‍

The 4Cs are a system invented by the Gemological Institute of America, the world’s leading authority on diamond and gemstone research.

This quality system is upheld by the majority of the industry.

The 4Cs indicates 4 major factors that contribute to diamond prices: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

Diamond Cut

Your diamond’s cut affects its overall durability and brilliance.

Quality round cut diamonds are given cut grades of Good, Very Good, or Excellent. The cut quality of your diamond affects a larger portion of a diamond’s price.

Excellent cut diamonds are the most expensive, but optimized for brilliance and high sparkle.

Those who value light performance in a diamond may contribute more of their budget towards diamond cut quality.

Specialty cuts may cost more, such as super ideal cut diamonds or hearts and arrow diamonds.

Diamond Clarity

A diamond’s clarity is how clear your diamond is, it is determined by the presence of inclusions within the stone.

All diamonds have clarity characteristics, which are like the fingerprints of your diamond.

It lets you know your diamond is unique and identifiable.

The diamond clarity chart consists of the following grades:

  • Flawless (F)
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
  • Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
  • Included (I1, I2, I3)

Assuming all other quality factors are comparable, the price of diamond increases as the clarity grade increases.

If the other grades and contributing factors are varied, you may find lower clarity grades costing more than a higher clarity grade.

Clarity grades that are next to each other (such as VS1 and VS2) don’t usually have a large price difference, assuming other quality factors are the same.

However, you can expect a decent price jump from a SI2 to a VVS2 clarity diamond.

Diamond Color

A diamond’s color refers to the presence of yellow or brown tint in a diamond.

It is not the same as a colored diamond, also known as fancy colored diamonds.

Yellow and brown tinted diamonds are less valued in colorless diamonds, whereas bright yellow hues and deep browns are valued in fancy colored diamonds.

Color grades are grouped in colorless (DEF), near colorless (GHIJ), faint (KLM), and light yellow (N-Z).

Color grades don’t affect diamond costs as much as other 4Cs.

You may see minimal difference both visually and price wise when comparing color grades next to each other, such as H and I color grades.

Diamond Carat Weight

Carat weight is a significant factor in diamond price.

Carat weight is how much your diamond weighs, not its actual size.‍

A 1 carat diamond may look larger in one diamond shape than another, despite the weight being the same.

This has to do with the cutting technique of different diamond shapes.

When you increase the carat weight of a diamond of the same shape, they will look bigger.

It is important to realize diamonds in larger carat weights will be more expensive.

A 2 carat diamond does not cost twice as much as a 1 carat diamond.

It doesn’t cost the same as two 1 carat diamonds either.

This is because all other grades like clarity and color are more obvious in higher carat weights.‍

Customers often have to choose higher grades in other categories to keep up with the size increase.

Tint and clarity characteristics become more visible as you go up in carat weight.

Other factors such as diamond certification and diamond shape can contribute to the overall price of an engagement ring as well.

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