How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?

Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly show off the engagement ring to her parents. January 10, 1956

Let me first say that you should spend what YOU think you should spend. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to engagement ring budget expectations. A diamond engagement ring has different meaning and value for everyone so the price will of course vary widely.

However, that being said, I can say that many a survey has been conducted on the average cost of an engagement ring over the years and recent numbers from 2017 show an average of $6,351.00 as per TheKnot.com. The average center stone carat weight is 1.20ct and the popular shape is still a round brilliant.

Traditional Jewelry Store VS. Online Jewelry Retailers

However, there is a market for everything and you have to keep in mind that these numbers are rough. For example, there is a big difference between buying your engagement ring from a local or independent jeweler vs online.

I work exclusively with individuals that want to purchase their diamonds via the internet so my data accrued over the years is in relation to the online market segment which is estimated to be roughly 16% of the population of which Millennials make up the vast majority. It also comes as no surprise that these individuals also dutifully: price compare, perform competitor research, read product reviews, converse via social media and continually self educate.

So, a quick takeaway from this particular segment of the population is that individual’s that want to purchase a diamond engagement ring ONLINE tend to be savvy shoppers that aim to get the best value for their money.

They also tend to spend quite a bit more. More on that later…

What Exactly Is ‘Good Value For Money’?

What makes a good value for money engagement ring purchase?

  • High Color and/or clarity grades (D, E, or F color) (VVS1 or better clarity)?
  • Brand Names (Tiffany’s, Cartier, Harry Winston)?
  • Jewelry Appraisal (that is always more than what you paid)?
  • Lifetime Warranty (complimentary repairs, resizing, or cleaning)?

Surprise! I can tell you that none of the above matters when it comes to perceived VALUE to the consumer!

Over the years, I’ve helped individuals with diamond budgets as low as $500 to as high as $300,000.00. At the end of the day, all consumers want the same thing — top quality for a fair price. This is what constitutes value to these buyers; not super high color or clarity, not brand names, not bogus jewelry appraisals or even lifetime warranties.

So how to determine a fair price online? Well, here again we fall back on research and diamond price comparison. The ability to quickly scan various retailers inventories and their prices is not only convenient but ridiculously easy. Diamond search tools are becoming more and more user friendly offering plenty of information for any consumer to make an educated conclusion on fair market value for a given diamond spec.

Now, I’m about to say something really crazy…are you ready?

Diamonds never go on sale!

There are no quality cheap diamonds that are worth buying, or wearing for that matter. Suffice it to say, all dealers/retailers know what they are selling and ultimately what value it has and will expect to make some return on their investment.

You will likely never underpay for your diamond but you definitely run the risk of overpaying. For example, you will either overpay at the higher-end price points (in the case of luxury brands where you are mainly paying for a name) or overpay at the lower-end price points (traditional chain jewelry stores that generally sell lower quality diamonds for a large mark-up).

Online Shopper’s Mantra: Invest In What You Save

So, back to the original question, how much should you spend on engagement ring? Well, you should spend what you can afford, obviously. With that being said, my historical data shows that an average spend for an online buyer is roughly eleven thousand five hundred dollars.

So, if we do the math, that means online shoppers spend roughly 50% more than traditional retail store consumers.

But wait! Remember earlier when I mentioned huge mark-ups for branded products and chain jewelers? Well, the prices offered at these establishments generally have large mark-ups to make up for their overhead and/or branding costs. These mark-ups can be anywhere from 35% to as high as 100%! Compare this to online diamond retailers that have a humble mark-up of only 18%.

This means that Millennial’s are investing more in their purchase based on their overall savings. They truly are savvy shoppers!

Whether In Store or Online — Do Your Homework

Most diamond buyers take weeks to research and eventually purchase an engagement ring. Whether you are the kind of person to purchase in a traditional store or take the plunge and buy your diamond online — just make sure you do your homework. It’s always wise to:

“Get informed, learn what to look for, and invest in a quality diamond that offers great value for money.”

Personal meaning is born of perspective. We give what we are personally attracted to, what we attribute significance to, and what we hope will bring joy to the wearer.