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How Much To Spend on an Engagement Ring: 2023 Guide

How Much To Spend on an Engagement Ring?

When you ask how much you can expect to pay for an engagement ring, you’re asking a great question.

One of the forces you’re facing when trying to be able to afford one —plus wedding expenses— is…tradition.

What really determines the price of an engagement ring is how it fits into society.

And how it fits into any society is that it has an amazingly long tradition.

How Much To Spend on an Engagement Ring: Simple classic round cut diamond engagement ring

The engagement ring also has great importance in many cultures.

For that reason, one of the things you’re paying for is the significance of the ring.

It’s a significance as big as society itself.

Ancient Romans were convinced of the presence of a “vein of love” (vena amoris) on what we now call the ring finger.

So Romans placed the ring meant to symbolize intent to marry on that same finger.

The bride wore a gold ring during the engagement, then an iron one after the wedding, to proclaim her vow to be faithful.

The first known diamond engagement ring was crafted at the request of Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1499, for his wife-to-be, Mary of Burgundy.

In 1940’s America, Jeweler DeBeers mounted a campaign of movie stars wearing diamonds, resulting in a huge incline in sales.

Left hand with engagement ring
Image by Alekon pictures via Unsplash

There is no doubt that an engagement ring, whatever stone used, is a very precious part of a woman’s life, and of the couple in their relationship.

What Determines the Cost of the Engagement Ring?

There are four major factors contributing to what you’ll ultimately pay for the ring: the price of the diamond, the type of metal for the band, the design of the ring, and if any side-stones included.

Let’s go through them.

1. How Much To Spend on An Engagement Ring: Diamond and Setting

First off, it’s important to understand that the setting and the stone itself are different and sold separately.

How Much To Spend on an Engagement Ring: Jeweler examining diamond with a magnifier
Image by EgolenaHK via Shutter stock

Be sure to understand what you are being offered at a particular price, because often a price you see will be just for the setting.

A setting for a band without side stones may run about $700-$1,000.

Then one factors in the price of the diamond itself. As a rough guide, here are the ranges of prices for diamonds of various carats:

0.50$500 to $3,500
0.75$1,300 to $6,500
1.00 $1,900 to $15,000
1.50$2,900 to $22,000

Now there is quite a range there. So you may wonder why a diamond would be as inexpensive as $500 but possibly as pricey as $3,500.

Well, here are the factors affecting the cost of a diamond: color, clarity, cut, and carats (known as the 4 C’s).

As for color, the closer you get to clear the more you will expect to pay.

As for clarity, the heat and pressure that creates diamonds in the first place can create impurities or inclusions.

Diamonds four C's
Image by ThePeachBox

What is prized in diamonds is a stone that is pure as possible. That will drive the price up.

As for the cut of a diamond, these can be graded, with better and less high-quality cuts.

The higher-grade cuts allow light to bounce of the facets in the right way to show the most possible sparkle.

That will make the diamond more expensive.

Finally, diamonds of a higher carat weight are actually more expensive per carat.

Engagement rings in gold, silver and rose gold
Image by Studio42 via Shutterstock

Engagement rings in gold, silver and rose gold

2. Which Type of metal for the ring band

The price of diamond engagement rings is also determined by the metal.

The metal considered the “traditional” one for engagement rings is yellow gold.

A band in yellow gold will cost in the neighborhood of $160-$230 dollars.

The good thing about yellow gold is that it will give you the classic and expected ring, and it’s not even the most expensive type of band.

Those would be platinum and palladium, with platinum expected to be about $320-$360 and palladium roughly $380.

Platinum engagement rings are so expensive because platinum doesn’t tarnish (silver does…).

An engagement ring made of palladium is usually a very durable ring.

However, there are various metals used for engagement rings.

So you shouldn’t expect to pay more than you can afford if you’re flexible on choice of metal.

Silver and Titanium are two of your most affordable options.

How Much Should an Engagement Cost: Engagement rings in different styles
Image via Blue Nile

Engagement rings in different styles

3. How Much To Spend on An Engagement Ring: How Important Is the Design

There is a pretty wide range of prices for the various common designs of wedding rings.

The simple and elegant Tiffany style is usually the least expensive.

Round cuts and cushion cuts with one stone are also affordable.

The Irene cut is affordable too—all of these can run around $450-$550, not counting the stone.

Where you get more expensive is when you get into beaded or halo bands or multiple-stone cuts.

There are cuts that cost nearly a thousand dollars.

Some folks like to go with a complex design, which can be unique. You can have many jewelers work on a custom design with you. Or you can buy your engagement ring online too.

Some younger couples lately have been going to the jeweler’s with their own design.

However, because of the specialness of an engagement ring, some couples are content to go with a Tiffany or other designs that are simple and elegant.

These can really highlight the main stone.

Diamond engagement ring with pear shape side stones
Image via Blue Nile

Diamond engagement ring with pear shape side stones

4. How much to spend on an engagement ring: What Are The Side Stones?

It has been popular in recent years for people to go with stones in addition to the main center stone.

Naturally, this will add to the price—as you can see, the various components of the ring are all tallied up individually.

A lot of people turn to the side stones in an engagement ring as a way of making the main stone look like a larger diamond.

Some just think that additional stones are pretty, or that they add to a “wow” factor, or that they create a more personalized ring.

Often the side stones are white diamonds, but can also be colorful as well.

While it’s possible to find your perfect ring with side stones for under a thousand dollars, your engagement ring cost will be higher: the average cost could go into the multiple thousands.

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring: Solitaire engagement rings with price
Image by StudioPortoSabbia via Shutterstock

How much does an engagement ring cost on average

First, let’s be clear that there is no rule or pressure in terms of how much to spend on an engagement ring.

Let’s look at how much does an engagement ring cost on average: in 2020 in the US, most couples spent a bit more than $5,000 on their ring.

However, the median is a gentler $1,900.

The reason the average engagement ring cost can be higher, of course, is that a small number of couples may spend a very large amount on rings.

Keep in mind that how much money you spend on an engagement ring can be affected by location. If you are in semi-rural or away from metro areas, that may help.

Buying an engagement ring with visa card
Image by Duangjian via Shutterstock

This average can also vary depending on where you live. People in major cities like Tokyo, Melbourne, Los Angeles, and New York City can expect more on a ring than couples in less expensive cities.

Couples always like to learn about how much does an engagement ring cost on average…

However remember to develop your own style and way of looking at the engagement ring as a ritual.

Therefore, if you have trouble knowing how much to spend on an engagement ring, if you cannot spend thousands of dollars on a ring, don’t think of that as a problem. And don’t let it make you compare yourself to others.

Hand holding a solitaire engagement ring
Image by The glorious studio via Pexels

Your fiancé-to-be’s tastes and preferences—and yours—should win the day.

That is why, while knowing what is average and what determines price is good for knowledge shape, what you’ll end up spending will have to do with ideas that you come up with.

So it’s a good idea to not have the ring waiting when you pop the question, but no matter how dramatic you’d like to be when asking, keep the ring for later, after you’d had the right discussions.

Here are some factors, that if they work the right way for you, can make a ring most affordable.

How To Spend Less on An Engagement Ring: Choose a Different Diamond Cut

Now, this is different from the neatness and symmetry of the stone, how it reflects light, etc. This is not about the quality of the cut.

Diamond shapes
Image by ThePeachBox

Diamonds come in many shapes (called cuts….), such as oval, square, emerald, and of course the traditional round shape diamond (or round cut).

In general, the cuts with rounded curves and angles like a heart-shape, etc. are a little more expensive. Because in order to achieve the fire and brilliance of a perfect round shape, “big” chunks of the rough stone must be cut away.

The princess cut, with its general square outline is often less expensive.

Different settings color for the same engagement ring
Image by ThePeachBox – Different settings color for the same engagement ring

How To Spend Less on An Engagement Ring: Change The Setting Color (white gold, yellow gold, rose gold or platinum …)

It’s important to get past the idea that more expensive means “better.” It’s a matter of taste, and your fiancé-to-be may have preferences of color that can affect price.

The color of the band should take into consideration the wearer’s skin tone, and a lot of people pick a color they’ve seen a friend wear.

There isn’t a huge difference between white, yellow, and rose gold in price—whether it’s 18 or 14K is the real factor.

Platinum is more expensive than these, and if you like it for its color, white gold is a nice substitute because it looks very similar.

How Much to spend on an engagement ring in Presence of Family Heirlooms

Sometimes a stone is already available, passed down by generations.

It’s important to find out, and sometimes you can do it through a mutual friend.

Hand with engagement ring
Image by Korie Cull via Unsplash

How Your Special Someone Will Wear and Show Off The Ring

This is where you find out if a look of expensiveness is important.

Rings someone really want to show off will probably have a fancier setting, very likely with multiple stones.

A ring that is to be warn every day should probably have a less expensive band and setting due to the danger of scratching and damaging. So your engagement ring budget to get the perfect ring, would be lower.

We hope this guide has been helpful.

We’ve given you a sense of what goes into the price of an engagement ring, how to find the right engagement ring (or the right wedding ring), what’s the average spend, and some tips on how to maximize the value at an affordable price.

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