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How much to spend on an engagement ring: a definitive guide

How can you plan the perfect proposal if you don’t even know how much to spend on an engagement ring? Follow our guide to set your personal budget and figure out costs, whilst we debunk the myths you may have heard about how much you “should” spend..

By Melissa Ban
4 min read
How much to spend on an engagement ring: a definitive guide - Holts Gems

How many months’ salary should I spend on an engagement ring?

Ask a group of people how much you should spend on an engagement ring, and the most common answer will be one, two, or three months’ salary. You may find any of these a useful starting point when negotiating how much you should spend on an engagement ring, but truthfully, the ‘tradition’ has roots in an advertising campaign created by De Beers during the economic depression in 1930s America. De Beers struggled during the period, when most Americans were saving their money, and few splurging on diamonds. The diamond company circulated what proved to be an exceptionally effective advertising campaign - claiming that proposers should spend one month’s salary on their engagement ring.

By the 1980s, De Beers increased the salary threshold to two months, with slogans such as ‘2 months’ salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future will be like,’ and ‘how can you make two months’ salary last forever?’. This notion became ingrained in society, not only in the US but the UK and much of Europe. Since, the time frame seems to have expanded to three months through modern day lore. So whilst these much circulated guidelines may be useful for some, it’s important to remember it all began with an advertising campaign to boost the sale of diamonds - how much you spend probably shouldn’t be dictated by a 20th advertising agency.

How much do an engagement rings cost at Holts Gems?

At Holts Gems, our setting prices start at £750 for a white gold, rose gold, yellow gold or platinum solitaire engagement ring setting. The total cost of your engagement ring then depends on how much you dedicate to the diamond or gemstone centre stone. Typically, a well graded round brilliant diamond, weighing 0.30ct will cost between £900 to just over £1,000 - meaning a 0.30ct solitaire diamond engagement ring starts from around £1,600.

The cost of a gemstone engagement ring can be a more economic choice. Gemstones can vary hugely in price - a sapphire of particularly good quality could cost hundreds of pounds more than a similarly sized sapphire of a less desirable colour or quality. Having said this, a gemstone engagement ring typically costs less than a diamond ring of the same carat weight.

How much do engagement rings cost on average?

In the last decade or so, news outlets have reported that money conscious millennials have limited the amount spent on engagement rings, particularly following the financial crash of the late 2000s. Trends would show that this is changing, as we’ve seen the average spend of our clients steadily increase over the last two years or so. Typically, we find our clients spend between £3,500 to £6,000 on their engagement rings, but we’ll always work to each individual’s budget to find the perfect solution for their unique ring. Despite averages, we see budgets from around £1,600 and upwards of £50,000 - so there truly is a solution for everyone - forget about averages, and decide what will work for you.

If you let one of our experts know a rough idea of what you’d like to spend on your engagement ring, we’ll use our expertise to source a selection of the finest diamonds or gemstones for your personal budget - whichever your preference - and will never push you to spend more.

So, how much should I spend on an engagement ring?

Simply put, you should forget the rules. Forget the pressures of outdoing the engagement rings your friends have bought, or what you’ve seen on Instagram and figure exactly what will work for you. It is definitely something you should take the time to consider - starting with a rough idea of what you’re willing to spend will give you a good indication of the size of diamond or gemstone and style of rings to look at. Ultimately, you’ll know how much you feel comfortable spending, and whilst an engagement ring is by no means a purchase you’ll scrimp on, you certainly shouldn’t break the bank.

Planning for the cost of your engagement ring

Needless to say, it can be a good idea to start planning for the cost of your engagement ring at least a few months prior to purchasing. At Holts Gems, you won’t pay the full cost of your ring until it is ready to collect or ship. After paying a deposit to get your ring into the workshop, it is up to you whether you’d like to pay off the full amount in instalments or the remaining balance when you receive the ring - as long as the full amount has been paid when you receive the ring. We usually take between 2 and 4 weeks to craft each engagement ring, but if you need a little longer, we’re able to keep your ring in our safes until you’re ready to pay.

You pay for what you get

Engagement rings are worn everyday - ideally for the rest of your life - and should be made to do so, so don’t forgo quality craftsmanship. It’s important to find a trusted jewellers, who’s quality and expertise you can rely on. With a transparent ethos, our aim is for you to be entirely informed about the decision you make regarding your diamond or gemstone and engagement ring design. When visiting the studio, you’ll be able to see our jewellers at work, and we’ll be able to show you examples of our quality craftsmanship - because it’s a process you should feel comfortably involved in. Along with our lifetime warranty and aftercare package, a Holts Gems engagement ring is designed for life.

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