We've all heard the rule that an engagement ring should cost 2 to 3 months salary, but is this really true? Well the short answer is no. The truth is that everyone has a different way of determining how much they want to spend on a ring for their fiance-to-be.
If you think about it, any young person who is still saving up for a big ticket item like a house might not be able to afford setting aside three months salary for his engagement ring budget. On the other hand, someone who is older who has a little more financial stability may want to spend more than three months to get a truly breath-taking ring.
We want to help you find the perfect engagement ring, because we know that she will never forget the moment she first lays eyes on her new ring. But finding the perfect ring is also about finding the intersection between what she wants and what is affordable. So, we've made a list of tips to consider when you're deciding how much you should spend. So give this list a read and start planning your future today:
1) Educate yourself on the Four C's
Before you determine your budget, you should educate yourself on the basics of a diamond. The 4 C's of a diamond stand for the cut, clarity, carat, and color grades, which are the four most important factors in determining the value of a stone.
Each of these four factors plays a really big role in the final price of the diamond. This is a great place to start if you are just beginning the engagement ring search process. The more that you know, the more you can understand how much you can get for your budget and which factors are the most important.
2) Understand that the center stone and the setting are often sold separately
A lot of people start the engagement ring search by browsing rings online. All of the rings are pictured with a center stone to help you see what it will look like as a complete ring, but the diamond is not usually included in the price. Let me repeat that, THE DIAMOND IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE!
I'm warning you about this because every once in a while we have a customer who believes he has budgeted enough to buy his loved one her dream ring. Then, when he comes to the store to buy it, he realizes that he's only budgeted enough for a setting and can't afford to buy a diamond to mount in it. Don't let this mistake happen to you.
Diamonds can range significantly in price, so it's important that you understand the extra cost of a diamond with the engagement ring setting. Typically, the setting will cost much less than a diamond. Make sure you understand all of the factors that determine the price of loose diamonds so that you can set an accurate budget for the complete ring.
3) Try to find out her preference in ring styles
There are many different types of ring styles to choose from including classic, diamond halo, or vintage-inspired settings (you can explore them all here). Different ring styles can range greatly in price. For example, a simple solitaire setting can be very affordable, whereas an intricate setting with a diamond halo and large accent stones will cost a lot more.
You should consider what type of metal you want, as different metals have different prices and advantages. The amount of metal used in a ring also has an effect on price.
Figuring out which type of setting you're shopping for can also give you a good idea of how large your diamond needs to be. If you choose to buy a setting that makes the diamond appear larger, such as a diamond halo, you can spend less on the center stone while still having a fuller look on her finger.
4) Find out her preferred diamond cut or shape
If you have browsed rings before you know, that there are many different ways to cut a diamond. Certain diamonds such as the round brilliant and princess cut are the most commonly requested, so jewelers tend to carry much more of these in their inventory. This gives you a wide selection of stones and have a lot of options to choose from within your budget.
Some of the fancy cut diamonds, like marquise or cushion cut, are sold less often. As a result, jewelers tend to have a more limited selection on hand. If you are shopping for one of these fancy cut diamonds, your budget should allow you to be flexible as there might not be the perfect diamond in the price range you're looking for.
5) Decide if you want to design a custom ring
There are countless engagement rings on the market right now, but there is no guarantee that you will find the perfect one. If this ends up happening, there is always the option to design your own. Many people who have a specific design in mind find that designing their ring gets them exactly what they were looking for as well as a deeper connection with the ring.
Also, designing a ring is actually much less expensive than most people think! It's a very popular option these days because it's often affordable and you can get example what you want.
6) Rank the Four C's in order of importance to her
There are many aspects of a diamond that can make it beautiful, but everyone has a different idea of what is the most important. Some people don't care about the quality of a stone and just want the largest one possible, whereas others may be willing to downsize their stone if it means it will be colorless or flawless or more "sparkly."
The Four C's are each given a grade. For example, a diamond with a "D" grade for color would be considered Colorless, while an "M" grade would mean that it has some faint yellow in it. Finding out which of the 4 C's your partner cares the most about will help you to decide what kind of grades you will be looking for in a diamond. This will give you a sense of the price range your ideal diamond falls into and allow you to budget for it.
7) Determine what you're willing to invest into the ring
Knowing how much you can afford to spend on your ring is the most important part of setting your budget. It's good to keep in mind that when making a large purchase like an engagement ring, there are financing options in place for you to take advantage of. At Long's Jewelers we offer our customers up to 12 months of interest free financing and can make a program that is best fit for you.
Start by figuring out how much you can pay as a down payment by check or by credit card today. Then think about how much you could afford each month for 6 months or a year, if you qualify for financing. This will be your maximum budget and will help you gauge how much you should spend. For example, if you have $2,500 saved up now and you can afford another $400 to $500 per month for each of the next six months, then you might be looking at an approximately 5,000 budget for your ring. Some people also look to family members or even his or her future partner to help expand the budget via a loan or a gift. At the end of the day your budget should be based on how much you can comfortably afford as you begin the next stage of your life together.
8) You can always upgrade down the road
If her dream ring just seems out of the budget, keep in mind that you can always upgrade down the road. This is a great option for anyone who is saving up for other things that are more immediate and may not have as much money to put towards a ring upfront.
If you think this is something you want to do, our advice is to budget more for the diamond and less on the ring setting. After all, the diamond will stay with you for the rest of your life while the setting could be replaced in a few years.