How much money should you spend on a wedding ring?

How much money should you spend on a wedding ring?

/ 05:44 AM June 11, 2021

Popping the question is an important moment, and you need the best wedding ring for it. Still, it can be tough to budget for a diamond ring. What’s more, you may have to make some unusual adjustments due to current events.

First, we’ll explain how people figured out how much to spend on an engagement ring. These will depend on multiple factors, such as your financial situation. More importantly, learn why spending less on wedding bands might not be such a bad thing.


Everyone wants their wedding to be special, so they want the best for it. This usually means having lavish ceremonies and, of course, a shiny diamond ring. That’s why you need all the help to choose the best one.

Determining your ring budget back then

Determining your ring budget back then

You may want to start by looking at the average engagement ring cost. Before the pandemic, it ranged from $200 to a whopping $20,000 or more. How did this become a thing?

It all started with a marketing campaign in the 1930s. The De Beers diamond company owned more than 90% of the world’s diamond mines. They needed to boost demand for their product.

That’s why they started to run advertisements. By 1948, it came out with its legendary tagline, “A Diamond Is Forever.” You may have assumed this to be true even before knowing its source!

As a result, Americans thought a wedding ring should be worth double their monthly salary. Eventually, the two-month salary rule became a three months rule.


In turn, people in the United States just accepted it as a rule of thumb. Soon, the idea spread across the globe. If you’re outside the US, you may have a similar assumption.

How to choose a wedding ring

How to choose a wedding ring

Like most things, you need to begin with the end in mind. In other words, you should plan your preferred wedding ring before shopping. After all, it’s not often you buy such an important item.


You’re going to spend thousands of dollars on it. More importantly, it’s for your partner. This requires your careful deliberation. Ask yourself these questions before you purchase:

  • What’s your partner’s preference? – Don’t assume a woman always wants frilly or “girly” items. Your partner’s a unique individual that may have specific tastes. For example, some women may want a simpler wedding ring, not a fancy one.
  • What center stone suits her? – The typical wedding ring has diamonds. Yet, you could fit it with numerous other gemstones. Surprisingly, the diamond can have different colors. Did you know your partner’s ring can have a chocolate diamond?
  • What type of ring should I pick? – When you think of a wedding ring, a precious stone resting on a lustrous metal ring comes to mind. However, you could select the stone and the ring separately. This lets you suit your partner’s needs better.
  • Which one suits my partner’s finger size? – The center stone might dwarf your partner’s ring finger. As a result, it may look awkward.
  • How much is my budget? – Some people want the most expensive ring to make sure their partner won’t be disappointed. However, you have to be realistic about your means.

Diamond grading with the 4Cs

Diamond grading with the 4Cs

If you find a ring that fits your budget, that’s great! Otherwise, refer to the 4Cs to find a suitable wedding ring. Check for carat, cut, clarity, and color:

  • Carat – This is also known as the diamond’s weight. A 1-carat diamond is approximately 0.20 grams. Also, it’s the ideal size if you want the stone to have fancy shapes.
  • Cut – This gauges the sparkly and shine of a diamond. It’s difficult to determine with just the naked eye, though. Instead, look at the GIA system rating. The Blue Nile and James Allen offer only high-quality gems, none below a Good cut grade.
  • Clarity – It mainly gauges the diamond’s transparency. Moreover, it describes the type, size, and several imperfections on its surface. It ranges from Flawless (F) to Included (I) with multiple grades in between.
  • Color – Diamonds are mostly carbon, but they could be composed of other elements too. For example, blue diamonds contain Boron. What’s more, colored diamonds are rarer and pricier than colorless ones.

Remember that the wedding ring doesn’t need perfect grades. As long as your partner thinks it’s perfect, that’s enough. Maybe she likes the color of the stone despite the low grade.

After all, you may not notice the 4C grades with your naked eye. If you compare the color of two rings, you may not be able to discern between them.

Setting a budget during the pandemic.

Setting a budget during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is probably the last thing you want to hear. Unfortunately, it has affected many aspects of daily life. This even includes purchasing wedding rings.

In 2021, people spent an average between $4,770 – $5,580 on engagement rings. That’s far from the previous range of $200 – $20,000. Unsurprisingly, some folks prioritized saving money.

People lost their livelihoods because of the lockdowns. As a result, they’re probably maximizing their remaining money. Still, this doesn’t mean they can’t spend on such a special item.

We’ve mentioned earlier that you can customize your chosen ring freely. This lets you make adjustments that maximize quality and minimize cost. Here are the ways you may do it:

  • Carat weight – Lower the number of carats to reduce the price. You may go a few decimals lower without making noticeable changes.
  • Adjust the setting – Let’s say you’re not satisfied with the center stone. You may add side stones or a halo around the diamond. Discuss with your jeweler to figure out the best settings.
  • Choose other diamond shapes – The most common shape is round, but it’s often the most expensive. Alternatively, you may select from other forms like rectangular cushions or elongated ovals.
  • Pick lower clarity – Stones with low grades may seem flawless to the naked eye. Also, pick smaller diamonds to hide flaws better. Some settings may hide imperfections too.
  • Go lower on color – This rating can be negligible for most people. Unless your partner’s a jeweler, too, she probably won’t notice the lower grade.

Final thoughts

You don’t have to spend an excessive amount on a wedding ring. The price tag isn’t the point. It’s about you and your partner starting a new life together.

More importantly, spending less on weddings could save your marriage. The research discovered that spending more than $20,000 on weddings increases the likelihood of divorce.

It also reported that men splurging $2,000 to $4,000 on a wedding ring have higher chances of divorce. Dr. Pepper Schwartz said the problem might be peoples’ expectations.

The sociologist said that people view weddings as the highlight of their relationships. This cause may be rooted in years of advertising. In response, you may want to spend less on that ring.

Learn more about buying an engagement ring

How much does the average person spend on a ring?

In 2018, people spent around $200 – $20,000 on wedding rings. Nowadays, it mellowed to approximately $4,770 – $5,580.

Are 3 carats too big for an engagement ring?

It depends on your partner’s fingers. If she has small digits, a ring with a large stone may look awkward on her. Pick the appropriate carat for her finger.

Is it better to have a bigger diamond or better quality?

Generally, a smaller diamond with higher quality is better. Also, it will be harder to see any flaws. Meanwhile, a large stone of low quality likely has noticeable imperfections.

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