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How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

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Getting engaged is an exciting time but there is so much choice of engagement rings that it can be difficult to know how much an engagement ring should cost. Our guide will help you decide how much you can spend and where to choose your engagement ring.

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An engagement ring has long been seen as a symbol of love and commitment, but thanks to celebrities, it has recently become something of a status symbol too.

So how much should you really spend on an engagement ring, and are there ways to cut the cost?

How much should an engagement ring cost?

How much you spend on an engagement ring depends on a lot of things – how much you can afford, what style of ring you and your partner like, and whether the ring is going to be specially designed for you.

No matter how large or small your engagement ring budget, the really important issue is whether the person you are buying the ring for will actually like it. There is no point buying a wedding or engagement ring worth thousands of pounds if your beloved is disappointed when you slip it on their finger.

How much to spend on an engagement ring

There are lots of myths about how much a wedding ring should cost. 

  • Three month’s wages

One rule suggests that you should spend the equivalent of one to three months’ wages on an engagement ring.

The theory behind this is that it should be a significant cost and should demonstrate to your partner that you have saved up and care enough about them to splash out on an expensive engagement ring.

In fact, the three-month rule of thumb was a marketing strategy dreamed up by advertising agency N.W. Ayer in the early 1900s to encourage people to buy diamond rings from De Beers. Even before World War II, diamonds were not commonplace in an engagement ring. 

So you don’t have to spend three months’ salary on your engagement ring and it does not have to have a diamond inset. Why not break with tradition?

  • Enough to make a big statement

Thanks to influencers and celebrities, the bling engagement ring has made a big comeback. Instagram and social media sites are full of couples showing off enormous engagement rings with big flashy stones.

If you are getting married on a budget, this may seem daunting and impossible to live up to. Just remember you don’t need to spend millions to say I love you.

  • Make your engagement ring personal

A far more meaningful way to approach buying an engagement ring is to think about how to make it special. Think about what the ring means to you as a couple. 

You could choose a birth stone for your partner, or have the ring engraved with a few words that means something special to you both.

Find out how much you could spend on an engagement ring, or men-gagement ring, with money.co.uk's very own Engagement Ring Cost Calculator!

All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your relationship, salary, family, who you are buying for and spending habits. 

What is the average cost of an engagement ring?

In the United Kingdom, the average cost of an engagement ring is between £1,865 and £2,100.

The major jeweller in London’s Hatton Garden, Diamonds Factory, found in 2020 that people on average spent £1,865 on an engagement ring in the UK, which is lower than the average three-month salary in the UK of £7,650.

However, a report in 2022 by Serendipity Diamonds found that individual ring prices ranged from £600 to £10,000 but on average cost a ring cost £2,100.

What is the value of an engagement ring?

Serendipity Diamonds says that jewellers price engagement rings based on the value of the metal, the type of gemstone, the colour and clarity of the stone, the cut, and the type of ring – whether it was designed as a one-off piece or a mass-produced item.

If you are buying diamonds, the exchange rate between the US dollar and pound sterling is also a factor, as diamonds are valued in US$.

How do I know the quality of an engagement ring?

The price of a diamond ring is dictated by the quality of the stone. The value of a diamond is influenced by the cut of the stone, the colour, its clarity, and the carat weight. 

When you buy a genuine diamond you should receive a GIA or AGS certificate to show authenticity. This will also assess the quality of the stone.

The American Gem Society (AGS) was formed in 1934 to protect buyers from false advertising and fraud. 

The GIA was set up in 1931 and is a non-profit institution promoting knowledge in gems and jewellery.

The International Gemological Institute grades jewellery and gemstones across many countries and jurisdictions.

Where should I buy an engagement ring?

There are a variety of different places to buy an engagement ring, from a traditional high street jeweller’s shop, boutique jewellery store or online.

Whichever you choose, you need to be sure that the firm is reputable and the product you are buying is genuine.

Bear in mind that a diamond ring bought from a jewellery store will have a significant mark-up and that the resale value of diamond rings could be up to 60% below the price of a new one.

Do I need to buy an engagement ring?

In a word, "no". While many couples swear by the romance and glamour of an engagement ring, it is by no means necessary. You could choose to spend more on your wedding band or skip an engagement ring all together. 

You could choose a cheaper ring that is not officially marketed as an engagement ring or a cheaper stone, metal or setting. All this depends on your personal preferences as a couple.

The engagement ring cost calculator

Looking for an engagement ring, but no idea how much you should spend on it?  Our Engagement Ring Cost Calculator is here to help!

All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your relationship, salary, family, who you are buying for and spending habits. 

Our calculator combines this information (which we do not store) with a super scientific formula to give you a personalised suggestion of how much you can afford to spend on a ring.

You could use a 0% purchases card to buy your engagement ring. That way, you can buy it now, and pay it off in instalments. So you do not need the full amount in cash upfront.

Once you've bought your ring, you might want engagement ring insurance to keep it safe.

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About James Andrews 

James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC

View James Andrews’ full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.

About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.