"It’s best to consult the pros for your needs."
For some, choosing an engagement ring is the most important jewellery purchase that they will make in their whole life.
Since the first lockdown of March 2020, Google searches for engagement rings have soared 22% compared to the previous year.
Numerous jewellers in the UK have reported a distinct increase in engagement ring sales.
Culturally, there are several ‘rules’ in place regarding how much a person should spend on an engagement ring for their partner.
The common misconceptions about buying engagement rings can make it hard to know how much to spend when shopping for your significant other.
The average amount of money a British individual spends on an engagement ring has gone down by 19% over the past decade.
A recent survey suggests that the national average for money spent on an engagement ring in the UK sits at £1,865, even though the average cost of an advertised engagement ring is £1,483.
However, some to-be-weds spend a lot less and some spend a whole lot more.
During the past few years, over 18% of grooms spent no more than £500 on their bride-to-be’s rings.
Spending less money on engagement rings seems to be a growing trend.
In 2019, Poundland found great success with its £1 engagement ring, selling 20,000 in the space of just seven days.
Engagement Ring Cost Myths
It’s become a suggested engagement ring rule that one should shell out about three months of their salary, but this is the most common and outdated engagement ring myth.
There’s no set rule on how much you should spend on an engagement ring.
Finding a cheaper diamond online is another common misconception.
According to Taylor Lanore, the former diamond consultant and PR director for Ring Concierge, it’s riskier to shop for diamonds online because there are far more low-quality stones to select from, which isn’t always obvious to the untrained eye.
Instead, she recommends going straight to the source.
Taylor adds: “It’s best to consult the pros for your needs. There are a lot of tricks to know for each diamond cut and shape – it is a science, after all.
“I highly recommend contacting a diamond consultant to assist in centre stone selection.”
These experts can help you work with the Four C’s (cut, colour, clarity and carat) to get the best possible diamond for your budget.
How Much Is Too Much to Spend?
While there is truly no set price cap when it comes to buying an engagement ring, you may still be worried your partner will be tempted to go overboard.
If you know the proposal’s coming, be direct and slip your opinion into a casual conversation.
You can also pass your concern on to your partner’s family and friends, who will relay the message.
But, at the end of the day, some people just want to go above and beyond and splurge on the engagement ring, which is fine as long as they have the means to do so.
If you’re working within a budget, you can still treat your significant other thanks to a few shopping hacks.
Diamonds are the most expensive part of an engagement ring, so you can save money by using a diamond alternative as the centre stone.
Jennifer Gandia, a jeweller and the owner of Greenwich St. Jewellers in New York City, says:
“Consider a white sapphire, which is hard enough to withstand daily wear and has a similar colour.
“Other traditionally popular gemstones are blue sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.”
“Depending on quality, these can be slightly less than a diamond, though truly rare and high-quality stones can sometimes cost more.”
Other non-traditional stones that are getting more popular by the minute include green tourmaline, peachy-pink morganite, and ice blue aquamarine.
Jennifer adds: “These are all great options for clients looking for a lower-priced alternative to a diamond that will still really shine.”
To save money when shopping for an engagement ring, it is important to keep in mind that certain settings can be expensive.
Your future spouse may be obsessed with a three-stone engagement ring but said setting can cost you a lot of money and affect the size of the centre stone.
Instead, if you would rather focus the bulk of your budget on the ring’s diamond, consider a classic solitaire setting to make the stone appear more prominent.
Where can I Shop for a Budget-Friendly Engagement Ring?
If you are shopping for an engagement ring on a budget, there are plenty of stores and brands to consider.
Etsy is a big site specialising in handmade and vintage items, but it is a good place to search for bargain second-hand diamond engagement rings in the UK if you don’t have any luck with eBay.
Diamond Heaven has shops in the jewellery quarters of Birmingham and London’s Hatton Garden which has the advantage of speaking to a real person if you have a problem.
However, they also sell online and offer 0.3-carat diamond engagement rings for about £649.
Another plus point about Diamond Heaven is that they allow you to choose which independent certification your diamond comes with.
That can make quite a difference to the price you pay and is a good way to cut the cost of an engagement ring.
Beaverbrooks tends to target the higher-priced end of the market, but they do have offers and discounts regularly so it is worth checking.
They are also an established and respected UK brand and the ‘luxury’ name may appeal to some.
Other sites such as Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth make it easy to shop by price point and create a ring with lab-grown diamonds or diamond alternatives.
As the world evolves, weddings, relationships, and engagements evolve with it.
Amid a battling economy and more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, people are having to get more creative about how they choose to celebrate their proposals.
The data speaks for itself. Our standards and expectations around engagement rings are changing, and it’s about time.