How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Consider this your official budgeting guide.

Cushion-cut engagement ring with diamond center stone surrounded by pavé halo on pavé band set in white gold or platinum nestled into a purple velvet ring box


If you're currently planning to propose to your significant other, congratulations—this is a milestone that you'll remember for the rest of your life. Before you gear up to officially pop the question, however, you'll need to purchase a special piece of jewelry to signify this moment—that being, an engagement ring. From choosing a carat size to selecting the perfect diamond shape, many individuals are aware of the fundamental details that go into selecting the perfect ring for their partner. One detail many people are consistently unsure of, though? The cost.

Since there are so many common myths and misconceptions about buying an engagement ring, it's hard to really know how much to spend on this particular piece of jewelry (especially since there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to engagement ring etiquette). Still, there are some tips you can keep in mind to help you nail down an appropriate price estimate.

Interested in learning more? With the help of several diamond and jewelry experts, we break down how much to spend on an engagement ring based on your budget. Plus, the experts debunk a few cost-related engagement ring myths, and we provide a few tips on how to save money on your partner's sparkler.

toi et moi engagement ring with an emerald-hued and diamond stone

Photo by Deborah Ann Photography

What Is the Average Cost of an Engagement Ring?

Before we dive into the specific details and numbers, it's important to remember that everyone's financial situation is different, and spending a specific amount of money on a ring isn't a necessity. With that in mind, Kristina Buckley Kayel, managing director and CMO at the Natural Diamond Council, shares that "The average engagement ring price sold in 2021 and 2022 was around $6,500 to $7,000." However, some to-be-weds spend a lot less and some spend a whole lot more (hence why this is an average estimate), and when it comes to the cost of the ring itself, prices are going to vary widely due to a number of reasons.

"As you narrow down the specifics and look at the 4Cs—cut, clarity, carat, and color—you will find natural diamond engagement ring offerings that run the gamut when it comes to price," explains Kayel. Tom Bergan, vice president of Grown Brilliance, also adds that the amount you spend on an engagement ring will vary depending on the specific preferences your partner wants.

"The cost of the ring should depend on the following factors: The size and look that your significant other wants—they might choose a delicate look versus a higher carat weight or vice versa," he explains. Additionally, the size and quality of the center stone, any details (like a halo or stones set in the band), and the type of metal chosen all play a role in the final cost of a ring.

How Much Is Too Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring?

While there is truly no set price cap when it comes to buying an engagement ring, spending beyond your means and going into debt is something that should be avoided. Remember: Weddings can oftentimes be expensive, and you'll want to save a bit of money for other moments during your journey to the aisle.

For those on the receiving end of the proposal and afraid that their partner will go overboard, it's important to be direct about pricing so that your significant other knows where you stand. You can even make up a story and slip your opinion into a casual conversation, like: "You know, Jen was just telling me the other day that she really wishes her husband had spent less on the engagement ring, so they could have had a bigger wedding budget to play with. I think some people are going a little crazy these days. Honestly, I don't think anyone should spend more than $ [fill in the max you want them to spend here], don't you?"

At the end of the day, some people really just want to go above and beyond and splurge on an engagement ring, which is totally fine (and really sweet) as long as they have the means to do so.

You can also pass your concern on to your partner's family and friends, who will relay the message.

The Most Popular Engagement Ring Cost Myths

While there are hundreds of traditions that couples follow when planning to get married, some of the more popular customs that many people deem as facts are actually myths—especially as it relates to engagement ring costs, as highlighted below.

You Should Spend Three Month's Worth of Your Salary on a Ring

"There is a long-standing cultural tradition of spending two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. However, there is no unanimous rule as to how much one should spend on an engagement ring only, and this myth only adds unnecessary pressure," explains Kayel. "Every individual must take their income, savings, future investment goals, and debt into consideration when making such an important purchase."

The expert further shares that instead of focusing on buying a ring worth three months of your salary, you should select a piece that aligns with your budget and where you currently are in life. "So, take your time and enjoy the process," she adds. "You can always get the natural diamond ring that fits your budget and style now, reset and/or upgrade it later when your financial means allow you to do so."

It Can Be Risky to Find a Cheaper Diamond Online

Taylor Lanore, a jeweler and founder of Lanore Fine Jewelry, says 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. "It’s best to consult the pros for your needs," says the jewelry expert. "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 center stone selection." These experts can help you get the best possible diamond for your budget.

Kayel further points out that while diamonds may seem less expensive online, the final cost will likely be higher due to external fees. "Also, beyond the ticket price, one should consider shipping fees, state and local taxes, as well as import fees if you’re ordering outside of your origin country. If you’re designing a custom ring, there will also be a labor charge to craft your ring, which can be hefty," she shares. "Subsequently, it’s OK to do the research online and then go to your local jeweler or preferred designer or brand to speak with an expert to solidify your budget and preferences."

three gold wedding rings stacked on top of eachother

Photo by Will Reid

How to Save Money on an Engagement Ring

If you're working within a budget, you can absolutely still treat your significant other to the ring of their dreams, thanks to the below engagement ring shopping tips.

Ditch the Diamond

Diamonds are the most expensive part of an engagement ring, so you can save a lot of cash by using a diamond alternative as the center stone. “Consider a white sapphire, which is hard enough to withstand daily wear and has a similar color,” says Jennifer Gandia, a jeweler and owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers. “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 nontraditional stones that are getting more popular by the minute? Green tourmaline, peachy-pink morganite, and ice-blue aquamarine. “These are all great options for clients looking for a lower-priced alternative to a diamond that will still really shine,” adds Gandia.

Know Your Settings

Keep in mind that certain settings can be expensive. While your future spouse may (understandably) be obsessed with Meghan Markle's three-stone engagement ring, that setting can actually cost you a pretty penny and influence the size of the center 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.

Manipulate the 4Cs

Working on the lower end of the color and clarity scales can go a long way in terms of majorly slashing engagement ring costs (especially with brilliant-cut diamonds) without sacrificing quality. As far as clarity goes, "as long as you can't see inclusions to the naked eye, you're in great shape," Lanore says. "Contrary to popular belief, clarity is independent of anything else and doesn't affect the brilliance of the stone." Lanore also adds that the color of the diamond is "purely personal preference," but, "if size is your biggest interest, consider working lower here if you're working with a budget."

Go the Antique Route

"Antique diamonds are truly magical for hiding color, and face up two to three colors whiter than their grade indicates," Lanore notes. "There's a real romance with these diamonds." All in all, to get the most bang for your buck and give your partner the engagement ring they really want (and deserve), Lanore advises paying close attention to their personal style or any hints they might be dropping.

"What I've noticed is that if their partner doesn't request a specific design, a lot of guys (or gals) tend to pick a round brilliant diamond, which is the most expensive diamond per carat because of their difficulty to cut," says Lanore. Make sure you put your personal preferences aside to truly cater to your significant other. After all, they're the ones who will be wearing it every day.

  • 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 great place to find unique rings at a range of prices. Other sites such as Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth also make it easy to shop by price point, and offer you the ability to create a ring with lab-grown diamonds or diamond alternatives.

  • How much does it cost to insure an engagement ring?

    If you choose to insure your engagement ring, consider factoring this into the overall price of the ring. Generally, insurance will be one percent to two percent of your ring's value. If you are considering splurging on a ring, this might be an added cost to consider when deciding how much to spend.

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The Ultimate Engagement Ring Guide

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