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careerbassmaster's avatar

What is an appropriate amount to spend on an engagment ring?

Asked by careerbassmaster (188points) November 10th, 2008

I’ve been seeing my current girlfriend for three years now and am totally in love with her. I know she feels the same and I would like to propose sometime after the new year. What is the appropriate amount to spend on a ring.

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21 Answers

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

My advice: Don’t go overboard. Nothing is worse then starting married life with debt. Jewelers will tell you that spending about a month or two months salary is about right. No f’n way! Buy a ring as a symbol of love, not as a symbol of status.

By the way, I speak from experience. My ex-husband bought me an ostentatious ring in the early 1980’s for about $10,000. We were in debt from the beginning, ended up divorced and I turned gay! Ummm…well I really was already gay…but that damn ring helped ease me out of the closet.

good luck!

syz's avatar

I’ve always heard the target should be one month’s salary.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Set a top budget then shop for a ring you like and you think she will like. Perhaps, propose with a ring from a quarter machine and then take her to pick out a ring so you know she will like it.

But honestly—the goal is a ring you both like, not a certain amount of money. Choose an amount you won’t go over, but after that anything is fair game.

aidje's avatar

Diamonds are the biggest scam ever. Get something else.

Supergirl's avatar

I would recommend checking out eBay. I know it sounds totally sketchy, but that is where we got my ring and band and it is amazing. It was 1/3 of the cost. Make sure you take it to a gemologist to verify that it is the quality and size you paid for. Good Luck!!

gimmedat's avatar

Tattoos are a more permanent symbol of your undying love for one another. Plus, tattos are much cheaper than the recommended two months salary you should shell out for your girl’s ring.

girlofscience's avatar

@syz: One month’s salary is not nearly enough!

The lowest I’ve heard is two month’s salary, but depending on how much you’re making, that may not be enough either.

$15,000 is about right.

aidje's avatar

Are you flippin’ kidding?! The link says that the average cost is $3500—$4000.

(edit: I wish Fluther wouldn’t turn my hyphen into an em dash.)

breedmitch's avatar

Also something else to think about:
Buy a diamond, not a ring. Tell the jeweler you want to see individual diamonds. Give her your budget and she will bring you a selection of stones. They will vary in color and number of inclusions. When you find the right one, you’ll know. It will speak to you. Then ask to have the stone set however you like it. If you buy a “pre-fab” engagement ring you get whatever crap they give you.
As to budget, buy what you can afford.

wundayatta's avatar

@GOS, I hope you were being sarcastic.

I hate this question. It is saying “what is the price of love?” If GOS is serious, we know her cost. However, assuming she is making fun, there are many women who do judge a man by the size of the diamond. If you have a prospective fiance who judges you based on how big a diamond you get her, I can’t imagine the relationship will last.

As others have said, diamonds are a scam. A marketing ploy by DeBeers. If I weren’t lazy, I’d look up one of the many articles about that for you.

For me, the ring is a symbol of love, not the cost of the ring. My wife and I designed our own rings and commissioned a jeweller to make them. They move in three dimensions (not just two), and are fairly unusual, although, less so now, since the jeweller used the design to make a lot more rings. The diamond was my mother’s. She didn’t wear her wedding ring any more (but is still married to my father). Our one splurge was going for the 18 karat gold instead of the 14.

In my opinion, it’s best if the ring is a personalized thing, having nothing to do with money, and everything to do with your particular relationship.

Nimis's avatar

Daloon: Am trying to wrap my mind around that.
How does it move in three directions? Isn’t there a finger in the way?

jasongarrett's avatar

Breedmitch is right—you should definitely buy a loose diamond and then have it set in a band. You’ll get a better deal and a better diamond.

cak's avatar

I think that salary rule is absolutely ridiculous. I made and still do, when working on a project, substantially more than my husband, when we were talking rings, that was a concern of his. I made it very clear to him then, that I wasn’t getting engaged to a diamond, I was getting engaged to him. His love, far more valuable than the ring. He did buy me a very lovely ring, people comment on it, all the time and I can assure you it wasn’t anywhere close to $15,0000.

Recently, going through cancer, my size 5 ring, no longer fit. It was too big. After being discharged from the hospital, where I couldn’t keep my jewelry, I wanted to wear my rings. They were both too big, so my husband took it to have a sizer put on it, since it’s platinum and a custom band for each ring, it cannot be sized. Even with the help, the engagement ring still slipped off. We spend days looking for the ring. I’ve cried, we rented a metal detector – I cried, again. We finally resolved that if we find it, we’ll be thrilled.

My husband has started to look for another ring, I feel terribly guilty and he just wants to replace it, so I’ll have the engagement ring, again. The thought of spending that kind of money, again, on an engagement ring really bothers me, I suggested a trip, but he really wants to replace it.

It wasn’t the diamonds, it wasn’t that it was a beautiful ring, it was the sentiment that can never be replaced by another ring. It was far more valuable than $15,000.00. It was truly priceless.

By the way – My ring, under $3,000. My best friend’s knuckle-buckler….over $15,000. She saw my ring, and wished that she had asked for something closer to mine. More does not always equal better.

wundayatta's avatar

@nimis: not sure how to describe it. Most rings just go in a pure circle around the finger. Our rings “move” (the movement is not literal) along the length of the finger, too. Another way of thinking about it: imagine a string in a perfect vertical circle. Push the top of it so it is offset a bit and no longer lines up directly above the bottom. Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

careerbassmaster's avatar

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will feel a little more comfortable shopping now.

TheGreenBrideGuide's avatar

The general rule of thumb is 1–2 month’s salary, the idea being that it provides security (she could live for a couple of months by selling it in a time of crisis, etc.). That said, I think it depends a lot on the type of woman you are with. How conventional is she? What do your friend’s have? I know a lot of woman who are perfectly happy with something non-conventional like a ring made out of sea glass or one set with an opal, and others who will feel skimped with less that 1 carat. Sniff her out – ask her friends and then make the call.

If you decide to buy loose diamond, I suggest getting a canadian diamond or a vintage diamond. You should also see if anyone in your family or hers has a diamond you can reset. Good luck!

Nimis's avatar

Daloon: Sounds neat!
(Thanks for the descript.)

75movies's avatar

The ring I gave my fiance cost very little in monetary terms but quite a bit in terms of time. I wanted her to have something unique and special that couldn’t be compared to other rings since there will always be bigger, pricier, shinier, etc.

I signed up for a metalsmithing class at a local artists co-op and spent three months designing and then fabricating the engagement ring. It took that amount of time to learn all the techniques I needed to use in the ring’s creation but it was well worth it when I saw the elated look on her face when I proposed.

She said yes btw.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When I was first married in the 80’s then the norm was 3 months salary. My then husband and I made and sold jewelry for near a decade and most people who came to talk engagement or wedding rings also were familiar and comfortable with the 3 months salary formula.

Most women I known over the years who’ve been proposed to have been given rings in the $5,000.- 20,000. range. I think it’s excellent advice from others to shop for a loose diamond first and then choose a prefab setting or have one made from scratch.

thesparrow's avatar

I had an heirloom ring that was free. :p But I lost it.

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