It’s almost like a school maths question: “If Kanye West buys Kim Kardashian an engagement ring worth £2.5 million pounds, how much salary does he earn per year?”
If you’ve ever looked into engagement rings, you’ll know where this is going (and probably faint at the thought of Kanye’s pay packet).
Because somewhere along the line we’ve all heard the theory that a groom should spend one month’s salary on a ring. But is this really true? And do you agree?
What is the reality?
We went on a mission to find out how much people really spend on their rings. We used our own engagement ring sales statistics. (We’ve sold more than 10,000 engagement rings sold over the last 5 years.)
UK’s national average salary is currently £26,500 per person. According to the “one month’s salary” theory this means people should be spending an average of £2,200 per ring.
You’ll be amazed at what we found.
Approx. £500 – VIEW
ENGAGEMENT RING TRUTH #1: The price bracket trap
The first astounding thing we discovered was that rings costing £500, £1,000 and £1,500 sell much better than rings at £745.23 or £1864.21.
What does this mean? We think people possibly set themselves a budget. Either according to what they can afford, or based on their idea of what a ring “should” cost.
Is this the best way? It’s good to have a budget, but it’s also good to be flexible. Say you’ve decided to spend £1,000 in a high street store, but then see the same ring for £732 online. Many will get the cheaper ring. But by spending the extra £268 (all of your original budget) you might get a bigger diamond, or 18K gold instead of 9K. A more expensive ring isn’t necessarily better, but a better quality ring means more lasting value and durability.
Approx. £2,000 – VIEW
ENGAGEMENT RING TRUTH #2: Brides have gone ‘all American’
We still love our tea and Downton Abbey. But when it comes to engagement rings, big, fancy US style diamond bling is in.
What does this mean? Huge diamonds, often surrounded by a “halo” of smaller diamonds, are in fashion. With big rings, however, bought from £200 to £7,000, style rather than budget seems to dictate choice.
Is biggest the best? Sometimes, yes. Fashionable can be elegant too – the Duchess of Cambridge’s sapphire and diamond ring is a case in point. Also, big and bold doesn’t need to come at an extortionate price. The trick is to not get too fixated on a combination of diamond colour and clarity grades. For example, the best diamond quality we offer is G/Vs. Of course there are higher grades, but unless you’re an expert you won’t see the difference. Do you have extra budget left? Splash out on a larger diamond instead.
What does this mean? For many couples an engagement ring is a financial decision. Wedding sets that include an engagement ring and a wedding band are stunningly beautiful and highly comfortable, yet make financial sense because you’re not buying the wedding band later.
Approx. £1,500 – VIEW
ENGAGEMENT RING TRUTH #3: Some couples don’t care about romance
The third trend we discovered is that practicality is winning over romance. About 20% of our engagement rings are sold as wedding sets.
Should I forgo romance? Of course not. For many people an elaborate surprise proposal is the only way, and we say, go for it! (In fact, go and check out our fantastic 101 Proposal Ideas right now.) If you are practically minded though, a wedding set will get you two gorgeous rings with a saving.
CLICK TO VIEW
ENGAGEMENT RING TRUTH #4: You can get double the quality on finance
Now here’s an interesting one. Those who buy their engagement ring on finance spend two times more than those who pay outright.
What does this mean? People who finance engagement rings are going for a much better quality of ring than their cash budget would allow.
But is this financially sensible? It can be, especially if you’re getting interest-free credit. Then you’re simply buying a good ring and spreading the cost over a few months. This may help with timing other big costs, like a honeymoon or a downpayment on a house.
CLICK TO VIEW
So how much are people REALLY spending?
Well, it’s clear to us that people are not applying the “one month’s salary rule”. Instead of
the “average” £2,200 ring, our customer are spending very individual amounts. A handful of people spend as little as £250, about 15% spend £500, another 60% between £1,000 and £1,500. The rest? Any sum between £2,000 and £7,000!
What should I spend on my budget?
As jewellers, of course we wouldn’t encourage people to spend as little as possible. However, we’re not saying that just because engagement rings are our livelihood. Here’s why:
- You’ll wear it every day. An engagement ring has to be beautiful, but it also has to be robust. After all, you’re planning on getting everyday wear out of your ring – for a lifetime. We do many things with our hands around the house, in the garden or at work. We travel in crowds of people on public transport. We go to the gym, play with our kids. During its life an engagement ring will get a fair few knocks, scrapes and washes!
- Raw materials count. Silver is cheaper than white gold, but it is also far softer. 9K white gold looks the same as platinum, but you’ll have to get it rhodium plated in a couple of years. Platinum is by far the best, but also the most expensive metal. Brands, designers and handcrafting aside, if you’re just talking about the pure raw materials used to make your ring, then what you get is what you pay for.
In the end of the day, what you spend is entirely up to you. The comparison we often offer our customers is, how much did your smartphone cost? If you’re willing to pay £600 for your iPhone, then £250 spent on an engagement ring could be too modest.
Let us know what you think! Tweet or leave a comment on our Facebook page.