Ring Budgeting and Diamond Pricing Guide
Engagement rings come in all price ranges. From “presentation” solitaires to a luxury designer setting by Verragio [below], with a little planning you can find the perfect design to fit your engagement ring desires as well as your budget…
How Much Should an Average Engagement Ring Cost?
According to a recent survey by The Knot, the average price of an engagement ring is $5200.
The diamond industry will also tell you that you should spend two or three months salary on the ring. But don’t be intimidated by the diamond industry. You should spend only what you can afford without it being a major burden on your finances. Try to avoid going into heavy debt when you purchase your engagement ring.
Presentation Solitaire Engagement Ring
Verragio 3 Stone Princess Cut Engagement Ring
Below is a listing of engagement ring price categories and what diamond/engagement ring you can expect for each category.
Note: Our Diamond Selection Guidelines
We try to choose diamonds with color in the G/H/I (near colorless) range, sometimes ranging into J when price is a major consideration. The “near colorless” range is a good compromise between price and color purity. Likewise we prefer diamonds with clarity in the VS1/VS2 (Very Slightly Included) range, and sometimes SI1/SI2 when again price is a concern (and we can find an “eye-clean” SI diamond). Clarity better than VS1 will not be visible to the unaided eye, and diamonds below VS2 are often not “eye clean”.
We prefer to pick diamonds with Excellent/Ideal cut. In general, try to pick the best cut diamond you can afford as the cut determines the brilliance and sparkle of the diamond. For more information, you can read our article on Diamond Pricing and the Four C’s.
For couples on a tight budget, these economy rings will often offer great bargains along with lots of sparkle at affordable prices. For example, James Allen offers a budget conscious 4-prong “presentation” solitaire setting [below], which when matched with a good quality 0.5 ct Princess cut diamond, is available for under $1000.
Princess Cut 2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Ring
Petite French-Cut Diamond Eternity Band
Rings in this category often use a lot of smaller “pave” diamonds to add extra sparkle. Small pave diamonds are much less expensive than one large center stone. For example, a high-quality diamond eternity band [above] is becoming a popular choice for an affordable engagement ring.
Check out our Engagement Rings For Under $1000 page for more info.
$1000-$2000 – Diamond Solitaires
At this price range, a diamond solitaire engagement ring is often a good choice. The Solitaire setting is affordable, and allows you to focus your budget on selecting a larger diamond.
For example, the four prong setting from James Allen [below] can be matched with a good quality 0.75 carat princess cut diamond for under $2000. Read more about Solitaire Engagement Rings.
2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Ring
Six Prong Knife-Edge Diamond Ring
Or a good quality 0.7 carat round cut diamond with a classic 6-prong solitaire setting [above] for under $2000.
For the same quality diamond the princess cut tends to be less expensive than the round cut. The princess cut follows the natural crystalline structure of the diamond and wastes less of the raw stone making it more efficient and therefore less expensive. So at the low price ranges you can get a larger (or higher quality) diamond by going with the princess cut.
Also, at this price range (and above) you typically pick the “loose” center diamond separately from the setting. This lets you pick exactly the diamond you want for the setting of your choice.
$2000-$4000 – Halo setting
One of the more popular engagement ring styles is the Halo setting. The Halo setting adds extra sparkle to your ring and makes the center diamond appear larger. A halo setting is usually more expensive than the solitaire, however you can often get by with a smaller center diamond without losing sparkle.
At this price range a popular round halo setting from James Allen [below] can be purchased with an excellent quality 0.8 carat round cut diamond for under $4000. Read more about Halo Engagement Rings.
Pave Halo Engagement Ring
Pave Cushion Style Halo Engagement Ring
Or a Fashion forward cushion style halo engagement ring [above] with an excellent quality 0.9 carat cushion cut diamond, for under $4000.
Also, at this price range you can just reach the iconic 1.0 carat engagement ring with a diamond solitaire setting and a Princess cut diamond.
…Continued in Part Two of our Ring Budgeting and Diamond Pricing Guide.