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How much should you spend on your engagement ring?

This blog post is an excerpt from our
full engagement ring budgeting guide.

The way we shop for engagement rings is changing.

Love is a creative act—it makes its own rules. So why not establish your own rules when it comes to budgeting for your ring, rather than follow outdated notions about what’s right and what’s wrong?

Up until the last five years, finding a ring was done in secret with little input from the person receiving it. Shopping was done in gilded jewellery showrooms and revolved around a handful of ‘classic’ designs.

But this is all changing. Today couples are making more informed decisions and they’re making those decisions together. And with this joint decision making comes an interest in ethical and sustainable materials (once a taboo topic in the fine jewellery industry), a desire for custom designs, and open conversations about the financial cost of the engagement ring.

Almost everyone who creates their ring with us wants to know how much you should be spending on an engagement ring. But the answer is that there’s no right answer!

So read on to explore how each element of a design affects its price, and get our advice on how to maximise value for money when it comes to your engagement rings.

Our top tips at a glance are:

  1. Consider the 1ct premium
  2. Go for an ‘eye clean’ diamond not a ‘flawless’ diamond
  3. Consider a lab grown diamond
  4. Embrace a coloured gemstone for your centre stone
  5. Add character with a halo

Consider the 1ct premium

While it has a nice ring to it, a 1 carat diamond is by no means the ‘right’ size diamond for your engagement ring. Because of their reputation, 1ct diamonds actually carry a price premium and cost disproportionately more than a diamond that’s only a little bit smaller or even a diamond that’s a bit larger.

The only person who should be deciding what the right size diamond is for your ring is you. So we say skip the hidden cost and choose either a 1.01ct or 0.90ct diamond instead. 

In the case of a marginally smaller 0.90-0.95ct diamond, you probably won’t be able to tell the size difference, plus you can reallocate the savings to another aspect of your design, like side diamonds or pavé.

And sometimes with diamonds that are slightly (1.05-1.01ct), you’ll find that the price per carat works out to be less than on a 1ct diamond. This means you’ll be getting better value for money on a (marginally) larger centre diamond.

Diamond size comparison chart carat conversion photo

Carat to milimetre conversion guide

Go for an ‘eye clean’ diamond first, and consider the clarity grading second

Everyone wants their diamond to shine its best. Key to a diamond’s fire and scintillation is the clarity of that diamond. Virtually all diamonds have some impurities inside their crystal structure, but these ‘inclusions’ are mostly only visible to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.

That means a diamond doesn’t have to get a ‘flawless’ clarity grade (which comes at a huge price premium) in order for it to appear flawless to the naked eye.

In our experience a VS1 or VS2 diamond will look fantastic. And to give you some peace of mind, we hand inspect each of our diamonds to ensure they’re ‘eye-clean’ before we offer them to our customers.

Again, go beyond the facts laid out in a diamond’s quality report. Go with the diamond that’s right for you.

diamond clarity

Consider a lab grown diamond

Lab grown diamonds are the exact same gemstone as a natural diamond, the only difference is that they’ve been made in a lab. Authentic and stunning, the greatest benefit of a lab grown diamond is how affordable they are. 

A 0.50ct lab grown diamond can be approximately 40% cheaper than a natural diamond of the same size and quality, while a 1ct lab grown diamond can be as much as 70% cheaper than its natural counterpart. If size and presence are what you’re after, you can achieve more with a lab grown diamond no matter your price point.

Plus, lab grown diamonds are often a great ethical and sustainable choice. You can read all about the impact these man made diamonds are having on our industry (and how to shop for one yourself!) in our full lab grown diamond guide.

Embrace a coloured gemstone for your centre stone

Bursting with originality and skyrocketing in popularity, coloured gemstones are an exciting way to make your ring your own while also benefiting from some generous savings. 

Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are durable precious gemstones that are perfect for engagement rings. They’re also less costly than diamonds. From teal to champagne to wine red, these remarkable stones come in virtually every colour. There are also ‘bi-colour’ sapphires, which have two or more distinct colours that swirl and mix within the same sapphire!

Oval shaped teal bi colour sapphire set in rose gold with marquise accent stones

Get creative with the lower priced fancy diamond shapes

Diamonds are cut in a variety of shapes, not just round. From ovals to squares to shapes that combine the two, these alternative diamond cuts are priced differently than the iconic round brilliant cut.

Round diamonds are more expensive for a few reasons. Partially because of the round diamond’s popularity but also because it requires a higher proportion of the rough diamond to be cut away during the cutting and polishing process.

The good news is that other diamond shapes—such as ovals, emeralds, princess cuts, cushion cuts, and more—have a slightly lower cost per carat. Elongated diamond shapes like the marquise, oval, or emerald cut can also appear visually larger despite being the same carat weight.

1 carat diamond shape comparison guide carat weight diamonds size on hand

Add character to your design with a halo

Get the most out of your ring’s presence with a pavé halo that encircles the centre diamond. The possibilities are endless with this crafty and budget-friendly design feature. 

A halo will give your ring an unmatched amount of sparkle while excellently framing your centre diamond, making it appear larger and with more fire. Like everything else in this life, context is everything. So don’t shy away from a smaller centre diamond when you’re able to set it within a dynamic and unique ring.

Round diamond with a blue sapphire halo set in platinum

For many, proposals and marriage might seem like the most evergreen and unchanging tradition in our society. And while it’s true that these rights of passage aren’t going away anytime soon, the rules of engagement are changing in big ways.

Check out our engagement ring pricing page to get our full and complete list of budgeting tips, where we go in-depth on how to optimise rather than compromise on your dream design!

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