How much should you spend on a wedding ring?

An engagement ring is often one of the most meaningful and sentimental purchases a person will make in their lifetime. For many couples, selecting the perfect ring involves carefully weighing factors like budget, style, diamond quality, metal choice, and meaning behind the ring. With the average cost of a wedding ring ranging anywhere from $500 to over $10,000, it’s important to set a budget that feels comfortable before shopping.

What is the average cost of an engagement ring?

According to surveys and industry research, the average price spent on an engagement ring in the U.S. is around $5,900. However, that cost can vary greatly depending on the factors mentioned above. Here is a quick breakdown of average costs:

  • Under $1,000 – Usually a simple solitaire ring or basic metal band. May have a small diamond or no diamond at all.
  • $1,000-$3,000 – A modest diamond solitaire on a plain band. Diamond likely around 0.25 to 0.5 carats.
  • $3,000-$5,000 – Average spent on an engagement ring. May have a slightly larger diamond around 0.5 to 1 carat.
  • $5,000-$10,000 – A high-quality diamond, larger stone, or unique/custom design. Diamond 1 to 2 carats.
  • Over $10,000 – Larger diamonds over 2 carats or rings with multiple diamonds/gemstones. Luxury designers and metals.

The “ideal” amount spent really comes down to your financial situation and priorities. While it’s common to follow the “two months’ salary” rule, what ultimately matters is finding a ring you love within your comfortable budget.

Factors that impact cost

Many different factors influence the final cost of an engagement ring. Being aware of these details will help guide your shopping and determine the right budget for your perfect ring.

Diamond Quality

One of the biggest factors affecting a diamond ring’s price is the quality of the center diamond itself. Diamonds are graded based on the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight. A diamond with excellent grades in these areas, especially larger carat sizes, will have a higher value. Take time to research diamond quality and decide which factors are most important to you.

Metal Type

The metal chosen for the ring setting also impacts overall cost. Precious metals like platinum and gold are more expensive than alloys like sterling silver. Platinum is one of the most durable metals and typically costs about 50% more than white gold. The karat amount of gold also affects price – 24 karat is the purest and most expensive.

Ring Design

Elaborate ring styles with detailed embellishments, custom designs, and unique shapes often cost more than a simple solitaire setting. The complexity of the design and amount of extra metals and details involved influence the final price.Added accents like halo settings, multiple stones, engraving, etc. also increase the cost.

Brand Name

Designer and branded engagement rings tend to have a higher price tag. You’re not only paying for the quality and design of the ring but the reputation and prestige of the brand name. Major jewelry houses like Tiffany, Cartier, and Harry Winston are known for luxury rings with hefty price tags.

Ethical Sourcing

Ethically sourced diamonds and metals verified through respected organizations like the Responsible Jewellery Council and Kimberly Process typically cost 10-15% more than uncertified materials. However, this added cost provides assurance that your materials were sustainably sourced.

Insurance Appraisal

Getting an official diamond grading report and appraisal from GIA or AGS labs could add a few hundred dollars but provides important verification of your ring’s value. This detailed analysis is recommended to accurately judge diamond quality and have paperwork for insuring the ring.

How does diamond size impact cost?

One of the most significant factors in determining a diamond ring’s price per carat is the carat weight of its center diamond. Larger diamonds are exponentially rarer and more valuable than smaller diamonds, so the price jumps up significantly with carat size, especially once you reach 1 carat.

Here’s an approximate price chart showing how much diamond size affects the average cost per carat:

Diamond Carat Size Average Price Per Carat
0.50 carat $3,000
0.75 carat $5,000
1.00 carat $9,000
1.50 carats $12,000
2.00 carats $16,000

As you can see, once a diamond surpasses that 1 carat size, the per carat price makes a big leap. This table illustrates the exponential premium placed on larger diamond sizes. Keep this pricing structure in mind when budgeting for a diamond over 1 carat.

How to budget and save for a wedding ring

Once you have an approximate budget in mind, there are helpful ways to save up and financially prepare for this big investment:

Start a designated savings account

Open a separate savings account devoted specifically to ring savings. Set up automatic monthly transfers from your regular bank account so the funds steadily build up over time.

Use a budgeting app

Apps like Mint, PocketGuard, and YNAB make it easy to analyze spending, create savings goals, and stick to a detailed wedding ring budget. Connect the app to your accounts to track all cash flow.

Cut discretionary costs

Reduce spending on dining out, entertainment, shopping trips, etc. and funnel that money directly into ring savings each month. Every small amount adds up over time.

Pick up a side gig

Bring in supplemental income from rideshare driving, tutoring, freelance work, etc. Treat this as an engagement fund and deposit it straight to your ring savings.

Open a credit card with rewards

Cards offering signup bonuses, cash back rewards, travel miles, etc. allow you to earn extra value on everyday spending. Use those earnings to pad your ring fund.

Consider financing

Some retailers offer 0% interest financing for 6, 12, or 24 months so you can make smaller incremental payments. Just be sure to pay it off before the financing period ends and interest kicks in.

How to choose a ring within your budget

Once you’ve determined a comfortable amount you can afford to spend, here are some tips for choosing the perfect ring within your budget:

Set priorities for the 4Cs

Rank the diamond Cs based on what’s most important for your budget. You may prioritize size, compromise on color, etc. Identify preferences so the retailer can find the right fit.

Consider a lab grown diamond

Lab diamonds have the same physical and chemical structure as mined diamonds, just made sustainably in a lab. They cost about 30% less than natural diamonds of equivalent size/quality.

Choose an alternative stone

Beautiful, durable gems like moissanite, sapphire, morganite, etc provide the look of a diamond for a lower price. Expanding your choices opens more options.

Select a simple setting

Opt for a timeless solitaire or minimalist setting to maximize your budget on the center stone. You can always reset in a more elaborate setting down the road.

Go smaller on side stones

For settings like three-stone rings or halo rings, use smaller accent diamonds or gems to save costs. Focus the majority of the budget on the centerpiece diamond.

Comparison shop

Research diamond prices online and visit multiple jewelers to find the best value for your budget. Negotiating is also common!

Additional costs to account for

Beyond just the engagement ring itself, there are some other wedding ring-related costs to potentially factor into your budget:

Insurance appraisal

A diamond grading report costs around $100-$250 but provides important certification of the ring’s value for insurance.

Insurance policy

Insuring the ring will cost around 1-2% of the ring’s value per year depending on the policy. May require an appraisal.


Account for potential costs of sizing adjustments or damage repairs. Most warranties cover the first resizing for free.


Some couples reset the diamond into a new setting later on for an anniversary. Savings can prepare for a future upgrade.

Wedding bands

Remember to budget for wedding bands for both you and your partner. Matching sets range from $500-$2,000.

Are diamonds worth the cost?

Despite the considerable expense associated with diamond rings, they remain a treasured tradition for engagement. Here are some reasons diamonds may be worth the investment:

Extreme durability

Diamonds are the hardest gemstone, making them very resistant to scratches and everyday wear. Good for a lifetime of everyday use.


A quality diamond keeps its beauty and value for generations. The style remains classic across decades.


Diamonds hold resale value well should you ever want to sell. Natural diamonds appreciates over time.

Sentimental value

Diamonds carry personal significance as symbols of love. That emotional connection makes them worth the price for many.


The rarity and limited supply of large, high-quality diamonds helps drive demand and price. Exclusivity adds cachet.

How to decide your budget

Determining the ideal wedding ring budget is different for every couple. Here are some tips for setting a comfortable amount:

Discuss honestly as a couple

Have an open conversation about financial expectations and limitations. Compromise until you both feel good about the set budget.

Consider your financial situation

Look at factors like income, expenses, debt levels, savings, etc. Budget realistically for your circumstances.

Talk to friends and family

Ask trusted loved ones their opinion on appropriate amounts for an engagement ring. Get insight into spending norms.

Research industry averages

Reviewing typical spending statistics helps anchor expectations. But don’t feel beholden to follow “rules.”

Focus on meaning, not money

At the end of the day, the ring’s meaning and symbolism matters more than the price tag. Find something special without overspending.


How many months’ salary is recommended for an engagement ring?

The traditional “rule” has been to spend 2-3 months’ salary on an engagement ring. But this is outdated – spend an amount you’re comfortable with based on current finances, not a formula.

Is it ok to spend under $1,000?

Yes, it’s absolutely fine to spend under $1,000 or even just a few hundred dollars if that fits your budget. Focus on finding a ring with personal significance.

Should my partner help pay for the ring?

Some couples nowadays split the cost of the ring. But traditionally, the proposer pays for it as a gift. Decide what feels right for your relationship and finances.

Can I negotiate on diamond prices with retailers?

Absolutely! Many jewelers are willing to negotiate, especially on diamonds over 1 carat. Compare prices online, then make an offer.

Should I just propose without a ring?

If your budget is very limited, it’s fine to propose without a ring, then have your partner help select one together later on. The proposal itself is what matters most.


Selecting an engagement ring is a big decision with a lot of factors to weigh. Be honest about your budget limit from the start, so you can focus on finding the perfect ring to symbolize your relationship. If money is tight, get creative with lower-cost stones and simple settings or just propose with a heartfelt gesture. With so many options available, you can find beautiful, meaningful rings at almost every price point. The bottom line is choosing something that fits both your budget and style as a couple. As long as your ring represents your love, that’s all that matters.

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