It’s a question couples across the country ask themselves as they prepare for their proposal: How Much Should You Spend On a Wedding Ring? Picking a budget for an engagement or wedding ring is tough, and a lot of that is because you can buy one at basically any price. That leaves a lot of couples unsure about what is normal.
The good news is that you can spend whatever you want on your wedding ring. And we promise that’s good news, even if you came here looking for a fast and true answer. Since you can find a ring at any budget, it’s not up to anyone but you to decide what’s appropriate.
But if you are looking for some hard numbers, we can still help.
The common cost of an engagement ring ranges from under $1,000 to over $10,000, with the wedding band costing about 30% of the engagement ring’s price.
If you want to budget for your wedding ring, you’ll need to consider the type of ring you want, where to buy it, and (most importantly) what you can afford. Keep reading to learn more about wedding ring costs so you can purchase a gem that’s perfect for you.
What is the Average Cost of a Wedding Ring?
Reports vary on what the average cost of a wedding ring is, but it does land around $3,700 to $5,900, a number that’s undoubtedly inflated by outliers who drop $20,000+ on their jewelry.
The median cost of an engagement ring is actually closer to $1,900. And the average carat size is about 1 carat.
Ring costs vary based on carat size, clarity, band material, craftsmanship, and the jeweler you purchase from.
But what does a $5,900 engagement ring look like? We headed over to Jared’s website, did some filtering, and came up with a carat size of about 1 or 2 with medium clarity on a 14k gold band.
$5,900 is on the higher end of Jared’s cost spectrum, which we figured was a good marker for other National jewelry chains. Most of their rings land between $1,000 – $2,500 with a lot of options between $2,500 – $5,000 as well. So it looks like as a National jewelry retailer, Jared’s is catering mostly to an average budget of around $2,500.
Meanwhile, women’s wedding bands run an average of $1,000, something you’ll budget for as you plan your wedding.
Ring Costs by States:
Just like any type of budget, wedding ring costs will vary by region. Trends, economies, and demographics will affect ring budgets.
In 2019, online jeweler Ritani released the average amount customers spent in their shop and broke it down by state. The average Ritani ring goes for $7,750, so their costs are higher than other national averages. But their ranking still reveals trends in wedding ring costs by state.
- California– Californians come in second when it comes to shelling out big bucks for engagement rings. The average California customer spent $9,482 on an engagement ring from Ritani.
- New York – Couples in New York also land on the higher end of the spectrum, spending an average of $8,785 on their engagement rings.
- Texas – Everything’s bigger in Texas, though engagement ring costs there are simply on the high end of average. Ritani’s data indicates couples spend an average of $8,063 on their ring.
- Florida – $8,809 is the average cost of a wedding ring in Florida
- Illinois – Illinois couples are dropping an average of $9,197 for their proposal bling.
- Pennsylvania – Wedding ring budgets are a bit lower in Pennsylvania, where $7,552 is the average cost.
- Ohio – Ritani reports that Ohio residents spend an average of $7,796 on their rings.
- Arizona – In Arizona, engagement rings cost an average of $6,684
- Washington – Washington boasts the highest average, with couples spending around $10,109 on rings from Ritani.
- Michigan – $8,535 is the average wedding ring cost in Michigan.
Average Cost of One Carat Engagement Ring
When you think about wedding ring costs, you probably first imagine the weight, or carat, of the diamond. This is the most significant influence on a ring’s price, but there is more to consider as you search for your rock.
A good quality 1-carat diamond ring will cost about $6,500 to $7,500, but they come in a range of $1,000 to $25,000, so there is definitely a lot more going on than carat when it comes to ring prices.
The band material, the diamond’s shape, and the store you buy from will all influence the price of your ring.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Wedding Ring
So if you can’t base your price solely on the carat of a ring, what do you think about? You’ll want to consider the stone’s overall qualities and the band’s material. And then, as you look at prices, you aren’t limited to diamonds. You can also consider other types of jewels as well.
Ahead we’ll outline key considerations to look at as you purchase your dream ring.
1. Wedding Ring Band Material
The band is the part of the ring that goes around your finger. The band material will definitely affect the price point of your ring, since it’s where a lot of the value lies.
Most bands will be gold, platinum, or silver. What’s the difference between ring materials? Read on to learn more.
Gold – A yellow gold band is a classic choice and will give the diamond a warm hue. Even though it looks like pure gold, it will still have other alloys to make it stronger. A piece of 24 karat gold will be pure gold, and most rings are made from 10, 12, or 18 karat gold. An 18-karat gold ring will be the priciest of all gold options.
White Gold – White Gold is one of the most popular band options, as the white finish really brings out the gemstone’s sparkle. Pure gold is mixed with silver and white hued, giving it more strength and a bright, white appearance. The cost will be similar to yellow gold, with 18K being the priciest option. White Gold is an excellent lower-cost alternative to pricey platinum.
Rose Gold – You can also get a band in Rose Gold, which has a soft, pinkish hue. Yellow gold is mixed with copper, and your final price will be similar to your other gold bands, with 18K being the priciest option but 10K and 14K also being good choices.
Platinum – Platinum is a rare metal and a sought-after material for wedding rings. Its bright white hue really makes the diamond dazzle, and this is usually the most expensive option for your band.
Silver – Sterling Silver is a lower-cost alternative to White Gold, as it’s less durable to wear and tear and less rare. Most engagement rings won’t be made of silver since they can’t hold much weight, but you can find them with diamonds as large as ⅕ carat costing under $500.
2. Type of Wedding Stone
As we mentioned, you don’t have to get a diamond engagement ring. It’s becoming more popular to propose with all types of jewels in hand. Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald are the four precious stones – the most sought-after gemstones in the world. They can be featured singularly or combined in wedding rings.
Below is a quick rundown of the most popular stones for wedding rings so you can decide which jewel is right for you.
Diamond – A diamond is the classic choice for an engagement ring and the priciest option. Diamond’s perceived value comes a lot from its hardness. It’s earth’s hardest mineral, meaning no other stone can scratch it. Just pay attention to more than carat to ensure you’re getting the prettiest stone.
Sapphire – Sapphire is a shiny, hard gemstone that costs about a third of a diamond. And while you may think of blue jewels when you imagine sapphire, you can also get white sapphire rings, which look similar to diamonds. They have less sparkle but will allow you to get a bigger gem for the price.
Ruby- Many rubies are even pricier than diamonds, and their deep red hue makes quite the statement. Burmese rubies will be the most expensive option, but you should consider all the stone features to ensure you get the best quality jewel.
Emerald – Emeralds have a price point similar to sapphire and have a distinct green hue. So this is a great statement-making gemstone option that still has value.
Lab Created Gemstones – Most gemstones form over billions of years, under unique natural circumstances. Today, you can get lab-created jewels that are indistinguishable from their natural counterparts with one major exception: the price. If you want a big, clear, and well-cut diamond or ruby for a fraction of the cost, a lab-created option could be just the choice for you.
3. Stone Considerations
Several different factors influence a diamond’s beauty and value. Most of this involves the 4 Cs of diamonds: carat, cut, clarity, and color. Let’s take a look at these elements so you know what you’re paying for as you purchase a wedding ring.
Clarity – Clarity is the visibility of imperfections (called inclusions) in the diamond. FL is the most flawless grade, and an 11 or 12 has the most flaws.
Color – The most valuable diamonds are bright white with no warm, yellow tint. D diamonds are the whitest and most expensive option, while a Z rating means it has the most yellowing possible. Somewhere between G through L is the average color rating for wedding rings.
Cut – A diamond’s cut could be the aspect that most influences its beauty. This is how the diamond is cut into the jewel: the shape, the angle, the curves, and the detailing. All this affects the diamond’s wow factor, as it dictates how light travels through the diamond and makes it dazzle.
Carat – Carat is the name for a diamond’s weight. One carat equals 0.2 grams. Knowing all the other elements of a diamond’s value will help you look beyond weight and get a diamond that truly shines.
Size – You can also measure a diamond by its diameter, which can vary based on shape. A 1-carat round diamond will be 6.5 mm across, and a 1-carat princess or cushion cut will be 5.5 mm. If you want the largest diamond diameter, go for the marquise cut, which allows a 1-carat diamond to stretch about 10 mm in length.
4. Your Budget
It’s very easy to overspend on a wedding ring, especially when listening to an enthusiastic jeweler’s romantic musings under the bright, dreamy light of a jewelry store.
It’s also tricky to budget because the cost of the diamond ring often reflects upon the groom. What did he spend on the ring? What size rock does she have?
Make your budget early on, before you spend too much time looking into options and asking around. You don’t want to become overly influenced and tempted to spend more than is practical for your financial situation.
5. Popular Types of Rings
Another big decision in your wedding ring search is the shape of the gemstone. This affects the general aesthetic of the ring, along with its shape and diameter. Take a look at these most popular shapes:
Round – This is the classic cone-shaped diamond silhouette and the most popular option for engagement rings. They allow for a really dazzling cut thanks to the way light travels through its shape. It’s also typically the priciest option, though you can find round diamonds at an array of price points.
Princess – Princess cut diamonds are also a popular choice. These are square-cut diamonds with pointed corners. The cost could be less than a round shape, but you may want to get a higher-graded color, as warm tones can come through in the corners.
Emerald – This is different from a green emerald gemstone. An emerald-cut diamond has a rectangular shape and a vintage-glam look. This shape really highlights a diamond’s clarity, so it could become costly if you’re upgrading to a nearly flawless stone.
Oval – Oval is somewhat similar to a round cut, but it’s got an elongating effect that’s flattering on a hand. Your diamond would be pressed a little flatter to make it longer across the finger but not stand up as high in its setting.
Pear – This teardrop-shaped cut can help low-carat diamonds look larger. It’s not the most popular 2022 wedding ring choice, but it could be time for it to make a comeback soon.
Marquise – If you want your lower-carat diamond to look as big as possible, choose a Marquise cut. The pointed shape gives it a unique look, and you can get a wedding band that follows the dramatic angle of the ring.
Heart – A heart-shaped diamond is a modification of the round cut. Most 2022 couples will want a more classic and timeless wedding ring shape, but this could be an option if you want to make a true statement of your love.
Radiant – A radiant ring combines the intricacy of a square cut with the brilliance of a round cut, so you have a glistening, fiery diamond.
Cushion – If you love the rainbow glistening effect of diamonds, the cushion cut will really amplify that. The cushion shape has many variations, allowing it to look modern or vintage.
Engagement Ring Cost Myths
As you consider your ring budget, you’ll likely hear all kinds of faulty advice. People will say you should get the highest carat possible, which isn’t always the case. Someone may tell you that higher-priced jewelers aren’t worth it, but the truth is that they could bring impeccable craftsmanship that will make the ring more valuable.
And then there’s the idea that a man should spend three months’ salary on the engagement ring, a myth that has truly stood the test of time.
Spending Three Months’ Salary on Your Wedding Ring
If people were actually out there spending three months’ salary on their engagement rings, the average cost of one would land closer to $17,000.
The entire idea of basing your ring budget on the man’s salary was born in the 1930s, when De Beers diamond company ran an ad campaign saying that spending one month’s salary on a diamond was the ultimate expression of love.
The idea gained traction and remained mainstream because many couples simply don’t know what’s an appropriate amount, and they just want someone to tell them straight out.
You’ve probably heard the advice in its evolved form, as two or three months’ pay, but it’s meaningless. The advice doesn’t take into account each person’s unique financial situation, or the many things you can do with a quarter of your yearly income.
Engagement Ring Formula and Calculator with Example
If you do want a formula to follow to get your wedding ring budget, we are here to help. Here is a handy calculator for wedding ring budgeting:
How Much Money You Have – How Much Money You Want to Have After Buying a Ring = Ring Budget
So if you have $10,000 saved up, but you want to keep $3,000 on reserve, put $4,000 toward the wedding, and have $1,000 saved for miscellaneous expenses, your budget math would look like this:
$10,000 – ($3,000 + $4,000 + $1,000) = $2,000 ring budget
If you are budgeting so that you can save up for the ring, here is how you can plan for that:
How Much Money You Have Left Over Each Pay Period x How Many Pay Periods Until You Propose = Ring Budget
So if you get paid every week and have $200 left over, and you want to purchase your ring in 6 months (26 weeks), your ring budget will look like this:
$200 x 26 = $5,200
Where to Purchasing a Wedding Ring
Another big ring decision to make is where you buy it. There are many options for purchasing wedding rings, but the most common places are well-known national jewelry chains, small/local jewelers, and online jewelry shops.
Many people buy wedding rings from National Jewelry Brands, like Jareds, Kay Jewelers, and Zales. These major jewelers have a solid online presence and ad campaigns, which make them a logical and approachable choice for shopping.
The benefit of shopping at a National Brand is that you can likely take advantage of their cleaning, resizing, and warranty options even if you move. They will also offer in-house financing and many promotions. Plus, they’ll have a large selection that you can browse online.
Just beware that the salespeople may influence you to buy something beyond your budget. And if you want to negotiate your ring price, these national chains probably won’t oblige.
National Jewelry Chains have mastered showroom lighting, so try to bring your ring into natural lighting to better see its cut and clarity.
Local Jewelry Shops
While national jewelry brands will have a stronger presence, you shouldn’t overlook local shops as you plan your wedding ring purchase. Independent jewelers are making a comeback, and for a good reason. If you value attentive service as true expertise, this could be the way to go.
When you shop at a small jewelry store, you’ll likely work with a manager, jeweler, or shop owner, allowing you to have the best insight and advice. You’ll also find pieces that are hand-selected, hand-crafted, and/or one of a kind, so you’ll get an exceptional wedding ring that’s probably a higher value.
Many local jewelers can also create something custom for you.
Independent Jewelry shops may not have as large of a selection, and you won’t have access to a national catalog of options. You’ll also want to do a lot of research and read reviews of an independent store to ensure it’s reputable.
And even if the jeweler does have a warranty option, you may not be able to easily take advantage of it if you move.
You can buy anything online these days, including wedding rings. BlueNile, Brilliant Earth, Ritani, and Diamonds USA are all popular online wedding ring retailers.
This is probably the lowest-cost option for purchasing your ring, but you need to know the full pros and cons as you shop online.
The best benefit of online jewelry shops is the price point. Most rings (or loose diamonds) come at a much lower cost. Plus, you’ll have seemingly endless options to choose from. Many people also prefer online shopping versus dealing with salespeople.
The biggest downside of online jewelry shopping is that you can’t hold the ring in your hand. There’s something special about seeing it in person that can help you know that you’ve found the one.
You will also want to do thorough research to ensure that your shop is reputable and prepare for the time it will take to ship to you.
Tips on How to Save Money on Your Wedding Ring
Of course, you don’t want the cheapest wedding ring possible, but you also don’t want to spend too much. To get the most value for your budget, you’ll need to understand how to save money on your wedding ring.
1. Start with Your Budget
Establish your budget before you begin shopping. That way, you know how much money you have to spend on it, not how much money is possible to spend.
If you know you have a $2,00 budget from the get-go, you’ll be able to easily select options that work well for you, without getting distracted by $5,000 choices, or even $500 options that you may not be happy with in the long run.
2. Talk to your Partner
Money conversations are hard, especially when you want to keep things romantic. But you may need to discuss ring budgeting with your partner to ensure they have the right expectations. You may be surprised to find that they envision a lower-cost ring or are open to diamond alternatives.
3. Research Online
Even if you want to buy your wedding ring in person, some early online shopping will help you understand costs. It will also help you decide which retailer to go to.
You can spend more time researching online to better understand the 4 C’s of ring shopping and decide on your favorite shape.
4. Research Rings in Person
Shop around at in-person shops until you find the right ring for your budget. Since you’ve already done online research, you’ll know to leave a store if they aren’t offering what you want.
5. Consider Different Stones, Sizes, and Clarity
If you want to save money on your ring, you’ll want to look beyond carat. A well-cut and high-clarity ring will be more valuable than a low-quality diamond that weighs more. You can also consider alternative stones like Sapphire to get a stunning ring for a fraction of the cost.
6. Research Lab Created Gemstones
Lab-created gemstones are one of the best ways to save money. Indiscernible from their natural counterparts, these rings come in at a fraction of the cost. Look at them online and in person to better understand the value of Lab-grown diamonds.
7. Shop together
You and your partner can shop together for rings, at least during the initial research period. That way, you both understand how cut and clarity can influence a diamond’s value, and how lab-grown could be a great option.
Ringing in Your Proposal
As you look forward to your engagement, you are probably most excited about the ring. This romantic rock will become a part of your life for a long time, a constant reminder of your love.
And knowing what to pay for a wedding ring will help make the shopping and proposal even more of a joy.