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How to decide your budget when buying an engagement ring

“You should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring.”

Well, that’s the myth, anyway.

The true origins of this formula lie back in the 1930s, when it was invented as part of an advertising campaign by diamond giant De Beers. The cartel had suffered terribly during the Great Depression, and was eager for young couples to spend more.

Today, it is still commonly cited as a rule of thumb, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for you (you may want to spend less – or more!).

Here are the three fundamental points to consider, when deciding how much you should spend on an engagement ring:

1. What are your other expenses?

Hatton Garden jewellersYou need to have a clear, realistic idea of how much money you have to spend in total, and where the engagement ring fits in with your priorities. Don’t decide the ring budget in a vacuum. Keep in mind that although the engagement ring tends to be the first purchase you make when planning a wedding, it is far from last. It’s not even the last piece of jewellery you’re going to buy – there are also the wedding rings, and possibly other gift items too. But be careful – just as you don’t want to spend too much, you don’t want to spend too little. An engagement ring is one of the few items from the wedding which will be with you forever, a public symbol of your commitment and love that the bride will adore for the rest of her life. A diamond is also a good financial investment, which more than holds its value over the long-term. So it deserves considerable weight in any budget!

2. What does the bride want?

You need a clear idea of what kind of ring the bride would like, and what would suit her personality. The biggest variable, as far as price is concerned, is how big the diamond is. Many brides want a large one; others may have petite fingers and need a diamond that is more subtle. Does the bride want one central diamond, or does she want adorning diamonds around it as well? Other factors that will influence the price of the diamond include its clarity, cut and carat weight (you can learn more about these here). For many brides, the top priority is that the diamond is of very high quality; diamond size matters less. Once you understand what is important to you in a diamond, you will be in a better position to understand how much it might cost, and how much you need to budget for it.

3. Where are you prepared to compromise?

You may come to the conclusion that your budget doesn’t extend to your bride’s ideal diamond. In that case, you need to decide where you are prepared to compromise. For example, if the bride’s top priority is a large diamond, are you going to sacrifice clarity, cut or carat to make her wish come true? If she’s very insistent on carat, can you find a smaller diamond that will meet her expectations? Can you opt for a cheaper cut, or compromise on the setting? Buying the right diamond (just like buying a house… or a car…) is usually a case of give-and-take. You won’t get everything you want, but you can prioritise the features that are most important to you. Understanding that some compromise may be necessary, and looking sensibly at what you as a couple are willing to compromise on, will help you reach a realistic budget. Whether your budget is high or low, at Sterling Diamonds, we ensure you get the very best diamond your money can buy. As diamond dealers, we use our global contacts to get you the exact diamond you’re looking for at the very best price, cutting out the middleman. To book a personal consultation, please book an appointment or phone us on 020 7242 4552.
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