We all get excited to see the engagement ring, be it of our friends, family, or favourite celebrity. Particularly with the latter, we get a glimpse of beautiful designs and staggering gemstones. The price tag for such celebrity rings is far beyond most of our budgets. But the idea that an engagement ring must cost the Earth to be gorgeous and treasured is simply not true. Here to guide you through the variables of an engagement ring’s price tag, and offer advice on your choice, Angelic Diamonds takes a look at how you really pick a stunning engagement ring.
The various types of ring
With so many types, styles, metals, and shapes of engagement ring, it can be stressful picking just one. Often, the appearance and cost of the ring are the two main considerations, and these vary across the board.
Platinum, gold (of its many shades), and silver are the most popular metals that make up a ring’s band. They differ in price and appearance and it’s all down to personal preferences!
Platinum is a strong and durable metal. In fact, it was removed from the jewellery market around the time of the war as the resources were used for military use instead. It’s more expensive than gold as it is around 30 times rarer. Since it’s a strong metal, it is also the purest — often sold at 95% purity.
Pure gold is mixed with other metals to change its colour and increase its strength, as it is too soft on its own. Yellow gold for example, is pure gold combined with a small amount of silver and copper — giving off a warm appearance. White gold on the other hand is brilliant, it is pure gold combined with palladium and silver or with nickel, copper and zinc. It is a perfect backdrop for diamonds and complements them beautifully.
Looking for something a little bit different? Take a look at some rose gold rings. This pure gold plus copper combination gives off a red tinge. The more copper that it is combined with, the redder it appears.
Affordable and polished to perfection, sterling silver is another prevalent choice. Similar to gold, pure silver is too soft to make into jewellery. Therefore, it is combined with copper or other metals to improve its durability.
The setting of the stone can also impact the price tag. Some settings have more diamonds in or require more craftsmanship — for this reason they can be more expensive.
The most popular setting is the solitaire style. It is a traditional style where a single diamond sits on a metal band and fits nicely with a wedding ring. Tension set engagement rings are similar as they often only have one diamond on the band. In these settings, the diamond is held in place by the pressure of the metal and it is designed to ‘squeeze’ the stone.
A halo setting sees a larger diamond encircled by a ring of smaller diamonds. Often the band is bejewelled too which can increase the cost. Another ring with multiple diamonds in is a three-stone engagement ring. These rings have three diamonds on the band, often the middle diamond is the largest — giving off a glitzy appearance.
The shape of the diamond can also affect the price. Some shapes, such as oval or round, are self-descriptive, but other shapes are a little more complex.
A popular pick is a princess shaped diamond. This cut is where the face-up profile of the diamond is square and the side view is alike to an inverted pyramid. Cushion cut diamonds are a mix of round and square outlines and are considered to be more of an antique style. There is also a marquise cut which is quite a dramatic shape — like an elongated oval so it can appear bigger than it actually is.
Though it will vary between retailers, one US retailer offers a guide on the most expensive to least expensive shapes:
How much should I spend?
The price tag of celebrity rings is always ostentatious. Here are a few examples of famously engagement rings:
- Taylor Kinney and Lady Gaga — a six-carat, heart-shaped diamond ring that cost around £400,000
- Prince William and Kate Middleton — a twelve-carat sapphire, priced at around £400,000
- Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones — ten-carats, close to £800,000
It used to be traditional to spend ‘two to three months’ salary’ on an engagement ring, but this is not a hard and fast rule anymore. In fact, research by insurance company Protect Your Bubble showed that couples are spending 19% less on engagement rings than they did 5-10 years ago. Now, the average spend on an engagement ring is close to £1,000. Also, 18% of people spend less than £500 on an engagement ring for their other half.