It’s often the first question on the lips of anyone buying an engagement ring: “what should I pay?”
There’s no straightforward answer to this question and there’s certainly no magic number to shoot for. The old adage of “one months' salary” (or was it two or three?) doesn’t seem to match up to the current figures in Australia, and there’s no definitive source of truth to go by. However, having a budget in mind is one of the first places you should start when going down the beautiful road of diamond shopping.
So what can you base your buying decisions on?
In this article, we look into what Australians are currently paying for their engagement rings, what global trends can tell us, what you should look for in a quality diamond and how you can find the best piece for your budget.
Average Engagement Ring Cost in Australia
A2017 survey found that the average Australian spends just over $6,000 on engagement rings. However, Nicola Cerrone of Q Certified Jeweller, Cerrone Jewellers, says that their average order value is higher than that.
“Social media has put significant pressure on what is expected from a ring and is pushing people to spend a bit more than they would have a few years ago,” she says.
High profile proposals andcelebrity engagement rings don’t give us much of a realistic yardstick either. Miranda Kerr’s four-carat stone is rumoured to have cost just shy of $200,000, which is a shadow of Kim Kardashian’s $9.9 million monster.
If we’re to go by the “three months’ salary rule”, we can see that the numbers don’t quite add up to $6,000:
Annual take-home salary after tax and super: $51,580
Monthly salary: $4,298
3 months salary: $12,895
The truth is, it’s hard to know what the average Australian spends on their ring. Our best guess would be somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000 for the majority of the population. Of course, there’ll be the outliers like the $100,000 treasure and the simple $1,000 gesture, but for most of us, the $5,000 - $15,000 ballpark is a realistic ballpark.
What Does the World Spend on Engagement Rings?
How does Australia compare with the rest of the world when it comes to their jewellery spending? A comprehensive 2017 study of US consumers by The Knot, the ‘Real Weddings Study’, found that American jewellery shoppers spend an average of $6,351 on diamond rings.
However, the study found vast differences in average cost between US states, with Californians spending on average $10,241 on rings; $7,000 more than their Utah counterparts. Keep in mind that these figures are in USD.
The 3 Month Rule
If you’ve been asking yourself what your ring should cost, you’ve probably heard of the ‘3 month rule’; that your engagement ring should cost three months' salary. Any less than that and you’re cheating your partner out of what they deserve, right?
Wrong - there’s no rule that should govern how much you choose to spend on your ring. It’s one of the most personal purchases of your life and what it costs should be entirely up to you.
In the 1930s, the marketing masters at De Beers created the idea that one months’ salary was the magic number for an engagement ring. Sometime in the 1980s, this grew to two months’ salary, and the supposed standard today lies somewhere around the three-month mark.
To some people, a $25,000 engagement ring might seem out of reach even if they earn an annual wage of $100,000. To others, a $30,000 engagement ring is the investment they choose, even while earning an annual wage of $60,000. The point is, don’t let a preconceived notion of what is the ‘right amount’ dictate what you choose to spend.
What is the Right Price?
So what is the ‘right price?’ Is there one at all? Again, that all depends on you. Ask yourself:
How much am I willing to pay to buy a great quality, genuine diamond that my partner will cherish forever?
Do the quality, origins and size of the stone mean much to me? What will they mean to my partner?
What do my financial circumstances allow for? If I save for another six or twelve months, will I be able to afford the ring I truly want to give my partner?
What to Look for in a Quality Engagement Ring
You might have a generous budget of $20,000 for your ring, but without a good understanding of diamond quality, you may not get the best bang for your buck.
Every buyer should learn at least the fundamental indicators of diamond quality, the 4cs:
The 4cs are a great place to start your research, but there are several other factors that impact the overall quality and cost of your ring, including:
Whether it’s worth a few thousand dollars or tens of thousands, every engagement ring is priceless when it comes to sentimental value. That’s why specialised jewellery insurance like Q Report is the smartest way to protect your jewellery investment.
With Q Report jewellery insurance, your partner can enjoy their ring knowing they’re covered for damage, theft and loss, even while they travel around the world. And unlike home and contents insurance or travel insurance, you have the option to return to your original jeweller for replacement and repair if disaster strikes.
To see how little it can cost you to protect the things you love with 12 months worldwide cover, get an instant online jewellery insurance quote today.