How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

Understand all the factors to consider when creating an engagement ring budget.

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

Understand all the factors to consider when creating an engagement ring budget.​

It’s important to consider the many different engagement ring options available while setting a budget, keeping in mind what you and your partner value most. When balancing between personal meaning and aesthetic preferences, make sure to evaluate various factors – including ways to maximize value, different payment options, and more.

Average Engagement Ring Cost

The long-held trope of spending the equivalent of three months of annual salary on an engagement ring is no longer a hard and fast rule. Many couples are taking a more holistic view of their finances and their preferences when setting a budget. While engagement ring trends influence the average engagement ring cost over time, the average carat for engagement rings is around 1.5 carats.

How much should an engagement ring cost?

It’s helpful to start with a budget range based on your financial situation, and will provide you with a general sense of your options. 

Then, it’s important to confirm your partner’s taste and expectations, considering what they want in their ring regardless of the price – whether through direct conversations, window shopping, or conferring with their family and friends. The meaning behind the ring is an especially important factor – for instance, perhaps your partner would prefer to reset an heirloom diamond, or skip a traditional diamond altogether. 

There is also the option of purchasing a “starter ring” with a diamond alternative that can be upgraded later, while you and your partner save up for a diamond or custom ring. Brilliant Earth also offers a free lifetime upgrade on our natural and lab grown diamonds.

Engagement Ring Budget Tips: What to Know When Buying an Engagement Ring

There are many ways to maximize your engagement ring budget. 

  • When choosing a diamond, knowing the details of your partner’s preferences will help you determine which of the 4 C’s are most important, and which can be de-prioritized. Sparkle, which is determined by cut, and color are usually highly valued and might need to be prioritized over diamond size. A diamond’s shape, depth, and symmetry also affect how big (or small) a diamond looks. Elongated shapes (such as oval and emerald) appear larger than 1:1 diamonds (such as round) because elongated shapes can carry most of their weight in their length as well as their depth. 
  • Consider choosing white gold instead of platinum for the engagement ring band, as platinum is the most expensive precious metal option. Known for its luxe shine in cool tones, white gold doesn’t rush, tarnish or corrode, and is easy to work into fine, intricate designs. 
  • Being intentional with the level of detail in the setting is a stylish way to get maximum sparkle impact for less. Smaller accent diamonds will not cost as much altogether as larger center stones.
  • Fancy-shaped natural diamonds can cost 20% to 30% less than round natural diamonds. A fancy-shaped diamond will help you get the largest size possible for the same price. 
  • Explore diamond sizes slightly under standard carat weight limits — otherwise known as magic sizes. These magic sizes can let you get a diamond of a similar size for a significantly lower cost. 
  • Lab grown diamonds, which have the same exact chemical, optical, and physical properties as natural diamonds, are available at more affordable prices than natural diamonds of the same size. 
  • Alternative ring options are also coming into the mainstream. We’ve seen rising popularity of rings without center stones, wider width bands, and diamond-encircled eternity bands – either worn on their own, or as stylish and personal ring stacks.

Flexible Payment Options

Many brands now offer alternative financing options. From layaway to flexible payment plans, we offer several options for financing your order. Financing options are subject to credit approval and can allow you to make monthly payments on any purchase after an initial deposit. You can visit our financing page for more information.


How much are engagement rings?

There are endless engagement ring options, so the cost all depends on your and your partner’s preferences. Brilliant Earth settings start in the under $1,000 range and the overall cost of the ring depends on your center stone choice. 

How much should I spend on an engagement ring?

First, consider your financial situation and explore all options available to avoid overspending. Then, be aware of your partner’s ring preferences and desires. Based on what your partner wants in their ring, learn about the many different options available and ways to maximize your budget. Finally, consider options like a starter ring, or alternative financing like payment plans. There is also the option of purchasing a “starter ring” with a diamond alternative that can be upgraded later, while you and your partner save up for a diamond or custom ring.

What metals don’t tarnish?

There is no set standard of how many months’ salary because there is no standard of how much should be spent on the engagement ring in general. With so many options on the market and different ways to ensure your partner gets the ring they want; price is not the only determinant factor of this hugely meaningful piece of jewelry.

How do you pay for an engagement ring?

There are several ways to pay for an engagement ring, including cash, credit card, through financing, or layaway. You can find Brilliant Earth’s accepted payment methods here


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