How much should I spend on an Engagement Ring in the UK in 2023?

Here's a question I'm getting asked..

“With the cost of living increasing and tightening of purse strings, what can I expect to pay for an engagement ring in London?

It’s always the first nettle to grasp in a conversation with a new engagement ring client – how much will it cost?  Then we can all relax.  We’re living through lean times at the moment, though happily the cost of an engagement ring has not increased in the way that food or mortgage payments have. Gold prices ebb and flow, as does platinum,and diamonds too – but even so – you can still get a beautiful ring, whatever your financial situation.

Scroll down for some basic cost examples.

My first rule has been stated in previous blogs -the amount you decide to spend on an engagement ring is PERSONAL to you.  Your individual circumstances, preferences, and financial situation should dictate this. Despite the marketing,there are no set rules or guidelines as to how much you should spend.

 So this article ignores the whole ‘traditional’ nonsense of 2-3 times your monthly salary. Instead we look ring routes and what these cost.  Most important is your partner's preferences, and how these sit with your overall budget.

You might want to note that a price tag for an engagement ring doesn’t automatically reflect its value. Quality of materials, skill of workmanship and design popularity will drive that. Sentimental value of it becoming a cherished possession worn with love and joy is about picking a design to reflect the wearer. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a ring that you and your partner love, that is within your financial means. The cost of the ring is secondary to strength of the relationship it represents.

Simple and so pretty, gold bands with baguette diamonds set into them. The top ring costs about £850 with a 10pt stone. The bottom ring has a 15pt baguette and costs £1,300 as a deeper shank is required to hold the stone.

You could buy a 1 carat diamond engagement ring in 14kt gold for £3,000 – or you could buy a 1 carat diamond engagement ring in platinum for £12,000.  Cost differences comes from how beautiful the diamond is, how the ring was made and who is selling the ring it.  Purchase the ring from a famous jewellery house will incur a higher mark up because you are paying for the brand.  An online retailer who may be comparing it’s product to the famous brand – (buyer beware!) is is aiming to sell a lot of rings at a lower markup. Ways to do this are by buying high volumes of diamonds at a lower specification and thus cost, and having the rings made in the Far East and not showing product offline. I’ve discussed this before– not all diamonds are born equal.  Plus, it is worth noting the undemocratic way stone costs increase.

Well of course some of us would love a 10ct diamond.. But it's even easier to pay over the odds for a large diamond than it is for a small one and sometimes the carat weight is misleading as to the overall stone spread.

In short, how much you can expect to pay for an engagement ring will be driven by the choices you take.  It’s the benefit of Heirloom's approach – you tell us what you want to spend and what you are hoping to find.  We tell you if you are in the ballpark, or what the alternatives/compromises are. We’ll advise the most cost-effective route to what you are looking for.  

Here's some engagement ring cost figures based on recent commissions;

For a half carat diamond solitaire with Fvs centre stone (£s for West End/Jewellery Grade with West End being the visually superior diamond)

·        Handmade engagement ring - £ 4,300 / £3,750

·        CAD engagement ring - £ 4,100/ £3,550

·        Halo engagement ring with stone set shoulders -£ 3,630 / £3,035

·        Made to order engagement ring - £ 2,950 / £ 2,585

For a one carat diamond solitaire with Fvs centre stone (£s for West End/Jewellery Grade with West End being the visually superior diamond)

·        Handmade engagement ring - £ 9,645 / £8,320

·        CAD engagement ring - £ 9,390 / £8,020

·        Halo engagement ring with stone set shoulders -£ 8,850 / £7,050

·        Made to order engagement ring - £8,100 / £6,100

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What are the ‘levers’ impacting the cost of the ring?

 Here’s where good diamond sourcing can put you ahead. The variations in stone costs are all about the visual attractiveness of the stone against its size.  So, a 1 carat diamond is a tipping price point for an engagement ring, it being in high demand. If you look at a 0.90ct stone this can make the quote go south, often by hundreds of pounds. It's where working with us who are actually looking at diamonds on your behalf pays dividends - we've got a brief to work to, and can narrow things down visually.

On a tray, the difference is more visible, than set in a ring on the finger. The difference in costs is marked - like for like with F colour, the 0.90ct stone would cost £6,100 in a made to order setting, or if it was in a handmade setting with diamonds, around £7,300. Appearance wise, it's very similar. Once we get your brief, we work out the right stone option for you.

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Does it have to be a diamond?

 If the ideal engagement ring is something more substantial, sapphires come in an array of colours, and make stunning rings in their own right. For the budget of a 1ct diamond ring – you could expect to own a 2-3 carat sapphire (or bigger depending on colour choices) which often appeals to those wearers who love colour too. A 1ct sapphire cost is less than a half carat diamond.  It is important to find something that suits skin tone here, as otherwise the stone may start to ‘jar’ with the wearer because it is the wrong shade.

Happy with the blues.. on the right a big aquamarine provides some punch while making the ring a fraction of the cost of the diamond centre stone that size.. The inside is square shaped which we did to minimise ring spin. The centre sapphire ring is a 2.11ct Royal Blue (the most coveted shade of blue for sapphires) and the halo set sapphire shows how we were able to source a nice looking stone for a client who was on a tight budget. The aquamarine weighed in at 4 carats, and the ring cost the same as the hand made half carat diamond ring example as did the 1.8ct sapphire and diamond ring on the right.

Does an engagement ring have to be a solitaire?

Of course not! Today, an engagement ring can be whatever works with the wearers style – the only recommendation I made is that if it is going to be worn every day, the ring design is up to being worn everyday.  

The 'wedgagement' is an increasingly popular engagement ring style - basically the engagement and wedding ring all rolled into one. This little creation we made still has 3 carats of diamonds in it, but there are all sorts of options for a single ring that has some sparkle, but isn't a bank breaker. A simple diamond band starts from £800.

Does an engagement ring have to have a big stone in it?

Another resounding no. The engagement ring should flatter the hand shape, but this doesn’t mean the stone has to be huge.  Stones can be understated, or the ring can be plain metal.  So a ring with a small gemstone or diamond can be as striking as one with a large gemstone.

Here we've created a simple handmade engagement ring, where the diamond is 3.5mm in diameter. The gold shank has a strong appearance through not being significantly narrower than the diamond, rather than making the stone look smaller, the whole ring has a striking appearance and stands out for not trying. Stone weight is 0.15ct which makes for a striking and cost effective solution and the ring cost £1,200. A narrower or lighter shank would make the cost lower.
Visit our engagement ring solutions for different styles and hands blog to see more ideas and shapes we offer.
Keen to work out what the best approach for your engagement ring might be? Email us here or on WhatsApp and let us know what you have in mind.

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