Engagement ring price – it’s the first topic on many a couples’ brains when they start shopping. No matter how hard you’ve fallen for a Verragio setting, a 3 carat cushion cut, or a Tacori stack, you know you’ve got to ask the hard questions. Just how much is this Pinterest dream ring going to cost me? And, obviously, the answer differs depending on the ring in question. But what determines that engagement ring price?
A confluence of factors all work together to influence the final price tag on your ideal engagement ring. Everything from world affairs that influence the price of diamonds across the market, down to the individual characteristics of diamonds that are as unique to them as birthmarks are to humans. Let’s explore how each of these elements affects the price of an engagement ring.
Location, Location, Location – Online shopping is narrowing the gap of pricing differences across the world. And while the individual cost of living (and operating, on the jewelers’ end) will have a slight impact, you aren’t going to save $4,000 by buying your ring in Montana vs. Manhattan – at least not by virtue of location alone. However, you’ll still notice a price difference between brick-and-mortar jewelers and online only jewelers. The reasons for this are complex, and I have a lot of opinions about them, of course. I recommend checking out this three part series:
Buying Diamonds Online vs. In Store
Part II – Buying Diamonds at a Chain Stores vs. Independent Jewelers
Part III Buying an Engagement Ring Online vs. In Store
Type of engagement ring – There are different types of engagement rings, and I don’t mean styles. I wrote about them before here, but your final engagement ring price depends enormously on whether you want a…
- Designer Ring – These come with a higher price tag for the setting, yes, but you also get each designer’s inimitable style, craftsmanship, and lifelong guarantee.
- Estate – This is an excellent way to save money on your engagement ring, but estate doesn’t always mean inexpensive. An estate Tiffany & Co. ring or Van Cleef & Arpels ring will be less than retail at either of those high-end jewelers, but will still be more than an unsigned setting. Ditto for rare antique settings.
- Ready-to-Wear – Just say yes! This ring is ready for your finger, and because it requires nothing but you falling in love, it’s typically one of the best pricing options.
- Custom – This isn’t necessarily the most expensive. Depending on exactly what you want, it may end up being less expensive than any of the options above besides ready-to-wear.
Materials – The raw building blocks of your engagement ring have a big impact on the price. White, yellow, and rose gold are each priced differently than each other or platinum. The use of precious gems in a setting vs. diamonds or another alternative gemstone also adjusts your engagement ring price.
Center stone – This is hands down the biggest factor of engagement ring price. If you’re buying designer, you can opt to keep the Cubic Zirconia that comes with the setting, and your grand total will likely be the same or less than a ring with a “live” center diamond. If you want an alternative gemstone, like a Morganite engagement ring, you’ll pay less. If you want a diamond as your center stone though, it comes with its own pricing factors.
Check out this post – what determines diamond pricing – to get full in-depth coverage, but here’s the gist of it.
- Carat: The heavier your diamond, the more expensive it is. Heavier = More carats.
- Color: If you want a colorless (white) diamond, the diamond with the least amount of color is the most expensive. However, it’s really difficult to perceive color in diamonds, and personal preference has a large role to play in this category. You can save money by looking for diamonds that are near-colorless, or even have some warmth to them (perfect for rose gold engagement rings!)
- Cut: You want to buy the best cut grade you can afford. How well a diamond is cut makes or breaks its sparkle, fire, brilliance and overall beauty.
- Clarity: Clarity grades the amount of internal characteristics – or inclusions – that a diamond has. Nearly every diamond has some (Beyonce’s does not.) You want a diamond that hides them well.
- Certificate: A certificate is optional – please please please read this post. But if you want a GIA certified diamond, expect to pay more.
There are so many things that affect the price of an engagement ring. It’s hard to get a feel for them when we talk abstractions like these. It’s a lot easier to go to your jeweler, in-person or on Instagram, and say “Can you please explain to me why this ring costs $5,700 and that ring costs $9,700?” We’ll be happy to explain, in specifics.