How Much Does the Average Engagement Ring Cost?
Don Gillett has been in the jewellery industry for over 50 years and he still believes spending two months' salary on an engagement ring is a good rule to follow. So, if you earn $100,000 you're looking at around $16,000.
"Two months' salary is the general guideline used for an engagement ring," says Gillett. "This is a ring that is a forever ring. It's something to cherish and have as a symbol of your love for each other.
If you want to take the traditional route, Gillett cautions buying anything other than the three hardiest precious stones: diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Why? "With constant wear and use, softer gemstones may scratch or become chipped or cracked."
Opal, emerald, amethyst, garnet, pearl, amber and topaz make great dress rings says Gillett, but they aren't designed to be worn every day for many years.
Rules and Calculations Based on Your Salary
Fairina Cheng is a Sydney-based jeweller who specialises in unconventional engagement rings, her take on the whole 3-month salary thing? "Whether your ring costs $10 or $10,000, what really matters is the story it tells."
Fairina has customers from all over the world who believe an engagement ring is "about more than diamond size and dollars."
"I'm just as happy making a ring made out of a beach pebble they discovered on their first holiday together as I am creating a blingy diamond ring - as long as it's accompanied by an amazing story!"
So really, it's up to you.
How Much is the Cheapest Engagement Ring?
Sian Jones of Bert Jewellery agrees that the cost doesn't matter. "I personally don't believe in the 3 month salary rule," she says.
"I don't think there are any rules when it comes to buying an engagement ring. I've made incredible rings for under $3000 using sapphires or salt and pepper diamonds which I think look as beautiful as the rings that are triple their price.
However, according to Jones, "Most people want a 1-carat diamond or above."
But did you know once diamonds reach 1-carat, they start to increase in price quite dramatically? "If the budget doesn't allow,"says Jones, "I suggest choosing a diamond slightly under 1ct, so it still looks a great size but is more affordable."
There's an entire science when it comes to diamond carats and their weights, so if you're willing to forfeit a slight percentage on carat (eg 0.95) but maintain a stone with a good weight, then the size of the diamond (and how much you'll need to finance it) will hardly change and therefore be unnoticeable.
How Much is the Most Expensive Engagement Ring?
Mariah Carey's 34-carat ring bought for her by James Packer was reported to have cost $13.5million (she sold it for $2.1m), and Kim Kardashian's 20-carat bling cost $4.5million, but most of us don't have that kind of cash.
The most expensive ring Sian Jones has made cost $40,000 and featured a 2-carat diamond. "It was a beautiful colour and clarity, and every time I post this ring on social media, I get inquiries about it," says Jones.
"People love it but are taken aback when I tell them the price. I explain to customers that it was a particularly beautiful diamond, and that we could achieve the same aesthetic with a slightly smaller diamond."
"This is the beauty of having a ring custom-made: there are always ways to alter the price and clever tricks to give the illusion of larger diamonds."
A 1 carat diamond might set you back $6000, but you could buy a 0.95 carat diamond for only $4000
What Are The Rules For Same Sex Weddings?
Since legislation for same sex marriage got passed last year, gay couples are now choosing to get engagement rings as well as a band to show their commitment. So what are the rules and is it still about diamonds?
"Most of the men who come into my store just want a nice-looking band with a little twist to reflect their personality," says Mark Boldiston, owner of Lord Coconut, a Melbourne-based store specialising in bespoke jewellery for men. "Very few men want a diamond and definitely not a diamond like the female engagement rings."
"With men's rings being wider it isn't possible to stack the wedding and engagement rings on top of each other."
The options so far:
1. Go straight to a wedding band in gold or platinum and use it as an engagement and wedding ring. Cost: $900 to $5000
2. Buy a silver engagement ring (cost: $200 to $500) and replace with a gold band for the wedding.
3. Go for a gold or silver wedding band for the engagement with the view that it will be put on another finger once the wedding ring is presented.