The Couples Guide to Engagement Rings
Da duh da duuun! Have you been hearing wedding bells? Are you feeling the itch of popping the question and start planning a future together? Well congratulations to you! This is a huge step, and an important one. Traditionally, you’ll bend the knee and offer a diamond ring for acceptance. But nowadays when it comes to the proposer buying the ring in secret, price and even material it's made out of, couples are starting to get away from tradition. So maybe you want to shop together with your partner, get their input (and maybe even help pay) for the ring they’ll wear in a show of commitment to you and your relationship. Here’s a couple’s guide to buying engagement rings. We’ll deep-dive into the reasons why you’d bring your other half and how to go about finding the perfect ring!
Do couples shop for the ring together?
Traditionally, the proposing partner will find and purchase a ring before the proposal, to pop the question with a big diamond ring that was 3 month’s salary. Times are a-changing though, the price tags on the rings purchased are getting smaller and more reasonable, and some couples are doing the shopping together. There are a few reasons for this, I'll give you a personal example of how I got my ring- story time!
I’ve always loved gems, diamonds and jewelry, and am sometimes picky about the pieces I choose. When my husband decided to propose, he did so with a ring-pop. The surprise, humor and just plain happiness of it being a candy ring was awesome. After the fact, I asked why he chose that over choosing an actual ring, and his answer was simple - I had a better understanding of what is a good purchase and what would make me happy. He said he searched for hours and soon everything just started to look the same - good and bad diamonds, the cut shapes, he had no idea where to start. So with my ring-pop in tow, we set out the search to find my dream engagement ring together. (Don't mind my face in the first picture, I honestly didn't think he'd ever pop the question, so that's pure surprise - notice the lack of manicure to prove that).
Many couples, actually 9 out of 10 brides (according to a survey done by TheKnot) help in the search for their ring. There are many reasons the couple would do the search together, usually one partner (as in my case) is going to be more knowledgeable about what they want or even the diamonds themselves, so this will help make sure they get exactly the ring they want. Of course, there is always the indecisive person, maybe they dropped a few too many hints and now you don’t even know where to start. Again, shopping as a couple will help alleviate any hesitancy you have that you may not choose the right one. It’s a fun bonding experience, shopping for the ring as a couple. You get to discover their likes and dislikes, and maybe even get some ideas for other pieces of jewelry in the future, (I can almost promise you, they'll point out a necklace or two, so keep those in mind for other gifts!) When you’re shopping together, you can also get a feel for what your budget is. We’ll get into that next.
Do couples split the cost?
While we spoke earlier about the social norms and expectations changing, so has how much people are shucking out for those dazzling diamond rings. In 2018 the average cost of a diamond engagement ring was almost $8,000. Following up a few years later in 2020 that price tag dropped down to around $4,000. That’s a huge decrease in price. This can be due to a few reasons - the center stones are dropping in carat size or rings have less accent stones, or even other gems are being chosen for rings over diamonds.
Shopping together as a couple for the engagement ring gives you a huge leg-up in the department of budget. Nobody wants to think about having to put a limit on their loved one's dream ring, but it has to be a realistic price. When you’re going together you can look at what rings your love likes and see if they are reasonable. If not, you can guide them to ones that are more in your price range.
Something couples are starting to do more is splitting the cost of the engagement ring. Traditionally it was always the groom that would pay for the ring because the bride’s family would pay for the wedding. That ideology is becoming outdated now because not all couples are exclusively male and female, and even in hetero relationships, the women have a much more equal standing than they did even 50 years ago. With women starting to be more equal in pay as men, it makes sense to share the cost. This also gives you the opportunity to get a bigger ring if you are splitting the bill - more money equals more ring!
How do you set a price point together?
I’m sure you’ve heard in the good ol’ days it was expected that the ring would be priced around 3 months of the groom’s yearly salary. For most people today those standards are wildly unreasonable and maybe even unobtainable. Break down your budget - whether you're splitting the cost or footing the bill on your own, think about what is reasonable to you and what you can afford. While you want to get your partner the ring of their dreams, you don’t want to break the bank and have to pinch pennies for the wedding or honeymoon in the future. A ring that is reasonable enough for you as a couple to still be able to do all the fun things you want to later is better than a giant one that will sit on their finger while you eat pb&j for dinner (for the third night in a row).
A very important thought to remember while searching is to keep in mind what you can afford, and while you can look, do your best not to wander over into the areas that are two or three times your budget. Falling in love with a ring you can’t buy is going to just break your heart. When it comes to big expensive diamonds, it's not usually something you can find at a more reasonable price that will tickle your fancy the same way.
A trend that is starting to take hold is starting small, and working up to a larger ring - meaning, find a smaller, less expensive (but still nice and makes you happy) ring, and then resetting the diamond and reusing the gold later on, maybe at an anniversary date, to get a bigger ring. This can be done by entrusting a local jeweler to help you design and plan a new ring. This is a nice plan for the future because you’ll have plenty of time to look and get ideas for your new bigger fancier ring.
Men’s engagement rings
These days, roles and expectations are going out the window - and that's okay! Maybe your relationship consists of a he and she, a he and he, or maybe you and/or your partner are non-binary with no gender roles to adhere to. No matter what gender or role you have in the relationship, shopping as a couple for that engagement ring will only bring you closer. Who doesn’t love making their partner smile? But for men, finding an engagement ring that has no rulebooks on the endeavor, may be uncharted territory. So here are some ideas to help find that perfect ring for the perfect partner.
While it's not common currently for men to wear engagement rings, it could be a common misconception to assume an engagement ring may be a wedding ring. In this case, finding a more plain band for engagement and then upgrading later to a diamond studded or more artsy style band for the wedding band may be a good option. Women receive two rings, guys should too!
You’ve obviously come to the right place to search for your dream ring together - we have it all! It's especially important to educate yourself in the world of diamonds. It’s easy to get swept away in the idea of buying a ring and then get lost in the lingo and awe of it all. Take a gander at our diamond search and settings pages and feel free to ask a gemologist on our chat about any diamond questions you may have.