Jewelry Articles

How Expensive Are Diamond Engagement Rings?

July 20, 2021 - Jewelry Articles
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Getting engaged is often a deliriously happy first step toward the future. But with a wedding and other costs likely down the road, and with obligations like student loans perhaps not yet in the rearview mirror, you may wonder (and worry a little): “how expensive are diamond engagement rings?”.

 

We take a look at:

 

Overview of Engagement Ring Costs

 

How expensive are diamond engagement rings?

The average amount spent on a diamond engagement ring in the US hovers around $5,000.

According to the 2020 Brides American Wedding Study, the average spend last year was $3,756. The Knot 2020 Jewelry and Engagement Study however, set the average engagement ring cost at $5,500. While Creditdonkey.com put it at $7,550 in 2019.

Of course, asking how much the average cost of a diamond ring is a bit like asking how much a house costs. There are a myriad of factors that impact the final price, with couples spending different amounts depending on state, age and income among other things.

The reality is that diamond engagement rings vary in price from as little as a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars. However much you want to spend is a personal decision.

 

Average engagement ring price by state

Washington state brings the bling with the highest average diamond ring expenditure ($10,109) in the US, with California coming in second ($9,482). South Dakota limps along at the rear with $3,005. (2019 figures from nationaljewelers.com)

 

US regional breakdown:

  • Mid-Atlantic: $7,500
  • New England: $6,900
  • Southwest: $5,600
  • West: $5,500
  • Southeast: $5,400
  • Midwest: $5,300

 

Engagement Ring Price Factors

 

What impacts the price of a diamond engagement ring?

The bulk of engagement ring’s price typically comes from the largest diamond’s value. The Gemological Institute of America created the “4 C’s” diamond grading criteria (carat weight, color, clarity, and cut) to standardize how diamonds were assessed, and therefore valued.

 

Carat Weight

Per the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), one carat equals 0.2 grams. Costs go up exponentially as carat weight increases because heavier diamonds are rarer.

“Magic numbers” are carat value points like 1ct and 1.5ct where diamond prices jump. Your best bet for a really good deal (depending on other ring factors) is a diamond right below one of the magic numbers.

For instance, at retail, going from a 1 carat down to a 0.9ct might save you about $1,000.

 

Color Grade

Totally colorless diamonds are the Hamilton tickets of the diamond world — coveted but hard to find — so diamonds are graded and priced incrementally upwards according to the absence of color. Below are the diamond color grades:

  • D: Totally colorless (most valuable)
  • E – F: Colorless
  • G – J: Generally almost colorless
  • K: Faint color
  • L – Z: Discernible yellow hue

 

Clarity Grade

Diamond clarity measures the existence and visibility of internal “inclusions” (irregularities trapped during formation) and external “blemishes” (things like nicks and spots). Inclusions make a diamond unique but can affect its sparkle.

The GIA clarity scale ranks grading like this:

  • F: Flawless
  • IF: Internally flawless
  • VVS: Very, very slightly included
  • VS: very slightly included
  • SI: Slightly included
  • I: Included

There are also numbered gradations within some of the gradations. For example SI1 is a higher clarity grade than SI2.

 

Diamond Cut

“Cut” (or “shape”) refers to a diamond’s geometric look and determines its ability to sparkle. Round and princess cut diamonds are the most in demand diamond shapes, with others coming in and out of fashion over the years.

An overview of popular diamond shapes:

  • Round Brilliant: Classic, enhances brilliance, accounts for roughly 75% of engagement rings sold
  • Princess: The second most popular diamond shape, this geometric diamond is classic and timeless
  • Marquise: A unique elongated shape
  • Radiant: Can be either square or rectangular, with optimal sparkle
  • Pear-Shaped: Masks inclusions
  • Baguette: Long, bar-shaped, symmetrical
  • Cushion: A romantic shape with soft, rounded edges

 

Diamond Setting

When choosing the staging of a diamond, you may want to consider factors like “snaggability,” and whether the wearer-to-be works with their hands a lot and needs a more secured stone.

  • Prong: 4 to 6 “claws” grasp the diamond. Minimal metal lets maximum light pass through the gemstone.
  • Bezel: A thin metal rim encircles the diamond fully or partially. Popular with teachers and nurses thanks to its durability and snag-resistance.
  • Tension: The open look really showcases the diamond.
  • Cathedral: The answer to a prayer if you want the center stone to look bigger. Metal “arches” hold the diamond.
  • Halo: Very popular, the smaller “back-up” stones enhance the center diamond’s size.

Other engagement ring settings include: Channel, Princess, Tension Style, Tiffany, Pavé, Bar, Cluster, and 3-Stone.

 

How much to spend on an engagement ring?

Diamond engagement rings from high-end brands cost more. A ring inside Tiffany & Co.’s little blue box ranges from $9,000 to $13,000.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can do it yourself. Like the man from Washington who recently dug up a 2.20ct yellow diamond in Arkansas.

For everyone else, theknot.com suggests ignoring the old rule of thumb (or ring finger) that advocated using one to three months’ salary, and instead weighing your personal financial situation along with the intended wearer’s preferences.

 

Shop for engagement rings online

 

Where to buy affordable diamond engagement rings?

Your diamond engagement ring is something precious both emotionally and financially. To get the best price and the most eco-friendly diamond ring available, shop the pre-owned market. The concept of a “new” diamond ring is a little misleading in the first place, as diamonds are thousands of years old, and rarely will you buy one straight from the mine. Most diamonds have been in circulation for decades, if not centuries, recut and polished and set in new rings.

MyGemma sells a wide range of beautiful, environmentally friendly, and affordable diamond engagement rings. Pre-owned and expertly authenticated, build your own diamond ring from scratch, or choose from a wide range of diamond rings. Shop luxury jewelry, watches, and handbags from your favorite brands at up to 80% off retail.

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