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The Blog

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring: Debunked

Even though engagement rings are a staple of our society, the rules surrounding them have evolved over the decades. You’ve probably heard the old adage that an engagement ring needs to equal “three-months salary” of the person buying it. However, that’s no longer the norm. So, how much should you spend on an engagement ring, and what else should you consider?

Lucky for you, there aren’t any hard and fast rules about what an engagement ring has to cost. The most important thing is that you are purchasing something for the person you love and that the ring is a symbol of your commitment, adoration, and choice to love them now and forever. 

Pressure to Spend

At Lauren B, we know buying an engagement ring comes with a hefty amount of pressure. Not only are you asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you, but you know that the ring you choose will be shown off to everyone from acquaintances and family to your partner’s hundreds of “friends” on social media. Sometimes, this makes people feel that they need to spend more to impress others.

Social media and celebrity pop culture makes this even worse; with an environment curated to only show one’s best self (and sometimes unrealistic self), there is an added layer of subconscious competition that can form. Celebrities and influencers often flaunt engagement rings upwards of five—and sometimes even ten—carats often costing millions of dollars. Even though this is mostly unrealistic for the average person, the desire to have something similar still lingers.

There’s a secret in the engagement ring world, though—and it’s not that the richest people get the best rings—it’s that everyone doesn’t actually want a huge, flashy, ring! There is no need to fall for the trap that “bigger is better” if your partner is perfectly accepting of any ring you design for them.

Tip: discuss style preferences with your partner beforehand so your design consultant can maximize your partner’s desires while staying within your budget.

Diamond Alternatives

Traditionally, engagement rings have a colorless or near-colorless diamond in the center. However, there are no rules that say you have to choose a diamond ring. Other popular center stone options are moissanite, sapphire, morganite, and yellow diamond.

While most people believe that natural diamonds are the only “real” way to go, don’t be fooled into thinking that lab-grown diamonds are not just as real. Lab-grown diamonds are every bit the same as natural diamonds except that they were not formed in the Earth. If you want to learn more about the similarities and differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds, you can read all about them here.

You can also opt for a color gemstone; whether it’s your partner’s favorite color or their birthstone, gemstones always come with a personal story, making them a great alternative to diamonds.

4.06 carat Blue Sapphire Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

4.01ct Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Diamond Engagement Ring

Round Morganite Two-Tone Signature Wrap Ring 

How to Spend Less on Your Engagement Ring

There are plenty of ways to save on an engagement ring, whether or not you choose to go with diamonds. Think over these options and choose one or two that might help you save on the ring—maybe so you can save for the honeymoon or your first home!

Opt for Solitaire Settings

While pavé settings and three-stone engagement rings have a real “WOW!” factor at first glance, they are not for everyone. Solitaire engagement rings are timelessly beautiful in their simplicity, focusing solely on the center stone.

Solitaire engagement rings are the least expensive setting style, starting from $1,500 for a white, yellow, or rose gold metal band to $1,800 for a platinum band. This price range only includes the setting and is very generalized; the final price is largely dependent on center stone size. 

2.90 carat Oval Lab Diamond Two-Tone Solitaire Engagement Ring


2.27 carat Round Lab Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring


1.7 carat Pear Shape Lab Diamond Pave Prong Solitaire Ring


Consider Lab-Grown Diamonds

In today’s day and age, diamonds don’t have to come from mines. Many people choose to only wear lab-grown diamonds for ethical and social reasons, too! Plus, they’re much more affordable, coming in at 50-70% less than their natural counterparts. 

4.09 carat Radiant Cut Lab Diamond Pave Prong Engagement Ring


3.50 carat Antique Cushion Lab Diamond Engagement Ring


Educate Yourself on the 4 C’s

When choosing a diamond, you want to concentrate on the 4 C’s: color, cut, clarity, and carat. Compromising on color and clarity can save you thousands while still giving you a sparkly, eye-catching center stone. Going from “colorless” to “near-colorless”, for example, can save you thousands while getting you a diamond that looks imperceptible to the naked eye.

Knowing how each cut hides or enhances color or clarity can also help you in how you choose your center stone. For example, due to emerald cut’s step-cut faceting, they show inclusions a lot easier than radiant cuts. However, emerald cuts hide color better than pears or ovals.

4.20 carat Emerald Cut Diamond Super Slim Engagement Ring

J Color/VS1 Clarity

3.01 carat Oval Lab Diamond Pave Prong Engagement Ring

D Color/VS1 Clarity


2.01 Carat Radiant Cut Diamond Signature Wrap Engagement Ring

E Color/SI1 Clarity

Fluorescence is Your Friend!

Fluorescence refers to a diamond’s reaction to UV light—when exposed, it will throw a blue hue. However, this doesn’t need to be a big consideration because even if a diamond is fluorescent, it won’t affect its overall look and quality. Sometimes, it can even make a yellowish diamond appear whiter because the blue counteracts the yellow. 

Choose Affordable Cuts and Styles

Round and multi-stone rings come at a higher price. Round stones can sometimes cost up to 25% more than fancy shapes because the cutting process removes more rough diamond than fancy shapes. Of course, with duos or three-, four-, or five-stone rings, you’re paying for more diamonds overall. Consult your partner’s friends and family and see if they’ve dropped hints about what kind of ring they truly want.

Polishing Up

The average American brings home about $75,000 a year, putting that “three-month salary” range at almost $19,000. At Lauren B, clients who choose natural diamond rings spend (on average) about $18,000. Those who go with lab-grown diamonds spend about $10,000, saving you plenty when compared to that traditional amount! 

Unsurprisingly, the De Beers diamond company began putting it out there over a century ago that a proper engagement ring should cost the equivalent of three monthly paychecks. That—of course—sold them plenty of bigger and more expensive diamonds. Now, though, your soon-to-be fiancé simply needs to see that you put thought, attention, and love into your choice of engagement ring. 

Lauren B is the best place to help you find the perfect ring for your perfect partner. Book an appointment with us today and one of our expert design consultants will help you design or choose your dream ring.