- The average spend on an engagement ring in the US is said to be more than $5,000.
- Jewelry consultant Beanie Major shared tips on how to make the most of your budget.
- Major said it’s possible to have a big ring without needing a big diamond.
The popular notion is that engagement rings should cost three months’ salary, but in the current economic climate, this sounds increasingly unrealistic.
The average spend on engagement rings in the US was $5,500, Statista reported in 2020, while a 0.79-carat classic diamond engagement ring at Tiffany & Co. currently costs $9,800.
There are a few ways to get the illusion of a bigger rock because though bigger might seem better, it’s also more expensive.
East-to-west center stones that take up more finger space can appear larger
Engagement rings on display by jewelry designer Rachel Boston.
Priya Raj / Business Insider
Beanie Major is a jewelry consultant and founder of engagement ring consultancy service In Detail.
She said couples are often faced with too many choices so for those with no jewelry knowledge, choosing an engagement ring can be daunting.
Major told Business Insider that east-to-west positioned stones are in vogue, and can maximize your budget to give the illusion of a bigger stone.
She said that a long, narrow stone, like a pear or marquise shape that’s positioned vertically, leaves a lot of exposed finger space on either side of the stone.
She added that turning the stone on its side in a vertical position, pointing east to west, covers up more finger space and makes a bigger impact.
“There’s lots of tricks like that, that can be really good in maximizing your budget,” Major said.
Adding additional smaller stones can create the illusion of a bigger stone
“People often want to achieve quite a big look,” Major said. Though her clientele usually has a healthy amount to spend, she told BI there are things you can do if you’re working with a more modest budget.
“You can add halos of stones or additional stones to a center stone,” Major told BI.
She added that this has been a popular trend in the past five years, though the cost can also quickly add up.
Major advised first considering the biggest stone obtainable in your budget, as having one large stone makes your ring future-proof if you’d like to redesign it or sell it.
Major added that she now sees many clients in their 60s and 70s who are remodeling their engagement rings.
Chunky rings are a great way to be on trend while not sacrificing the big look, Major says
A chunky, geometric engagement ring by designer Emma Franklin.
Priya Raj / Business Insider
“Chunky rings are quite in fashion now because you can get a big look without having to have a 5-carat stone at the center,” Major told BI.
Tiffany & Co. sells a 2.52-carat diamond engagement ring for $73,500, so choosing a chunky ring instead of a big stone is an option worth considering.
Major added this is also a practical option for modern lifestyles.
“Women used to only wear their engagement rings for high days and holidays, whereas today, women expect to wear their rings for every occasion,” Major told BI.
She said that In Detail advises clients not to wear delicate rings for active errands like going to the gym or gardening.
“If they are someone that’s very hands-on and active, then we will suggest going for something that’s a bit more robust,” Major added.