|Credit: David Castillo Dominici|
I have a couple of thoughts to share, but I know what you really want to know: How much should you spend on an engagement ring? Some people and jewelers will tell you two months’ salary. Some will tell you three months’ salary. I’d tell you it depends. It depends on the girl’s style and her expectations if you’ve talked about it together. It depends on your salary and whether you are a corporate lawyer or an animal balloon maker. It depends on what you (and your bride-to-be) can afford after you consider any upcoming housing needs, wedding expenses, and honeymoon expenses, in addition to the financial pressure of any other debt you may already be facing. The average diamond engagement ring costs between $3,500 and $5,000 depending on which study you go with, but personally, I think that statistic is meaningless. I know plenty of girls with engagement rings that were below-average in cost who have, as best I can tell, above-average marriages. I also know plenty of people with above-average cost engagement rings who have below-average or even failed marriages. I’m not trying to step on any toes, but I am pretty convinced that the color, cut, clarity, and carat size of the diamond ring you decide to go with shouldn’t influence the answer to the popped question. If it does, Houston, you’ve got a problem, and it’s probably not the ring.
You should also consider the ring’s future costs when choosing a jeweler. Does your jeweler have a warranty or a lifetime guarantee on your purchase? Is maintenance, polishing, re-sizing, and re-dipping (if you have white gold) covered? How much does it cost to, let's say, re-tighten a center stone? All of these things are worth considering, and you should ask your jeweler about them before you become married to a particular ring. I know these considerations may not be enough to change your selection, but if it’s a tie between a jeweler with great customer service and a lifetime guarantee and a jeweler who’s going to charge you every time you and your bride come in, you can probably guess who I’d recommend you go with.
Finally, you may think I’m crazy, but I would strongly suggest adding a small rider on your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy specifically covering your engagement ring and any other valuable jewelry you may have. I say this because I know people who have had to dive into pools to recover a lost ring or even secretly replace a lost ring. I even know one person who decided to go through a Porta-John to retrieve an engagement ring that was lost at a most inconvenient time. Seriously though, for a small amount per year, you can have the added security of knowing that if your diamond ring is stolen (or with some policy coverages, lost) it can be replaced without you having to fork out a hefty, unexpected amount of cash. My wife and I were both unhappy that her center stone had become a little loose, but my reaction was much calmer knowing we had the proper insurance in place for one of our most valuable and sentimental possessions.
As Gary Lewis and the Playboys so eloquently put it, “A diamond ring can mean something beautiful. A diamond ring can mean dreams that are coming true. So if you’ve got someone whose love is true, let it shine for you.”