Shopping for an engagement ring can be difficult. There’s no denying that it’s a hugely symbolic piece of jewellery, and as such, it can also be the source of much stress.
Don’t worry, though. With the proper guidance, engagement ring shopping should be a fun, memorable, and special experience. Knowing what you’re doing while engagement ring shopping can also set you up for success, ensuring that you pick something that will withstand the test of time and trends.
To see some answers to the most frequently asked questions we get regarding engagement rings, read on.
What to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring
1. How much should I spend on an engagement ring?
One common question that people always start with is about the budget. Of course, knowing how much you can — or should— spend is a deeply personal matter, dependant on everything from lifestyle, to taste, to income level. However, there are a few key guidelines that can help you to understand what is typical and what may be considered a bit exceptional.
- Base it on your monthly salary: Once upon a time, there was an old myth that engagement rings should cost about as much as three months’ worth of salary. However, Brides.com reports that these figures no longer seem to add up, given the average price people pay. However, using your salary as a barometer could still be a helpful strategy to employ. While spending three-months of income might be too excessive, different experts suggest spending between one and two months’ wages on an engagement ring.
- Go off the average: Another helpful figure to consider when deciding on engagement ring budgets is the national average that Australians spend. In Australia, that amount clocks in at somewhere around $5,000 to $7,500+, according to Diamonds.pro. While this doesn’t mean that you need to sit within that average, having a general idea of the average can help you determine if you’re spending too little or too much.
2. What’s a lab-grown diamond?
While the term “lab-grown” may make it seem a bit more complex, a lab-grown diamond is a 100% authentic diamond. Just like the name suggests, though, lab-grown diamonds are grown in a lab. Unlike mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are fully traceable. This means that you can be certain that your diamond was ethically sourced, and that the methods of acquiring it are sustainable. Mining can be damaging to both people and the planet, so choosing a lab-grown diamond is a way of opting out of those darker realities of the jewellery industry.
Apart from the fact that they are grown in a lab, there is no chemical or physical difference between lab-grown diamonds and mined ones. In fact, lab-grown diamonds can often be more brilliant, as they are created in a sterile environment free of dirt.
For more information about lab-grown diamonds, read our full overview, here.
3. How do I figure out a ring size?
Of course, before buying an engagement ring you will need to consider the size. However, this can get a little bit tricky — especially if the proposal is going to be a surprise.
A few ways to find ring size include:
- Asking friends
- Comparing with other jewellery
- Guessing based on hand size
- Find a sneaky way to ask
- Ask upfront
For more tips and tricks — as well as pros and cons to each strategy — see our blog post about ring sizing, here.
Keep in mind that you can always get a ring resized, so it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t fit perfectly the first time around.
4. Do I also order a wedding band?
Traditionally, engagement rings and wedding bands have been worn together. Typically, the engagement ring is the pièce de résistance gifted upon the proposal, and the wedding band is the smaller, more simple ring received on the wedding day.
While it is customary for brides to have both, it’s becoming more and more common for couples to surpass the wedding band tradition. While some couples may want to dedicate all the spending to one eye-catching ring, others may choose to walk the path of tradition with the classic duo.
If you want to get a wedding band as well as an engagement ring, it’s really up to you when you order it. If you’re proposing far in advance of the wedding day, it may make sense to break up the expense and purchase the wedding band later on. If the wedding will be happening quickly, though, buying the engagement ring and wedding band together may be a better option. Whatever you choose, just make sure you leave enough time that the wedding band will be ready by the wedding day. Typically a few months is enough, but if you’re in a time crunch please make sure to contact us for more specific advice.
5. What if I don’t want a diamond engagement ring?
Don’t want a diamond engagement ring? No problem! In fact, you’re not alone. The numbers suggest that about 20% of brides choose to opt for something different, so don’t be afraid to break away from tradition if it doesn’t suit you.
A few popular alternatives classic diamonds include:
- Lab-grown diamonds
- White sapphire
- White Opal
For more detailed explanations on all of the above, check out our Engagement Stone Guide. We’re also more-than-happy to work on custom orders, so if you have something totally different in mind, get-in-touch to learn more about our bespoke jewellery process.