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How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

Gem School

How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

Planning a proposal? Discover everything you need to know about engagement ring shopping and costs with an expert gemmologist.

3 minute read | Words by ANGELI

Are you dreaming of a proposal or planning to pop the question soon? Well, congratulations on embarking on one of the most special milestones! The hunt for the dream engagement ring can be intimidating, especially with the myriad of considerations you’ll have to take into account. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

A common question that would have undoubtedly crossed your mind is ‘How much should you spend on an engagement ring?’. Unsure of how much exactly you should spend? What qualities you should look for in a ring or the types of questions you should ask your jeweller? You’re not alone.

Read on as we cover everything you need to know about engagement ring budgets, how to get the best value for your money and how to find the right jeweller for the dream ring - with expert advice from Fenton concierge and gemmologist Lily.

The ‘Three Month Salary’ Rule

Woman wearing Pink Sapphire and Diamond Vintage engagement ring from Fenton

Ring: Pink Sapphire oval Vintage ring in Big

We’ve all heard of the old adage that an engagement ring should cost three months’ salary. But do you know where this idea even originated from? Is this an ancient tradition that dates back centuries or long standing advice from jewellers?

The short answer is no. In fact, this murky rule actually comes from a De Beers campaign that ran from the 1930s to the 1970s, which sold the idea that love and commitment could only be shown with a natural diamond ring worth three months’ salary.

The marketing campaign was born out of response to The Great Depression of the 1930s, which was a disaster for the industry and company. As the business struggled, this campaign was created as a ploy to get people to spend more on natural diamond rings.

Initially, the campaign suggested that one months’ salary was an appropriate amount to spend on an engagement ring, which saw huge success and is when the rule stuck. It wasn’t until the 1980s where they pushed the rule to two months’ salary, and later, three months.

So let’s do the math! On average, the UK salary for 2022 is around £30,000, which amounts to an astonishing £7,500!

We think this amount can be a lot to ask for from everyone. Does this rule even hold up to the way we live today? And how much are people really spending on an engagement ring? 

The Average Cost of an Engagement Ring

Emerald emerald cut Trilogy proposal engagement ring in a ring box from Fenton

Ring: Emerald emerald Trilogy in Big

A jeweller from UK’s Hatton Garden surveyed over 2,300 people to explore a number of common questions, such as ‘how much do people actually spend on an engagement ring’ and ‘how much do they think they should be spending?’ 

Based on the 2021 report, it suggests that the national average spent on an engagement ring in the UK is around £1,865, which is just under the typical monthly salary in the UK.

In fact, 25-39 year-olds believed that they should be spending £3,000 when they actually spent an average of £1,911 on the ring!

As you can see, the expectations from the dated ‘three month salary’ rule are much more extortionate than reality.

So, How Much Should You Actually Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Blue Sapphire Mayfair cluster engagement ring from Fenton

Ring: Blue Sapphire oval Mayfair ring in Big

As a jeweller who has helped thousands of couples find their dream engagement ring, we’re here to tell you this…

It does NOT matter how much you should spend on an engagement ring! 

Ultimately, an engagement ring serves as a symbol of the love between you and your partner and should not be held to antiquated rules. 

So here are our top tips when considering how much you should spend on an engagement ring…

1. The engagement ring budget

An engagement ring hold a super special sentiment. You should not have to feel pressured to meet old-fashioned rules and obscure standards set by a dated and motivated marketing campaign, neither should you succumb to peer pressure. 

Instead, opt for a budget that you feel comfortable with and do what makes you happy. 

At Fenton, we offer high-quality modern luxury heirlooms without inflated markups. With styles from £1,250 and sizes up to 12x10mm in Grand, you can customise your perfect engagement ring regardless of your budget. 

Explore our guide on 'Engagement Rings That Don’t Break The Bank - Rings from £1,250 or £104 per month'. 

Or discover our favourite engagement ring styles to mark your love story.

2. Feel confident with your jeweller

An engagement ring is one of the most important and special purchases you could make in your life. For many, it may not have been a purchase you’d made before. Your jeweller should be able to ease your worries and answer all your questions throughout the whole journey.

If your jeweller is pressuring you to make a particular purchase, that is a sign that the sale is motivated and not in your best interests. 

Instead, they should be able to understand you and meet your exact specifications. Additionally, you should feel confident that you’re getting the best value for your money. We explore this in the next section.

3. Navigating quality and value for your money

Loose gemstones on female hand

An engagement ring - or any piece of fine jewellery for that matter - should be able to stand the test of time and serve as an heirloom that can be passed down for generations to come. You should feel confident that you’re receiving a premium quality ring and excellent value for money. While navigating these elements in the jewellery industry can feel a little tricky, it’s important that we break these down. 

With most traditional jewellers, the markup you’re usually paying is for the brand name, the overheads of their retail stores and the middlemen. Traditionally, the gemstone would have passed down so many hands, and in the process, adding their own markup to the price of the ring. Inflating its value means you end up paying more than you should. Another issue when this happens is the lack of traceability, which means that the jeweller might not even be able to tell you where your stones come from. 

Tip: Therefore, to ensure you’re not paying for inflated markups, we’d recommend seeking out a jeweller that sources their gemstones directly from their country of origin. Additionally, you want a jeweller that also oversees the whole supply chain from sourcing the gemstone to the manufacturing of the ring. 

Of course, this is something we can do at Fenton. We personally source each gemstone set into our jewellery from the top 10% in the world and from their country of origin. So on average, we are able to cut out 12 intermediaries between mine and the market. 

Price comparisons of Fenton engagement rings and Diamond rings

We also oversee the whole process of crafting and setting the ring before it’s delivered to you. Our smart supply chain means that we are able to offer a price that’s 2-5x cheaper than traditional jewellers for the exact same quality and style of ring. Therefore, you can purchase with confidence and good conscience. Learn all about how Fenton gives you the best value for money.

Let’s take a look at everything that we’ve discussed into more tangible examples…

For example, an 8x6mm Ruby oval Trilogy was quoted to us at £6,000 from Hatton Garden. Meanwhile, the same ring from Fenton costs £2,850. 

Another example is a 9x7mm Ruby Solitaire quoted to us for £50,000 on Bond Street. In comparison, ours is £4,250. 

Another great example is a 10x8mm Emerald emerald Trilogy, which was quoted on Burlington Arcade for £17,000. Our ring in an equivalent size is £5,950! 

So it’s time to shelf the old-fashioned norms of engagement ring shopping, have fun with the experience and feel confident that you’re getting a premium quality ring for an excellent value for money. 

Watch the full video of concierge Lily as she takes you through ‘How much you should spend on an engagement ring?’.



Ready to start creating your ring? Discover our signature selection of engagement rings or book an appointment with one of our expert concierge team who are on hand to help your on your engagement ring shopping journey. Good luck!

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