August 2017

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Engagement Rings: What, Why and How Much?

The engagement ring. Such a small item that holds tremendous weight in emotional, financial, and even spiritual meaning. After making the monumental decision to get engaged, the next big question faced by newly-engaged couples or, often, the prospective, hopeful groom is “which ring should we choose?” “How much should I spend?” In the retail jewelry industry, the sale of engagement rings and bridal jewelry is a major chunk of revenue. According to IDEX Online, bridal jewelry comprises 25% of the average AGS independent jeweler’s business. Sterling Jewelers says that half its business comes from bridal jewelry, while for Tiffany’s, the bridal segment represents 29% of its sales.

Diamond Engagement Rings: Tradition Dies Hard

Despite trends towards colored gemstones, antique or vintage rings, cheaper alternatives, and more unusual or original materials, the classic engagement ring still revolves around the diamond. In fact, following a recent survey, it was found that the ideal American engagement ring is a round diamond of between 0.5 to 2 carats, with smaller side stones or accents, on a white gold band with no adornments.

The earliest concept of the betrothal ring dates back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, but the diamond engagement ring really became part of popular culture after the discoveries of diamond deposits in South Africa in the late 1800s, which made diamonds more affordable to a broader population. And with the “Diamonds are forever” campaign in the 1940s, the diamond engagement ring was set in stone as the symbol of engagement and commitment. Today, over 80% of American brides receive an engagement ring.

Diamonds: Beauty that Lasts

Take a quick look at engagement ring trends over the past century, and one thing stands out: The diamond always takes center stage. According to a fun video produced by Mode, the diamond is the central feature of the engagement ring, even as trends in ring design and diamond shape have changed. Note the Art Deco lines of the 1930s ring, the bold large solitaire diamond in the 1980s bling ring, and of course the halo design of the 2010s, which is proving a popular choice among marrying millennials.

The Burning Question: How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring?

According to a recent report, the average spend on engagement rings in the US has remained stable, with grooms in the first quarter of 2017 spending an average of $3,406, compared to $3,407 in 2016. On the other hand, The Knot reported in February that the average engagement ring spend was in fact $6,163, based on research from their online membership.  Yet another survey by the Wedding Wire found the average engagement ring cost $5000.

However hard it is to find the true statistics on the average engagement ring cost, the fact remains that how much one should spend on a diamond ring is a very personal decision. Engagement rings are not just a piece of jewelry; they are laden with social and personal meaning. Check out this article about the woman who wore a fake engagement ring to a job interview! How do we place a price on such a complex, meaningful possession?

Loads of internet advice notwithstanding, most engagement ring shoppers today do some proper research, online and instore, to make sure they are making the right decision. And with modern diamond sales tools that present the complete ‘story’ of diamond engagement rings, making the ultimate decision can be much smoother and easier.

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