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Engagement Ring


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Old 7th November 2018, 6:28 AM   #1
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Engagement Ring

So in short I am wondering what to spend on an engagement ring. I did the google search and didn’t great answers.

The longer story.

I met my absolute soulmate about a year and half ago. She’s beautiful, caring, genuine and is absolutely fantastic to me. She has kids and I do not. We put off meeting her kids until we were “certain” this would work. She spent many nights driving the hour to me to spend time with me. At times she would get her kids on the bus to school, drive to my place, then go back to get them off the bus just so we could spend a few hours together.

Luckily I know I love her and have been able to meet her kids. They are great and I want to spend my life with all of them. I say this just to point out exactly how much she has done for me.

We started out as friends for about 6 months and then fell in love. We have been dating for almost a year now. I absolutely love her and want to show my appreciation. I sold my house and moved in with her about a month ago and it’s time to pop the question. I have hinted st what she wants but get the same response “I want you to be happy”. Not much help. I know she just wants to be surprised. We are both 30 years old.

She’s probably middle of the road. She’s definitely not high maintenance nor “cheap”. She is an RN and I am an MD. She has 3 kids, I have student loans. We want to be financially stable and loans and kids take a toll. Still We are super fortunate that money really isn’t an issue since we both have great jobs. I have been able to pay my bills and now have about 50k in my savings account.

I absolutely love this girl. My dream girl never matched what I feel for her. I have also never been so appreciated or taken care of in my life ever. I want to provide her the world. The first step is the ring. I just don’t know what is realistic to spend. Help is appreciated.

Last edited by buffert; 7th November 2018 at 6:31 AM..
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Old 7th November 2018, 8:33 AM   #2
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Guideline #1 only spend what you can afford

Guideline #2 educate yourself about the 4Cs: cut, clarity, color & carat. Carat, the size, is actually the least important.

Guideline # 3 Shop around & stay out the Mall. Those stores are a rip off.


The diamond industry will tell you to spend 2 months salary. That is ridiculous for an MD. Do take into consideration her job & the kind of jewelry you have seen her wear to get a sense of her style. Find something you like that you think she will like & buy that. Don't be cheap but you don't have to go overboard either. She needs to be able to wear this & still do her job. As soon as you buy it, get it added to your homeowner's insurance policy.
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Old 7th November 2018, 8:56 AM   #3
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First off, congratulations! It's not about "realistic", it's about what makes sense for your income level and life plans and what feels meaningful to you both. If you're both planning a big purchase in the future she might be annoyed by a lot of money on an engagement ring. If you are in a good place to drop a fair chunk of change and you really want to, do it!

You can look up information on regional average ring purchases. My husband spent a bit over $12k on mine, which is much less than 2 months of his salary, but even $12k felt borderline excessive to me, even though it isn't that much more than the regional average where we are.

She has said she wants to be surprised, so enlist her friends (and maybe her family, if she's close to them) for help. Try to get a sense of what styles she likes, or doesn't like. If she has a friend who's shopping for engagent or wedding rings try to get them to go together and see if you can get a report back---a lot of my guy friends did it that way. Think about her hands: if she sits on them a lot, a giant rock may not be comfortable. What about her other jewelry? Does she prefer gold to white gold? What is her skin tone like? Does she prefer flashy settings or plain things?

My biggest issue was ethical provenance. It meant a lot to me that my husband went the extra mile to find a shop that only sold certified conflict-free Canadian diamonds. I bring this up because it's another issue that might really matter to her, and could alter your price point somewhat.

James Allen sells a lot of diamonds online which you can buy loose and have put in a setting. Brilliant Earth has both conflict free and lab-grown diamonds. You can also go with other stones if she prefers. I would just recommend staying away from soft stones like opals or morganite, unless you know she loves those---soft stones don't work for everyday wear.

The bottom line is spend what works for you both. This is an emotional investment and only you both can decide what feels right. There is no requirement to get diamonds or spend a fortune if you don't want to. But if you do go for something more expensive, immediately have it appraised and insured for your peace of mind.

Last edited by lana-banana; 7th November 2018 at 8:58 AM..
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Old 7th November 2018, 9:06 AM   #4
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I am not sure from what you wrote.
Have you asked her to marry you yet?
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Old 7th November 2018, 10:52 AM   #5
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I'd take her to a ring shop and browse, get a feel for what she likes and expects. Some women are cool with simple, others need a huge rock.
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Old 7th November 2018, 12:10 PM   #6
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Does the cost really matter that much? Tbh much of the whole "2 months salary" thing is propagated by the diamond industry (hint: the people that stand to profit from it!) and doesn't actually mean much. I have seen $2k rings that look FAR nicer than $20k rings. And frankly, if my H had bought me a ring that cost 2 months of his salary, I would be terrified to wear it out (and the insurance would be ridiculous!).


Instead of focusing on cost, why not focus on figuring out what she LIKES? Ring styles, gem cuts, etc.
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Old 7th November 2018, 12:41 PM   #7
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Here are a few options....

$0.25 Take that quarter to the gum-ball machine and try your luck. Totally romantic!
FREE if you already have aluminum foil in your house because aluminum foil rings are nice too...and economical!
$1.00 for a Titanium Ring. Can be a bit hard to find, but totally findable. Other titanium rings are cheap too (around $10 usually). At least it will last forever.
FREE if you go traditional and make it yourself, like....ANCIENT traditional, and use a ring made of reed or hemp. Nothing spells love like personal effort!

Why buy into the diamond industry's scam, I would say? Not only are you buying into a tradition started by the diamond industry in the mid 90s, they are also significantly overcharging you just because they can. Save that money for something better, like a remodeled bathroom. Pretty sure anyone would appreciate that MUCH more than a ring that they would probably only ever wear once or until replaced by the wedding band.

--This is why I am not getting married any time soon. :P

But seriously, you should take her out shopping, like to the mall or something, and then make an excuse to swing by the jewelry store to take a look at rings. Then, pay close attention to the things that she looks at and use that as a clue. You can also try to strike a conversation to bring up what she likes. If you are lucky, she might even just outright tells you what she likes, and then you can go from there. Just stick to your budget.
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Old 7th November 2018, 12:56 PM   #8
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Congratulations - few people meet such a wonderful person as it sounds both of you have found in each other :-)

Truly, the main thing is that you get her a ring that is symbolically warm to the both of you, regardless of the price.

After shopping casually mainly online over two months, in the last month, I just bought an artisan-made (US made, the artisan is a friend of mine) wedding ring, and have priced and prepared orders for two custom rings - her engagement ring and my wedding ring, pending her saying yes. You could consider a custom ring if that is something meaningful to you or her.

Since you asked for numbers, sure, here's some numbers...

Probably $6000 to $10,000. That is for - engagement ring, and wedding ring for her, and wedding ring for you. So, for the engagement ring alone (the most expensive of the three you'll be buying), something like $3500 to $7500. While shopping for custom rings online, I found some very beautiful rings for $1500 to $2000, and some boring ones for $9,000. Really, really do not consider only the price when buying.

I would suggest getting a sense of what style she likes first, then looking at rings in that style. I would not suggest shopping by a price filter. I would also suggest planning yourself to look on 5 to 6 different occasions. Don't plan to go and buy something in 2 or 3 trips. Just look, and think about it later. Something will feel right. Even if you find it on the first trip, keep thinking - if it is the right one, you will remember it after seeing a dozen others and you will come back to it.

Also realize, if she says yes, in the next year you will need to budget something like $20,000 - $30,000 cash for the wedding itself, and $5,000 to $7,000 for the honeymoon.

So, good job saving that 50K - sincerely. Don't go overboard on just the value of one ring because you're going to have other expenses coming up.


Best Wishes,
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Old 7th November 2018, 12:58 PM   #9
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I find it a little weird that you felt the need to give so much detail about your relationship, when you are just asking how much to spend. What's going on?

It's not as if she gets a small ring if she's not so great and gets a big ring otherwise. You have decided to marry her so of course you think she's great.

The size of a diamond ring does not represents how the man feels about the woman. It's all about what you can afford and spending habits. It's more pragmatic than how in love you are.
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Old 7th November 2018, 1:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nilfiry View Post
$1.00 for a Titanium Ring. Can be a bit hard to find, but totally findable. Other titanium rings are cheap too (around $10 usually). At least it will last forever.

Haha, good luck finding a $1 titanium ring! They're cheap, but not that cheap.


In all seriousness, we actually considered titanium for our wedding bands. Not because of the price, but because of the symbolism (and they have the coolest modern designs!). Ditched the idea because apparently it is a NIGHTMARE to cut a titanium ring if your finger swells and you need the ring to come off. People have been stuck in the ER suffering overnight waiting for appropriate equipment, whereas any other ring would be easily cut by equipment that hospitals already have handy. Would not recommend!


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Pretty sure anyone would appreciate that MUCH more than a ring that they would probably only ever wear once or until replaced by the wedding band.

Most people I know continue to wear their engagement rings along with their wedding bands, at least sometimes.
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Old 7th November 2018, 1:12 PM   #11
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I see what you're saying Gretchen12. I don't think you are feeling what he is feeling. As the man asking, you want to it to be clearly communicated to the woman you are asking how much you love her, that you appreciate what she has achieved in life, and where you both expect to be headed together.

At 30, medical careers, children involved - $750 to $900 is too low. How much he loves her, considering both their lives to date, would not be communicated in that price range.

On the other end, 2 months salary is asinine and should not be considered in any way when deciding a price range to spend.

Last edited by Sunlight72; 7th November 2018 at 1:14 PM..
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Old 7th November 2018, 1:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Elswyth View Post
Haha, good luck finding a $1 titanium ring! They're cheap, but not that cheap.
I have seen a few on amazon. I am not saying they are top tier quality, mind you. lol Best one was the $0.01 eternity ring with $0.99 shipping.

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Most people I know continue to wear their engagement rings along with their wedding bands, at least sometimes.
But how many of them have remodeled bathrooms that just makes you go, "this is a sweet bathroom," as they soak in the tub?
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Old 7th November 2018, 2:50 PM   #13
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OK, as everyone suggests, it depends on what she wants or doesn't want. But I'm going to be honest and tell you to spend between $4k and ~$6,500.

And you may want to look online. Brilliant Earth sells some interesting vintage and vintage-inspired rings; I have experience with Blue Nile being quite decent; and I helped a friend buy a ring from etsy.com, but you HAVE to be careful with that last one.

If given a choice, choose quality (color and clarity) over size. And some of the vintage European cuts are amazing quality if you don't mind that cut (which I actually kind of like).
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Old 7th November 2018, 2:54 PM   #14
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Since you can afford a really nice ring, get something gorgeous. The ring is forever and you’ll probably regret not going as all out as you can.
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Old 7th November 2018, 3:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sunlight72 View Post
I see what you're saying Gretchen12. I don't think you are feeling what he is feeling. As the man asking, you want to it to be clearly communicated to the woman you are asking how much you love her, that you appreciate what she has achieved in life, and where you both expect to be headed together.

At 30, medical careers, children involved - $750 to $900 is too low. How much he loves her, considering both their lives to date, would not be communicated in that price range.

On the other end, 2 months salary is asinine and should not be considered in any way when deciding a price range to spend.
I can't imagine a man about to marry thinking, "meh... I don't love her that much, a cheaper ring will do." When I went to the jeweler to pick out a ring with my fiance, he was just a grad student. It was anything I wanted as long as he doesn't need to borrow money to get it. When you marry, you're ALL in.
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