When it's time to start thinking about engagement rings, there's one thing you should consider before you start looking at styles: cost. The price of a ring not only determines which one you get, but it can play a huge role in the designs you end up considering, too. So how much is your ring supposed to cost? Don't worry, we've got experts to help with that.
You may have heard the three months' salary rule, where your fiancé-to-be is supposed to set aside three months' pay — and spend all of it on a diamond. "That rule doesn't apply anymore," says Jennifer Gandia, owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers. Phew!
Get lost in these stunning, unique engagement rings:
Stunning, unique styles of engagement rings
Stunning, unique styles of engagement rings
Platinum iolite diamond ring, $4,100, Cathy Waterman available at Oak Gem
ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Kate Middleton during a visit to the University of St Andrews on February 25 2011 in St. Andrews, Scotland. Kate and William first met and graduated while students at St Andrews University. (Photo by David Cheskin - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Style gr210-4, pink sapphire etched bezel 18K gold ring with a satin finish, $3,500, Adel Chefridi
"Trinity de Cartier" aquamarine and diamond 18K white gold engagement ring, price upon request, Cartier.
Style TR3D259, "Embrace" platinum 4.3 carat rough diamond engagement ring, $39,000, James Allen
"Mosaic" ring set in 18K white gold ring with pear-shaped natural diamond and side diamonds, price upon request, Megan Thorne
"Annalise" platinum and diamond engagement ring, $13,000 (center stone not included), Erica Courtney
Round-cut engagement ring with pavé diamond band, price upon request, David Yurman
"Grace" 18k gold setting with white diamonds center three carat stone CTW 4.0., $8,500, KiraKira
Style R784, "Kelsey" 18 karat yellow gold rose-cut pink sapphire and diamond ring, $4,500, Donna Distefano
"Adonis Rose" diamond engagement ring with a platinum band and bezel-set marquise diamonds plus approximately 0.7 carat pavé diamonds, price upon request, De Beers
Style R00870003, 18k white gold slice diamond engagement ring, $6,900 (center stone not included), L'Dezen Jewellery
Style 28057S, Vintage Collection ring with 2.62 carats of blue sapphires and diamonds set in 18kt white gold, $10,700, Kwiat
Style 10048, "The Crest Ring" four prong-set round brilliant-cut diamond with pavé diamonds set in white gold, price upon request (center stone not included), De Beers
Style 104YC-C, "Dewdrop Cluster" ring in 18K yellow gold with brilliant and old mine-cut diamonds, $8,500, Megan Thorne
Style 35404, vintage hexagon-shaped engagement ring set in platinum, $3,125 (center stone not included), Monique Lhuillier Fine Jewelry available at Blue Nile
Style K150R65RWR, Pirouetta Collection hand-engraved rose and white gold engagement ring, $3,630 (center stone not included), Kirk Kara
Style FJB045, "Allison" bridal ring featuring a marquis flower halo with prong-set round diamonds and a round diamond pavé band set in 18K white gold, 28 round diamonds, 0.23 TCW, 1 round blue sapphire, 0.005 TCW, 1 carat center stone, $2,840 (center stone not included),JudeFrances
Style 10039, "The Stream Ring" four prong-set round brilliant-cut white gold engagement ring with pavé diamonds, price upon request, De Beers
"Instead, create a budget for your ring based on what you're actually comfortable spending. Just know that, once you're in a jewelry store looking at actual rings, you may need to adjust it to get what you really want." So be sure to include some wiggle room! When it comes to buying the ring itself, prices are going to vary widely due to a number of factors: The size and quality of the center stone, any details (like a halo or stones set in the band) and the type of metal chosen — not to mention mark-ups that can come along with factors like a popular brand name!
Of course, there are ways to get the diamond look for less. "Consider a white sapphire, which is hard enough to withstand daily wear and has a similar color," says Gandia. "Other traditionally popular gemstones are blue sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Depending on quality, these can be slightly less than a diamond, though truly rare and high-quality stones can sometimes cost more." Other non-traditional stones that are getting more popular by the minute? Green tourmaline, peachy-pink morganite and ice blue aquamarine. "These are all great options for clients looking for a lower-priced alternative to a diamond that will still really shine!"