How much should I spend on an engagement ring?

October 27, 2020

How much should I spend on an engagement ring?
Quite a simple question however the answer is not.
As it is loaded with emotions and endless design options which is intended for someone else to wear every day, for the rest of their lives. All this needs to fit within your budget. 
We at Canterbury Jewellers have been asked this question many times over as we have made thousands of beautiful and meaningful engagement rings during our 38+ years of manufacturing. The answers to each of those happy clients initial question above have always been different, as was each ring and its wearer, as well as their budget. If you would like the short answer to the question of how much to spend on your engagement ring here in New Zealand, then we would say it is in the price range of whatever you can afford to whatever you feel comfortable spending. 
It’s a negotiation of three factors as well as the wearer's expectation. 
The three factors are 1. the precious metal used   2. the stone or stones used and 3. the Jeweller manufacturing it for you.
1.) The metal or material used has its own pros and cons. For example, Sterling Silver may be lower in cost per gram but it is not considered a safe metal due to its relative softness as compared to the other precious metals. It tarnishes easily and wears off more as well on raised areas such as claws or bezels around stones. Meaning the possibility of a loss of your investment stone or stones are at a higher risk and you may need to visit a jeweller to repair or restore your ring more often. 
9ct yellow or white gold is ok if you plan on upgrading at some stage within ten years as it lacks the density for long term wear and will wear out too soon.
18ct gold in either yellow or white is a much better choice for engagement and wedding rings as it will last the distance requiring less if any repairs over its lifetime.
Platinum is the densest of these three metals with excellent tensile strength and does not require regular Rhodium plating as the white gold’s do so it’s the ideal choice if a white colour is preferred. Palladium is not a regular request for an engagement ring as it has a slightly lower tensile strength than Platinum and is about 2 times the price due to the current high market price for Palladium.
2.) The stone or stones sometimes makes up more than 50-70% of the final cost. With that said, the traditional stone has been natural diamonds due to its hardness of 10/10 and you will find more than enough info online to explain the 4C’s  hat determines their selling price. In short. The whiter the colour with the best clarity and better cut with a higher carat weight = a higher asking price.
Lower priced and alternative engagement stones may also include natural sapphires as they are available in many colours and has the closest harness of 9/10. They are more readily available and in many fancy shapes and subtle colour hues such as teal, pink and green etc.
We do not recommend using softer gemstones such as Tanzanite with a hardness of 6/10 as it is guaranteed of extreme wear and tear or even worse breakages and loss. 
3.) Who you choose to design and manufacture your engagement ring will have a direct influence on the price and quality of your ring. It goes without saying that a reputable NZ jeweller such as Canterbury Jewellers will design and deliver the best result within your budget while keeping the above two factors in mind.
We believe having a ring designed and manufactured by an NZ jeweller such as Canterbury Jewellers compared to a mass-produced engagement ring made offshore is a safer choice as you can oversee the design and manufacturing process making sure everything is coming together just like you envisaged. Also having the safety net of the company that made the engagement ring is easily accessible is a big plus.
The last factor is the wearer's expectation which may be known if they are involved in the design process or as in most cases, maybe a surprise. If it is a surprise we always suggest taking note of what colour jewellery your partner wears and the style, be it modern and bold or maybe fine with less visual impact.
We work with our clients to fulfil their expectations or work with them to design their own engagement ring while advising on the best materials to use and stone or stones to use within their design brief and budget.