There are three very important questions you will ask in your romantic life: “Who am I going to marry?” “Where am I going to pop the question?” and “How much should I spend on an engagement ring?” We can’t help you with the first two, but at New York Jewelers Directory we specialize in advising men on the who, what, when, where, how and why of engagement rings for women!
Is it one, two or three-months salary???
Until about 25-years ago there was no confusion, it was two months salary. You’d borrow from friends and family if you needed to, but two months was the amount you’d spend on her engagement ring. Friends of new brides could determine how much Mr. Wonderful was worth simply by looking at the rock on the newly engaged’s finger. Later, when the family income improved, the groom would supplement with an anniversary ring, cocktail ring, pave diamond eternity band, or other fine jewelry.
Then the world changed . . .
We became nuclear families. On one-end couples moved in together before marriage, shared expenses, became dual income no kids (DINK), etc. and so they could afford more (i.e. three months salary). On the other end, couples spent their time and money obtaining advanced degrees, saving for a home, raising families, paying off debt, fully funding their 401k’s, etc. These couples were short on funds, but long on possibility (one month salary folks).
Know what she wants
Some women want the biggest rock possible. They’ll sacrifice a little on color, a little on clarity, a little on cut, but they definitely want carats. They want the biggest diamond at the country club card table. For other women it’s all about how it makes them feel every time they look at it. In fact if the ring itself has deep and personal meaning it is priceless: a family heirloom passed down by your grandmother for example, or a one of a kind yellow diamond engagement ring you both recently admired at a seaside resort, have far more meaning than a Franken-diamond.
The bottom line
One month, two months or three months salary doesn’t matter. What does matter is if it’s perfect for her, but equally important if it’s perfect for you. If you financial situation is strong, great, you have options. If it is a little more challenged, then do what you can, but don’t leverage your future. You have a lot of time to buy something bigger once you have “made it.”