How much is an engagement ring?

Updated on the 14th of February, 2017.

Ethical Jewellery Australia is an online, bespoke handmade jewellery company.

We make any kind of jewellery, but specialise in engagement and wedding rings. Every piece we make is custom made for an individual. The finished piece is created based on a specific set of criteria – taste, lifestyle and budget. When the pieces are finished, we share pictures of them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Often when I post pictures on social media of rings we have made, I get the question ‘how much?’ This is a question I don’t answer publicly for two reasons:

  1. The price they paid for the ring is private information, As the rings have been custom made for someone.
  2. Apart from the privacy issue, there are so many variables (particularly with diamond rings) that the question is really difficult to answer and can be misleading. A similar piece may seem out of reach when the reality is, there is often a way to tweak something to fit a (realistic) budget.

The short answer to ‘how much is an engagement ring?’ is:

  • Simple handmade (non-diamond) rings in palladium can start at $2000 but average around $2500 – $3000 depending on the detail.
  • A sapphire ring in platinum with diamonds and engraving would be more like $3500+.
  • Cognac diamond rings start at $2500 for a half carat solitaire in palladium.
  • A 3/4 carat (pretty close to perfect) white diamond ring in platinum would not get much change out of $10,000 – a flawed or higher colour diamond could be a few thousand less.
  • With a one carat diamond, it really depends on the quality. You could get one with visible inclusions for the same price as the perfect 3/4 carat, or you could go for a flawless D colour and spend $20,000+ on the diamond alone, with many price points in between.
  • Pink diamond rings cost a great deal and even little pink diamonds cost a great deal – it is impossible to give even an estimate as they vary so much.

Here’s a collection of rings with a simple pricing guide

Ring image: Handmade engagement ring, Hammer set Argyle Diamond and custom engraving in a leaf pattern by Ethical Jewellery Australia.

This petite recycled palladium and Argyle diamond beauty says all it needs to ($+)

Ring image: Solitaire engagement ring. Princess cut North Queensland yellow Sapphire set in recycled Palladium by Ethical Jewellery Australia.

Keep the design simple and make the gemstone the hero ($$)

Rings Image: two handmade Argyle Cognac bezel set diamond rings handmade in recycled platinum and pallaium with custom engraving

Choose cognac diamonds and get more bling for your buck ($$+)

Ring image: engagement ring hand pierced platinum with blue sapphire

Intricate detail in this recycled platinum band – jewellers’ time is money ($$$)

Ring image: Handmade engagement ring 1.25 carat Argyle diamond in a recycled 18 carat yellow gold half bezel.

Perfect 1.25 carat diamond ($$$$)

Diamond (and gemstone) pricing

Diamonds image: Pink, yellow, cognac and white diamonds from the Arygle mine in Western Australia

Cognac diamonds cost less than white diamonds. Yellow and white diamonds are similar in price. Pink diamonds are expensive – sometimes eye-wateringly so. Australian sapphires are usually less expensive than fair trade/fair made options. Yellow Australian sapphires are more expensive than blue, green or parti colours. White sapphires are rare and (when real) are not cheap. Good rubies cost a lot – particularly if you want a bright and fairly clean one.

There are synthetic versions of many gems available at a much lower price point. Some look better than others.

On top of that, design matters. A solitaire style will cost a lot less than a halo design, or one with a cut out undercarriage or lots of little diamonds etc.

I told you it wasn’t an easy question to answer!

Why do rings cost what they cost?

There are many components to ring pricing:

  • main stone/s
  • accent stones (if applicable)
  • metal: palladium, gold (white, yellow or rose) or platinum
  • manufacturing
  • setting*
  • engraving
*as our jewellers are also setters, we usually don’t separate manufacturing and setting – however, many jewellers outsource setting so it is often treated as a separate charge.

The things that most influence the cost of a ring are the type, size and quality of the main stone and the metal type. The metal type is determined by both the design of the ring and the size of the finger.

The easiest way to explain metal is to use wedding ring pricing as an example.

A woman with a size I or J finger looking for a 2mm platinum wedding ring is going to spend around $400 on metal, whereas a larger male with a size W finger looking for a 7mm wide ring could spend $2000 (depending on current metal price and design, of course). On top of this, you have the cost to manufacture the ring. For the same couple, the metal cost (in platinum) would be $150 and $735 respectively (gold sits slightly below platinum).

ring image: handmade platinum wedding rings one with milgrain edge and one with matte middle and polished edges

Wedding rings: A petite 2mm milgrained edge and a 7mm matte middle polished edges handmade in recycled platinum

Wedding rings are really pretty straightforward, but engagement rings have so many variables – particularly if the main gem is a diamond.

More on diamond pricing

Often I get asked the question ‘how much for a diamond ring?’ and I have to ask:

  • what size diamond do you want?
  • what colour diamond do you want?
  • what clarity do you want for your diamond?
  • what’s your ring design?
  • which metal do you want?
  • what’s your finger size?

Because the diamonds we sell are from a known origin, our pool of available diamonds can be quite limited and it isn’t always possible to match every aspect of the wish list. That’s when we need to work out what the most important aspect is. For some, it’s whiteness, for others, it’s size or even the values on the laboratory certificate. It isn’t like the long lists you can find online – the seemingly endless array of diamonds for sale. We work with only a handful of suppliers and stock is limited. This sort of information can’t be conveyed when quickly answering the ‘how much’ question.

How to stay at the lower end of the price spectrum

Depending on the size of the main stone, moissanite or Australian sapphire in palladium is where you will find your best ‘value’. The most predictable (price wise) options would be a solitaire moissanite or Australian blue, green or parti coloured sapphire in a simple bezel or claw setting.  Pricing for the gems is standard for each shape and size – we know how long they take to make and the only variable is metal (type and quantity depending on size). If you are looking for something that is somewhat conventional, i.e. a gem in a traditional claw or bezel setting, then these are the lowest cost options. This is where the $1800 – $2500 budget comes into play. The only way to spend less than this is to adapt a wedding band style ring and perhaps use an accent sized diamond or gem and enhance it with some engraving:

IMG_6140 (500x323)

Handmade recycled palladium engagement ring. Heart feature with Argyle diamond and custom engraving.

Ring image, blue sapphire in palladium bezel

Simple and elegant, milgrain edged recycled palladium bezel set oval sapphire from North Queensland.

ring image: Six claw recycled palladium and Moissanite handmade solitaire ring.

Six claw recycled palladium and moissanite solitaire ring.

An example of how detail impacts price

These two rings are the same basic design, similar sizes and both feature Australian blue sapphires. The oval sapphire ring on the left was made in recycled palladium and has very simple pattern engraving. The one on the right has a smaller round sapphire and is made in recycled platinum, has Argyle diamonds and floral engraving. The price difference between the two was around $1400.

Diego (2)half bezel sapphire plat front

As you can see, pricing is a very tough question to answer without clarification of many different elements. If you want bespoke, it’s good to have an open mind and work out what the most important feature is for you – that way, you can ensure that you use your money wisely.

 

If you would like to have a go at designing your own engagement ring or learn more about the process, feel free to download our design guide. Otherwise, you can contact us directly and we can take you through it step by step.

Engagement Ring Ebook cover image. Design your perfect engagement ring free downloadable guide.

By | 2017-07-27T13:29:12+00:00 September 15th, 2015|Advice, Design, Discussion, Featured, Fine Jewellery, How-To, Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Melinda is a Gemmologist and jewellery designer. In 2007 she founded Ethical Jewellery Australia a boutique online engagement, wedding and commitment ring company. EJA creates handmade rings using the most ethically responsible raw materials possible. This includes recycled metals and Australian and Fair Trade Diamonds and Gemstones that have been processed by a non-exploited workforce.

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