How much do ethical engagement and wedding rings cost?
A quick guide to budgeting for handmade, ethical fine jewellery
Because there are so many variables and possibilities when it comes to designing and making bespoke jewellery, the best we can do is give you some rough guidelines on price so you have some idea what to expect.
When it comes to asking how much an engagement ring will cost, it’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string.
Some sources in the jewellery insurance industry report that the average spend on an engagement ring in Australia was about $5,200 in 2019, and that number has been fairly consistent in the three to four years before then.
But an average isn’t really all that helpful. It’s a very rough guide at best.
Others in the industry report that the typical spend is something like 8-10% of the buyer’s annual salary, but numbers like these take no account of individual circumstances and preferences.
What really matters is what feels right for you in terms of what you can afford and what your other financial priorities are.
All that said, it’s still helpful to have an understanding of how much these things cost, or what you can get for your money – so here we go.
How much does an engagement ring cost?
There are a lot of things that influence the finished price of an engagement ring. Some make a big difference. Other things, not so much.
To give you a starting point, the engagement rings shown on this page typically cost somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000, but it’s not all that hard to spend fifteen or twenty thousand if you want to.
The main things that impact on price are:
- The diamonds and/or gemstones you want to go into your design. You could spend as little as a few hundred dollars at one end of the scale, or tens of thousands at the other;
- The complexity of the design – which determines how much labour (manufacturing and setting) is required to make your ring and how much gold or platinum is needed;
- Which precious metal you choose. (At the moment there’s not a whole lot of difference between gold and platinum, but palladium is ridiculously expensive right now.); and
- Engraving (if that’s part of your design).
How much will the metal and manufacturing cost?
Depending on the metal, a simple engagement ring of average size will usually take around ten to 12 hours to make. Excluding the diamonds or gemstones, the starting prices for manufacturing and metal are:
- 9 carat (rose and yellow) gold, from $1,700;
- 9 carat white gold, from $1,825;
- 18 carat (rose or yellow) gold from $2,350; and
- Platinum and 18 carat white gold from $2,400.
For a more complicated design, expect to add anything from $400 to $2,000*. This covers any extra metal and more labour for things like setting more stones, saw-piercing, carving and engraving.
*As an example, a basic halo design with a simple open under-carriage would likely add $400. One with an intricate under-carriage and custom engraving could add up to $1,000. To this you need to add the cost of the diamonds or gemstones.
Here are some examples of Simple Ring Designs …
And here are some examples of what we would call Complex Ring Designs …
How much should you allow for diamonds and/or gemstones?
You can spend as little as a few hundred dollars on gemstones and diamonds or you can spend more than the cost of the average house. It really depends on what you want and how far your budget extends. Follow these links to learn more about the cost of diamonds and the cost of coloured gemstones.
Due to the volatility of the precious metal markets and international exchange rates, all prices are subject to change without notice
By the way, you can read more about engagement ring pricing in this blog post.
Wedding and commitment-style and rings
Simple half round or flat wedding or commitment bands are easier to price, even with minor variations like adding a beaten finish, matte finish or wire-brush finish.
The following table should give you a good guide if you know your size.
Visit our wedding ring pricing page to find your size and price your choice of simple ring design: https://www.ethicaljewels.com.au/classic-wedding-and-simple-band-rings/
Plain Handmade Wedding Ring Price Guide
Simple Wedding/Commitment Bands
Here are some examples of fitted wedding/commitment bands …
And here are some examples of what we would call complicated wedding/commitment-style bands …
By the way, more elaborate wedding or commitment rings are difficult to price. There are so many variables with design and the cost of manufacturing and materials.
The rings you see above each cost several thousand dollars. They can often be modified to suit your budget and preferences.
The best thing to do is ask us for a quote if you have something like one of these in mind.
Due to the volatility of the precious metal markets and international exchange rates, all prices detailed above are subject to change without notice
Engraving is a lovely way to add a unique dimension to your design.
It can ‘bling up’ an otherwise plain design and will totally transform a ring.
We also do simple things like include a personal message on the inside of the ring.
How much does engraving cost?
- Prices start at $30 for adding the (numerical) date to the inside of the ring;
- Engraving wedding rings on the outside face is usually $100 – $350 depending on the complexity of the design;
- To engrave three sides of a ring (outside face and edges), prices start at around $400; and
- Highly detailed and precise micro engraving (done under a microscope) is priced on application.
Within reason, the possibilities are endless
- words on the inside
- full band engraving
- part band engraving
Diamond Price Guide
Diamond prices vary dramatically. This is dependent on diamond type (origin and colour) as well as size, shape and quality grading.
You can choose from:
- Argyle colourless (white) diamonds
- Argyle champagne and cognac diamonds
- Argyle pink and blue diamonds
- Ellendale yellow diamonds
- Recycled modern diamonds
- Vintage (certified post-consumer) diamonds
- Laboratory-created diamonds
Colourless (white) diamonds
Half-carat Argyle round diamonds are available from $4,000 – $7,000 depending on their quality.
For a one carat Argyle round brilliant diamond you can expect to pay upwards of $12,000 for a great looking G Si1. Exceptional colour and clarity options (such as D VVS1) could be as much as $30,000. However, it is not necessary to spend this much. If you have your heart set on an Argyle diamond, you can find a stunning option under $20,000. Larger diamonds are POA.
For recycled modern diamonds (GIA certified ‘Excellent to Very Good’, D – G colour) expect half carat round diamonds to be priced from $2,800 to $4,500 and one carat from $9,000. 1.5 carats from $20,000.
Vintage diamonds are usually found in interesting old cuts and ‘higher’ (off white or creamy) colours. They do have a limited availability. Prices can start at around $2,000 for a half-carat stone and from $7,000 for an I colour around one to 1.10 carats. H colours (and higher) usually from $9,500. Larger diamonds are subject to availability and priced according to colour, quality and shape.
By contrast, Lab-created diamonds are usually around two-thirds the price of mainstream mined diamonds. A good quality half carat round is currently from $1,200 – $2,000 and a one carat mostly from $4,700 to $7,000. 1.50 carat round from $10,000 and the popular cushion cuts from $8,000.
Diamonds that are not colourless (or ‘white’) – are grouped together as ‘fancy colours’.
Those at the brown end of the scale (champagne and cognac colours) tend to be less expensive. For instance, Argyle Cognac diamonds of various shapes start at $1,500 for a half-carat. A one carat Argyle Cognac diamond will price from $4,500.
The Ellendale mine has now ceased operations and yellow diamonds are in limited supply. They are currently similar in price to white Argyle diamonds.
Pink diamonds are a luxury item. Pinks over a certain size are often bought as investments as (historically at least) their value rises every year*. The Argyle mine, where most of the world’s supply is found, is expected to run out sometime around 2020. It’s reasonable to expect the prices for pink diamonds will only increase thereafter.
(*NB: This is not intended as investment advice. It is an observation of the trending of pink diamond prices. If you are interested in diamonds and gemstones as investment vehicles, you should speak with a suitably experienced investment adviser.)
Tiny, 1mm diameter pink accent diamonds can start at $800 each. Larger, good quality pink diamonds can be on par with luxury car prices. Larger ones still can easily cost more than a house.
Please note, the prices above are a guide only
They are subject to change with currency (and other) fluctuations. Current as at 27th September, 2019 with the Australian dollar @ $US0.67
Gemstone Price Guide
As it is with diamonds, we can really only give you a meaningful indication of price once we know what it is you want and what sort of budget you have to work with.
And just as we do with our diamond ring customers, we tend to work out what the metal and manufacturing cost will be first so we can work out how much of your budget is left to spend on the gemstone/s you want.
Prices for gemstones vary wildly depending on type, size and quality.
Common gemstone varieties (like Amethyst and Aquamarine for example) are relatively inexpensive. Likewise you might pay only tens of dollars for small, locally produced sapphires.
At the other end of the scale you can easily pay tens of thousands of dollars for larger, exotic and high quality gems like Ethiopian emeralds and genuine Russian Alexandrite.
In fact, some gemstones (like high quality natural rubies) are more expensive by weight than fine quality diamonds.
Then throw lab-created gems into the mix and that makes things even more complicated.
Most of our customers spend somewhere between $1,200 and $4,000 for good quality gemstones (most often Queensland or NSW blue or parti sapphires), but we can easily source much higher quality and more expensive ethically-sourced gemstones is that’s what you’re after.
The best thing to do is contact us to discuss what you want and how that will fit into your budget.
To learn more about natural and lab-created gemstones, click here.
As our customers come to us from all over Australia, the design process is usually conducted via email. This consists of a combination of sharing ideas, images, rough sketches and written descriptions. The process takes as long as it needs to. This (and our advice) is free of charge.
Once you have accepted a formal quote and paid a deposit, we can produce a 3D, computer rendered image of the piece you’ve commissioned to confirm we’re all on the same page.
One design render (and minor variations) is part of the service
Typically we’ll produce renders like the ones you see here so you can get a good idea of what your finished ring will look like.
Additional designs incur a small fee
Creating a 3D render of a ring design is a time consuming process, but we’re happy to do it to make sure you get what you imagined.
But because it is so time consuming, we normally only create a render once the design is 90+% agreed and a deposit has been paid.
If you would like additional designs that are quite different to the original agreed design, they carry a small fee of $145 per render set.
Valuations aren’t essential, but they’re very useful for insurance purposes. They provide an independent record of the replacement value of your jewellery piece.
Sadly, over the years, several of our customers have had us replace their lost rings – one even destroyed hers in a push bike accident. Insurance is a good idea. It can simply be a matter of adding specific items to your home and contents policy (be sure to insure it as a ‘portable valuable’).
Independent valuations are usually $65 per piece (inc. GST).
Postage and transit insurance
Australia Post, postage and transit insurance for handmade rings is free of charge within Australia. For high value items (up to $35,000) Brinks courier is offered. This is charged at their cost price.
Pick up is available for Brisbane residents by appointment.
We do not post outside of Australia unless there are exceptional circumstances.
All rings or ring sets come with a beautiful, sustainable timber ring box.
Pendants and other significant pieces of jewellery get a timber presentation box too!
Ready to start designing the perfect ring or other jewellery piece?
If you’re ready to get started, give us a call or drop us a line. We’d love to help you turn your ideas into reality.