U.S. Markets closed

Top 5 Considerations When Buying An Engagement Ring

·8 min read

There’s no way around it -- Things are going really well, and you’re thinking about popping the question. If you’ve come this far, you likely have some questions of your own. How much should I spend? Where should I shop for an engagement ring? How much do diamonds cost? What about jewelry insurance? How do I find her ring size? We’ll cover all of this to help give you more confidence as you embark on one of life’s greatest, most important journeys.

Insuring An Engagement Ring

Before you buy an engagement ring, think about insurance and what you’ll need to consider in order to adequately cover perils such as loss, theft, damage, or mysterious disappearance. We’re starting with insurance because, as soon as money exchanges hands with the jeweler, the ring is yours, meaning it’s your sole responsibility to make sure the ring is properly insured. Anything can happen once you leave the store.

Since most engagement rings tend to cost a considerable amount of money, it’s important to select the right coverage for your situation. While there are several ways of insuring an engagement ring, not all insurance is worth buying. If you’re spending several thousand dollars on an engagement ring, especially more than $3,000, consider specialized jewelry insurance coverage. A specialized jewelry insurer, separate from your homeowners or renters insurance carrier, can offer more comprehensive coverage and give you peace of mind in the event you’d ever need to file an insurance claim. Most homeowners policies have a deductible and cap jewelry replacement values as low as $5,000, sometimes lower (check your policy for exact coverage), while a specialized carrier will cover you dollar-for-dollar in most situations. Plus, specialized jewelry insurance is generally great value, since the annual premiums typically run a mere 1-2% of the total item value. A company we recommend is BriteCo, which offers replacement-only policies covering up to 125% of the appraised value of the ring with zero deductible, and your fiance can automatically be added to the policy without additional hoops to jump through.

Click here to read Benzinga's review of BriteCo

Regardless of how you choose to insure the engagement ring, make sure your jeweler provides you with a jewelry appraisal. This will indicate the exact specifications of the engagement ring, and provide the insurance company with a replacement value. It’s worth noting that if you insure with BriteCo, your policy will always be kept up-to-date protecting you from running the risk of becoming underinsured. If you choose a different carrier, it’s smart to have the ring appraised by a jeweler every few years to keep up with market changes in things like gold, silver, diamond and gemstone values.

Side note: Over 2,000 U.S.-based jewelers have partnered with BriteCo, with more being added daily. You should ask your jeweler if they can give you a BriteCo appraisal when you purchase your engagement ring.

How Much Should You Spend

Buying an engagement ring in 2021 is a lot different than buying an engagement ring back in the day. Traditionally, guys would spend up to three months' salary on an engagement ring. While some guys still honor this time-tested rule, most don’t, and that’s totally OK. That’s because of two reasons: First, the cost of rings has gone up considerably over the past several decades, and secondly, most people simply can’t afford to spend that much money, especially if they’re just starting out in the workforce or building for their financial future.

According to insurance data from BriteCo, the average amount guys spent buying an engagement ring in 2020 exceeded $7,900. Depending on the type of stone, setting, metal type, and other factors, you could spend a lot more, or a lot less than that amount. We’ll cover some of the cost variables later on in this article.

It’s important to note that in most cases, jewelry is considered an investment, but it doesn’t negate the fact that it’s still a considerable expense, especially since financing a ring is much different than any other major purchase.

Choosing A Jeweler

When shopping for the perfect engagement ring, it’s important to consider that she’ll want something that’s unique. There’s nothing worse for a young woman than running into a colleague, co-worker, or classmate that has the same ring as she does. Lucky for you, there are nearly 20,000 jewelers in the United States. If your girlfriend hasn’t dropped any subtle hints on a ring she likes, or where she’s been window shopping for engagement rings, at least you’ll have plenty of jewelry stores to choose from. You may be tempted to check out a major mall jewelry store chain or prominent online retailer. Keep in mind that these bigger retailers tend to carry the same designs across their stores, meaning the risk she’ll run into someone else with the same ring is higher than if you shop your local jeweler.

READ MORE: 5 Misconceptions About Home Insurance vs. Specialized Jewelry Insurance

Most independent jewelers carry a wide variety of rings, whether custom designs as well as some designer product lines. What’s more, many independent jewelers are adopting eCommerce, meaning you can purchase an engagement ring from their online store without going to the store. A custom-designed engagement ring may also be a good option. Custom jewelers will work with you throughout the design process at a relatively similar price point to a store-bought piece.

How Much Do Diamonds Cost?

Diamonds usually dictate the final cost of an engagement ring, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We can’t talk about diamonds without mentioning “The Four C’s” - cut, color, clarity, and carat size. The cut of a diamond, in layman’s terms, refers to both its shape and how well the diamond cutter manufactured the diamond from it’s natural, rough form. Some popular cuts are Princess, Asscher, Cushion, Oval, Radiant, Round, and many others. A “Fancy” cut diamond is usually a shape, such as a heart-shaped diamond.

A diamond’s clarity is dictated by how many small imperfections are present in the stone. Most diamonds present very well on the hand, even if they happen to have minor inclusions that will only typically be seen under very close inspection under magnification. The highest grade diamonds have very few, or no inclusions. Color refers to the shade of diamond. Lower grade diamonds may appear more ‘yellowish’ against a white background, while higher grade diamonds appear more colorless and ‘whiter.’ The more colorless, the higher the cost. Carat size refers to the physical dimensions (or weight) of the diamond. Typically speaking, the larger the stone, the more it will cost.

Side note: Over the past several years, while they only account for around 5% of the total diamond market, so-called “lab grown” or “lab created” diamonds are becoming more popular, especially on the lower-end of the marketplace. While they are often marketed as conflict-free alternatives to mined stones, they look identical and cost significantly less than the ‘real’ thing. Reputable jewelers often provide certificates for the diamonds they sell, and the origin of the stone will be indicated on this certificate. In rare instances where a certificate isn’t available, the jeweler can still test whether a diamond is natural or lab-created.

Stone origin matters significantly when it comes to your investment. While a mined diamond will maintain its value, lab-created stones sharply depreciate over time.

Finding Out Her Ring Size

If you don’t want to be blunt and just ask her what her ring size is (which would also raise suspicion and totally blow your cover), there are several ways you can find out what her ring size is without her knowing. One of the easiest ways to find out her ring size is to find a ring she already owns, “borrow” it, and take it with you to the jewelry store where they can measure it. Just make sure it’s a ring she wears on her ring finger. If she wears it on a different finger, just tell your jeweler. The second easiest option would be to ask her friends. Make sure you ask in confidence, as not to ruin the surprise. If they don’t know her ring size, they may know whether she’s been browsing rings. If you know where she’s been window shopping, call the jeweler and ask if she’s been in. Jewelers keep very detailed notes, and they’re used to being contacted by suspecting boyfriends. They’ll be happy to help you! If all of this fails, you could sneak a ‘creeper pic’ of her hands. Jewelers can often accurately guess a ring size just from a picture.

Our Take

Buying an engagement ring is a highly personal and intimate process with many variables, all leading to the same outcome: The proposal. There are many styles, cuts, and price points. Consider the origin of the diamond(s) and make a smart investment.

Choose the ring in your budget that she’ll fall in love with.

Once you purchase the ring, chances are it will become a part of your combined assets once you’re married, meaning that it must be insured right away, and will require continuous coverage as long as you own it.

If you have already purchased an engagement ring, or have other jewelry you need to insure, get an instant quote using the widget below.

See more from Benzinga

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.