At Trumpet & Horn, we love all things related to engagement and marriage—from the tiniest details of calligraphy to the vows recited on your wedding day, we believe it all matters. Marriage is a significant milestone in every person’s life; it’s a promise of unconditional loyalty and fidelity to one another, and it deserves all the attention it receives.
The first step towards marriage is engagement. Planning the proposal and choosing the perfect engagement ring are two fundamental parts of the journey towards marriage and should be given a considerable amount of thought.
Even after deciding on cut, color, carat, and clarity of a ring, it is important to remember that every ring has something unique and special to offer—and you need to find the right one that speaks to your lady’s individual style and personality.
Since every ring is priced according to the quality of the stones and metal, there is no universally reasonable price for an engagement ring. Unfortunately, there is no steadfast rule for the amount of money you should spend on an engagement ring—that decision should be entirely personal. The most important thing to remember when you’re shopping is to find a unique design that accurately captures the essence of your relationship and is within your budget!
To help young professionals trying to decide on the perfect engagement ring, consider the myths below.
Myth #1: The Salary Rule
This rule was once the norm to help a man decide on a reasonable price for an engagement ring. The salary rule stipulates that a man should spend three months’ pay—or one quarter of his entire yearly salary—on an engagement ring.
Hypothetically, if a man makes $80,000 a year, the ring he purchases should cost him $20,000 after taxes. In that sense, does this mean a man who earns $400,000 a year should purchase a $100,000 diamond? Given inflation, market legislation, and other economic shifts, this rule no longer fairly stipulates the cost of a ring. We also think it’s asking A LOT for someone to spend 25% of their earnings on a ring!
Myth #2: The Age Rule
This rule dictates that the man should buy a ring whose size is equivalent to the age of the woman he plans to marry. For example, if a man proposes to a 26 year old woman, he should purchase a 2.6 carat engagement ring. While the average age of engagement is between 23 to 35, many people marry at a later age. For those who marry or re-marry at 50, 60, or even 70, their ring will considerably affect the wedding budget. A ring over 4 carats is not a reasonable price for an engagement ring for new couples!
Myth #3: The Beauty Rule
Perhaps the most bogus of all, this rule suggests that the caliber of ring should reflect the fiancé’s physical attraction. According to this rule, every man who plans to propose must first express the extent of his girlfriend’s beauty. If a man tells his girlfriend that she is the most beautiful woman in the entire world, he then must set out to buy her the most beautiful ring in the world.
Since beauty is an ever-changing, personal description, it’s impossible to properly gauge which ring represents the allure of a specific woman. Instead, focusing on finding the ring that represents the fiance’s personality and unique individuality is a newer trend in engagement ring selections.
The Modern Misconception
In reality, there are no rules or reliable formulas when deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring. The sentimental value of the ring is far more important than its carat weight or the numbers on its price tag.
It is a common and unfortunate misconception that the size and price of the diamond in a woman’s engagement ring directly correlates to the extent of a man’s love for her. We think engagement ring selection is an incredibly personal process and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else’s experience. At the end of the day, it’s just the two of you riding off into the sunset, so make sure you find a ring that SHE will cherish forever, not a ring that will only impress her friends and family.
Prior to the 1930s, proposing to a woman with a diamond engagement ring was not the norm. In fact, it was actually considered respectful for a man to find a reasonable price for an engagement ring, rather than stretching his wallet thin.
The infatuation with diamond engagement rings was created by the advertising campaign of the De Beers diamond company in the United Kingdom. The De Beers’ successful marketing strategies— celebrity endorsements, romantic TV ads, and an insistence that “diamonds are forever”—stole the hearts of young women throughout America and helped establish a salary-to-spending formula that inextricably linked the diamond to an engagement ring.
At the start of the campaign, a single month’s salary was considered standard for suggested ring quota in the U.S., but by the 1980s, it had grown to two months’ salary. Today, three months’ salary is the supposed standard. Diamonds and the commitment that engagement rings represent are now permanently embedded in the Western mindset.
Personalized and Unique
Even if you look at the price tag and think you’ve found a reasonable price for an engagement ring, you shouldn’t just buy it outright because the price is right.
Throughout the whole process, it is important not to lose sight of the intention of an engagement ring: to symbolize your commitment to love and support another person for the rest of your life. Often times, people think they want to find the biggest diamond they can afford. Instead, you should focus your efforts on the fine details of the ring itself and the way it captures the essence of your relationship. In reality, cost does not directly correlate to value. As you can tell, if you’re a young professional contemplating the perfect engagement ring for your fiancé-to-be, there are no hard and fast rules for picking the ideal ring.
For those struggling during the search for a reasonable price for an engagement ring, vintage engagement rings are fairly priced and unique, which is often the perfect symbol for the rarity of your relationship.
Trumpet & Horn’s Unique Engagement Rings
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some must-have styles and designs that you may want to consider as you begin your search.
Trumpet & Horn’s vintage-inspired Smokey Hill is a newly made pearl and opal engagement ring that mimics the original popular Victorian design from the 1800s. The handmade 18 karat, rose gold ring centers a prong set round opal, surrounded by a halo of twelve seed pearls.
Similarly, our timeless and vintage Art Deco Edelman is a platinum cocktail ring that highlights a sparkling center diamond with a uniquely shaped halo of 18 Old European Cut diamonds.
Trumpet & Horn’s unique Victorian era Golden Gate is a 14 karat yellow gold solitaire ring with a 0.51ct EGL certified Old Mine Cut diamond graded K color and SI2 clarity.
Dauphine from the Claire Pettibone Fine Jewelry Collection is a vintage-influenced ring, inspired by the gilded refinement of 18th century France. The 18 karat rose gold ring focuses on an oval, faceted red garnet with a deep scarlet hue in a four-prong setting. The red garnet is adorned with 14 bezel set, Round Brilliant Cut diamonds, adding an extra 0.12 carats to the weight of the ring.
Kitty Hawk, the epitome of 1940s era engagement rings, combines the classic solitaire style with the modernity of a matching wedding band. This 0.21 carat diamond is set in 14 karat white gold and is accompanied by two baguette cut diamonds along the shoulders of the ring. An additional three channel set, baguette cut diamonds are featured in the matching wedding band, and furnish you with two rings with the affordability of one—definitely a reasonable price for an engagement ring.
Lastly, the Rockwood is a Modern era, 14 karat, white gold ring that showcases a three prong set, 0.25 carat, rose pear cut diamond and is further accented by a pear shaped halo.
This list is by no means exhaustive, as Trumpet & Horn has a wide variety of rings with different styles and designs, many of them vintage-inspired from the Edwardian, Victorian, Retro, and Art Deco time periods.
Even once you’ve decided on a ring, there are still a number of other factors to consider when choosing your engagement ring—an important one is the source of your gem.
Destructive Metal and Gem Mining
Most mining practices can be extremely detrimental to the surrounding environment. Gold mining requires 20 tons of ore to produce enough gold for just one single ring, and is a leading cause of mercury poisoning nationwide. Additionally, gold mining poses a seriously dangerous risk for catastrophic cyanide spills. Unregulated gemstone mining devastates land, creates mining pits filled with contaminated water, and leads to soil erosion and deforestation.
In addition, many gemstones are simply synthetic byproducts of other stones. Morganite, for example, is a byproduct of beryl, which is better known as pink emerald.
Eco-Friendly and Ethical Sourcing
Going green and being ecologically friendly are trends gaining popularity with many young couples; and now, it applies to a number of new industries and practices. Eco-friendly engagement rings are produced using methods that have minimal impact on the environment and include recycled precious metals, responsibly sourced gemstones, antique rings, and lab-created diamonds. Often, if a ring is manufactured in an eco-friendly manner, you can find it at a reasonable price for an engagement ring.
Additionally, rings that are designed and manufactured in the USA help reduce your carbon footprint and are produced in accordance with U.S. labor and environmental laws. Unlike foreign gold and gemstone mining, rings sourced from the USA do not pose the threat for mercury poisoning, cyanide spills, land devastation, contaminated water, and deforestation. All of the vintage-inspired rings that we offer in our collection are handmade here in Los Angeles, using recycled metals and antique stones.
Furthermore, antique and vintage rings are the most eco-friendly options because they don’t require any new mining or impact on the environment.
Skyrocketing Housing Costs
Changes in employment and salaries directly influence increasing prices for housing. Due to the versatile structures of supply and income, the cost of housing in major cities has grown significantly. With fluctuating costs in mind, it is understandable that finding a reasonable price for an engagement ring is absolutely paramount for many.
In cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, home prices have dramatically shifted for the worse. In a recent report, the Census Bureau suggests that median home values adjusted for inflation have almost quadrupled since the first housing census in 1940.
As a direct result of these rising costs, it is predicted that struggling millennials will likely delay home ownership or engagement longer than the previous generations.
The Perfect Ring For You
These abundant factors mean that there isn’t a single, conclusive rule to finding an engagement ring that is perfect for everyone. We understand that engagement ring shopping can be a stressful process that takes a substantial amount of time, effort, research, and patience.
Trying to find an easier way to determine the perfect ring is a popular objective for many young people in the middle of engagement ring shopping. However, like everything else worthwhile, there is no simple solution to finding a reasonable price for an engagement ring.
A Worthwhile Investment
Ultimately, the ring you choose will differ based on the way you prioritize various aspects of the purchase. If possible, conduct research and aim to ensure that the ring you prefer has been manufactured in an ethically responsible manner.
A reasonable price for an engagement ring can add a considerable degree of sentimental value. Buying a ring at a responsible price leaves more money for the future, and that is a more solid promise for a happy relationship than a diamond ring could ever represent. A responsible investment in an engagement ring is the smart choice for your future.
If you’re looking for a reasonable price for an engagement ring, Trumpet & Horn has an extensive selection of styles and stones, each perfect for the different and unique priorities of an newly engaged couple. Find your dream ring today at Trumpet & Horn!