“That’s actually kind of a myth that people somehow still believe,” said Jamie Miles, editor of wedding planning website TheKnot.com.
“You might have a more subtle bride who wants something more petite and more demure,” Miles said.
A good way to gauge how much you may have to spend is to find out what kind of ring your would-be spouse is expecting. You could try asking friends and family, but these days it’s increasingly common to see couples browse jewelry stores together to remove the guesswork.
Last year, 64 percent of brides were involved in picking out their ring, while nearly a third helped decide the budget, according to a survey by The Knot.
That could be one reason the national average spent on an engagement ring, as well as diamond carat size, or weight, have been rising.
The average spent on an engagement ring grew 3 percent to $5,598 last year from a year earlier, according to TheKnot. That’s still down from 2009’s average of $5,861, however.
The average carat size for the center stone is just over 1 carat. The average total carat size for engagement rings, including any diamonds on the setting, is 2 carats, Miles said.
WEIGH PAYMENT OPTIONS?
You’ve had a look at the setting and diamonds (or other gemstones) that your beloved covets, and figured out which merchants offer the best price. The next step is to figure out how you will pay for the ring, as that can be a huge factor in how much ring you can afford.
If you can put off the proposal, it’s best to save up money to buy the ring with cash, said Gregg Wind, a certified public accountant in Los Angeles.
Otherwise, how much you can afford becomes a question of how much extra you’ll have to shell out overall if you finance the purchase, and how much you can pay per month while also meeting your other obligations.