Tis the season of mangoes, Michael Bublé Christmas tunes and… marriage proposals. Because engagement season is here people, there’s about to be an onslaught of ring-selfies (or Relfies) on Instagram.
If you’ve ever thought about getting engaged, then you’ve probably wondered how much your betrothed should dish out for the ring. Unfortunately for the proposer these days, navigating this financial conundrum can be tricky and downright exhausting.
Lauren Chang-Sommer, Co-Founder of Moi Moi Fine Jewellery, has been helping couples choose their special bling-a-ling for over a decade.
Lauren says, “During this time I have seen a huge shift in the size of centre stones that brides are choosing. For instance, in the mid 2000’s everyone wanted a 1 carat engagement ring. Today however, engagement rings are very commonly 1.50 carats or 2 carats. That’s a very big change in bride’s expectations.”
So couples are choosing bigger rocks, but how much are they actually spending these days? Do the age-old rules of the engagement ring still apply? To help answer this question, Lauren takes a look at some of the most prevailing myths when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring:
Myth #1: One to Three Months’ Salary
Thanks to decades of aggressive, multifaceted marketing, diamonds have been transformed into the ultimate symbol of love (remember that little slogan, A Diamond is Forever?). The industry then went on to circulate clever materials suggesting that an engagement ring should cost one months’ salary. When the marketing ploy worked like a charm, the cost was upped to two months’ salary via a new campaign in the 80s.
But how many people actually follow this ‘age-old’ rule today? The answer is not many. For brides today, wedding tradition is not what it used to be and couples are doing things their own way. Put this rule in the bin, along with bouquet tossing and tin cans tied to the car.
Myth #2: Bigger means more expensive
Thanks to social media and celebs like Kim K and Beyonce, rocking big bling is definitely in vogue. Women are finding images of rings that are 2 carats or more, and when they finally go searching in stores their budget is blown out to $20K to $30K. So many couples are then stuck to find the design they originally wanted within their budget and they look to alternatives such as coloured stones, and unfortunately this is leaving a trail of people who aren’t entirely happy with the ring they end up with.
But savvy shoppers are beginning to realise that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive. And that’s because gems such as Moissanite are starting to take centre stage on the jewel market. Moissanite is a jewel that is indistinguishable to diamond and even has similar chemical properties to diamond, but it comes at a fraction of the price. For example, a one carat Moissanite jewel retails for $600 and is 95% cheaper than a diamond of the equivalent grade. The increasing popularity of jewels such as Moissanite is changing tradition when it comes to what is considered normal for engagement rings.
Myth #3: Spend the ‘Average’ Cost
There isn’t a great deal of research available to indicate how much Aussies spend on their engagement ring, however according to The Knot (US), men spend on average $5,978 (around $7,700 AUD). That means spending on rings is at an all-time high, and you should carefully consider if the ‘average’ cost is actually right for you.
Myth #4: The more expensive the ring the happier the couple
If you have cash to splash, then why not? But if purchasing an exxy ring will leave you in crippling debt, then hear this.
Recent research from Emory University in the US found that the more expensive the ring, the rockier the marriage may be. The economics professors surveyed 3,000 US adults who had been married at some point in their lives and found that participants who spent large sums of money on engagement rings and/or their weddings, were more likely to end up divorced.
Another study examined the link between financial anguish and divorce, finding that the most common reason for a marriage’s end is financial stress, and those who began their journey fighting about money had a much higher chance of splitting in the end.
Myth #5: Follow the rules
If we’ve noticed anything change in the engagement ring game over the past decade, it’s that couples are making their own rules. Today it’s less about keeping up with the Joneses (i.e. watching what other people spend on things like cars and holidays), and more about what’s right for the couple. It doesn’t hurt that so many couples are choosing the ring together these days, so the purchase more often fits into a larger, mutual consideration of their financial situation together.
To find more information about Moi Moi Fine Jewellery or to view the new SUPERNOVA Moissanite range visit www.moimoi.com.au
Images from Teresa and Paul’s wedding. Photography by Michael Segal Photography