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In One Chart: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged — how much should you spend on an engagement ring?

November 27
19:05 2017

Britain’s Prince Harry and his girlfriend actress Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games in Toronto last September. They announced their engagement Monday.

Britian’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the U.S. actress, announced their engagement Monday.

No doubt, he will want a ring that is not outshone by the ring his older brother, Prince William gave his Kate Middleton before they were married in 2011. Prince Harry used diamonds from a broach that belonged to his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, according to some media reports. Kate Middleton’s engagement ring belonged to Diana, and has 14 solitaire diamonds, a 2-carat royal blue Ceylon sapphire set in an 18-karat gold band.

When it comes to engagement rings, Americans are cheap or thrifty. Some 36% of people say couples should spend at least $ 1,000 on an engagement ring and 19% say you should spend between $ 1,000 and $ 2,999, according to a survey of more than 5,000 people by personal finance site GoBankingRates.com. However, 45% said you should spend more than that. In fact, a large portion of those believe money should be no object.

Most Americans agreed with the more conservative estimates, but there’s a big difference between what men and women expect someone to buy. Spending $ 2,345 was appropriate amount for an engagement ring on average, the “American Express Spending & Saving Tracker” survey of over 1,850 people concluded. But women said $ 2,731 was an appropriate amount to spend, while men believed that $ 1,991 was more appropriate.

In reality, however, people are spending far more on rings, at least those who use wedding organizers and wedding websites. (They may be more likely to spend more than a couple who go it alone.) Men are spending more on the ring than ever—$ $ 6,351, up 25% from $ 5,095 in 2011—a 2017 survey of 14,000 U.S. adults who are engaged or recently married. The study, by wedding website The Knot, also found that most women know how much her husband spent on the ring.

Only spend much as you can (a) afford or (b) think is prudent. Just because you can afford to spend nearly $ 6,000 on an engagement ring, doesn’t mean you should. But if the advertising and movie industries didn’t create a series of ads promoting diamonds as a girl’s best friend for engagements, what person or institution issued a decree that meant all men must buy diamonds? The Dalai Lama? The pope? Emily Post? Oprah? God? There is no definitive or infallible source.

Diamond rings are a relatively recent phenomenon. The social expectation for engagement rings was actually created by jewelry and diamond companies in the first half of the 20th century, and it later became a tradition in movies. Giving a diamond ring to mark an engagement goes back to the “A Diamond is Forever” campaign by the DeBeers diamond company, which trademarked the sentiment. It was written by copywriter Frances Gerety in 1947.

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