Setting a budget for the engagement ring isn't as stressful as you might think.
Historically, 'De Beers' dominated the industry of mining and trading diamonds and are well known for their marketing strategies. Famously, in the Great Depression of the 1930's when the price of diamonds collapsed, in an effort to increase sales, they marketed the idea that a man should spend 2-months salary on an engagement ring and this became the precedent.
However, this 'rule of thumb' is not necessarily the best etiquette as the idea has no real sentimental meaning – it was simply based around very clever marketing. So, if there are no rules, how much should you spend?
Setting the budget is completely dependent on your lifestyle and personal choice. Everyone has different salaries, expenses and priorities. As a couple, you may be saving for a new house or car or you might just prefer to splash out on the honeymoon. Whatever position you're both in at the moment, talk to your fiancé and find out what's most important to you both and order your priorities together.
There's no technical right or wrong way to go about it, just be prepared to compromise and ultimately come to an agreement that you and your fiancée feel comfortable with. Keep in mind, there are a range of beautiful and perfectly suitable engagement rings to suit all budgets.
Take the pressure off and see an experienced jeweller that will go through a consultation with you, rather than a sales process. Consultants will understand your needs and concerns and will work to your budget, showing you the best available options within your price range.
They should recommend options to you to suit your budget. Halo rings for example are set with smaller diamonds surrounding a bigger centre stone. Rather than a single elaborate sparkly diamond, you can find rings with smaller multiple diamonds that offer equal sparkle and shine but come at a more affordable price.
It's easy to be swayed by all of the beauty and glamour of expensive diamond rings, so make sure you stick to your guns with whatever price you've set, perhaps allowing yourself 10 per cent flexibility.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the first ring doesn't have to be the 'forever ring.' The first ring that you propose with is always sentimental and meaningful; however there are no rules against upgrading it in the future if you both want to.
Don't feel disheartened in settling for a slightly smaller ring that suits your current budget, just picture yourself in a few years, being able to give her the ring you imagined to give her now. Think of it this way – she will be swept off her feet by the proposal, so save the surprise of a more elaborate ring for one of your anniversaries in the future.
There's even a chance that she will love her first ring so much that she won't want to replace it at all.