Have you ever wondered why engagement rings tend to be so much more blingy and expensive
than wedding bands? Surely the latter should be the ‘main event’ in terms of price and
fanciness? We have, too, so we decided to investigate to get to the bottom of things.
Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
The main reason that engagement rings are usually more expensive than wedding rings is that
they tend to contain at least one (often sizeable) diamond, along with other precious stones.
Intricate details such as pave or milgrain push up the price still further. Wedding rings tend to be
plainer in nature – usually a simple pave or metal band that sometimes contains several smaller
The average amount that a couple spends on an engagement ring in the US is between $1,000
and $5,000, whereas around $500 to $1,000 is spent on a wedding band – that’s a potentially
Many popular styles of engagement rings require significantly more metal than standard
wedding bands, which also contributes to the cost factor. Three-stone settings and halo designs
are just a couple of such engagement ring types. Plus, lots of couples choose engagement rings
made from particularly expensive metals, such as platinum or palladium.
Announcement to the World
Whereas the wedding bands are exchanged during the marriage ceremony itself, anengagement ring usually serves as the announcement to the world of the forthcoming weddingand the wearer’s new status as affianced. This is a key reason that engagement bands aretypically flashier than their wedding counterparts: they declare to the world the couple’s love ofand commitment to each other.
In all the excitement of the engagement, remember to ensure your sparkly new bling is covered
by your insurance. This is usually an easy task, though: often, renters insurance also covers
your engagement ring, so getting cover may be as simple as giving your existing insurance
provider a call.
A Whirlwind Tour of the History of Engagement Rings
The giving and wearing of engagement rings can be traced back to at least Ancient Roman
times. In the second century BC, Roman women were typically given two engagement rings: a
gold one to wear in public and an iron one to wear around the home while taking care of
The first reliably documented case of a diamond ring being given to signify an engagement was
in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a sparkler to Mary of Burgundy to mark their
betrothal. This kicked off a trend in which folk of a higher social class gave their beloved
diamond rings as a sign of status.
In the 1930s, the diamond company De Beers’ marketing campaigns had a huge influence on
the engagement ring-buying public: rather than just the very rich, diamond engagement rings
became the de-facto choice for the majority of couples getting engaged, and this remains the
Engagement Ring Traditions
There are plenty of traditions and superstitions around engagement rings, some more well-
known than others. For example, we all know that men are ‘supposed’ to get down on one knee
and present a ring to their partner to propose and that the amount spent on the ring should
reflect a certain proportion of the proposer’s salary. But are you aware of these engagement
ring traditions from around the world?
● In the UK and other parts of Western Europe, women are ‘allowed’ to propose to their
male partners on Leap Day – which falls once every four years, on February 29th.
● Engaged couples in Chile wear their engagement rings on the third finger of their right
hand before moving the rings to the left hand on the day of the wedding itself.
● In India, newly engaged women traditionally wear engagement rings called bichiya on
their toes – however many Indian women now choose to also wear an engagement ring
on their finger.
● It’s traditional in Thailand for prospective grooms to present their partner with gifts made
of gold to make their engagement – this includes the ring, which must be made of gold.
● Native American couples typically opt for engagement rings made of silver that
incorporate natural materials or semi-precious stones, such as red coral and turquoise.
● Claddagh style engagement rings are the traditional choice in Ireland: the design stands
for friendship, love, and loyalty.
The Takeaway: Changing Engagement Ring Trends
What’s the future for engagement ring style? There’s a growing trend for soon-to-be brides to
wear rings incorporating lab-grown (rather than natural) diamonds or that are set with alternative
precious stones, such as rubies. One thing’s for sure, though: this beloved item of wedding bling
will continue to be the sparkling main event – after all, it’s going to be the star of all those
exciting ‘he proposed!’ Facebook photos!