The engagement and the wedding are full of traditions, rules of etiquette and rules of all kind. But strangely enough there is no rule that dictates how much to spend on an engagement ring.

Two months’ salary?

The engagement rings know very little traditions because they are a fairly recent phenomenon. The origin is even not as romantic as you might think. An engagement ring was the last centuries a rare gift, even for the elite. The idea that every loving husband goes on his knee and lit up a ring was just conceived in the thirties by the marketers of De Beers, a cartel that deals in diamonds. They created a whole new market. Their advice: an engagement ring includes a diamond, which may cost one month salary. Their vision was successfully. Around the eighties, men went to diamond traders worldwide and that was the signal for De Beers to increase the price significantly. Their ads were titled: “Two months’ salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future would be like.”

British vs. Americans

Did also this marketing campaign become a success? How much do we have to pay for an engagement ring these days? British insurer Liverpool Victoria recently looked at hundreds of orders and got to an average of 1500 euros, which is equivalent to three weeks’ pay for most of us. Americans dig deeper into their pockets. According to consultancy Bain & Company, a loving American pays double: a half month salary.

But behind those hard numbers, there is a much softer truth. You can see an engagement ring as an investment, one of a very special kind. It is no investment that can be expressed in euro. It’s an investment in love. Try to put a price on that…

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