What Matters Most When Engagement Ring Shopping? A Guide

Engagement rings are both powerful symbols of love and uniquely beautiful pieces that can be worn for a lifetime. They serve as an acknowledgment of the lifelong commitment you’re making and a nod to the qualities that characterize your relationship with the one you love.

With love as the focus, it might not be surprising to discover that most people pay little attention to designer engagement ring brands. Instead, according to a survey conducted by Diamond Nexus, the majority of today’s couples are more concerned with the style of the ring, its unique qualities, and the price.

If you’re on the fence about whether to put designer engagement ring brands first when choosing a ring, don’t fret. We’ve created this guide to walk you through the considerations—like cost, cut, and quality—that consumers say actually help them search for the perfect ring. 

Does Designer or Brand Really Matter?

First, let’s put this issue to rest: When searching for an engagement ring, should you first select a specific brand or designer and let their offerings dictate your choice?

While some may have particular reasons for staying loyal to a single purveyor, our survey results indicate how many people truly prioritize brands:

  • 19.4% of consumers report that brand is important when choosing an engagement ring.
  • 80.6% of consumers report that brand is not the most important factor when choosing a wedding band or engagement ring.

Brand influencing your choice can be a highly personal matter, but it’s easy to imagine why it doesn’t matter to some. Without a brand or designer name to narrow your choice, your options are unrestrained, allowing you to have your pick of style, diamond shape, and carat—and potentially at a better price.

How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

When the sparkle of the right ring catches your eye, some couples might be willing to set aside a significant chunk of change, knowing it’s the one. For certain people, paying more simply makes sense in the context of the purchase. Ideally, after all, an engagement ring will last decades.

However, surveys showed that exactly how much a consumer is willing to spend could range quite a bit:

  • 30.1% of participants reported they’d prefer to pay less than $1,500
  • 30.7% said they’d choose a ring priced between $1,501-3,000
  • 14.9% said they’d aim to spend between $3,001-$5,000
  • 24.4% said they were willing to pay more than $5,000

Still, time and budget can also be essential factors when you’re weighing an engagement ring purchase. When asked if they would delay buying the perfect engagement ring if it was outside of their budget, 52.4% of consumers said they would wait until they could afford it, whereas just 35.7 said they would look for a less expensive option.

For some consumers, however, budget may not be as influential as finding the right ring. In our survey, 11.9% said they would purchase the ring anyway, even if budget constrictions applied.

When Choosing an Engagement Ring, What Factors Actually Matter?

As a whole, this data shores up the idea that people care more about the factors that contribute to a perfect choice than sticking to a prescribed budget or brand. But what are the factors that define the perfect wedding band or engagement ring in terms of quality, characteristics and the power to dazzle?

Let’s examine how they stack up.

Quality is the Winning Feature

As you weigh the plethora of shining, sparkling, enchanting eternity wedding bands or engagement rings available, it may take some time to truly define your priorities. This is perfectly normal—after all, it’s an important decision. But if our survey shows anything, it’s that consumers overwhelmingly rely on one factor to choose a ring—its quality.

  • Quality – 41% of responders answered that the quality of the ring was their top consideration. For these consumers, longevity may also be at the forefront—perhaps encouraging them to pay more for a style and quality of ring they know will stand up to the test of time.
  • Price – Just 21.2% said price was most important. As we saw above, however, budget can still play a role in whether a consumer decides to wait on their purchase or simply find an alternative.
  • Style – 19.4% of consumers said style was most important when choosing a diamond alternative. For this group, choosing a one-of-a-kind piece is one way to celebrate the uniqueness of their relationship. 
  • Sustainability – Finally, 10.1% answered that sustainability was most important. This result may reflect the increasing focus on sustainable priorities among consumers, who care more about a brand’s values and its impact than ever. 

For Some, Cut Can Shape the Choice

Shopping for engagement rings is not a popularity contest—it’s about finding the ring that feels just right, represents your love and meets your desires. But for some, the cut of a ring can play a substantial role in the decision.

When we asked consumers what gemstone or diamond shape or cut they’d select if they only had one choice, we found that:

  • 29.6% said round 
  • 24.5% said princess
  • 22.5% said emerald
  • 16.5% said oval
  • 5.2% said cushion

It makes sense that, even with so many options, some people simply know what shape they want. It’s not uncommon to familiarize yourself with ring shapes and styles when an engagement is imminent—preferences you may later share with your partner. 

Among the 4Cs, Clarity Takes the Cake

The right shape, the right price and the right quality—what else could matter in an alternative diamond engagement ring ? As it turns out, the 4Cs—clarity, cut, carat and color—can also factor in. The degree to which they matter, however, can vary just as much as other elements:

  • Clarity, or the number of imperfections visible within the different types for stones for rings, stands out as the winner here, with 30.4% of consumers saying it figures into their choice the most. Perhaps this is because, rather than value, consumers are looking for a engagement ring they can deem perfect in every way.
  • Cut can be a significant feature for the appearance of a ring, influencing the potential for sparkle and fire. For gemologists, this is often viewed as the most important feature for that reason. For consumers, however, it ranks second to clarity, with 23.9% saying it impacted their choice.
  • Carat is the weight of a stone and one of the elements that impacts price the most. Interestingly, just 22.8% of buyers rate carats as their top priority. This indicates that consumers today are less interested in the size of their rock than the overall composition, prioritizing individuality and uniqueness instead.
  • Color was the deciding factor for just 22.9%. While color can affect a diamond’s price as well, being open to different grades of colors could allow consumers to choose more affordable options.

Luckily for you, our Nexus Diamond™ alternatives don’t limit you to one. In fact, our diamond alternatives are made to imitate the look and wear of real diamonds, at a fraction of the cost. In the market for clarity that is internally flawless, D color, with ideal cuts? Shop our collection today at Diamond Nexus. 

Find the Perfect Engagement Ring with Diamond Nexus

As our survey shows, today’s buyers are making increasingly sophisticated decisions and considering a myriad of factors like cut and color to choose rings that feel as exceptional as their partnerships.

However, the confidence people have in choosing a ring for their partner plays less of a role today than you might expect. When asked if responders were concerned that their partner may not like the engagement ring they chose, 75.7% answered no, while just 24.3% answered yes.

Given the incredible array of diamond alternatives now available, consumers may simply know they’re empowered with plenty of choices—including affordable options in the perfect combination of quality, clarity and price.

At Diamond Nexus, we know you’re looking for an engagement ring unlike any other. We can help you find a stunning diamond ring alternative that suits your unique personality and style—and meets all the qualities you’re looking for, no matter how you rank them. 

Check out our collection today to learn more about our superior Nexus Diamond alternatives.

Sources: 

Diamond Nexus. The 4Cs of the Diamond Quality Scale. https://www.diamondnexus.com/blog/4cs-of-the-diamond-quality-scale/#:~:text=These%20characteristics%20are%20known%20as,Institute%20of%20America%20(GIA)

National Jeweler. The Average Amount Spent on an Engagement Ring Is … https://www.nationaljeweler.com/articles/2128-the-average-amount-spent-on-an-engagement-ring-is 

​​McKinsey. In fine jewelry and watches, sustainability shines through. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/in-fine-jewelry-and-watches-sustainability-shines-through 

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