Set in Stone

Set in Stone

Does size matter? Can you put a price on love? In the lead up to Valentine’s Day, Lucy Stephens gets the low down on engagement ring spend from some of Brisbane’s best jewellers.

By Lucy Stephens | 8th January 2014

When it comes to getting hitched, long gone are many of the age-old nuptial customs. It comes as no surprise then that many of the rituals surrounding the engagement have also changed to reflect the times.

While tradition suggests three month’s of the gentleman’s wage be spent on the ring, this is an outdated idea, says Monili Jewellers Brisbane Operations Manager Amelia Silva.

“It’s common banter between couples when price comes up, but it’s fair to say the ‘tradition’ is definitely gone,” she says.

“We’ve noticed customers spending on engagement rings varying between $5,000 and $55,000, but the average spend we’re seeing is around $8,000 to $15,000.”

“Couples these days mostly have discussed the idea of becoming engaged and have already worked out the price range that they are happy to spend.”

Hardy Brothers’ Chief Executive Stuart Bishop agrees. He says while customers still spend a decent amount on the ring, it’s more about getting bling for your buck.

“We see the average between $13,000 and $18,000,” he says. “Customers are more interested in getting a quality product and value for money,” he says.

So, does size matter?

“Most couples do want the biggest they can afford,” Amelia says.

“We are finding the most popular size is 1ct to 1.5ct.”

And when it comes to style, it appears the classic solitaire is still in favour, followed by custom creations.

“The most popular design is the round brilliant cut diamond; it’s a safe selection for a gent who wants to surprise.”

“Hardy Brothers is a pink Argyle Artelier so we get a lot of requests for pink diamonds as well,” Stuart says.

Craig McKim of McKims Jewellery Design in Milton specialises in custom jewellery, and says for his customers, it’s more about uniqueness in design than spend.

“Each client is unique and has different budgets, but most people spend upwards of $5,000,” he says.

“Our clients put value on the importance of individuality through the use of colour and shape; either by metal or stone selection.”

For those not sure where to start, Amelia offers some simple rules.

“Besides the four cs, the setting and the overall proportions of the ring are important. You can have the best diamond but some settings will not do it justice.

Have a band that complements the size of the diamonds being used and the hand size of the person it is being made for. Pick a setting that will expose maximum light through your stone and allow it to look feminine and elegant on your hand.”

But irrespective of size, gem type or style, it seems the most significant aspect is the meaning behind it.

“Most important to them is being involved in the process of design, as let’s face it - it’s their personal symbol of love – which is very rewarding for me to create, ” Says Craig.

Stuart agrees.

“I think that the best way is to do it all together – discuss the budget, design and gem qualities. Keep it magical, special and romantic!”

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Article by Lucy Stephens

Lucy Stephens is a Senior Digital Journalist and Content Strategist at Style Magazines. She's a travel addict, considers gelato an appropriate meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner (salted caramel, preferably), and suffers from a moderate to severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out).

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