How much should this cost?
June 6, 2005 11:57 PM   Subscribe

How much should I expect to pay for my wedding rings? Just doing some preliminary research in regards to the rings, I've already found a range of prices, both far below and above what I expected to be charged for these. Has anyone had any recent experience with this? What can I expect? Is there a significant price difference between in-store and online ring shopping?
posted by Jon-o to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
I got two gold rings, one with comfort fitting, for under $300 (about 280, I think). I don't know if this is low or high, but I had read in the local paper that the store had good prices. They definitely had terrific service. Gilden's Jewelers in New Haven, CT, if anyone is in the area.

What was the range you found?
posted by jb at 2:14 AM on June 7, 2005

The most significant price difference, as I understand it, is between new and used rings. Everyone buys new, so used rings are almost worthless, even though the diamonds may be bigger and cost thousands, and jewellers can customise the fit. (It's also to do with how diamonds are worthless, their price artificially propped up by a cartel, while the second-hand rings are beyond the reach of the racketeering).
posted by -harlequin- at 3:48 AM on June 7, 2005

I got us 2 titanium rings for $200. I avoided the big chain stores and ended up finding them in a small jewelry store/art gallery.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:40 AM on June 7, 2005

We just bought two yellow-gold rings - one set with diamonds around the circumference, one plain - for about 600 GBP.

From what I've seen looking (surreptitiously!) through my fiancee's wedding magazines, they suggest that you spend whatever you feel comfortable with - but ensure that you don't forsake getting a ring that you'd really love just because it's a bit more expensive... you'll have that ring on for (hopefully) the rest of your life, and you won't want to regret which one you get.

(For what it's worth, the mag suggested about 1500 GBP for both rings, based on a total wedding cost of 10000 GBP... a bit much IMO!)
posted by Chunder at 5:11 AM on June 7, 2005

My husband's ring was $US280 and mine was $90. White gold. We bought ours online and were completely happy with them.

My (male) friend's ring was $US1300, and his wife's was $500. Both platinum. The range in prices is amazing.
posted by gaspode at 5:30 AM on June 7, 2005

We ended up where we never thought we would, which is to say a chain store in a mall. Frankly, the middle-aged lady who helped us in the store made the sale. I don't know if we bought something hook, line, and sinker or not, but we got my solitaire for about $1500.00. It's just over 1/2 carat (plenty big enough for me) and had a bizarrely low rating (I think I2) but under the scope you could see almost literally nothing other than three tiny feather-like inclusions. We bought the ring about a year and a half ago, got married last October.

His ring is titanium. I think it was about $100.00. He really likes it.

From what we looked at, I came to feel that cut and color were really more important than almost anything else. That, and honesty. I have to look at things -- buying online was too hands off for me -- and when we looked at the ring, she showed us the diamond in my ring and then some other diamonds, just so that we could get a feel for things. As above, I have no idea what type of "tactic" this is but it's way better than used-car-salesman. Anyway, being able to see the rocks under the scope was very helpful to us. I highly reccommend it. Other than that, shop around a lot, and look for a pretty, sparkly stone that you feel will suit your fiancee. Sparkle is key. :)
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:09 AM on June 7, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, folks.

What was the range you found?
Just from glancing online, I saw a range from $60 - $1000.

The most significant price difference is between new and used rings.
I'm noticing that. I bought my fiancee's engangement ring used from an antique dealer and it definately was much less than what I would have paid for new.

wedding magazines... suggest that you spend whatever you feel comfortable with - but ensure that you don't forsake getting a ring that you'd really love just because it's a bit more expensive.
We refer to wedding magazines as "Bridal Porn." I find that they tend to really push the whole wedding industry way of doing things.

The mag suggested about 1500 GBP for both rings, based on a total wedding cost of 10000 GBP
Yeah, for all the other stuff that we have to pay for, $1500 for rings is a little (a lot) too much.

buying online was too hands off for me
I feel the same way. I'm going to visit some stores today.

But anyway, what's up with titanium bands? Would you guys recommend them? My fiancee and I are both artists and we're kind of nervous about getting really precious rings that we'll destroy when we're working.
posted by Jon-o at 9:29 AM on June 7, 2005

Jon-o, if you're really nervous about the rings (or your finger's safety), you could do what many rock climbers I know do - wear the ring on a good gold chain around your neck, at least while you're "at risk."
My husband and I bought our gold bands at antique stores for about $100 each - his was the real bargain because he has big hands, so there was a lot of gold there. He bought my engagement ring at a pawn shop for about $200 bucks - which was what he could afford. I love him for that.
Also, new diamonds have a lot of blood on them - the cartel that controls them is not terribly careful about where they come from, and many less-than-savory regimes use diamonds to prop up their government/revolution.
posted by dbmcd at 9:46 AM on June 7, 2005

I would suggest focusing on what you want, be it plain gold or platinum bands, something with diamonds, something celtic, something titanium, something antique (or antique-looking), a poesy ring (with something inscribed on the inside), a custom ring, or something else... Another thing you should keep in mind is how the band will look with her engagement ring. You mention her ring is antique, so maybe check out some antique online shops like Fay Cullen .

Look around on-line, in shops. That's really the best way to find out how much the going rate is for what you want. The price of jewelry is based on three main factors-- the current cost of the metal and other materials, the labor of the jeweler, and the retail overhead. The factor is pretty set. The latter two are wildly variable. Online shops, obviously, are able to do better on overhead than stores in shopping malls.

You might want to check out PriceScope, a message board full of armchair jewelry experts who will be happy to help you with your search. I started there
when my boyfriend and I first started looking for an engagement ring. They are really well-educated consumers who know the market.

For my engagement ring, we wound up going with Michael E. of GemShoppe, who makes beautiful, reasonably priced jewelry in rural Washington and sells it, mostly by word of mouth, from his lo-fi website. The setting (without the center stone, which we purchased from Artistic Colored Stones) cost about $600 for 6 small side diamonds, gold, and labor. We'll probably go to him for my wedding band (which will be similar, with more diamonds, and will probably run about $800-$1000, putting the entire cost of my wedding set at about $1,700), and, I think, go with something like this for my boyfriend's band.

Hope that helped!
posted by lalalana at 9:57 AM on June 7, 2005

my whole set was about $300 US. Teeny, tiny diamond, white gold. Bought in a boutique on a reservation, without tax. I would have spent more, they were very thin and bent within six months of normal wear.

Anyone want them, I'm not using them anymore. ;)
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2005

MrsMoonPie and I got ours for $60, total, I think it was. Nice little silver things from a storefront shop in DC. I get compliments on mine all the time.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:15 AM on June 7, 2005

I am so proud to be representing the bottom end here. My wife and I, poor graduate students we, bought two skinny gold bands at a Spokane pawn shop for I believe $45 total. The pawnbroker used a machine to stretch mine just a little so it fit comfortably. Ten years later we still wear them, they remind of us where we come from and the values we still hold.
posted by LarryC at 10:32 AM on June 7, 2005

The titanium rings that Banjo picked out for us are pretty nice. They're simple silvery-metal bands and really, really light. They do scuff up over time and end up looking more like a brushed metal than a smooth one, though.

The only downside is that you can't really resize them once they've been cast. They're just too brittle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:05 PM on June 7, 2005

The pamphlet "Wedding Rings: How Much Should I Spend?" published by the Jewelry Industry Association recommends this simple two-step process:

1. How much money do you have?
2. Give it to us.
posted by kindall at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2005 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, I'm back from visiting stores.

My mother recommended a friend of hers. Her husband and she run a jewelry store here in Philly. We walked in and told them what we were looking for. They have exactly what we want: ultra-plain, white-gold bands. They had her size and width in stock but they need to order mine.
I couldn't believe how little they cost. I think hers is about $50 and mine is going to be about $80 (mine is a little wider, but a small diameter).
Engraving is complimentary there (wow) so we're going to get something engraved on the inside of each band.

They also tarnish-proof them which assuages my fears about ruining them by working.

Strangely enough, I don't feel the least bit cheep about how much I'm paying for them. I got my fiancee's engagement ring for $150 (all that I could afford at the time, being a college student) and I still kind of feel that I was a little stingy about it (even though she loves it and often tells me that its exactly what she wanted).

Thanks for all of your help, everyone. It really put the whole thing in perspective for me.
posted by Jon-o at 1:48 PM on June 7, 2005

That's wonderful news, Jon-o. Congratulations, too.

If anyone is wondering, you can buy diamonds that are guarenteed to be Canadian. There are some native land issues with diamond mining in northern Canada, but at least you know that you are not funding any bloody civil wars, etc.
posted by jb at 2:49 PM on June 7, 2005

I haven't seen anyone else link this thread. It may answer some questions about the different types of band.

Congratulations! (you poor basterd)
posted by Eideteker at 3:29 PM on June 7, 2005

Sounds great! Don't feel cheap at all!
Educated Cheap = Savvy

Just wanted to add one thing about titanium bands. A friend of mine has one, and a doctor friend told him to beware in case he ever breaks his hand. Apparently, gold and platinum rings can easily be cut off in the ER, but it's a harder with titanium. Wonder what they do instead.... cut off the finger? heh.
posted by lalalana at 6:05 PM on June 7, 2005

Opps... didn't click the link on Eideteker's post on preview... maybe they are safe, then! Good!
posted by lalalana at 6:07 PM on June 7, 2005

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