We explain the difference in engagement ring costs and wedding band/ring costs
The tradition of exchanging rings as a symbol of love and commitment has existed for hundreds of years and continues today. While times have changed and styles have evolved, the idea behind engagement rings and wedding bands remains the same.
However, a common area of confusion and concern among many of our customers is in understanding the difference between the two very different rings and the costs associated with them. Since so much thought and emphasis is placed on buying an engagement ring, many people often aren’t as educated on wedding rings.
In fact, sometimes an engagement ring can be mistakenly referred to as a wedding ring and can cause confusion. To clarify, the engagement ring is typically given to someone at the time of a marriage proposal, and wedding rings are exchanged on the day of the marriage ceremony. Additionally, the terms “wedding ring” and “wedding band” are interchangeable and mean the same thing.
So now that you know, what’s the difference in cost between an engagement ring and a wedding band? Considering that both the bride and groom will be exchanging rings during a wedding ceremony, understanding the costs associated with engagement rings and wedding bands is vital for anyone ready to tie the knot.
Engagement rings explained
When you get down on one knee and propose to the love of your life, you’re proposing with an engagement ring.
The engagement ring traditionally is chosen by the groom, with the bride having little to no knowledge or input. Conversely, since engagement rings can cost a fair amount of money, many modern couples are shopping for rings together to ensure their money is spent on exactly what the future bride wants. The choice of who’s involved in buying the ring ultimately depends upon you and your significant other.
Regardless, an engagement ring is traditionally focused on a larger gemstone set higher in the center of the band. That gemstone in most cases is a diamond, but nowadays other gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, or other stones can be substituted.
As you can imagine, the biggest factor in the cost of purchasing an engagement ring is the center stone, most commonly a diamond. The price of diamonds varies depending on size, shape, color, and clarity, meaning that the cost of an engagement ring can vary wildly. The choice of the diamond is based on each individual’s budget and taste. Only you and your significant other can decide on the right size and shape of a diamond for the engagement ring. This means the cost of a diamond is extremely open ended—it can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more.
To learn more about the cost of a diamond, I encourage you to check out our Diamond Link page to browse the various cuts and costs of diamonds we have in store.
Also, check out our article on How to buy an engagement ring to learn about the process from start to finish.
Engagement ring costs are effected by different settings or mountings
Once you have selected a diamond, it needs to go into a ring. The setting, or mounting, that is chosen to accompany the center stone can also vary depending on the intricacy and details incorporated.
A simple solitaire setting, which is just plain and focuses only on the diamond, can be as inexpensive as $500. A more intricate mounting with smaller diamonds accompanying the larger stone can be as expensive as $5,000 or more.
The possibilities of different mountings are endless. A modern trend right now is something called a halo, which includes a circle of smaller diamonds surrounding the center stone. Conversely, you could consider a mounting with two smaller stones on each side of the center stone, which is known as a three-stone ring. Engagement ring mountings come in all shapes and styles, and can be customized to the bride’s personal style and preferences.
To see some of the various types of mountings we feature, check out our Ring Builder tool on our site to browse the rings themselves, or our Engagement Ring page to view rings already built and ready to order.
We’ve also covered this topic in a previous article called What should an engagement ring cost?, which dives into what a ring should cost and other aspects of purchasing an engagement ring. It’s a great article to check out to educate yourself on the subject.
Wedding bands explained
Traditionally, wedding rings are exchanged during the marriage ceremony, with the bride presenting the groom’s wedding ring and the groom presenting the bride’s wedding ring. The wedding rings are worn as a symbol of matrimony and commitment from the day of the marriage ceremony onward.
Wedding bands are usually chosen by both the bride and groom together after the engagement. In fact, most couples tend to choose their wedding bands closer to the actual wedding date, but you should give your jeweler at least 4 weeks to order your bands. Additionally, wedding ring costs tend to be lower because the biggest emphasis ring-wise is the engagement ring, not the wedding bands.
To get a sense of the look and cost of a wedding ring, check out our Wedding Ring page to see what we offer in our jewelry stores.
The bride’s wedding band costs
The bride’s wedding band is meant to complement the style of the engagement ring and can vary from plain and simple to large and elaborate. Most brides prefer the wedding band to be simpler in comparison to their engagement ring, so the focus remains on the diamond engagement ring.
On the other hand, some brides prefer a more elaborate wedding band to be worn in lieu of the engagement ring during the day or while at work. Again, this all depends on the choice of the couple, their style, and their budget.
Usually, the wedding band is purchased in the same metal type as the engagement ring, so that over time the rings age and wear similarly. For example, if your engagement ring is platinum and your wedding ring is white gold, they will look very similar when the initial purchase is made. Over the course of time, however, the two metals will show wear and age very differently. White gold will show tinges of yellow over time and will need to be rhodium-plated every couple of years to maintain its bright white appearance. Platinum, on the other hand, will darken slightly, taking on a grayer tone over time. Platinum can be brought back to its original state by polishing the scratches and evening out the surface. When rings made of different metals are worn next to each other, it is easier to spot the differences in metal over the course of time, which is why most brides prefer the same metal type in both their engagement ring and wedding ring.
As with the variables in diamond and stones for an engagement ring, the cost of wedding bands will differ, as well. The type of metal used also determines the ring’s cost. Generally, platinum rings will almost always be somewhat more expensive than rings made of white or yellow gold.
A simple, plain wedding band could cost anywhere from $300–$1,500. A larger or more intricate wedding band containing diamonds or other stones can cost anywhere from $1,000–$6,000 or more.
Another rule of thumb is that the bride’s wedding band is almost always less expensive than her engagement ring. The focus of the pair of rings the diamond in the engagement ring. The wedding ring is intended to complement but not overshadow.
The groom’s wedding band costs
Wedding band costs for men depend more on the type of metal than style. Most men’s wedding bands are usually wider than women’s, somewhere between 4mm–6mm, so the amount of metal going into the band most greatly affects the cost.
Additionally, most men’s wedding bands contain no stones, and this keeps their wedding ring costs lower. Some men prefer a small diamond to match their partner’s ring, but from our perspective, most men prefer a plain and simple wedding band. Men’s wedding bands tend to vary between modern and traditional styles.
Ever since the price of gold went up a few years ago, more grooms are opting for less expensive, alternative wedding rings. To save money, we’ve found that tungsten, titanium, and even ceramic have become more popular ring choices among men as opposed to gold or platinum. However, some men do favor a more traditional approach and would rather have platinum or gold wedding bands, which does raise the cost of a man’s wedding band.
A wedding band made from an alternative metal like silver or tungsten can be as inexpensive as $75–$200 or more, whereas a wedding band made of 14k gold can run anywhere from $500–$1,000 or more. A platinum or palladium ring can cost $1,500 or more.
Thoughts on engagement ring costs vs. wedding band costs
Generally speaking, the cost of wedding bands is much lower in comparison to the engagement ring. The bulk of your jewelry budget will most likely go towards the engagement ring, with the wedding bands as a secondary consideration.
Regardless of the amount you choose to spend on an engagement ring and wedding rings, the meaning behind them is the most valuable. The love and commitment they symbolize is much more important than what money can buy. Get a general idea of a budget and what you like in an engagement or wedding ring before you shop. A skilled jeweler should then be able to steer you in the right direction.
To learn more about the engagement rings we offer, feel free to visit either of our New Jersey jewelry store locations in Morristown or New Providence to see for yourself and talk to any of our expert jewelers.
If you’d like to talk to someone directly about repairs, you can contact us online anytime by emailing us directly at email@example.com, or simply fill out our contact form. We’ll answer your questions quickl