Cost of engagement ring leaves many caught between a rock and a hard place

13 Apr 2018

Will the big reveal of the long-awaited engagement ring be a delight or a disappointment? According to online jewellers William May, how much your fiancé spends depends on where you live

What are the chances of lifelong marital harmony when the first point of conflict is the value of the engagement ring? Depending on where you live, you may be pleasantly surprised by your fiancé’s generosity. On the other hand, you might be shocked by the size of the rock  – and not necessarily in a good way

It all comes down to geography. If you live in the East of England, count yourself lucky. Men here are prepared to spend the most on an engagement ring – even surpassing their partner’s expectations.

However, head further north and you’ll find the men in Yorkshire and Humber are the most tight-fisted when it comes to selecting that all-important item of jewellery.

Online jewellery retailer William May has conducted a survey of 2,250 Brits revealing that the average man is prepared to spend £1,471.01 on a ring to impress his future fiancée. This may sound like a lot – but unfortunately, the average woman expects their amour to shell out £1,854.17. This is £383.16 more than men are willing to fork out – meaning many may be underwhelmed when their partner gets down on one knee and opens the box.

Most men happy to let their partner choose the ring

What’s even more important to note, however, is that according to the study, more than half of women in Britain (51.3%) would prefer to choose their own ring, rather than give the responsibility to their other half.

And that seems to suit British men just fine. When they were asked how they went about choosing an engagement ring for their partner, a staggering 63.3% said they just bought “the one she told me to get”; 20% admitted that they simply picked “the first one I saw”; 10% said they “saw it advertised”, and only 6.7% said “a friend advised me”. 

How does this differ across the country? William May have created a map to show how much men across the country would spend on an engagement ring, compared to how much women think they should spend.

Men in the East of England are prepared to spend the most on an engagement ring, revealing they’d part with £1,696.43 – which is £53.57 more than their partners would expect. 

In contrast, the men in Yorkshire and the Humber are the most tight-fisted, admitting they would not want to spend more than £1,261.76 on their future fiancée’s jewel. This is a huge £599.94 less than their other halves would like them to spend (£1,861.70) – so there may be a hint of disappointment at the big reveal.

Do your research before splashing the cash

Many would argue that both the price and size of a ring are not important – but not women in Greater London. The survey reveals that those in the capital have the highest expectations, wanting their man to shell out a huge £2,347.83 on the deal-breaker. Their hopes are likely to end in disappointment, however, as William May’s survey also reveals that the average London man will spend £1,501.91 on a ring for his partner – a huge £845.92 less than she’d expect him to! Yikes. 

At the other end of the scale, women in the East Midlands are the least demanding when it comes to the price tag of a ring, stating they’d like their partners to save £1,556.82 for their rock. But unfortunately, the men of East Midlands still think that’s a little too pricey, and would spend no more than £1,282.47 on a ring – a difference of £274.35.

A spokesperson from William May said: “An engagement ring is the single most important accessory one can own, so make sure to do your research before you splash the cash. Our survey shows that insight is key, so if you’re picking a ring for your partner, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Consider the four Cs (carat, cut, colour and clarity), and make sure to listen intently when they talk about jewellery. It’s also important to remember that an expert jeweller will always be happy to give you advice and help if you’re not sure where to start.”

  • To see the interactive map showing how much men across the country would spend on an engagement ring, go to Map of engagement ring spending
  •  How much would you expect your partner to spend on your engagement ring? How does it compare to the national average? We'd love to hear from you - email

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Leave a comment


Aleksandra 22 February 2020
Waste of the money, it's only a symbol, why do engagement rings need to be expensive? To show off around friends and family? Whoever wants an expensive ring watches too much TV and celebrities. Expensive doesn't mean good, it doesn't show love.


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