Women Expect Larger and More Expensive Engagement Rings When Men Abound: Study
Sat, April 10, 2021

Women Expect Larger and More Expensive Engagement Rings When Men Abound: Study


An engagement ring is a symbol of a couple’s commitment, love, and fidelity to one another. For some women, the bond can represent security that comes with being in a committed relationship and for men, it shows an intention that he has chosen her above all others and a promise to cherish and love her always. But every person is unique and not all share the same perspective on engagement rings.

Mate abundance and engagement ring value

Evolutionary psychologist Robert P. Burriss Ph.D., for instance, cited a study that shows the link between engagement ring value and the abundance of women. The study conducted by a team of psychologists from the Nipissing University in Canada shows that induced mate abundance increases women’s expectations for engagement ring cost and size. In short, women can afford to be choosier if they know there are plenty of fish in the sea. As a result, men compete for their affections and one way to do that is by investing more in their partners. This includes spending big on an engagement ring.

Average spend on an engagement ring

In another study conducted by Beyond4cs.com, an online guide to choosing an engagement ring, the average spend of a husband-to-be on an engagement ring in the US is about $6,000. US consumers are the biggest spenders on diamond rings too on a global scale. It is followed by Hong Kong ($4,000), United Kingdom ($2,600), Singapore ($2,000), China ($2,000), Malaysia ($1,500), and Europe ($1,500).

The belief that romantic relationships are influenced by environmental factors is not far-fetched it seems. Perception of the safety of their environment or disease prevalence can affect how they judge the attractiveness of other people. Nipissing University researchers recruited 205 unmarried female participants for their study. These participants were then randomly allocated to one of the two groups: mate scarcity and mate abundance.



Mate scarcity or mate abundance: the study experiment

Women in the mate scarcity group were asked to read a bogus magazine article about how difficult it is to find a good quality partner. On the other hand, those in the mate abundance group read a version of the magazine but presented the opposite view. That is, good quality partners are easy to find.

After reading the magazine content, participants were then asked to imagine that their long-term partner proposed to them. Researchers then asked what smallest engagement ring they would be satisfied to receive. Photos of five rings that were identical except for the value and size were shown to them. These rings were from 0.5 carats worth $500 to 1.5 carats worth $9,000.

Authors Ashley Locke and the team found that women who were primed to think that good quality men are abundant tend to select a larger engagement ring compared to women who were primed to think that men are scarce. The study suggests that women expect a more costly symbol of commitment from their men when they perceive that they have more romantic options.

Nevertheless, men may feel confident proposing to their partner as the Nipissing study highlights another finding: the ring that is most often selected by women was the cheapest ring available, regardless of whether the woman was from the scarce or the abundant group.

Burriss, who was not involved in the study, said that most of us are now exposed to so much news and social media that it may seem as if one magazine article would have little effect in our viewpoint. Yet, the Canadian study confirmed that magazine is still a reliable way of persuading participants that good partners are scarce or abundant.

Ring expenditure and beauty

In 2018, Jaime M. Cloud and Madalyn H. Taylor from the Psychological Sciences Department in the Western Oregon University also found the link between ring expenditure and beauty. They showed about 600 straight men and women a picture of an opposite-sex person. The people in these pictures were either relatively unattractive or attractive. Their attractiveness was based on the ratings made by another group of people.

The result of the study shows that the amount a man was willing to spend on an engagement ring depended on the beauty of his partner. Men are willing to splurge on a 0.86 carat ($2,160) ring for an attractive woman but thought a 0.78 carat ($1,680) ring was okay for a woman who was less physically attractive. In turn, women demanded more valuable rings if their partners were less physically attractive. Take note that the photographs shown to the participants were not supermodels but just about average or above average in attractiveness.



In the Beyond4cs research, they found that the round cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings. Roughly 50% of diamonds sold in the US are round shape. The other most popular shapes are the princess cut (11%) and the oval cut (10%). Other diamond shape cuts are heart (2%), emerald (5%), Asscher (4%), cushion (8%), pear (4%), radiant (3%), and marquise (2%).

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, a process established to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market, also published that the Russian Federation is the world’s largest producer of diamonds with an output of 34,927,650.00 volume carats or 27.29% in 2019. It is followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (21,524,266.19 cts), Botswana (20,554,928.45 cts), Zimbabwe (12,060,162.70 cts), Canada (10,450,618.00 cts), and other (28,448,159.28 cts). Russia is also the country with the largest diamond reserves in the world.

To some women, though, bigger stones in their engagement rings aren’t always better. Some prefer the minimalist jewelry than blingy stuff. Breea Anderson, who’s not into flashy, big jewelry, shares via Huffpost a photo of her engagement ring. “It’s dainty, delicate, and totally me.” Emily T., a sign language interpreter, is someone who can’t also wear anything too distracting for her job. She also loves the “perfect balance” of sparkle and dainty of her engagement ring.

Men should determine how much they spend on an engagement ring by looking at their financial situation as well as the style and desires of their fiancé-to-be. There are no rules to follow, like spending the two months’ worth of salary as these are often created only by diamond sellers and marketers.