More than 50 years ago the saying was that a fiance-to-be should spend two months’ salary on the engagement ring. Young men who did so were able to get a lovely diamond ring within their budget. That was a long time ago.

Many things have changed today, and this slogan is not adhered to the way it was back then. If budget is important, as a jeweler, I would recommend a diamond of at least 1 carat for the center stone, with a GIA grading report. In my opinion the best bang for the buck is G color, VS 2 clarity, and if possible, an excellent cut. If you can’t afford this, save up and get as close to it as possible. If you can afford more, get a larger stone with these same characteristics. A diamond is forever, and the commitment is supposed to be forever as well. The stone I’ve described above will be beautiful and will also hold its value.

My husband did spend two months’ salary, and I still enjoy my engagement ring decades later. If he were to purchase one today, now that his salary has increased exponentially, the diamond would be much larger. But — and this is important, I think — I am still proud to wear the one he gave me years ago.