According to this study, the answer is yes…
It’s official. Men are more likely to spend big bucks on an engagement ring when they picture themselves with an attractive other half. A study published in the journal Evolutionary Physcological Science, conducted by researchers at Western Oregon University, says so.
The study went like this; 590 men and women were presented with a headshot of a member of the opposite sex. They were also given some information about their hobbies, traits and where they grew up. They were then told to imagine that they were this person’s boyfriend or girlfriend and asked to rate their attractiveness out of 10 (how romantic).
Next, the men were shown a selection of identical engagement rings that varied in price from $500 to $9,000 and in carat weight from 0.5 to 1.5. They were instructed to imagine that they earned $36,000 per year and were then asked “If you decided to propose to this woman after an extended period of dating, which ring would you buy to propose to her?”
Guess what? Across the board, men chose larger, more expensive engagement rings to propose to a more attractive target than a less attractive target. This indicates that, as many people believe, men are willing to invest greater resources in attracting desirable women and that displaying ‘cues of financial success’ is one way in which they do it. But there was a flipside, too.
While the men were picking out engagement rings to hypothetically propose with, the women participating in the study were asked “If this man were to propose to you after an extended period of dating, what is the smallest size engagement ring that you would be satisfied with him giving to you?”
The majority of women indicated that the smallest size engagement ring that they would be satisfied with receiving was larger and more expensive when given by the less attractive target. Ouch. Researchers also found a positive correlation between women’s self-rating of attractiveness and their choice of ring. In other words, women who considered themselves more attractive desired the larger and more expensive engagement rings.
The study didn’t find much difference between the rings single and ‘mated’ men chose per target, but among the women, single participants leaned towards larger rings more often than their ‘mated’ counterparts. The authors also noted that while they did collect data about the cost and quality of the real-life engagement rings participants had selected for their real-life partners, they “failed to find a consistent pattern whereby more desirable women received more expensive and higher quality engagement rings.”
So basically, take the whole thing with a pinch of salt and get whatever engagement ring works for both of you.
If you like getting into the nitty gritty scientific details, you can read the full journal article here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-018-0156-6