Engagement Rings on a Budget
The sky is the limit for what a person could spend on an engagement ring. Just look at any recent celebrity proposal and the accompanying ring pics that plaster Instagram feeds and magazines. All that bling can create a sense of dread for couples with a tighter budget.
But we are here to tell you, money should never stand in the way of being able to propose to the person you love, and it is possible to find the ring of your dreams no matter your price point. Here are our top ways to shop for incredible engagement rings without overextending your budget.
1. Choose a Lab-grown diamond.
Yes, we probably sound like a broken record on this point, but that is because lab-grown diamonds are simply the best option in today’s diamond market. The quick facts are:
Lab-grown Diamonds are real diamonds in every way. (Even the FTC has made this clear.)
Lab-grown Diamonds are among the highest quality diamonds to be found anywhere. (They’re grown from seed crystals that are in the top 2% of all mined diamonds.)
Lab-grown Diamonds are earth-friendly. (They require no mining and exponentially fewer resources than what must be used to retrieve a mined diamond. The CO2 emissions of creating a lab-grown diamond are also negligible.)
Lab-grown Diamonds are cruelty free.
Lab-grown Diamonds are economical. On average, they cost 30-50% less than mined diamonds, and the larger the lab-grown diamond, the more you’ll save.
2. Choose a solitaire-inspired mounting.
Don’t think for a second that solitaires have to be nondescript or boring. Believe it or not, solitaire mountings come in an array of styles, all of which will showcase your center diamond spectacularly.
Solitaires can help a center diamond appear larger, and they are a wonderful mounting to choose if you plan to “upgrade” the diamond down the road, say for a 10th anniversary, or to commemorate the birth of your first child, etc.
Bottom Row: L: $1179 + Center Diamond, M: $1995, R: Dependent on Center Diamond
3. Choose a cluster mounting.
You can have a diamond engagement ring without dropping a lot of money on a single diamond. Cluster rings gather many smaller diamonds together to create ample sparkle at lower price points.
L to R: $995, $540, $160.
4. Choose 14 karat gold instead of 18 karat gold.
No engagement ring is made of pure 24 karat gold because gold is simply way too soft. All gold used for rings is mixed with a stronger, more resilient, less precious metal to form an alloy. 14 karat gold has all the luster you want from a gold ring, but because it uses less of the precious metal, it’s slightly less expensive.
Featured Sets: $995 to $2495
5. Choose Moissanite
Moissanite is an entirely unique gemstone from diamonds. Nearly all moissanite is lab-grown, so it’s cruelty free and eco-conscious just like lab-grown diamonds. However, that’s where the comparisons end.
Moissanite plays with light entirely differently than diamonds. Where diamonds sparkle, moissanites flash. These flashes are prismatic, so the center stone of a moissanite engagement ring will emit all kinds of different colors as the ring moves through light. Moissanites are durable and have a unique beauty that makes them a perfect “starter” stone for someone who wants to propose now but won’t have money for a diamond until later.
The best part of starting with a moissanite ring is that when you do upgrade to a diamond, you’ll already have an incredible gem to remount into a separate piece of jewelry, such as a pendant necklace, or a right-hand cocktail ring. This option lets your original engagement story evolve with your relationship, and it means over time, you’ll have created two heirloom pieces instead of just one.