Affordable Engagement Rings: A Guide

A lab-created 1.57 carat D-SI1 ideal cut round diamond engagement ring from James Allen.

Typically, engagement rings are an expensive purchase and are considered an investment. Because an engagement ring is something you will treasure for a lifetime, it can be difficult to decide on the perfect stone, size, and precious metal for your ring. It can be even harder to choose all the right elements without breaking the bank.

The most traditional choice is a diamond engagement ring. Diamonds add a lot of beauty to any engagement ring. However, these precious stones also add to the cost. Fortunately, there are various ways to make an engagement ring more budget-friendly, such as choosing an alternative center stone, opting for a less expensive precious metal, and going for a smaller carat weight.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about ensuring an affordable engagement ring.

Inexpensive Engagement Rings


Many people hear the term ‘affordable’ and think it means lower quality. But this is not the case for all cheap engagement rings. A ring with a diamond simulant, lab-grown diamond, or another kind of center stone can also be just as beautiful as the most expensive engagement ring.

Traditional rings are typically made using natural mined diamonds. However, a more affordable option would be to create a ring with man-made stones. These include diamond simulants and lab-created diamonds and gemstones. Using such stones can lower the price of your piece considerably. Some diamond alternatives cost as little as 80 percent less than mined diamonds, without sacrificing the grade, flawlessness, color, cut, or quality (see this gorgeous lab-created oval cut diamond engagement ring from James Allen).

The main difference between mined and synthetic diamonds is their chemical composition. While mined diamonds are made of carbon, synthetic diamonds are made from materials that replicate the properties of real carbon. To the naked eye, this difference is not visible.

There is also the option of choosing a different stone altogether.

The Most Affordable Engagement Rings


With so many companies claiming to be leaders when it comes to affordable jewelry, it can be difficult to decide where to purchase your engagement ring from. It can also be difficult to know whether or not you are getting a good price for it. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep the cost of your engagement ring down.

Here are our top tips for ensuring you get the perfect ring without emptying your wallet.

Shop Online


One way to save some money is by shopping for and purchasing your ring online. Many in-store sellers have a limited selection and offer jewelry at a higher price point. However, online jewelers often have a wider range to choose from and can offer more affordable prices due to lower overhead costs. This ensures that you get the perfect engagement ring – one that suits both your taste and budget!

We recommend shopping for engagement rings at James Allen and Blue Nile. These are both reputable online sellers that have large inventories of high-quality products at affordable prices.

Non-Traditional Stones


Natural mined diamonds are some of the most expensive stones on the market. While they may be the most traditional option for a center stone, this is not to say that they are your only choice. Diamonds are also much less rare than people have been made to believe throughout the years. As a result, more and more shoppers are turning to alternative stones instead.

If you like the look of mined diamonds but don’t have the budget for it, you could opt for a lab-grown diamond, diamond simulant, white sapphire, or moissanite gemstone instead.

There is also the option of choosing a different colored stone altogether. Some of the most popular options include blue sapphire, opal, ruby, and emerald (check out this stunning blue sapphire and diamond ring from Blue Nile).

More and more people are also opting for alternatives other than gemstones, such as pearls. These make for truly unique engagement rings that have classic beauty and elegance. They are also much cheaper than diamonds, making them ideal if you don’t want to break the bank.

Elongated Stones

A lab-created 1.09 carat F-VVS2 emerald cut engagement ring from James Allen.

When it comes to stone shape, round cuts like the Round Brilliant are the most traditional styles.

However, you may find that you get more value for money with a more elongated shape, such as a Marquise cut or Oval cut. They have a larger table surface which makes them seem bigger and brighter than they are. This means you get a large stone for a less expensive price.

Many of the elongated shapes also offer exceptional brilliance and maximum sparkle.

Other popular diamond shapes that cost less than round brilliant-cut diamonds include:

  • Cushion cut
  • Pear cut
  • Baguette cut
  • Princess cut

Accent Stones


When it comes to the sparkle of engagement rings, a little goes a long way. You don’t need multiple diamonds for a beautifully radiant engagement ring.

Another great way to save money is by choosing minimal accent stones. Instead of opting for things like halo engagement rings, a style that uses many accent stones and can get expensive, choose a style with fewer stones. Some less expensive settings include Bezel settings, Bar settings, and Shared Prong settings.

You can also opt for having a few accent stones on either side of your center stone, as opposed to a halo ring with accent stones all around the center gem, like this petite rose gold engagement ring from Blue Nile.

Additionally, you can spend less by choosing plain wedding rings without any stones, as opposed to something like a pavé wedding band.

Affordable Metal Types


Different precious metals come at different price ranges, and it is important to know the difference between metal types, their unique qualities, and their price ranges before making a decision.

For example, while platinum is the most durable metal type, it is also one of the most expensive setting options. On the other hand, you may opt for yellow gold or rose gold, which are significantly cheaper but also more prone to wear and tear.

Sterling silver is one of the most popular metal types for affordable engagement rings and is often considered an all-time classic. It is also cheaper than white gold or platinum and offers good durability.

Cheap Real Diamond Rings

Free Diamond Wedding photo and picture

You may be fond of diamond engagement rings and unwilling to opt for an alternative. While cheap diamond engagement rings can be hard to come by, there are still some ways to ensure that your engagement ring will fall within your budget without sacrificing your taste.

Here are our top tips for keeping the cost of your diamond ring as low as possible.

Smaller Carat Size


Choosing a gem with a smaller carat size but excellent quality is a great way to reduce the price of an engagement ring. Cheap diamond rings don’t have to include lower-quality stones. On the contrary, you can find a great selection of high-quality diamonds at affordable prices at James Allen and Blue Nile.

You will also find that a 0.8-carat diamond can cost as little as half the price of a 1-carat diamond. Note that the size difference between 0.8-carat diamonds and one-carat diamonds is minimal, despite the big difference in price.

Additionally, if this diamond has good cut quality, it can appear larger due to its brilliance and excellent reflective properties.

Color Grade


Each diamond has a color range from light yellow (S to Z) to colorless (D to F).

A great way to save on the cost of a ring is by opting for a diamond in the near-colorless category (G to J). They are very nearly indistinguishable from colorless diamonds to the naked eye but can cost up to thirty percent less.

In this way, you can stick within your budget while still getting a stunning diamond engagement ring.

Eye-Clean Diamonds


There is a common misconception among shoppers that wearing a diamond with a higher clarity grade means it will sparkle more brilliantly. However, the sparkle of a diamond relies more on the quality of its cut than its clarity.

For this reason, you can get away with a diamond that is eye-clean (VS2) as opposed to a diamond with a nearly-flawless clarity grade (VVS1 or IF). Side by side, they are virtually identical and both are equally flawless to the naked eye.

However, the price difference can be substantial, and opting for a lower clarity grade can guarantee a much cheaper diamond ring to add to your collection, without sacrificing beauty or shine.


Bottom Line Recommendations

Just because you’re shopping for affordable engagement rings doesn’t mean you have to settle for less. On the contrary, you can find many beautiful engagement rings that won’t cost you a small fortune.

Here are our top money-saving tips when it comes to buying an engagement ring:

  • Opt for a man-made or synthetic diamond instead of a natural diamond;
  • Choose an alternative gemstone like moissanite;
  • Go for an alternative diamond shape (like a marquise, cushion, pear, princess, or emerald cut) instead of a round brilliant cut diamond;
  • Opt for a setting style with minimal accent stones or a plain band;
  • Consider a more affordable setting metal (like white gold or sterling silver instead of platinum);
  • Choose a diamond with a lower carat weight, color, and clarity grade (all you need is a stone that’s eye-clean and colorless to the naked eye);
  • Shop for your engagement ring online.

We hope that you found this guide helpful and wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect ring for your pocket!


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