Shopping online for affordable engagement rings can tempt any soon-to-be fiance on a budget to throw up their hands and head to the nearest candy store for a ring pop.
While they’re unarguably more delicious, we say no to ring pops!
You do not have to sacrifice quality to find a fantastic, affordable engagement ring that she’ll adore. You just have to think outside of the box a little and do some research. Let’s get started, shall we?
Affordable Engagement Rings Under $500
First of all, no law says that you have to prove your love with a diamond. That’s nonsense.
Second, modern brides are really digging diamond alternatives for lots of reasons. They’re unique and they’re more likely to be ethically-sourced and environmentally-friendly. Plus, if the stone has special significance to her, like a birthstone, for example, it’s more personal.
In fact, even the royal family opted to pass a sapphire engagement ring down the lineage rather than a boring old diamond. Now, sapphires aren’t exactly inexpensive, especially not that one, but you get the point.
Here are a few gorgeous engagement rings with alternative gemstones that make a statement all of their own and won’t break the bank.
1. Deep Blue Sapphire Solitaire Ring
The gorgeous deep blue of this sapphire against that unique shining silver setting will definitely take her breath away. Hard to believe this one is under $500, but it’s true!
2. Natural Green Emerald Ring With 14K White Gold
If your true love is enamoured with emerald (the May birthstone, by the way), there’s this beauty of a ring. If she’s not impressed with this ring, we’re not sure what would impress her. We do know that when she goes to show it off, her friends will be green with envy!
3. Ruby Rose Gold Oval Engagement Ring
Bit of trivia for you: did you know a ruby is actually a red sapphire, which is the rarest and most expensive sapphire you can find in nature? It’s so unique, they decided to call it a ruby instead of a red sapphire. Who “they” is, we’re not sure, but we suspect it was some gemologist somewhere who figured it out.
Anyway, we think this is a ring fit for a princess! The rich red of this oval lab-created ruby is so striking with it’s little crown of diamonds- we fell in love with it right away.
For more examples of diamond alternative engagement rings, check out this guide we put together. Hopefully, it’ll inspire some ideas.
The Diamond Look Without the Price Tag
If you’d like to keep that diamond look, many gorgeous gemstones look pretty darn close to the real thing, like the moissanite in this ring:
4. Cathedral Colorless Moissanite Ring
She might need a welding mask to shield her from the glimmer of this beauty when she opens the box. Like in the Tom and Jerry cartoon! Remember? Right. Anyway…
Diamond Shopping on a Budget – Hacks
If you’ve made up your mind that you’ve got a diamond girl, and that’s that, there are some things you should consider to help keep you on track.
Size matters. Of course.
Everyone knows that the higher the carat, the more expensive the rock, but have you ever wondered exactly what different-sized diamonds actually look like on an average person’s hands? Smaller carat diamonds often look larger than you think, particularly with the right cut. Here’s a visual comparison to give you some perspective:
Not all cuts are created expensive.
Three words: emerald, cushion, Asscher.
Cushion-cut diamonds can be up to 45% less than a round diamond (the most expensive cut) of the same carat. So can emerald-cut diamonds, and Asscher cuts. Keep your search focussed on these three cuts and you’ll be more likely to find something in your price range.
We’d also like to take a second to point out that simulated, or lab-created stones will always be much less expensive than naturally-mined stones.
But you know what? Lab-created stones are much more environmentally-friendly, and if you’ve got a socially-conscious lady, they’re often a more ethical choice as well.
Here are a couple of simulated diamond rings in economical-but-equally-gorgeous cuts:
5. Emerald-Cut Simulated Diamond Engagement Ring
The emerald cut is so classic and sophisticated, it’s definitely one of our favorites. The funny thing about an emerald cut is it looks very expensive, and yet is one of the least expensive cuts you can get.
6. Asscher-Cut Simulated Diamond Ring
If you’ve got a girl who loves art-deco or vintage styles, the Asscher cut is the way to go. It conjures up images of the roaring 20’s and the Great Gatsby, and we think it’s absolutely fabulous.
Setting and metals matter, too
Platinum is the most expensive setting available, followed by 24K, 18K, and 14 Karat gold. If you’re looking to cut some costs without sacrificing quality, 14K is an excellent choice.
We challenge you to put a platinum ring next to the same ring in 14K white gold and describe the difference.
Hint: Unless you’re a professional or some kind of metals savant, you won’t be able to see any difference.
You can also save some money by shopping for pave, prong, and halo settings over more expensive styles like a gypsy or channel setting.
7. Pave Petite Diamond Ring 14K White Gold
by Blue Nile
If your lady has never been the “big rock on her hand” type, this engagement ring is a great choice. Rings of this style are often associated with the promise of spending eternity together. The diamonds encircling her finger on this delicate ring will remind her every day that you’re in it to take care of her for the long haul.
8. 14K White Gold Halo Diamond Ring
Whether you choose white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold, this ring is stunning. A halo setting looks so sweet and we love its innocence. You may want to be ready with tissues when you present it to her as there will definitely be some tears of joy involved!
Be mindful who you give your money to
Brick and mortar shops will always have a higher markup because they need it for their, erm, brick and mortar. Though you may feel more comfortable actually holding the ring in your hand before you buy, ordering online is relatively risk-free.
Reputable jewelers will absolutely let you return your ring for a full refund if it’s not what you were hoping for as long as it isn’t damaged.
There are some great up-and-coming independent jewelry makers out there who would love to help you pick (or design) a ring, and they’ll often do it for much less than big-name jewelers. Where can you find them? Etsy, for a start.
Other than that, go online to sites like Angara, Blue Nile, and James Allen. Often, you’ll be able to design your own using our tips above on the most affordable gems, settings, and designs and come out with a ring she’ll love.
Go Get Her, Tiger!
We LOVE a good proposal story. If you’re lucky enough to be a witness to an impromptu proposal, there’s nothing better than watching the look of shock and joy on her (or his) face when he (or she) pops the question.
You were meant to be, so we know you’ll find the perfect ring for your fiance-to-be. We wish you all the luck and all the tearful hugs and kisses when she (or he) says yes!
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