Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but they can also be your bank account's worst enemy. If you're shopping for an engagement ring on a budget, you may have to think a bit more outside of the box. Carat size, clarity, and setting all hike up an engagement ring's price, making your dream gem a very serious investment. Try swapping out a diamond for a gemstone (colorful engagement rings are very on-trend) or opt for a mock gem made of metal (like an emerald-cut sterling silver center stone). Pick from a variety of gold settings instead of platinum, and choose something with an interesting design rather than a large stone size. Hint: if you're set on a white diamond but don't have the dough, a white sapphire is a significantly less expensive—and equally eye-catching!—option.
Just because you want something beautiful, doesn't mean you have to break the bank. From a claw-set sapphire by Lauren Wolf to an Anna Sheffield quartz ring flanked with champagne diamonds (as can be seen on the left!), there are many ways to signify a lifelong commitment without going in the red. We found an array of affordable and unique rings that are as budget-friendly as they are stunning.
At left: "Bea Arrow Ring," 14K yellow gold, rutilated quartz, champagne diamonds, $1,350, Anna Sheffield