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 affordable engagement ring, you may have to think a bit more outside the box. Bigger carat sizes, flawless clarity, and unique settings all hike up an engagement ring's price, making your dream ring a very serious investment.
Meet the Expert
- Kim Kanary is the senior vice president of marketing and brand management at JTV, where she leads the gemstones advancement team and social media group.
- Stephanie Gottlieb is a celebrity jewelry designer and founder of her eponymous fine jewelry brand. Known for her one-of-a-kind diamond statement pieces, Gottlieb most recently designed Britney Spears’ custom wedding bands.
Thanks to the online world, it's never been easier to find a ring that offers the most bang for your buck. With the help of two jewelry experts, we found the best affordable rings that don't compromise on style or quality. Brilliant Earth's Six-Prong Petite Ring not only gives you that classic solitaire look but is extra comfortable thanks to a rounded inside edge. Or you can go with an equally-sparkly diamond-alternative like Capucinne Loretta Baguette Morganite Ring or an Oval Moissanite Engagement Ring.
"A general rule of thumb for matching diamonds is that they be within a color grade apart. For example, if your diamond center stone is an F color, your side stones could be E or G, and they would look cohesive to the naked eye," explains Kanary. In fact, since you don't necessarily need your stones to perfectly match, opting for diamonds that slightly vary in color is a great way to cut costs.
Whether you’re dead set on a diamond or open to gemstones, cluster rings, or antique styles, we've found an array of 27 inexpensive engagement rings that are as affordable as they are unique.
Brilliant Earth Six-Prong Petite Comfort Fit Engagement Ring
It's safe to say that this piece is bound to stand the test of time. This timeless diamond solitaire is available in an array of stone shapes and types of metals.
Price at time of publish: $550 (setting only)
Metals: Platinum, 18k Yellow or White Gold, 14k Rose Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.33-2 ct
Blue Nile Petite Micropavé Diamond Engagement Ring
Delicate yet striking, this marquise-cut stone shines brightly in the center of a platinum band half-embellished by petite micropavé diamonds. Plus, this solitaire's shape is bound to elongate your finger making for an ultra-flattering look.
Price at time of publish: $1,150
Metals: Platinum, 18k White or Yellow Gold, 14k Rose Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.10 ct
Allurez Diamond & Blue Sapphire Single Row Engagement Ring
Whether you choose all-white diamonds or alternating-colored stones, this stunner is sure to sparkle. Set in your choice of platinum, 14k or 18k white, rose, or yellow gold, the options are endless.
Price at time of publish: $1,720
Metals: Platinum, Palladium, 18k or 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Round Diamonds and Sapphires | Stone Size: 0.11 ct
Brilliant Earth Grace Engagement Ring
This is simplicity at its best. Available in an array of metal types and stone shapes, make this timeless twist-shank diamond ring the most authentic representation of you.
Price at time of publish: $950 (setting only)
Metals: Platinum, 18k White or Yellow Gold, 14k Rose Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.33-2 ct
Brilliant Earth Nadia Diamond Engagement Ring
This piece maximizes its sparkle and creates the allure of a shimmering diamond band at a more affordable price. Customize this piece with your selection of a stone shape, carat size, and metal type.
Price at time of publish: $1,150 (setting only)
Metals: Platinum, 18k White or Yellow Gold, 14k Rose Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.33-2 ct
Capucinne Lorette Baguette Morganite Ring
An elongated morganite center stone sits pretty on a pavé-set customizable band. While it may be dainty, this piece makes a statement!
Price at time of publish: $940
Metals: Platinum, 18k or 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Baguette Morganite | Stone Size: 8x4 mm
Vrai The Signature Radiant Engagement Ring
Customize this gem to your style—and your budget! Starting at just $890, Vrai's Signature Ring allows you to select from a wide array of cuts and metal options. We're obsessed with this emerald solitaire set on an unadorned gold band.
Price at time of publish: $1,050
Metals: Platinum, 18k Yellow or White Gold, 14k Rose Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.5-5.5 ct
Blue Nile Petite Solitaire Engagement Ring
A simple platinum band allows the center of attention to be on all of that irresistible shimmer! This petite princess-cut solitaire is just oh-so-perfect.
Price at time of publish: $890
Metals: Platinum, 18k Yellow Gold, 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Princess Cut Diamond | Stone Size: 0.25-4 ct
Pandora Clear Sparkling Crown Solitaire Ring
This price tag has us doing a double-take, and we're definitely not complaining. Featuring 14k gold-plated metal and clear cubic zirconia stones, this piece gives you the gorgeous look of a classic diamond for a price you simply can't beat.
Price at time of publish: $100
Metals: 14k Gold Plated | Stone: Cubic Zirconia | Stone Size: N/A
Kay Jewelers Diamond Engagement Ring
Hello, sparkle! We're loving this pavé-set diamond band featuring an emerald-cut center stone. The best part is that incredible double halo.
Price at time of publish: $1,700
Metals: 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.5-1.5 ct
Molly Jewelry US Oval Moissanite Engagement Ring
Another oval-shaped moissanite stone demands all of the attention in this nature-inspired piece. With an array of metals to choose from, customize this ring not only to your style but also to your budget.
Price at time of publish: $812
Metals: 18k or 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Oval Moissanite | Stone Size: 6-10 mm
Ritani Vintage Diamond Accent Engagement Ring
Adorned with an intricate diamond band, this vintage-inspired engagement ring flaunts the look of a marquise-shaped center stone. You may or may not ever stop staring at your hand.
Price at time of publish: $940
Metals: Platinum, 18k White, Yellow, or Rose Gold, 14k White Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.11 ct
VRAI The Floating Split Band Engagement Ring
How can you not say yes to this stunner? Available in rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold options for under $1,500 (sans the diamond band), this stunning ring is a top pick from the VRAI x Brides Collection. The modern silhouette offers a lifted center diamond and a hidden halo to create a unique floating effect.
Price at time of publish: $3,800
Metals: Platinum, 18k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Available in Round Brilliant, Oval, Emerald, Marquise, Cushion, Pear, Trillion | Stone Size: 1.5 ct
Angara Step-Edged Three Stone Diamond Tapered Ring
The best things come in threes, right? This beauty is sparkling proof. Available in platinum, rose, white, or yellow gold, customize this classic engagement ring to your own personal style.
Price at time of publish: $2,089
Metals: Platinum, 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Round Diamond | Stone Size: 0.25 ct
Barbela Design Dismond Nico Ring
The chain-inspired band of the Nico Ring is a great alternative to diamonds. Adding stunning visual interest, this bezel-set diamond solitaire is simply the prettiest piece to flaunt on your finger.
Price at time of publish: $860
Metals: 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Round Diamond | Stone Size: 0.17 ct
WWAKE Nestled Moonstone and Diamond Ring
This is one of those pieces where just one picture doesn't do it justice. Scroll through this ring's photos to admire its many gorgeous features as well as the different bands that can be styled with this stunner. From the enchanting moonstone to the dainty diamonds, there's nothing that we don't love.
Price at time of publish: Must inquire for price
Metals: 14k Yellow, White, or Rose Gold | Stone: Oval Moonstone | Stone Size: 0.85 ct (moonstone)
Kataoka Aronia Ring
It doesn't get any more romantic and ethereal than this. Effortlessly beautiful, a cluster of diamonds scattered throughout this gently twisted 18k beige gold or rose gold band.
Price at time of publish: $980
Metals: Platinum, 18k Rose or Yellow Gold | Stone: Cluster of Diamonds | Stone Size: 0.04 ct
Charles & Colvard Signature East-West Radiant Engagement Ring
Striking and sophisticated—just the way we like it! This dazzling three-stone ring features a unique east-west radiant cut on a white gold band.
Price at time of publish: $1,459
Metals: 14k White | Stone: Radiant Cut Moissanite | Stone Size: 1.38 ct
Bario Neal Half-Moon Dyad White Sapphire Ring
Inspired by the moon, we love how this one appears as if two half-moons are connected to one another. Contemporary and undoubtedly show-stopping, this bezel-set 14k yellow gold ring features two beautiful white sapphire stones.
Price at time of publish: $1,490
Metals: 18k White or Yellow Gold, 14k White, Yellow, or Rose Gold | Stone: Half-Moon White Sapphire | Stone Size: 5.5-5.6 mm
My Story 14k The Julia Birthstone Ring
This is such a sweet and dainty spin on a classic solitaire with a pavé-set diamond band. Set in 14k yellow gold, we love the look of the elongated center stone.
Price at time of publish: $1,090
Metals: 14k White, Yellow, or Rose Gold | Stone: Baguette Stone | Stone Size: 0.21 ct
Après Jewelry The Triple Rose Cut Ring
Three stunning rose-cut stones are nestled together on this thin and minimalistic band. Available in 14k yellow gold, pick the piece perfect for you.
Price at time of publish: $1,635
Metals: 14k Yellow Gold | Stone: Rose Cut Diamond | Stone Size: 0.22 ct
Jade Trau for Ben Bridge Signature Diamond Ring 18K
Style it in a stack or slip it on solo, there's no wrong way to wear this handcrafted 18k yellow gold ring. This piece features a uniquely shaped band and solitaire diamond.
Price at time of publish: $1,099
Metals: 18k Yellow Gold | Stone: Round Diamonds | Stone Size: 0.16 ct
Sofia Zakia Diamond Cosmic Witch Ring
We have one word: wow. Incredibly romantic and magical, this rose gold band is encrusted with delicate diamonds and lunar-inspired detail.
Price at time of publish: $1,348
Metals: 14k White, Yellow, or Rose Gold | Stone: Brilliant Diamonds | Stone Size: 2.5 mm
Vrai Mixed Cuff Ring
Effortlessly wrapping around the finger, the Mixed Cuff Ring features two diamonds of different shapes. With your choice of a 14k yellow gold or white gold band, you can't go wrong with any of the choices.
Price at time of publish: $850
Metals: 14k White or Yellow Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.5 ct
Loop Morning Light
Get creative with this one! From white, champagne, or black diamonds to an array of different metals, you can truly make this piece your own. No matter which one you choose, a stunning halo of shimmer encompasses a round center stone on a pavé band.
Price at time of publish: $1,470
Metals: Platinum, 18k or 14k White, Yellow, or Rose Gold | Stone: Round Diamond | Stone Size: 0.33-4 ct
WWAKE Demi-Paired White Diamond Ring
Six pretty little diamonds glimmer on a simple customizable band. Wear it alone or pair it with other pieces, the versatility of this stunner ensures its enduring beauty.
Price at time of publish: $1,334
Metals: 14k Yellow Gold | Stone: 6 Diamonds | Stone Size: 0.18 ct
Vrai Knife-Edge Bezel Ring
This is what minimalist dreams are made of. A stunning bevel-set diamond is encompassed by a 14k yellow or white gold band. Need we say more?
Price at time of publish: $285
Metals: 14k Yellow or White Gold | Stone: Custom | Stone Size: 0.10 ct
What to Look For When Choosing an Affordable Engagement Ring
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice any sparkle. Try swapping out a natural diamond for a lab-created one or a similar-looking diamond alternative like white sapphire, moissanite, or morganite. Capucinne Loretta Baguette Morganite Ring is simple but still makes a statement.
"Morganite is an excellent alternative stone that can be more budget-friendly. Gems like spinel, sapphire, and ruby are also among the more durable gemstones, and while some varieties can command high prices, you can find a variety of colors and styles that fit a more modest budget," says Kanary.
Thankfully, when it comes to your setting, there are clever alternatives that cut costs while still achieving an almost identical look. "The most important aspects to a setting are that it is strong enough to hold your stone and that it is aesthetically pleasing to you," Kanary states. "Some of our favorite options for affordable settings are rhodium-plated silver and 18k yellow gold over silver, both of which provide a luxe look while being cost-effective."
"If you're looking for more affordable jewelry that will last, we recommend gold-plated items. You can have a durable metal core with a fine gold exterior—all of which provide an expensive look but are cost effective and simple to maintain over time," suggests Kanary. Many brands like Blue Nile offer rings, like their Petite Micropave Diamond Ring, that can come in different metals ranging from platinum to 14k gold.
Opting for a minimalistic band grants you more freedom to indulge in a bigger or more eye-catching stone. Or, if you're looking to make the band more of the focal point, consider textured bands, split shanks, or less-expensive gemstones for extra embellishment. With a row of sapphires, Allurez's ring looks extra regal.
How much should an engagement ring cost?
"The traditional convention that many people hold to is to spend the equivalent of three months salary," says Kanary. "However, conventions are constantly changing, so prioritize a budget that is within your comfort level."
How can I make a diamond engagement ring more affordable?
"If your heart is set on a diamond, but you want to maximize your budget, you may want to consider lab-grown diamonds over mined diamonds," says Kanary. "Lab-grown diamonds are chemically, optically, and physically the same as mined diamonds." Brilliant Earth's Six-Prong Petite Ring comes in both natural and lab grown diamonds.
"A halo is a really good option, because from far away it will appear to just be one larger stone, and this means that the center stone can be smaller and therefore less expensive," says Gottlieb. "You can also opt for a 'cluster' design that uses several small stones in a clustered design, which can look like one large diamond."
How can I ensure an affordable engagement ring is high-quality?
Purchase from a reputable jeweler, and ask yourself: Have I done my research. Do I trust this retailer? Does the retailer provide educational resources and disclosures? Am I able to return the ring if it's not exactly what I want? "Ultimately, the most important question to consider is whether you will love and cherish your potential ring," Kanary says. "And if that's a yes, then go for it!"
What are the best inexpensive stones that emulate a diamond?
"Synthetic moissanite is an excellent alternative to a diamond because of its physical properties. Moissanite offers a more affordable price point, but it still requires a modest budget to invest in a high-quality piece," say Kanary. This Oval Moissanite Engagement Ring looks extra special thanks to its vintage design. "Additionally, white zircon is a natural gemstone that imitates a diamond visually in its colorless nature and high dispersion."
Can I add stones to my engagement ring later?
"With a good jeweler, you can do almost anything," says Kanary. "You may need to sacrifice some style designs depending on how much you want to add or change, but if you are looking for a simple stone swap, that can be done very easily as long as the stone has similar dimensions. Adding side stones is also a fairly simple task for a jeweler."
Why Trust Brides
Laura Lajiness is a writer and editor covering fashion, accessories, and fine jewelry. She was the senior fashion editor at The Zoe Report and POPSUGAR, and she has additional experience as a copywriter and fashion publicist. For this article, she spoke to Kim Kanary, the senior vice president of marketing and brand management at JTV, where she leads the gemstones advancement team and social media group. Celebrity jewelry designer Stephanie Gottlieb also offered her insights.