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When De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. (better known now as just De Beers) needed a way to advertise their diamonds in the midst of the Great Depression, their clever marketing team came up with an idea: Convince the public that the only way for a man to prove his love is to buy an expensive diamond ring for her. The ad was so successful that it became customary for brides to expect a radiant sparkler when being proposed to—and is still effective today with over three-quarters of American brides wearing diamond rings.
Stones such as moissanite and white sapphires are a great way to achieve the appearance (and irresistible sparkle) of diamonds while paying a considerably less price—and allowing you to flaunt a larger stone!
But because it's present day and we're (for the most part) millennials, we know better than to think the only way our S.O. can show us love is through their bank account (and consequentially carat size). Thanks to understanding retailers, the options for affordable engagement rings are almost unlimited. It's why we picked out 57 of the most beautiful and unique engagement rings under $5,000, so you won't break the bank with any of these options—and there are countless styles to choose from. Plus, we consulted with industry experts Amanda Trevizo, a buyer for Shane Co. Jewelry, and Nicole Wegman, the founder and CEO of Ring Concierge, to learn more about selecting a sparkler that won't force you or your S.O. to pinch your pennies.
Meet the Expert
And, you don't necessarily need to sacrifice size for the smaller price tag. Take De Beers classic yellow gold princess-cut ring in yellow gold, which has all the classic glamour of your traditional solitaire diamond engagement ring. Or if you prefer a nontraditional gemstone, Retrouvaí’s diamond channel band ring with a barrel sapphire is a unique touch of color that will still look sizable and engagement-worthy on your hand (not to mention acts as the perfect something blue on your big day).
No matter your style, these rings are proof that it's not only possible to find your engagement ring on a budget, but that your dream ring doesn't have to cost you a fortune. Browse our edit to admire 57 budget-friendly stunners—good luck trying to pick just one!
Shane Co. Three-Stone Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring
Starting off with a bang, this dazzling three-stone engagement ring features a round center stone accompanied by two baguette diamonds on a simple band. With a choice between white or yellow gold, plus an array of colored stones to choose from, it's safe to say we're pretty obsessed.
Lane & Lanae Rock Paper Scissors Line Ring
For the understated bride who is still looking to make a statement, this one's for you. A round, baguette, and princess-cut diamond are bezel-set on a thin 14k round gold band. Perfectly aligned one after the other, there's nothing else quite like this simple sparkler.
Waant Horizon: V619 Ring
Truly make your engagement ring your own by customizing its features. Choose between a pear, round, or oval-cut center stone accompanied by your choice of three different variations of gold or platinum. No matter which combination you may choose, this piece is the perfect blend between tradition and modern minimalism.
Brilliant Earth Harlow Diamond Engagement Ring
For the bride who believes more is more, we've got you, too! This eye-catching emerald-cut diamond is accompanied by an array of show-stopping tapered baguette diamonds. With a variety of metals, center stone shapes, and carat sizes available, customize this ring to your personal style and budget.
Shahla Karimi Landmark Series Flatiron Ring No 2
Inspired by the Flatiron Building in New York City, you're bound to fall in love with this trillion diamond engagement ring in a New York minute. Set in 14k rose gold, this is perfect for the bride who appreciates architecture or simply loves a geometric design.
Fantasia by DeSerio White Gold Triple Cubic Zirconia Ring
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you're going to settle for any less than the most glitz and glam! This cubic zirconia engagement ring gives you just that. The center stone is flanked by two trillion cubic zirconia side stones all set in 14k white gold.
What to Look for When Choosing an Engagement Ring Under $5,000
"The simpler the band, the less you'll be spending on extra adornments, and the more your budget can go toward the diamond. Skipping micropavé or additional side stones will help to keep costs lower," says Wegman. If you're opposed to a simple band, there are a variety of creative alternatives to achieve that show-stopping look. Textured, beaded, linked, or split-shank designs are just a few of the ways to create intricacy and shimmer.
Thankfully, there is much more to the engagement ring world than just diamonds! An array of captivating colored stones as well as stones that resemble diamonds get you the look for less. If you're still itching for that diamond, that's okay, too! There are creative ways to fulfill that dream while still cutting costs.
"Avoid popular shapes like ovals or the more expensive cut, round brilliants, to keep costs down. You should also stay right under the colorless range and purchase a G-color diamond, almost 8 percent less than an F color but an almost imperceptible visual difference. We also advise buying just shy of the carat because there's a price jump at every full carat mark," Wegman suggests.
"By opting for a simpler setting, you'll be able to maximize the size of your diamond while staying within your budget. If you're dead-set on having additional diamond details or a three-stone ring, it's certainly possible to find this for under $5,000," Wegman states.
No matter your style, a ring can be created to capture the essence of your dream ring while keeping your bank account happy, too. Some jewelers have tools for finding an engagement ring within your budget. Shane Co.'s Budget Buddy allows you to enter your budget before giving you an array of possibilities to obsess over.
What is the most affordable engagement ring style?
"A simple solitaire will be the most affordable setting," states Wegman. "You can always find an affordable engagement ring in every style! There is not just one thankfully," Trevizo assures.
What is the most affordable gemstone?
"Semiprecious stones, such as morganite, are very inexpensive and make beautiful diamond alternatives," Wegman suggests. "Sapphires and other gemstones can be more affordable than diamonds, but like any center stone, you are paying for how rare something is, so size, shape, and color can play a role in pricing. Do your homework and then work with your jeweler, so you can see a variety of looks and pricing," says Trevizo.
Can I add more diamonds or stones to my engagement ring later?
"This is a great question to ask the place you are purchasing from. It could ultimately depend on where you would like to place the additional stones and the design and structure of the ring. If the place you are purchasing from has an in-house jeweler, you can always loop them into the conversation," Trevizo recommends.