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Cheap Engagement Rings: How and Where to Buy Them

cheap halo engagement ring with matching wedding band

Are you looking for a cheap engagement ring? When it comes to engagement rings, “cheap” is subjective. To some, a $10,000 engagement ring would be considered cheap, while to others, a $2,000 engagement ring would be cheap. In reality, there is no such thing as a cheap engagement ring. No matter what you spend on your engagement ring, it will be a beautiful symbol of your love.  

How much should you spend on an engagement ring? 

You may have heard before that you must spend 3 months’ salary on an engagement ring. You’ll be relieved to learn that this is simply a myth that came from a DeBeers marketing campaign. If you’re wondering how much to spend on an engagement ring, it comes down to your personal finances. There is no formula or calculator to determine how much you should spend. While an engagement ring is an important piece of jewelry, you should never go into debt over an engagement ring.  

According to The Knot’s 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study, shoppers spent an average of $6,000 on an engagement ring. This doesn’t mean you must spend $6,000 on your ring, too – we are simply providing this information as a baseline for you.  

RELATED: How to Plan and Budget For An Engagement Ring  

What is the cheapest diamond ring?  

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this. The price of a diamond ring varies depending on many factors, including the quality of the diamond (its 4 Cs) as well as the style of the ring, and the metal used to craft the ring. For example, a halo engagement ring typically will cost more than a solitaire engagement ring since they are more ornate and feature more diamonds. When it comes to metals, some metals are more expensive than others – for example, 14kt white gold is far cheaper than platinum. Be sure to contact our diamond experts at Ritani who can help you find the perfect ring for your budget and keep reading to learn how to buy a cheap diamond ring. 

How to Get a Cheap Engagement Ring  

Nobody wants to spend more than necessary. Here are some different ways you can get a cheap engagement ring. 

Lab Grown Diamonds vs Earth Grown Diamonds  

Choosing a lab-grown diamond over a mined diamond is the best way to get a cheap engagement ring. Diamonds formed in a laboratory will typically cost at least 50% less than a comparable earth-grown diamond. Check out the diamonds below – they both are K color, VS1 Clarity, 2 Carats, with an Ideal cut.  

lab diamond cost vs natural diamond cost

The diamond on the left is a lab-grown diamond and only costs $1,624. The earth-grown diamond on the right costs a whopping $13,863. It’s clear that lab-grown diamonds are a budget-friendly choice.

Why You Should Choose a Lab-Grown Diamond

  • They’re extremely affordable. As demonstrated above, lab-grown diamonds can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than a comparable earth-grown diamond. 
  • They are identical to earth-grown diamonds. When placed side by side, even a gemologist will not be able to tell them apart. 
  • They are real diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds will test as real diamonds. They are physically, chemically, and optically identical to mined diamonds.  

How to Buy the Right Diamond 

There are a few “hacks” you can use to purchase a cheaper diamond.  

The 4 Cs  

The 4 Cs are the industry-wide standard to determine the quality and value of a diamond. The 4 Cs stand for Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat. 

Color  

diamond color scale

Color is the measure of how much (or how little) color a diamond reflects. While some diamonds are naturally icy white, others may have hints of yellow or brown. 

The diamond color scale ranges from D (completely colorless) to Z (noticeable yellow or brown in color). At Ritani, we only offer diamonds in the D to L range.  

Most shoppers want a crisp, white diamond, so they assume they should purchase colorless diamonds. However, colorless diamonds come with a huge drawback – they come with larger price tags since they are extremely rare. Colorless diamonds can cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars more than near colorless or faint yellow diamonds.  

Luckily, you can still get a diamond that appears colorless without paying exorbitant fees. Near-colorless diamonds (G – J) will still face up as white and are much more affordable. Here’s a comparison of a D vs H color diamond:  

colorless vs near-colorless diamond

As you can see, these diamonds appear to be the same color.  

Cut

Cut is arguably the most important of the 4 Cs because it has the greatest impact on the appearance of your diamond. We recommend prioritizing your diamond’s cut grade. Poorly cut diamonds won’t sparkle very much, and they can even appear smaller than other diamonds of the same carat weight. To get a beautiful diamond that looks its correct size, choose an Ideal cut diamond if you are purchasing a round-cut and a Very Good cut for fancy-shaped diamonds.

Clarity

diamond clarity grades

A diamond’s clarity grade will determine how many inclusions (internal imperfections) the diamond has. Diamonds naturally gain inclusions while they are being formed. However, too many inclusions can affect the beauty of a diamond.  

At Ritani, we offer diamonds in the Flawless through SI2 range. Diamonds that are flawless have zero inclusions or blemishes (surface imperfections) and are the rarest. These diamonds are much more expensive. Internally Flawless diamonds (which contain small blemishes but no inclusions) are also rare and costly.  

Fortunately, you can still purchase a diamond that does not have inclusions visible to the naked eye. In reality, they still will have inclusions visible under a loupe, but you will not be able to see them otherwise. These diamonds are far cheaper and are called eye-clean diamonds. 

Generally, we recommend a diamond with a clarity grade of VS2 or better. These diamonds will still be eye-clean, but for a fraction of the price of a Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond.  

SI1 and SI2 diamonds are sometimes eye-clean, but are not always, which is why it’s important to view HD videos and imagery of your diamond before purchasing it. If they are not listed for a diamond you are interested in, you can request them. It’s also wise to take advantage of our unique Free In-Store Preview program, which allows you to preview a diamond or completed engagement ring for free at a jeweler or WeWork location near you.  

Learn More About Free In-Store Preview 

Carat 

Carat is the measure of how much a diamond weighs. 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams. Not all diamonds that are the same carat weight appear to be the same visual size 

Carat weight has a huge influence on how much a diamond costs since larger stones are rarer and seen by many as more desirable. Popular carat weights will also see a large increase in pricing – for example, 0.50 carat, 1 carat, 1.5 carat, and 2-carat diamonds will see significant jumps in cost. 

We often recommend to our customers that they buy shy to save money. For example, if you are interested in a 1-carat diamond, you should look for a diamond in the 0.90-0.99 carat range instead. Diamonds in this range will offer drastic savings compared to a 1-carat diamond and will still face up the same size as a 1-carat diamond. You’ll get the look of a 1-carat diamond for less! 

Diamond Shapes

Did you know that some diamond shapes are cheaper than others? Round-cut diamonds are the most popular shape. They are also the most expensive. If you are looking for a cheap engagement ring, avoid round-cut engagement rings. 

Fancy shapes are much more affordable than round-cut diamonds. Any diamond that is not a round-cut diamond is considered a fancy shape. Some fancy-shaped diamonds look larger than other others. For a larger-looking diamond that is more affordable, choose one of these shapes:  

These elongated diamond shapes have a large surface area, making them appear bigger than other diamond shapes.  

If you are looking for a cheap engagement ring, avoid these diamond shapes:

As mentioned earlier, the round-cut comes at a premium price. You should avoid the Asscher-cut and cushion-cut because these shapes are cut deep – most of their carat weight lies at the bottom of the stone. You won’t get as much bang for your buck with these shapes; they will appear smaller than other diamond shapes.

Choosing a Setting

Setting Styles

The setting is the piece of metal that your diamond will rest in. There are many different setting styles. Typically, you’ll find that solitaire settings are the cheapest. Solitaire settings hold a single diamond and feature a simple metal band. Occasionally, solitaire engagement rings will feature hand-carved designs. Since solitaires have no additional embellishments like diamond side stones, they tend to be very affordable.  

affordable solitaire engagement ring

The solitaire engagement ring shown above in 14kt white gold only costs $284! 

It’s also important to choose an engagement ring with a thinner band. Of course, you don’t want to get a band that is too thin, but engagement rings with a thicker band will contain more metal, and more metal = more money!  

Sometimes, jewelers will provide bundle deals when you purchase a bridal set (an engagement ring with a matching wedding band).  

pear bridal set

1.00 CTW Pear Cut Lab Grown Diamond Bridal Set (Including 0.38ct Pear Center Stone) 

If you’re on the hunt for a cheap engagement ring, be sure to check out our bridal sets, which are just over $1,000. The center stone is already included, so you won’t need to pay separately for it. 

Choosing a Metal  

If you are looking for an affordable ring, choose lower-karat metals, like 14kt white gold. 14kt gold is less expensive because it contains a smaller amount of pure gold – 58.3%, to be exact.  

RELATED: White Gold Engagement Rings: How and Where to Buy Them 

Out of the most popular metals, platinum is the most expensive since it is very rare. The price of gold and platinum can fluctuate, but on average, platinum can cost 40 to 50% more than gold. Avoid platinum if you are looking for a cheap engagement ring. 14kt gold is still very durable. 

Where to Buy Cheap Engagement Rings

The best way to save on your engagement ring is to buy it online – buying online can save you 40% or more on your purchase. This is because brick-and-mortar jewelers must create bigger markups to support their larger overhead. Ritani is an excellent place to find a cheap engagement ring. 

Before settling on an online jeweler, it’s important to do thorough research – after all, you are making a major purchase. Make sure to check out reviews to learn about other customers’ experiences, and ensure that the company has a reasonable return policy in case you aren’t impressed with the ring.  

If you’re nervous about shopping online for a ring, you’re not alone – take advantage of Ritani's Free In-Store Preview option. Free In-Store Preview allows you to preview a loose diamond or completed engagement ring at a jeweler or WeWork near you. Most jewelers just show you a ring with a diamond simulant. With Free In-Store Preview, you get to see the real thing, with your exact diamond. There’s never any obligation to make a purchase, and if you don’t like the item you are previewing, you can walk away without paying anything.  

Financing 

Financing is a great option for those who don’t want to pay for the entire ring upfront – instead, you can pay for your ring in manageable monthly payments. Ritani offers 12-month interest-free financing through Synchrony. As mentioned earlier, you should never go into debt over a ring, so don’t use financing to buy a ring completely out of your budget.   

Learn More About Financing Your Ring

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it okay to buy a cheap engagement ring? 

Getting a cheap engagement ring is not a bad thing – many people have other debts to pay, such as student loans and mortgages, making costly rings less of a priority. Just because an engagement ring is cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful!  

Are antique or vintage engagement rings cheaper?  

It really depends on the size and quality of the diamond in the vintage or antique engagement ring. Just because they are older doesn’t necessarily mean they are cheaper – these rings typically contain old mine cut or old European cut diamonds, which people are often willing to pay extra for since they are now rarer.  

How to Get a Big Engagement Ring for Cheap 

The best way to get a big engagement ring for cheap would be to choose a lab-grown diamond center stone and to choose elongated fancy shapes, such as the oval-cut, pear-cut, marquise-cut, emerald-cut, and radiant-cut. These shapes tend to look bigger than other diamond shapes. 

How cheap is too cheap for an engagement ring?  

There is no such thing as “too cheap” for an engagement ring. You should spend whatever is right for you! 

Is a $2,000 engagement ring cheap?  

No, you can still get a beautiful engagement ring with a $2,000 budget by using the steps listed above in this article.  

Is $1,000 too cheap for an engagement ring?  

No, a $1,000 engagement ring isn’t too cheap. Choose a lab-grown diamond engagement ring to get the most bang for your buck. 

Is a $5,000 engagement ring cheap?  

No, a $5,000 engagement ring is not cheap. This is a pretty common price point for most couples. You can easily get a 2 or 3-carat lab diamond engagement ring for $5,000, depending on the quality of the diamond and the type of setting selected. 

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