An engagement ring is a major purchase. From the stone size to the metal type, you want to choose only the best of the best for your special someone. It can be difficult to find all of the finest ring components without breaking the bank. The easiest way to find affordable engagement rings is to first decide on the stone. Choosing traditional or simulated diamond jewelry is a surefire way to add value—and cost— to any type of jewelry. Although, thanks to modern technology, diamonds aren’t your only option anymore. Choosing an alternative stone that is still heirloom-quality can save you a considerable amount of money, and there are tips for designing your own gemstone engagement ring available.
From colored gemstones to diamond simulants, there are lots of stone options to choose from. So, where do you even begin? If you’re sold on the look of a colorless diamond, then finding the highest quality diamond simulant is crucial. Qualities to weigh when looking for a stone include: cut, color, clarity, hardness, porosity and, of course, cost. When you find a stone that matches the qualities that you’re looking for in each of these categories, then you’ve found yourself a winner.
About Affordable Engagement Rings
You may associate the term “affordable” with lesser quality, but that’s not the case with all diamond simulants. Affordable engagement rings can be just as stunning and finely crafted as engagement rings sold by luxury brands but without the high price tag. How you may ask? It’s all in the chemistry.
Unlike traditional rings that feature mined diamonds, affordable engagement rings often include man made stones. This could include anything from lab created diamonds to lab created diamond simulants and gemstones. No matter which man made stone you opt for, it will cost a considerable amount less than a mined counterpart. For example, the Nexus Diamond™ alternative costs up to 80% less than a comparable mined diamond with a perfect 4Cs grade. Our simulant stone is internally flawless, D color (colorless) and Ideal Cut for maximum brilliance. That’s the same quality as some of the rarest and most expensive mined diamonds on the market in different types of engagement rings.
The main difference between the two? Their chemical makeup. Diamonds are made of carbon while our diamond simulants are made of a proprietary formula and patented coating material that acts to replicate the properties of pure carbon. Before you decide if an affordable engagement ring is right for you, ask yourself, “does my stone’s composition really matter to me?” Once you know the answer, you can move forward in your search for the perfect ring.
The Most Affordable Engagement Rings
Since most companies claim to lead the industry in affordability, it’s hard to know if you’re actually getting a good deal. Fortunately, there are some things you can look for in an engagement ring that will help to keep the cost down. Many consumers struggle with shopping in-store for fear of being pushed in a specific direction or higher price point. That’s where online shopping comes in handy. Along with the no-pressure shopping journey, online jewelers are able to lower their prices because there is no middle man involved.
To help you find an affordable engagement ring, we’ve put together the top tips to keep in mind when shopping—whether you decide to shop at your local jeweler or online. Follow these few tips to ensure your engagement ring doesn’t go over your allotted budget.
Choose a non-traditional center stone:
First things first: Mined diamonds are expensive.
Sure, mined diamonds may have been the traditional choice until recently, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best option. Diamond conglomerates are no longer able to sell the false belief that diamonds are rare. We now know that’s just not true.
Thanks to advanced technology, consumers have more options than ever. From lab grown diamonds that are identical in every way to mined diamonds except for origin to diamond simulants that replicate the look, weight and wear of perfect diamond, there’s really no need to buy mined diamonds anymore. Both lab grown diamonds and Nexus Diamond™ alternatives cost a significant amount less than traditional diamonds. That means you don’t have to compromise on your stone. Choose the look you love, for less.
Opt for a durable but affordable metal type
There is often a lot of confusion about different metal types. What’s the difference between 18k and 14k gold? And why is platinum more expensive than gold? Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to choose the right type of metal for your engagement ring and wedding band.
14k gold is made of 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy mixture. The reason 24k gold is not used in jewelry is that, although gold looks stunning, it’s a rather soft metal. The alloys actually help to strengthen the metal and keep it durable enough for everyday wear. 14k gold is one of the least expensive metal options while sustaining durability. 18k gold has slightly more gold, with 18 parts gold and 8 parts alloy mixture. Since it has more gold it is more expensive than 14k gold, but it is also slightly softer and easier to scratch—although it is usually still durable enough for fine jewelry.
The reason 14k gold is more commonly used in engagement rings is that it is the perfect mix of durability and affordability. With slightly more gold than alloy mixture, it’s a valuable metal that should withstand the test of time for a lifetime and longer. But if you want to opt for a metal that’s even more durable and you like the look of white gold, then you might want to consider a platinum ring. Platinum tends to be more durable since it doesn’t tarnish as gold does over time. So while you’ll have to spend time and money maintaining a gold ring over time, a platinum ring shouldn’t need much maintenance. If you consider the cost comparison of platinum vs white gold wedding bands long term, the two metals aren’t as different in overall price as you might think.
Pick an elongated stone shape
While the most popular shapes tend to be the more classic shapes—like Round Brilliant and Princess—more elongated shapes may give you more bang for your buck. This is because shapes like Oval and Marquise have a larger table surface which gives them a larger appearance. On top of being able to get a slightly smaller stone while not losing size, these types of stones also tend to be on the less expensive side. Since Round Brilliant stones are perfect circles, they are the only shape that has an Ideal facet pattern which results in maximum sparkle. So, before you choose your center stone shape you should ask yourself if affordability or sparkle is more important to you. Keep in mind, any Nexus Diamond™ alternative shape you choose will dazzle with superb sparkle.
Be smart about your accent stones
A little sparkle can go a long way, which is why you can save money by choosing minimal accent stones. Instead of opting for accent stones along the entirety of your engagement ring shank, try choosing a setting style that allows you to have fewer stones while filling in the extra space. This can be accomplished with settings like bezel, bar and shared prong. You can also choose to have only a few on each side of your center stone to get the look of accents without going overboard and raising the overall cost.
Where to Buy Affordable Engagement Rings
Since the demand for affordable engagement rings is high, there are many companies competing for the lowest price. Each company will feature different stone options that vary in price point. From cubic zirconia to moissanite, there are plenty of diamond alternative options to choose from. Although, not all of them will be heirloom-quality and replicate the appearance of a diamond. That’s why it’s important to perform extensive research before deciding on your center stone.
If you’re not convinced a diamond simulant is right for you, consider a lab diamond. You can get the same traditional diamond you want, at a fraction of the price. Along with achieving your goal of finding an affordable engagement ring, you won’t be contributing to the ‘blood diamond trade’ that wreaks havoc on the environment and the lives of workers. With a lab diamond engagement ring, you can be confident in your purchase for a lifetime. Our sister company, 12FIFTEEN Diamonds, carries hundreds of lab diamond engagement ring styles that are perfect for the modern bride. Check out their inventory and learn more about the benefits of lab grown diamonds.
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*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.