What to do When a Diamond Engagement Ring is not an Option?

Shopping for alternatives to a diamond engagement ring

The first diamond engagement ring on record was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477.The idea of proposing with a diamond engagement ring, however,  did not really catch on with the masses until the 1930s, when De Beers ran its famous “A Diamond is Forever” campaign.

The tradition of proposing with a diamond ring is still very popular today. However, purchasing a diamond engagement ring is simply not an option for some people. Why? Diamonds aren’t cheap. In fact, the average cost of an engagement ring is $5,680, and many people cannot afford to spend this much on a single piece of jewelry.

If you can’t afford a diamond ring, there’s no need to put your proposal plans on the backburner. There are very attractive alternatives to diamond engagement rings.

Here’s what to do when a diamond engagement ring is not an option:

Choose A Lab Created Diamond

Lab Diamonds are far less expensive than natural diamonds, which can save you up to 90% off. These grown diamonds are also available in a variety of shapes and almost every size – without breaking the bank. Explore what is a lab created diamond and why it might make be a great option.

Choose A Gemstone Engagement Ring

Diamonds are far more expensive than other gemstones, so if you’re looking to save money, consider purchasing a gemstone engagement ring instead. Some of the most popular gemstones include:

  • Emeralds
  • Sapphires
  • Rubies
  • Pearls


Emeralds are beautiful gemstones that are known for their bright green color. This gemstone is the birthstone for May, so it’s perfect for women who celebrate their birthdays during this month. But, an emerald engagement ring is a great option regardless of your significant other’s birthday.

Emeralds look sleek and modern when paired with white gold, platinum, or titanium. Yellow gold brings out the warmth of emeralds and creates a more retro, vintage vibe.

Emeralds are a versatile gemstone that look stunning in practically every setting!


Sapphires come in a wide variety of colors, including blue, green, yellow, pink, and purple. The vivid colors pair well with many different settings. Blue and green sapphires look best with silver-toned settings, whereas yellow and purple really shine in gold-toned settings. If your heart is set on a pink sapphire, pair it with a romantic rose gold setting.

If you choose a sapphire engagement ring, you’re in good company. Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with a stunning sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. There’s no doubt that sapphires are fit for royalty!


Nothing says romance quite like the color red, so consider proposing with a ruby engagement ring if a diamond ring is not an option.  

You can ask Jessica Simpson about this! Her now husband Eric Johnson surprised her with an extremely rare and stunning 5-carat ruby engagement ring.

Rubies have the highest price-per-carat than any other colored gemstones, but they are still less expensive than diamonds. The best part? They pair beautifully with white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold, so there are plenty of options when shopping for a ruby engagement ring.

Pearl engagement ring


The pearl is one of the most popular and timeless gemstones in the world, so it’s the perfect choice for an engagement ring.

If you want an engagement ring with a modern look, pair a white pearl with a white gold setting. Or, you can turn back the clock with a vintage-looking cream-colored pearl in a yellow gold setting.

It doesn’t matter what color or setting you choose—a pearl engagement ring is a stylish and affordable alternative to a traditional diamond engagement ring.

Other Popular Gemstones

Emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and pearls aren’t your only options when it comes to gemstone engagement rings. There are many other popular gemstones, such as topaz, amethyst, peridot, and opal, that are often incorporated to create personalized, one-of-a-kind engagement rings.

Which gemstone should you choose? It’s up to you! Choose your significant other’s birthstone or a gemstone in her favorite color to give the ring an extra special touch. There are no rules, so feel free to choose any gemstone you think she will love the most.

Get the Diamond Look For Less

If diamonds aren’t an option, consider getting an engagement ring designed with gemstones that look similar to diamonds, such as moissanite.

Moissanite is found in nature, but the moissanite that is used in jewelry is created in a laboratory. Both moissanite and diamonds are colorless with the same fiery sparkle and shine, so they look exactly the same to the untrained eye. No one will ever know that the gemstone on your finger isn’t actually a diamond!

These two gemstones may look the same, but they are sold at two very different prices. The average cost of a one-carat moissanite ring is around $1,000, whereas a one-carat diamond ring can sell for four times as much.

It’s important to note that moissanite should not be confused with cubic zirconia, which is an expensive stone that is often used in costume jewelry. Cubic zirconia lacks sparkle and clarity, so it is easy to tell the difference between this stone and a real diamond. Moissanite also has a better reputation in the jewelry world than cubic zirconia.

The size of your budget doesn’t matter—it is possible to get the look of a diamond engagement ring without breaking the bank!

A simple wedding band

Surprise Her With A Wedding Band

Don’t try to purchase both an engagement ring and wedding band if you’re working with a small budget. Instead, purchase a ring that can serve as both the engagement ring and wedding band.

For example, a delicate gold band with small diamonds is sparkly enough to serve as an engagement ring, but simple enough to serve as the wedding band as well.

Taking this approach may make it possible for you to afford a diamond ring since you won’t have to purchase two separate rings.

The Perfect Proposal With A Diamond Engagement Ring Alternative

Are you ready to pop the question? There’s no need to delay your proposal plans if buying a diamond engagement ring is simply not an option.
There are plenty of alternatives that are just as beautiful as diamond rings, but far less expensive. Now, all you have to do is plan the perfect proposal so you can surprise your soon-to-be spouse with the engagement ring of her dreams!