This Is Why Some Engagement Rings Are So Cheap

This year, US couples spent an average of $5,225 on engagement rings. Most spent between $2,000 and $5,000. If you consider this excessive, it’s actually much lower than in previous years. If this price range exceeds your budget, you might want to consider cheaper options.

Some engagement rings are cheap because of the materials used to make them. This includes the type, size, and customization of the stone and the metal used for the ring. These factors can result in an engagement ring priced well below $2,000.

This article will explore these factors and more. We’ll also show you how you can pay less without necessarily compromising on quality. Read on to learn more.

Are Cheap Engagement Rings Bad?

Most people will consider a cheap engagement ring one that costs $500 or below. They may also assume rings in this price range are low quality. However, this isn’t always the case.

The materials used to make an engagement ring will determine its cost. You can end up paying a lot less depending on which elements you choose. Here are the ones that make a difference:

The Engagement Ring’s Stone

Diamonds are the most popular stone choice. They’re also usually the most expensive part of the engagement ring. Despite this, it might be the cheapest alternative when it comes to stones. Non-traditional stones such as emeralds and sapphires are more expensive.

Four variables determine the cost of a diamond. They’re referred to as the four C’s:

  • Carat (size), which we address in #2
  • Clarity
  • Color 
  • Cut

Round is the most expensive cut for a diamond, while princess cut is the most affordable. It’s probably the reason it’s so popular.

If you’re set on having a diamond, consider a non-certified stone. There are lab tests that determine a stone’s grade, and you’ll pay 20% to 25% less than you would for a certified stone. 

Another less expensive alternative would be a simulated diamond. These are man-made and, to the naked eye, hard to differentiate from real diamonds. You may know them by their more familiar names, such as cubic zirconia, white sapphire, or clear quartz. The cost of a simulated diamond ring can be as low as $170.

The Size of the Ring’s Stone

The average size of an engagement ring in the US is 1.3 carats. This may seem small when you consider some people purchase 3-carat diamond rings. However, the average cost of a one-carat ring is $7,750.

Consider a diamond that’s less than one carat to reduce your ring’s cost. Of course, if you use one of the diamond alternatives, you may be able to get the size you truly want.

If you’re uncertain what a diamond looks like at every size, this YouTube video gives a great visual:

The Type of Metal You Choose

The most common metal for an engagement ring is gold, but platinum is the most expensive. However, there are many other cost-effective options you can choose from, including:

  • Silver
  • Tungsten
  • Titanium
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium
  • Zirconium

The cheapest metal for engagement rings is sterling silver, and the price of silver engagement rings can start as low as $30. This will vary depending on the type and size of stone you choose. 

Customization of the Ring

If you’re choosing a ring with your significant other, you’ll want it to be a symbol of your love. Often this means customizing the ring. 

This usually involves adjustments to one or more of the elements above. You can do this in many ways, from having the ring engraved to changing the number of prongs on your center stone. You can also:

  • Add additional, smaller stones around or on either side of the center stone.
  • Choose a non-traditional stone for your center stone.
  • Choose non-traditional smaller stones in addition to your center stone.
  • Change the shape of your stone.

Each of these can significantly increase the cost of your ring. If you choose not to customize your ring, it will be much cheaper. 

Pre Owned vs. New

If you’re set on a unique ring, considering a pre owned or used one might be out of the question. However, you may want to reconsider, as preowned rings can cost as much as 80% less than new rings. 

You may not get the customization you want, but you’ll get a quality ring for less than its original cost. 

The time of year you go ring shopping is another factor to note. Consider purchasing your engagement ring during the off-peak season. This includes summer, November, or December. This can significantly reduce the price you pay for it.

Should You Buy a Cheap Engagement Ring?

Spending three months’ salary on an engagement ring used to be the rule of thumb for many. However, this is no longer the case. Many couples nowadays choose to pool their resources to purchase an affordable ring.

Trying to determine how much you should spend on an engagement ring? Consider the factors above as well as:

  • Your financial situation: Don’t spend above your means. Set a budget and find rings within it. Even when purchasing a cheap engagement ring, you’ll still have many options. 
  • Other wedding expenses: An engagement ring is one of the first purchases you make on your journey to marriage. It’s important to remember it will be one of many expenses you’ll have for your wedding. If you want a large wedding or a honeymoon in an exotic location, you won’t want to spend a lot on the ring.
  • Your lifestyle: Traditional materials like gold and diamonds may not suit your lifestyle. If you and your significant other are quite active, you’ll need to consider this when choosing a ring. Tungsten is the strongest metal in the world, so if you’re fearful the type of job you do will damage your ring, it’s a viable option.

Final Thoughts: Making a Decision That’s Best for You

There are many traditions that are no longer a staple. The amount you spend on an engagement ring falls into this category.

You need to consider your budget and choose a ring that means something to both of you. The last thing you want is to be paying for a ring years after the initial purchase, so set a budget based on your earnings.

Remember, the amount you spend on a ring should not be a reflection of your relationship. The love you cultivate throughout the union is more important than any metal or stone.

If you found this article useful, make sure you save this pin below to your Jewelry board.

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