Top 8 Tips For Buying Affordable Wedding Rings and Engagement Rings

When you know you've found the One, you want a ring that says so. The trouble is affording a ring that's equal to the amazingness of your special someone.

Conventional wisdom holds that you should spend three months-worth of salary on a ring. In fact, about half of American men and women spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on a ring. In California, the average jumps to almost $8,000.

And sure, that will buy you a beautiful ring...if you've got a few thousand dollars to spend.

If you don't have a couple thousand lying around, don't despair. Here are our 8 best tips for buying beautiful and affordable wedding rings.

1. Decide on a Budget Beforehand

Before you lay eyes on a single gemstone, you've got an important task: deciding your budget.

The good news is that you're already planning a wedding budget, so the ring is another item you can add to the larger budget.

The key, as with the wedding budget, is to know exactly how much ring you can afford. Remember, you can buy a great ring without breaking the bank.

2. Be Strategic with the Setting

If you can't quite afford the stone you want, there are a few handy tricks to make it look like you can afford a pricier ring.

One of them, as it turns out, is the setting.

You see, you don't have to get a gem with more carats if you instead choose a setting that creates the optical illusion of more carats. It's simple: choose a ring with a halo setting, which is a circle of small stones around a larger central stone.

This has two effects: first, it creates the illusion of a larger gem by adding more sparkle, and second, it makes the ring look vintage.

3. Pick Your Prong with Care

Another factor you probably didn't consider? The metal that secures the gemstone to the ring like a camera on a tripod.

Fun fact: the more metal required to make the ring, the more expensive the ring is.

Guess where a lot of extra metal is hiding?

Your best bet is to choose a minimalist setting like a prong (which holds the gem in place like a tripod) instead of a bezel (which circles around the stone).

Plus, a prong setting leaves more of the stone visible, which highlights the gem (and reduces the cost of future cleanings). But a word to the wise: even if the rest of the ring is in some other metal, choose platinum prongs. It's much stronger and has a better chance of keeping the ring in place.

4. Stay Away from Platinum

That said, as a rule, steer clear of platinum.

Yes, platinum has a certain clean, light, modern look that you might not get with other metals. But although platinum and gold are similarly priced per gram, a gram of platinum has far less volume than a gram of gold.

For those who are rusty on science class, that means that you need more platinum to make a ring than you would need to make the exact same ring out of gold or some other metal.

As such, you're best served by steering clear of platinum and sticking with other metals, since doing so usually keeps your price down.

5. Consider Pave Diamonds

Hey, we get it. You (or your other half) want a rock like Kim Kardashian-West. Except life is cruel and you don't have Kim's budget.

Thankfully, you don't have to have Kim's budget to imitate Kim's ring.

This is because of pave diamonds (okay, technically they're not diamonds, they're a setting). Basically, pave diamonds are when you use a lot of small gemstones, usually diamonds, that are set close together to create the optical illusion of a larger gemstone.

Good news for you: it's more cost effective to buy a lot of smaller diamonds than it is to buy one large diamond.

And before you worry, it's not going to look like your mom's costume jewelry. The stones are small and set close together in the ring using beads. The beads virtually disappear, creating the illusion of one continuous diamond.

6. Or Diamond Alternatives

Of course, you can also go off the beaten path and use diamond alternatives. If you decide to go this route, we're big fans of moissanite rings.

Moissanite is a popular diamond alternative because it looks similar to diamonds and is just as hard as a diamond but usually costs about half of what a diamond of that size costs.

Oh, and did we mention moissanite is actually shinier than a diamond?

You could also go for a morganite ring. If you're unfamiliar, morganite is a semiprecious stone related to emerald and aquamarine, and it comes in many shades of pink. The most popular morganite are lighter pink.

7. Opt for an Emerald Cut

Regardless of the type of stone you choose, you're best served by selecting an emerald cut.

An emerald cut is basically a rectangular cut gemstone. Where a brilliant cut diamond has the sparkle effect that you see in many classic rings, an emerald cut diamond has a house of mirrors effect by creating an interplay of light and dark planes.

This creates a ring that looks elegant and dramatic. Plus, it's less work for the jeweler to make, which means emerald-cut rings are generally less expensive.

8. Ask Your Other Half!

Finally, if you want to find a great engagement ring without burning your whole nest egg, talk to your other half!

This wedding is a joint effort, and your ring should be the same way. Ask what they like, what they want, what styles and types of stones they're most interested in.

After all, you want to choose a ring that will make you happy every time you look down.

Affordable Wedding Rings, Whatever Your Style

Just because your rings and your wedding is affordable doesn't mean you're short on style and romance. You can say a lot of meaningful things with affordable wedding rings, and we're here to help you send the right message.

If you have an idea in mind, click here to get started with the setting. Or you can shop around our predesigned wedding and engagement rings, like these vintage-inspired engagement rings.