When you’re ready to propose marriage, you don’t have to buy the most expensive ring in the store. There are lovely engagement rings you can afford even if you’re on a tight budget. Here are five engagement rings you’ll find affordable, and she will love.

Lab Produced Diamonds

While diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, they are not necessarily budget friendly. However, you can find affordable diamonds if you don’t mind a laboratory-made diamond. (NOTE: We don’t actually supply lab-made diamonds at Vanessa Nicole Jewels, but here is information about them.) Well-made synthetic diamonds are less expensive than natural diamonds, and they are almost impossible to distinguish from natural diamonds unless it is closely examined.

Synthetic diamonds cost 15% to 20% less than natural diamonds so that a buyer can save hundreds of dollars on an engagement ring. It’s important to note synthetic diamonds are real diamonds; they are just made in a laboratory. Cubic zirconia, Moissanite, and other simulated diamond are not lab created diamonds, but they are crystals which many people buy as they are hard to distinguish from a real diamond at a glance.

Colored Synthetic Diamonds

Another type of lab-created diamond you might want to consider when buying an engagement ring are colored diamonds. Blue, pink, chocolate, yellow and other colored diamonds are beautiful, unique and they can save you several thousand dollars when you’re shopping for engagement rings.

Synthetic colored diamonds are less expensive than colorless, or white, synthetic diamonds and cost about 10% of what natural colored diamonds do. Real colored diamonds do exist, and most of them are rare so that they can be extremely expensive. Pink, yellow and blue is some of the colors which exist for natural diamonds.

Select Different Gemstones

Not every woman likes diamonds, and many prefer a different type of gemstones for their engagement rings. Some women are ethically opposed to diamonds because many of them are from areas in the world where wars are fought over them, while others simply don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on diamonds when they could use it for other purposes. For these women, gems like sapphire, amethysts, aquamarine, tourmaline or her birthstone could be placed in a setting for her engagement ring.

Rings set with one of these gemstones are just as beautiful as diamond engagement rings and will be as unique as the person to whom you’re proposing. In addition, you could have the setting designed specifically for her from a metal which is less expensive than gold or platinum, but which is as beautiful as a traditional diamond engagement ring.

Choose Different Metals

To maintain the value of a diamond, whether it’s natural or lab-created, you should choose a precious metal setting like gold, white gold or platinum. However, if you decide to choose another gemstone, you can select a less expensive setting like white gold, rose gold, or silver.

It is important to find out if your intended is allergic to any metals before choosing something other than gold, platinum or silver. Some metals used for making settings are a combination of other metals, which is called an alloy. Metal alloys often contain nickel, which some people are allergic to and they may break out in a rash when wearing it.

Traditional Engagement Rings

Instead of buying an engagement ring with a gemstone in the center, you could go more traditional and buy a ring with more cultural significance. The Irish Claddagh is often given as an engagement ring due to its beauty and the significance of the design. It is designed from metals like gold, white gold or silver with a heart held by two hands and a crown on top of the heart.

The legend is the designer of the Claddagh made it to give to his beloved, and the heart signified his love for her, the hands showed their friendship, and the crown represented his loyalty to her. Another ring historically used by suitors to propose is the “true lover’s knot.” It is based on a knot sailors would tie who were separated from their beloveds.

While diamond engagement rings are beautiful, they can be very expensive. These five engagement choices are just as beautiful, and they are much more budget friendly. You can maximize your budget and pop the question holding a gorgeous ring.

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