Your wedding is many things — a celebration of your love, the greatest day of your life and, in most if not all cases, a giant financial headache. Weddings are expensive, there’s no getting around it. The wedding industry was sized at $73.3 billion dollars in revenue in 2021 by market statistics experts, and that’s post-pandemic. There’s a lot to spend money on when it comes to nuptials including your tuxedo, the bachelor party favors, wedding accessory sets and even a backup silicone wedding band for workouts. There’s an immense amount of pressure to spend a lot on this special day, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to. Whether you’re paying for your wedding yourself or have a lot of family members engorging your “cost per head” tally, there are ways to save, make it special, and maintain your sanity at the same time. You can save money from the moment you decide to get married until you write a check to the band — starting with your engagement ring.
The engagement ring tends to be the first big expense in the wedding planning process. Whether you’re making the choice solo or have discussed it being a joint couple decision, having a budget in mind is important. After all, it’s the love and commitment that matters — not going into debt as a first step in partnership. Set yourself up for success in the future and agree on a price that works for everyone. Shall we say… $1,000? Believe it or not, there are plenty of engagement rings under $1,000 out there that do all the special jewelry things. They shine, sparkle and have unique designs you and your partner will love. The best part is, you won’t have to shamefully stare your emptied bank account in the face. Instead, it’ll be glowing the glimmer of fiscal responsibility. Careful, you might go blind.
Here are my five favorite retailers that offer great choices for engagement rings under $1,000, and some rings for you to browse. A click through to all these sites is worthwhile during the engagement ring buying process, as they’ve all got plenty of great styles I couldn’t include here.
Catbird is a jewelry studio in Brooklyn, NYC that makes all of their jewelry from materials that have been sourced ethically and stones that are conflict-free. Here are just a few of the great, affordable engagement rings they offer.
1. Catbird Classic Wedding Band
A wedding band makes a great addition to an engagement ring on the wedding day or a great engagement ring on its own if you’re going for the matching, simplistic look. This one comes made of 14k gold, 18k gold and platinum as well. They also offer the option to engrave.
2. Jasmine Ring, Mother of Pearl
I think this design is gorgeous, and very unique as far as engagement rings go. It’s made with marquise mother of pearl stones and makes a great subtle engagement ring on its own, especially if your girl doesn’t love diamonds or flashy jewelry. It’s made with solid 14k gold and the band is 1mm in size.
3. Braided Ring
Another unique design is a braided one like this elegant, sophisticated design evocative of hair flowing in the wind. It’s made of solid 18k gold and the band ranges in width from 2.7-3.7mm. This ring pairs easily with other rings or makes for a great engagement ring on its own.
4. Homespun Solitaire Ring, Diamond
Now we’re entering the more conventional engagement ring territory — with this textured gold band that wraps around a shining diamond in the middle. It’s inspired by antique solitaire rings and the setting is expertly done. You can get it in a variety of carat sizes as well as yellow gold, rose gold and white gold settings.
5. Hexagon White Diamond Ring
This one is slightly above $1,000, but still in a very affordable range as far as engagement rings go. It’s got an heirloom, antique feel to it that’ll last for generations, and the hexagonal diamond comes in a variety of sizes. The band is available in 19k yellow, rose or white gold as well as a platinum setting. The stone is VS-1 quality and is G-H color brilliant in terms of the cut. It’s a conflict-free diamond as well.
6. Nestled Moonstone & Diamond Ring
This beautiful, unique engagement ring is perfect for the bride who doesn’t want the regular diamond and prefers the unconventional choice most of the time. It’s made with an iridescent moonstone that’s been artfully nestled inside an arc-shaped band. It’s also flanked by two sparkling diamonds 1.5mm white diamonds. The band is solid 14k gold, or you can opt for a metal band for a lower price.
7. Organic Triangle Sapphire Ring
This is another beautifully unique engagement ring choice from Catbird that’s made with bright blue sapphire gemstones, rather than diamonds, for a memorable look. The gold band has been dusted with pale blue sapphires and one tiny diamond, mimicking stars in the night sky. The band is solid 14k gold and the sapphires are ethically-sourced.
Macy’s is one of the largest and most accessible department stores in the country, so I wanted to include a few of their more affordable engagement rings on this list as well. There are plenty more where this came from, so make sure to click through and do some browsing for yourself.
8. Diamond Starburst Cluster Ring
This diamond ring is big and bright filled with round-shaped and baguette diamonds that center around a 1/2 ct. diamond in the center, all of which is set in sterling silver. The ring comes boxed and ready to go, and all the gemstones have been treated and require special care to maintain shine.
9. Diamond Dome Cluster Promise Ring
This diamond ring has some heft to it — and is very affordable for the number of diamonds and gemstones on it. The cluster includes round-shape and baguette diamonds, and the 1/2 ct. in the middle is set on sterling silver.
10. Macy’s Certified Diamond 3/8 ct. Halo Engagement Ring
This is another beautiful option from Macy’s jewelry department that’s currently on sale for less han $1,000, and typically goes for $1,300, so even without the discount you should be close to budget. The ring has a halo crown shape that sets the stage for the round diamond in the center. The setting is 14k white gold and the criss-cross diamonds along the band elevate the design subtly and elegantly.
Etsy is the go-to place for all things unique gifts, and the engagement ring department is no different. The site has beautiful rings, all of which are appropriate for engagement, that suit a variety of budgets. I’ve picked a few of my favorites below, but please go browse their selection.
11. Zhedora Pink Engagement Ring
Pink is the name of the game with this engagement ring, so if that’s your partner’s preferred color your searching might be over. This ring has amazing reviews and comes with options — including a gold or rose gold setting and size adjustments. The center stone is simulated moissanite and/or white sapphire. You can also switch out the accent gems for white sapphire, moissanite or a conflict-free diamond if you’d like.
12. Bihls 14k Gold Engagement Ring
This engagement ring also uses moissanite, a gemstone that closely mimics diamond in its look but costs far less. The stone has color flashes with each movement and is elegantly set on a 14k gold prong setting that’s simple and sophisticated.
13. SivanLotan Marquise Engagement Ring
I love this unique engagement ring option off of Etsy, the unique cradling shape is perfect if you want your partner’s ring to be subtly memorable and sophisticated. It has a topaz gemstone inside with two solid gold “arms” wrapping around it, evocative of an embrace with someone you love. This ring is made to be worn comfortably every day and can be stacked with other rings or worn on its own.
Zales, unlike some of the other retailers on this list, specializes in diamonds. They’ve also got numerous affordable options that are small diamond rings, carefully curated in stunning gold settings.
14. 1/3 CT. Diamond Bypass Engagement Ring
This swooping diamond ring design includes a 1/10 ct. round diamond in the center that’s surrounded by accent diamonds all around it. There are also two intersecting diamond ribbons that “bypass” one another and tie the whole setting together. At slightly less than $1,000, this ring will mark your commitment in a special way without breaking the bank.
15. 1/4 CT. Pear-Shaped Diamond Vintage-Style Engagement Ring
This is a pear-shaped diamond, which is another diamond shape option that’s stunning in the right setting. It’s set in 10K rose gold and features a ring of pear-shaped composite diamonds surrounding the center one, an elegant split shank and milgrain detailing that adds to the elegance. This engagement ring is also comfort fit and made for those who want to express their love with a practical, everyday piece of jewelry.
Vrai makes custom engagement rings where you get to choose the shape of the diamond, the band, the metal and more. You essentially build your ring from the ground-up, and they’ve got some options that start at less than $1,000, which I’ve included below.
16. The Signature — Emerald
This Signature is their simple, solitaire engagement ring that’s designed to sit lower on the finger and pair well with a wedding band. The sling dips below the band and draws in more light so your diamond shines as brightly as possible. The ring pictured below has an Emerald-shaped diamond, but they’ve got many other options to choose from. I’ve included two other shapes below — the Oval and the Knife Edge.