For many Americans, a proposal is intimately tied up with a large and expensive engagement ring. But if you can't afford a stunning diamond sparkler, should you wait until you can do it right? Of course not. There are many ways to pop the question even when your finances are tighter than you'd like — while still having a gorgeous engagement piece. Here are a few ideas.
1. Use Color Instead.
What is your future fiance's favorite color? Is there a gemstone they tend to adore? Rather than spend the extra money needed to get a large diamond, spend less to get more with a colored gem instead. Go for a beautiful blue sapphire, a pretty red ruby, or pink tourmaline. Complement the main color with smaller diamonds if it fits your budget.
2. Upgrade Later.
The ring you propose with doesn't have to be the final version. Buy a nice ring you can afford now and plan an upgrade at a later date. A custom ring designer will be able to incorporate the original stone or band into a new ring — changing as much or as little as you want. This way, your original engagement prop remains a special part of your marriage journey.
3. Make It Meaningful.
Rather than focus on the size of the stones, give the ring a special meaning. If you share children, for instance, decorate with small versions of their birthstones. Engrave the band with your own words. Or, create a pattern that symbolizes your intertwined lives. When the ring carries a personal touch, the size of the diamonds is less of a concern.
4. Try a Diamond Alternative.
Everyone has heard of cubic zirconium as an inexpensive alternative to diamonds, but moissanite is a less well-known lab-created gem that mimics the brilliance of a diamond. Or, look at the subtle hues in your preferred diamonds and find similar alternatives within other gem families. Like a pinkish hue? Try morganite. Prefer a blue or purple tone to diamonds? Sapphires come in light, airy varieties. Like a glittery look? Opt for opal or sunstone.
Modern couples can choose from a global array of gemstone options. No matter what your budget or what your fiance's taste is, you can find a great ring that is within your means. Want more ideas before you pop the question? Consult with an experienced jewelry store that can create custom engagement rings.