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Finding Engagement Rings Under $2500

by Willyou.net * Mar 12, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • $2500 is definitely at the very low end of engagement ring budgets, but that’s not to say you can’t find an incredible, yes-worthy ring at that price point.
  • Sure, you’ll probably have to make a few sacrifices – particularly when it comes to the size of your diamond – but not so many that the ring loses its impact.
  • The key is to work with a great jeweler, and to be upfront about your budget. There’s no point in glossing over the subject until you’ve worked together to dream up a ring that’s going to cost 10x what you’ve got in the bank.
  • Cut and eye cleanliness remain the priorities. You can go to a pretty low clarity grade – and the same for color – without losing beauty, particularly if your diamond is on the smaller side.
Finding Engagement Rings Under $2500

There’s no use in sidestepping the fact that, when it comes to engagement rings, a budget of $2,500 is on the low side. It’s a sizeable sum of money, but it’s not going to unlock the widest array of choices in the jewelry store.

Fortunately, you don’t need to widest array of choices – you just need to find the one – and that’s still a distinct possibility, provided you’re honest with yourself about the sort of thing $2,500 can get you – what it can’t – and what you definitively don’t want to fall for in the process.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Jeweler

The number one key to finding an excellent ring within your price range is an experienced and reputable jeweler. You don’t want to wander into any old store – or, worse, ‘DIY it’ online – and find yourself being talked into upping your budget to heights you’re not comfortable with, and a good jeweler won’t do this.

The key is to be frank. Tell them your budget – tell them your absolute limit – and let them scan through their industry knowledge to work out a solution. While $2500 is low for an engagement ring, it won’t be the first time they’ve heard the number uttered in their store, so don’t try to skirt the subject of money – it’ll only make things harder.

 But what’s wrong with going online? Sure, you might feel a little more ‘in control’ sitting at your computer (and their prices often undercut bricks-and-mortar stores), but you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Whether you’re spending $2500, $25,000 or $250,000 on an engagement ring, there’s a lot to think about, and you can’t cover all your bases without the right jeweler.

The better option? Using our Jewelry Store Locator to find a store we personally recommend in your local area.

The Diamond

Ideally representing 80% of your budget, the importance of picking the right diamond cannot be overstated. You’ll want to understand the basics of diamond value – how quality changes price, and how you can get away with buying a ‘lower quality’ diamond without it looking, well, cheap.

For this, understanding the Four Cs is paramount. Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat are all capable of creating a substantial difference between two diamonds that, if placed in front of you, probably don’t look all that different.

Whatever budget you’re shopping at, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of certification. The GIA is preferable but, failing that, the only other lab we would recommend is the AGS.

  • Cut
    When it comes to Cut, you can’t afford to go lower than a Very Good grade. You could save a lot of money on a poor cut but, if you do, the savings will be reflected in the quality of the diamond. It may appear wonky or dull – or both.
  • Color
    Focus on diamonds with a color grade at the lower end of the Near Colorless Range. While D, E, and F graded diamonds are the clearest, H, I, and some J color diamonds will appear virtually indistinguishable to anyone who does not consider themselves an expert on the subject. You’ll be wasting a sizeable portion of your budget on a diamond with a high color grade – but, at the same time, anything below a J color will also be a waste of money.
  • Clarity
    Again, focus your search on the lower end of the Clarity scale. SI1, SI2, and, if your diamond is on the smaller side, some I1 diamondswill appear eye clean, which is far more important than paying thousands of dollars more for a diamond that looks the same to the naked eye. Don’t be afraid of a low clarity grade, provided you can’t see proof of it when you look at the diamond in the jewelry store. This is another reason why buying online is a terrible idea.
  • Carat
    While all the other points listed above apply to anyone shopping at any budget, carat is where you’ll probably see the most sacrifice on a $2500 budget. Why? Because shoppers value bigger diamonds, and the industry prices them according to the prestige and demand for diamonds with an impressive weight, depth, and diameter.
    In other words, you won’t luck your way into finding a 1 carat diamond at your price point.
    Smaller diamonds aren’t the dealbreaker Hollywood makes them out to be. Some women prefer them, and the elegant designs that can be used to bring out the stone’s beauty.
    Aim for the 0.65 – 0.8 carat range, and you’ll find diamonds that are significantly cheaper than they are at the highly coveted 1 carat mark.

Also, spare a thought for shape. You might have already settled on the shape you want, but it’s worth remembering that some are more expensive than others. The Round Brilliant, as a result of its popularity and sparkle, is the most expensive, while cuts like the Princess, Marquise and Emerald are generally more affordable. Changing your vision could be a great way to save a little money.

If you’re still worried about feeling ‘on the spot’ at the jewelry store, browse diamonds online first – but don’t be tempted by the online jewelers.

The Setting

What’s a diamond without a ring when you’re preparing to get down on one knee?

We mentioned above that you’ll want to leave about 20% of your budget for the setting – which leaves you a rough ‘ring budget’ of $500. Again, this is pretty low, but it’s not totally out of the question.

You’ll probably need to reign in any ideas you have for accent diamonds, and you’ll want to aim for a cheaper metal – 10K gold instead of 14k or 18k, and white gold (again, 10K) instead of platinum – but ‘budget’ doesn’t have to mean poor quality, particularly if you choose the right jeweler.

A cathedral setting is a great option for giving your ring more intrigue and height, without relying on intricate details like pavé. If there’s room in your budget, you can achieve the illusion of a bigger center stone with a small halo setting, or, alternatively, go for the foolproof classic of the solitaire.

Again, it’s about practicing openness and honesty with your jeweler, and realizing that a low budget does not mean you have to go for the bottom of the barrel.