7 Frugal, Fabulous Alternatives to the Diamond Engagement Ring

By Sarah Winfrey on 18 February 2016 1 comment

Are you engaged? Getting engaged soon? Hoping to get engaged someday? No matter where you are in the process, it's worth thinking about how you want to make the statement.

Many couples are finding that they don't want to go the traditional route of offering the bride-to-be a diamond ring. Some choose something else because they want to make a statement, others because they disapprove of the diamond industry — and even others because they simply like another option better.

If you're considering doing something non-traditional, there are many ways to personalize your engagement and make it stand out from others. Here are some frugal ideas for you. (See also: 7 Smart Ways to Save on a Wedding Dress)

1. Rings

Even if you choose to use a ring to symbolize your engagement, it doesn't have to be a diamond. These options work if you like the symbolism of the ring but want more flexibility in the material.

Wooden Rings

There are so many wooden ring options to choose from! Many people like the fact that wood is a natural material and that trees symbolize both growth and rootedness — two ideas that are foundational to a marriage. Wooden rings sound like they might be big and clunky, but they can actually be delicate, with mother-of-pearl inlays and more. If you want a unique engagement ring, these might be for you.

Other Clear Gems

If you like the look of a traditional diamond engagement ring but you don't want to spend the money on a stone, don't want to support the diamond industry, or you want to be able to get a new ring in a few years, consider a cheaper clear gem. Moissanite is the most common diamond alternative, but there are actually quite a few other choices.

No-Stone Rings

If you are fine with a stoneless ring, there are about a million options out there. You can get something delicate — maybe simply a knotted piece of gold — or something much more elaborate. Really, you can make the ring look like anything you choose! The only downside of this option is that people often use rings without stones for promise rings. If you don't mind explaining your engagement ring to people you meet, though, it can be an awesome choice.

2. Other Jewelry

Don't like rings, but like the idea of a gorgeous piece of jewelry as an engagement gift? Consider a different piece of jewelry. Really, the options here are endless, but here are two of my favorites.

Lockets

A locket is a great choice for a piece of engagement jewelry because the idea is so romantic. No matter what you put inside of it, the recipient will keep it close to their heart. It can also be a great choice for folks who can't wear rings at work, or for keeping your engagement quiet for a while. You can use a traditional locket, with a photo or something special inside, or you can get a more modern clear one, so that everyone can see the symbols of your love.

Personalized Bracelets

Bracelets are a great, inexpensive engagement option. You can choose from various metal options or engraved leather. Have one etched with a short handwritten message, so your own words in your own writing are always visible on your beloved's wrist.

3. Non-Jewelry Items

Maybe jewelry really isn't your thing. That's okay, too, because there are some fun engagement options that don't involve jewelry at all. These are great for people who cannot wear any jewelry when they work, so they can keep a symbol of love with them even when they're on the job.

Engraved Wallet Cards

These engraved wallet cards fit easily into a wallet, allowing a beloved to see your loving words anytime they take it out. They are highly discreet and can make for a fun secret between lovers. They are also a great choice for people who want to say more than can be engraved onto a ring. Give your lover all your words of love when you get engaged, and let them carry your love with them.

Tattoos

These have become increasingly mainstream over the last few years, but they are still a great engagement option. If you want your love to last forever, why not tattoo it onto your skin? Tattoos also give you the ultimate in creative options for how you want to declare you love. Pick something that is meaningful to the two of you.

Do you have an alternative to a diamond engagement ring? How did you express your love when you got engaged?

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Happy Love

If you just don't want a solitaire-type diamond engagement ring, you can also find "anniversary" rings or bejeweled wedding bands for very reasonable prices. I paired the smooth princess-cut stones in my "wedding band" engagement ring with a simple (and cheap) white gold wedding band that I found online.