My older sister was getting ready to get married a few years back when the recession hit. She and her soon-to-be husband were looking for some great inexpensive alternatives to purchasing a costly diamond, but they wanted a ring that would resemble a diamond engagement ring. While I was helping them research their options, we came up with a few great methods of having a traditional engagement ring that wasn't necessarily your usual diamond.
Using a Different Gemstone
If you and your fiancé were both born in July, then a great alternative to a diamond solitaire would be a ruby. If you happen to have always loved the emerald, wear an emerald engagement ring. Or if you are planning a stunning wedding in September, then a sapphire engagement ring would be fitting as well. There are also gemstones that are clear and look similar to a diamond, such as a white sapphire or a white topaz. Your ring doesn't have to have a diamond in it, and it also doesn't need a solitary stone. You can have a channel-set ruby ring next to your wedding band, or wear a simple blue aquamarine to represent your saying your vows on the beach. A diamond is the tradition, but it isn't the rule. Wear something that makes you happy.
Perhaps you've always dreamed of that colorless stone on your left ring finger. In this case, you need something that looks like a diamond, but it doesn't have to cost the same. When you think about man-made diamonds, the first thing that comes to mind is the cubic zirconia. That isn't the only synthetic diamond on the market, though. You should also look into a laboratory-created diamond. These will cost less, and they are truly the exact chemical makeup of a real diamond; they were just created in a lab instead of mined in nature.
Moissanite comes from meteorites, but it is also man-made in a lab in order to cut the cost. It is a hard stone that resists scratches, similar to a diamond, and has the brilliance and fire that a diamond does as well but costs a fraction of the price of a diamond. It is also difficult to tell the difference between a diamond and a moissanite.
The opal is an interesting stone. No two are alike, and there can be stones that are more milky white, while others have more fire or better color within the body of the stone. The opal isn't the most durable stone, but it can be beautifully set in an engagement ring.
Crystal is a beautiful alternative to a diamond. Set in a beautiful engagement setting, you won't be able to tell the difference. The beautiful and clear stone will have a similar look to a diamond and will be a great addition to your wedding set.
Although not quite as durable as the diamond, a quartz can still be a cheaper, yet somewhat durable alternative to the diamond engagement ring. You have several colors of quartz from which to choose, and if there is ever any damage, it won't break the bank to replace your stone.
Vintage and Heirloom Rings
Another alternative to purchasing a costly diamond engagement ring is to shop for a vintage piece of jewelry. You will have a world of options and lots of price ranges as well, and you'll often be able to find something beautiful in your budget while shopping for a vintage ring. The other cool thing about a vintage ring is that there is always a story behind it, so you can just imagine the love and romance behind the vintage engagement ring that you are given.
Sometimes you are lucky enough to be given a family heirloom to be used for your wedding or engagement ring. Unfortunately, heirlooms come after someone has died or after a relationship is over, but that doesn't mean that you can't give your special heirloom ring a new life full of love and happiness.