The Most Affordable Diamond Shapes For An Engagement Ring

Already planning for that proposal you know is just around the corner? Internet browsing and window shopping for rings have likely become the norm. Engagement rings can get expensive due to all the intricate details that go into crafting one. The shape, cut, metal, and carats are the key ingredients for the average engagement ring by today's standards. But not everyone can break the bank when they pop the question. Some people want to avoid spending so much on the engagement ring ahead of an even pricier wedding and honeymoon. 

These days engagement rings are big shiny displays of love for couples, with diamonds in particular serving as the ultimate sign of lifelong commitment. There are other alternatives to the natural diamond. Moissanite, or lab-grown diamonds, have increased in demand as an alternative to the more expensive natural diamond (per Time). Other options include sapphire or gemstone-based engagement rings. But for those who insist on having a diamond engagement ring, there are certain types of diamond rings that can cost less depending on their shape. These types of rings are valued by their cut quality, color, clarity, and carat weight, or "the four c's" as their known in the industry.

Depending on how a diamond is cut, The Diamond Pro reports that a portion of the precious stone's original weight is removed, which impacts its price. But there a beautifully cut diamonds that are popular, stylish, and affordable.

Emerald cut diamond give the glam look for half the price

Emerald cut diamonds are among the low-cost ring options that appear larger in size. For those seeking an eye-catching diamond engagement ring for half the price, an emerald cut might be the best option. This cut is more rectangular in shape with cropped edges to ensure its stability, according to The Diamond Pro. The chiseled step cuts make way for sparkly light reflections of whites and colors, but it can be harder to figure out the exact cut quality of an emerald diamond due to its elegant shape. Pay close attention to the depth percentage as it helps gauge the reflection of light. 

As with any diamond, the price of an emerald cut engagement ring is all dependent on the quality and carats. George Clooney dropped around $750,000 for Amal Clooney's 7-carat diamond ring, while Beyoncé's 18-carat emerald-cut wedding ring cost Jay-Z around $5 million, The Plunge reports. But the affordability is still an option for non-celebrity buyers. You'll just have to come down a bit on those carats. Diamond Studs say a one-carat emerald cut diamond can range in price from $1,400 to $6,000, with the cut and quality affecting the overall cost. There is another angular cut diamond for those with a higher budget but still seeking a reasonable price.

Cushion cut diamonds stand out and won't break the bank

Cushion cut diamonds are made to stand out. They are shaped like a square with cut corners that give off a soft and sparkly look that allows light to hit the ring in all the right ways. While cushion cut diamonds are among the oldest diamond shapes, demand for the ring has risen in recent years. Cushion cuts typically cost 25-42% less than round-shaped diamonds, as noted by the International Gem Society, making them a great engagement ring style for someone looking to save money. 

Experts suggest sticking to an H color and a center stone with a clarity rating of SI2 or more, this helps the diamond hide inclusions so an SI1 and SI2 cushion cut diamond can give off just as much shine as its competitors. The International Gem Society also outlines options for buyers with different budgets. Those with a budget of $2,500 and under, can expect rings of about 1 carat or less with finishings in white, yellow, rose gold, or platinum. The price can vary by design with the many princess cut engagement rings under $2,500 coming in solitaire, pavé, or halo modified cut styles. But if you're seeking a more square shape, there's another diamond that might suit your style. 

How a princess cut can save you money

The princess cut is the second most popular diamond behind the round shape. The princess cut offers a dazzling classic look that has made them one of the more desirable diamonds in recent years. While it's face-up size may appear smaller than other diamond shapes, the long diagonal measurement of a princess cut makes it appear larger. They're just as desirable as round cuts, but cost about 25% to 35% less (per the International Gem Society). The price of a princess cut engagement ring can vary based on the cut and clarity with industry insiders recommending an SI1 clarity grade or better. 

A princess cut diamond of 1 carat with I color and VS2 clarity can average around $3,500 (via The Diamond Pro). Princess cut diamonds with a distinct square shape and a length-to-width ratio of 1.00 – 1.05 tend to cost more. While you can opt for a more rectangle shape princess cut, they aren't as desirable as princess cut engagement rings with an "excellent" or "ideal" cut. A 1-carat princess cut engagement ring with I color and VS1 clarity can average $4,440 while a round shape of the same size and quality will average around $2,000 more. The options for an affordable diamond engagement ring are endless. Just remember the four C's when you're out shopping and consider buying from a reputable vendor.