The 5 Best Engagement Ring Alternatives

If you are in a committed relationship, you may be preparing for the next step: the engagement. Whether you are doing the proposing or hoping to be proposed to, you are likely considering the type of ring that will accompany the big moment. According to Brides, the engagement ring has a long and storied past. In fact, the ring trend began all the way back in Ancient Rome, but its meaning — once a symbol of ownership and now one of mutual love — has evolved over the years.

Although a ring has always been this symbol, the modern-day diamond ring did not come until much, much later. In fact, it wasn't until the 1940's that proposing with a diamond became the norm, all due to a marketing campaign.

But as millennials become the target market for engagement rings, trends have started to change. While carat size was once at the top of the list of considerations for couples, studies have shown that the younger generations instead want to pay much less for their rings, according to CNBC

They're also considering other options that will likely create new traditions in the future. If a typical diamond ring doesn't speak to you, here are some great alternatives.

Consider a different type of jewelry altogether

Not into rings? Don't fret. Instead of an engagement ring, think outside of the box and consider a piece of jewelry you will actually wear. According to Wedding Wire, one of the most popular options is putting a ring on a necklace, which is great for those who may have a job that doesn't allow rings or for those who don't like to take off their jewelry. You may also want to consider a charm bracelet, which can be customized and added to as you continue to grow together. This also makes an easy gift for years to come by gifting a charm for big life moments.

Other great options include a locket, which can be made even more special by including a picture of you and your loved one or even a sweet handwritten note. If you are unsure of what to get, consider something you may already have like a family heirloom. Elite Daily suggests gifting your soon-to-be fiancé a meaningful memento from your family's past to signify them joining your family — and no, it doesn't have to be a ring!

Find a unique stone

According to Brides, millennials are gravitating towards unique gemstones instead of diamonds. This could be due to the push for something different or due to celebrities choosing colored stones for their own engagement rings. Take Jennifer Lopez's emerald stone or Kate Middleton's blue sapphire, for instance. Either way, if you still want to rock a stone on your ring finger but want to shift from the traditional diamond ring, you have a ton of gemstones to choose from.

To find the stone that fits you, you can simply choose your favorite color, opt for your birthstone, or find one that has a meaning that speaks to you. Some of the best stones for engagement rings include the Kate Middleton-inspired blue sapphire, the morganite stone with a pinkish hue, and the red ruby, which signifies love. Other options include the emerald, which is a green hue, or a pearl, which is a super unique but timeless option, per The Knot.

Opt for a non-traditional ring

If you still like the idea of wearing a ring but don't want a diamond or a stone, there are still other options to choose from. Many couples are opting to stick to matching bands for their engagements, rather than just for the nuptials. Wedding Wire suggests a metal band if you go this route. These bands can be easily customized to reflect your personalities and can be as lavish or simple as you choose. They are also a great gender-neutral option if both parties want to sport a ring to signify their engagement, which the outlet noted is a growing trend.

Another option is to skip the diamond engagement ring and spend that money on an eternity band instead. While in the past, these bands were often used to accompany the stone, they have now become popular as a symbol of the engagement on their own. This option is less costly, but still gives you that bling you may crave.

Propose with something more permanent

Finding the love of your life is no easy feat — especially when you decide you want to spend the rest of your life together. Make this milestone a permanent gesture by opting for a tattoo ring. The trend of getting matching tattoos on the ring finger rather than an engagement ring or wedding band became popular back in 2015, per Today. It also became popular as the price of engagement rings began to rise. According to The Knot, as of 2021 an engagement ring will set you back $6,000 on average! For couples looking to spend less, a tattoo is a great option.

To compare, according to Women Getting Married, a ring tattoo costs between $50 to $300 and the personalization options are almost endless. You can choose a ring tattoo of your wedding or engagement date, your names, half of a heart, the infinity symbol, and the list goes on. Just beware: The cost of getting one of these removed can be up to $1,000 (and quite painful). Make sure this love is real before committing.

If you still want that diamond feel, consider something grown in a lab

While many millennials may be gravitating away from diamond engagement rings, they are still a very popular option for proposals. If you do want to rock a diamond ring but don't want to go into debt doing so, consider a different type of diamond.

According to The Knot, lab grown diamonds look just like their traditional counterparts but have a much lower price tag. In fact, the price of a 1-carat lab diamond is about $1,600 compared to a mined diamond, which could cost up to $12,000! Lab diamonds are also better for the environment and offer a conflict-free sourcing process.

Another option is a moissanite ring. While this type of diamond ring may have a bad reputation, the idea of gifting one of these affordable beauties is becoming more popular. According to a survey done by The Knot, 19% of couples who didn't go with a diamond engagement ring instead went this route when proposing in 2019.

With all of these alternative engagement ring options, there's no reason you need to stress about buying and wearing a big diamond rock. Tap into you and your partner's personalities and get something that speaks to you as a couple. Best of luck and happy proposing!