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Best Engagement Rings for $2,500 and Under

How to get a beautiful engagement ring for less than $2,500

By Mike Fried,

If you are shopping for a diamond ring and your budget is $2,500, you have a lot of company. This is the most common budget for an engagement ring. For $2,500 you can purchase a 3/4 ct diamond and pair it with a nice setting.  Although you won’t be able to buy an enormous diamond or an ornate setting, a budget in the $1,000 to $2,500 range is definitely enough to buy a beautiful engagement ring.

For the best value for money, we recommend sticking with diamonds in the 0.45 to 0.90 carat range. You can often get a larger diamond for your money by choosing a fancy cut shape, as the round brilliant cut is almost always the most expensive diamond shape per carat.

For settings, it’s best to stick to solitaire rings, as these offer the best value for money. When it comes to metals, 14K gold is the best choice, offering durability and good looks at a lower price than 18K gold, platinum or palladium. Finally, make sure you buy your ring from a trusted online vendor. We recommend James Allen and Blue Nile for their extremely competitive pricing, great images, huge selection of diamonds, and excellent customer service.

In this article we cover everything you need to know to maximize your budget and get the best diamond and setting combination possible. We discuss diamond quality, setting styles, diamond shapes and more.

Deal Alert: Get 25% off sitewide at James Allen

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

Can you get a high-quality diamond ring for less than $2,500?
Should I consider buying a lab-grown diamond?
What tips should I follow to get a great diamond engagement ring for $2,500?
Engagement rings for $1,000
Engagement rings for $2,000
Engagement rings for $2,500
Where should I buy an engagement ring from?
FAQs about a $2,500 diamond ring

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.
0.50ct round cut diamond pave ring for $2,000
An elegant round diamond engagement ring for $2,000

Engagement Rings Under $2500

Looking for an engagement ring for $2,500 or less? You are not alone. The average engagement ring cost is $5,000, but that is due to the small segment of buyers spending $25k+. The majority of engagement ring buyers are in the $2,500 range.

According to the diamond jewelry industry publication Rapaport, “roughly one-third of all respondents spent between $1,000 and $4,000 on a ring,” making a budget of $2,500 or less very normal. Rapaport.com

If you’ve made the decision to propose to your partner, you now face what can often seem like an impossible process — finding and buying the right engagement ring, all without getting ripped off or going over your budget. 

As we’ve frequently covered on this website, juggling all of the information that’s presented to you as a would-be diamond engagement ring buyer can be incredibly difficult. 

Luckily, once you learn the key features to look for in a diamond, as well as the best places to shop for affordable diamond engagement rings, the process becomes significantly easier, letting you find a ring that matches your fiancé-to-be’s tastes without exceeding your budget.   

Below, we’ve covered everything you need to know about buying a diamond engagement ring with a budget in the $1,000 to $2,500 range.

Our guide looks at both the qualitative factors that go into a diamond engagement ring, such as the diamond 4 Cs (clarity, color, cut and carat weight), and practical factors such as where you’ll find the best value for money.

To make things easier, we’ve also provided our expert advice and recommendations for buying an engagement ring at three common price levels — $1,000, $2,000 and $2,500.

Can You Buy a Good Quality Engagement Ring for $1,000 to $2,500?

$2,500 halo engagement ring
At just $2,470, this beautiful 0.81 carat white gold halo ring proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a beautiful engagement ring.

Before we get into the specific details of buying an engagement ring, it’s important to clear one thing up.

While an engagement ring budget of $1,000 to $2,500 isn’t high, it’s enough to buy a beautiful, high-quality diamond ring that your fiancé-to-be will love and appreciate. 

A nice half carat diamond should run you about $1,000. Set in this gorgeous 14K yellow gold solitaire ring, you have a stunning engagement ring for only $1,450. 

With this said, it’s important to have realistic expectations. With a budget in this range, it’s very possible to find a gorgeous, elegant diamond. However, you will need to make compromises in terms of some of the diamond’s characteristics, particularly its carat weight.

Which gold is more expensive?

Both of these Petite Pavé Engagement Rings are set in 100% gold, one 18K white the other 14K yellow.
Which of the two do you think will save you 12%?

As we’ve explained in more detail in our guide to diamond carat weight, diamonds increase in price exponentially as they become larger. This means, for example, that a 1 carat diamond price is much more than twice that of a 0.50 carat diamond. 

The key to getting the best value for money in a diamond engagement ring is to spend as much as possible on the factors that have the biggest impact on the diamond’s appearance, all while spending as little as possible on those that don’t. 

With this in mind, to help you get the best value for money and avoid going over your budget, all of the diamonds we’ve recommended in this guide are below 1 carat. 

This size range is quite a sweet spot when it comes to value for money. By choosing a diamond that’s smaller than 1 carat, you’ll be able to spend more of your budget on things like cut quality and a beautiful setting for the diamond. 

The result is a more beautiful engagement ring, all at a reasonable price that doesn’t break the bank.

Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Rings for $2500

Lab-created diamonds mirror the same characteristics as natural diamonds but are man-made and less expensive, making them a great option for a $2,000 or $2,500 engagement ring. 

As the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) explains, laboratory-grown diamonds “have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure and physical properties as natural diamonds.” Due to the way they’re produced, they cost less than natural diamonds, making them an option worth considering if you’re aiming to maximize your diamond’s carat weight, cut quality, clarity and color for your budget.

Find the budget engagement ring you like, then select a lab-grown diamond to design a stunning pair. Even though you’ll be saving on a lab-grown diamond, no one can tell the difference between a lab-created and natural diamond. Lab-grown diamond engagement rings last just as long as natural diamonds, too.

lab diamond vs natural diamond price

Recommendations For Affordable Diamond Engagement Rings

Before you start shopping for rings, there are several things you should do to make sure you get the best possible deal.

  1. Buy your engagement ring online
  2. Only choose an excellent or ideal cut diamond
  3. Choose a diamond that’s eye-clean, not perfect
  4. Only buy GIA diamonds
  5. For settings, avoid metals other than 14K gold
  6. Take advantage of sales on engagement ring settings

Buy Your Engagement Ring Online

First, we recommend that you only shop for engagement rings online. As we’ve explained in our guide to the evolution of the diamond market, the basic economics of the jewelry industry mean that you’ll always overpay if you buy an engagement ring from a brick-and-mortar store. 

We’ve traveled around the world and reviewed jewelry stores in the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, Asia, and several other countries. In our experience, diamonds are priced about 30-40% cheaper online than they are in physical stores, or, in some cases, as much as 100% cheaper. Finding cheap diamond engagement rings starts with knowing where to shop.

This means that even if you find an engagement ring on sale in a local store, you’ll probably still be able to get an equivalent quality ring for less online.
As for online vendors, we recommend Blue Nile and James Allen. We’ve gone into more detail on why these two vendors are good further down the page — for now, just know that they have large selections of diamonds and settings, all with very competitive prices and great service.

Only Choose an Excellent or Ideal Cut Diamond

All diamonds are cut into a specific shape. The quality of a diamond’s cut refers to how well it’s cut and polished. The better the cut quality, the more beautiful the diamond will appear and the stronger it will sparkle when exposed to light.

While choosing an average or poorly cut diamond might seem like an easy way to save money, it’s not. Yes, you’ll pay less. However, you’ll also end up with a diamond that will have almost no brilliance, meaning it will barely sparkle even when exposed to lots of light.

Choose a Diamond That’s Eye-Clean, Not Perfect

All diamonds used for engagement rings and other jewelry are graded for their clarity and color. These grades refer to how colorless and free of inclusions a diamond appears when it’s viewed under magnification in a gemological grading lab.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need and shouldn’t look for a diamond with perfect color or clarity. Diamonds with very good color and clarity grades are extremely expensive, meaning you will end up paying more for features that you won’t ever notice in real life. 

Instead, we recommend choosing a diamond that’s eye-clean, meaning it has the lowest clarity and color grades that still look perfect when viewed with the naked eye. 
You can learn more about this in our guides to diamond color scale and diamond clarity chart. Then, using the money you’ve saved by not choosing a diamond with flawless color or clarity, you’ll be able to afford a larger stone with a higher-quality cut.

Diamond Clarity Chart

Only Buy GIA Certified Diamonds

Finally, we only recommend buying diamonds that are certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). This is the most reliable grading entity in the industry. You can trust their certificates to accurately tell a diamond’s cut quality, color, clarity, and other characteristics. Diamonds with certs from other labs are not as reliable, that’s why we recommend steering clear of them. Even if those certificates say the diamonds have “better” gradings, they are often inflated ratings compared to what the GIA would give the diamond.

For Settings, Avoid Metals Other Than 14K Gold

Most online engagement ring vendors, such as James Allen and Blue Nile, offer their settings in a range of metals. For a typical setting, you’ll usually be able to choose from 14K or 18K white, rose or yellow gold, as well as metals such as platinum and palladium.

If your budget for an engagement ring is in the $1,000 to $2,500 range, you’ll generally want to limit your search to 14K gold rings only.

14K gold offers the best value of the engagement ring metals. Our 14K vs. 18K gold comparison explains the differences between these two types of gold in more detail. In this case, sticking to 14K gold frees up more of your budget to spend on a more impressive and beautiful center diamond.

Take Advantage of Sales on Engagement Ring Settings

Although online vendors like James Allen and Blue Nile generally don’t offer discounts for their diamonds, they often run sales and special offers for settings.

As we’ve covered in our guide to the best times to buy an engagement ring, you can often get a small discount on your setting by shopping at the right time. This can reduce the total price of your partner’s ring by several hundred dollars — a lot if you have a tight budget.

Buying an Engagement Ring for $1,000

Engagement ring for $1000

Now, let’s get to the practical side of buying a $1000 engagement ring. Even though at that price point, your selection of diamonds and settings will be quite limited, you can still be able to purchase a beautiful ring that will look gorgeous on your partner’s finger if you shop strategically. 

For example, this beautiful 0.41 carat, I color, VS2 clarity, excellent cut round diamond is only $610. Pair it with a classic solitaire setting for a timeless look under $900.

The key to this process, as we’ve mentioned before, is to focus on the parts of a diamond that have the biggest impact on its appearance and price, all while minimizing those that cost more but don’t have a huge impact on its looks.

Stick to Solitaire Settings

Let’s start with the setting. With a $1,000 budget, almost all pavé, halo and side-stone settings will be prohibitively expensive. For example, this knife edge pavé setting costs $850 on its own, giving you only $150 to spend on a diamond. 

Because of this, we recommend sticking to solitaire settings. The solitaire setting looks elegant and beautiful. Because it has a fairly simple design, it’s largely immune to trends, meaning it’s a timeless option that will look just as good in 20 years as it does today. 

Because of their simplicity, solitaire settings are very affordable. James Allen and Blue Nile have gorgeous settings in the $180 to $450 range.

Choosing a solitaire setting means you’ll be able to allocate more of your budget towards buying a high-quality diamond. By selecting a simple solitaire setting with a relatively thin band, you can also make a modestly-sized diamond look slightly larger than it really is.

Look at Diamonds Slightly Below The 0.50 Carat Range

With a $1,000 budget, you’ll find the best pricing when you look for diamonds in the 0.45 carat range. Many of these diamonds are significantly cheaper than half-carat diamonds, with little to no difference in appearance.

The difference in size between these diamonds is tiny. By saving $203 for a diamond that’s ever so slightly smaller, you’ll be able to buy a more beautiful setting without going over your $1,000 total budget.

You can also often save money by choosing a non-round diamond. Shapes like the princess cut and radiant cut offer better value for money, allowing you to size up without spending very much more on your center stone — a topic we’ve covered in our guide to diamond shapes and pricing.

Avoid Overpaying for Clarity or Color

Clarity and color can both add a significant amount to a diamond’s price, all without very much of a difference in its appearance. 

To avoid overpaying, choose the best color and clarity grades in relation to your diamond shape and setting type. 

In this price range, you’ll generally want to stick to the H to J color range for round diamonds in white gold settings, or the K to M range for yellow or rose gold. 

When it comes to clarity, buying a diamond under the 1 carat mark is actually an advantage, as the smaller surface of the diamond makes inclusions difficult to see. Most of the time, a VS2 or SI1 clarity (or even SI2) will be enough to give you an eye-clean diamond of this size.

Buying an Engagement Ring for $2,000

Yellow gold Pavé engagement ring for $2,000
Pavé engagement rings, such as this 0.70 carat, 14K gold pavé ring for $2,270, become an option in the $2,000 range.

With a $2,000 engagement ring budget, you’ll be able to buy a significantly larger diamond and choose from a far more diverse range of engagement ring settings. 

At this price range, options such as pavé and halo settings become more possible. You can also stick with a simple solitaire setting and choose a larger, more impressive diamond that stands out on your partner’s finger.

Is $2,000 enough to spend on an engagement ring?

Yes, $2,000 is enough to spend on an engagement ring, especially if you select a diamond that’s under 1 carat. You can find a beautiful diamond and high-quality setting that fits your style and budget, such as this split shank ring that costs $580, leaving you $1,420 to spend on your diamond.

Consider Diamonds in the 0.65 to 0.75 Carat Range

With a total budget of $2,000, you’ll be able to afford a good quality round diamond in the 0.65 to 0.75 carat range, provided you’re willing to opt for a solitaire setting.

Both of these diamonds look great and would be a perfect match for a solitaire setting, allowing you to stay within your $2,000 budget.

Fancy shape diamonds can also offer excellent value for money in the $2,000 range. This 0.73 carat, H color, VS2 clarity cushion cut diamond is only $1,530, making it easy to pair it with a solitaire setting without spending more than $2,000 in total.

Look at Pavé, Halo, and Side Stone Settings

Pavé and halo settings both become an option when you’re shopping for a ring with a budget of around $2,000. 

These settings can all enhance the beauty of your fiancé-to-be’s engagement ring. Some, such as halo settings, can also create the illusion of a larger center diamond with a brighter and more dramatic sparkle. 

Because these settings cost more than a simple solitaire setting, you may need to pick a slightly smaller center diamond in order to come in under $2,000. If you’re willing to stretch your budget a little further, both of these setting styles are definitely worth considering.

Buying an Engagement Ring for $2,500

0.63 carat halo engagement ring in 14K rose gold for $2,500
This 0.63 carat halo engagement ring in 14K rose gold looks stunning and costs $2,590, making it a great option if you have a $2,500 budget.

With an extra $500 to spend, you’ll be able to upsize your choice of center diamond or choose from a wider range of settings. In this price range, diamonds in the 0.80 to 0.90 carat range are affordable, as are a large selection of halo, pavé and side stone settings. You can check out the price differences across different carat weights using our diamond price calculator.

Consider a Slightly Larger Diamond

Although a $2,500 engagement ring budget generally isn’t enough to buy a high-quality 1 carat diamond, you will be able to afford a good quality diamond that’s close to 1 carat in size, provided you’re willing to stick to a simple solitaire setting.  You can buy a beautiful 0.80 – 0.95ct diamond comfortably within this budget.

Upgrade to a More Elegant Pavé, Halo or Side Stone Setting

Another option is to stick with a diamond in the 0.65 to 0.75 carat range, as we recommended above for a $2,000 budget, then spend the extra $500 upgrading to a more elaborate, elegant pavé, halo or side stone setting.

This is a good choice if you’re looking to buy a more elaborate, eye-catching engagement ring and don’t necessarily need a larger diamond.

Where To Buy an Engagement Ring For $2,500 Or Less

The best places to buy budget diamond engagement rings are from quality vendors who offer a multitude of options. From our years of experience, the online vendors below provide high-quality budget engagement rings, all for a fraction of the price of other sellers. By keeping their overhead costs low, they are able to offer cheap diamond engagement rings that are beautiful and well-made.

James Allen

We’ve been fans of James Allen for years. Their selection of diamonds is vast, their prices are some of the best in the industry and their customer service is excellent, meaning you can shop with total peace of mind that you’ll be treated fairly. They also offer a huge collection of budget diamond engagement rings and lab-grown diamond engagement rings.

James Allen provides a 30-day return policy and a lifetime warranty. As we’ve covered in our full review of James Allen, the buying process is easy, stress-free and offers great value. 

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is another fantastic option for buying an engagement ring. Their diamond inventory is absolutely massive, their prices are excellent, their selection of settings is very good and their customer service is some of the best in the industry. 

Like James Allen, Blue Nile offers a 30-day return policy and a lifetime warranty. As we’ve talked about in more detail in our full Blue Nile review, we think they’re a great place to buy affordable engagement rings.

Also, check out Blue Nile’s latest coupon and promo codes to save some bucks on your purchase.

FAQs About $2,500 Diamond Engagement Rings

Can you get a nice engagement ring for $2,000?

Yes, you can get a nice $2,000 engagement ring by choosing a diamond that’s less than a carat and selecting a simple setting in 14K gold. Focus on the cut quality of the diamond instead of its size to maximize the beauty of the ring and your budget.

Is a $2,000 dollar engagement ring cheap?

No, a $2,000 engagement ring is not cheap and can be quite stunning. The quality of your ring depends on the diamond’s cut and your setting, along with which vendor you choose. You can find high-quality budget diamond engagement rings through online vendors like Blue Nile and James Allen.

Email Our Experts For Assistance With Engagement Rings

Our experts are highly experienced and trained in reviewing diamonds and engagement rings to look for quality, beauty, and value. When you email one of our experts, they will take your desires and style into account and help you determine what diamond and ring to select. They also offer feedback on any rings you are considering and offer you ideas of what is the best value for your budget. We take a personal approach to each email so you end up with an engagement ring you love.

Remember, it’s very possible to buy a gorgeous, elegant engagement ring if you have a budget of $1,000 to $2,500. 

Use the tips and recommendations above and you’ll be able to find a diamond and setting that look great together, all without going over budget. If you need any help, feel free to contact us for personalized advice on the best options for your preferences and budget.

If you want to push your budget a bit up, check out our guide to a $3000 engagement ring.

Here are more specific budget topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online. Get 25% off sitewide at James Allen
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing.Save 25% on settings at Blue Nile!

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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