Style

Where to find alternative — and affordable — engagement rings

If you’re getting engaged, consider a gorgeous ring that goes against the grain.

If you’re getting engaged, consider a gorgeous ring that goes against the grain

Since both Christmas and New Year's (and the days surrounding them) are some of the most popular to pop the question, proposal season is upon us! That means if you and your partner are ready to take that step, you just might be looking for the perfect ring. A quick scan of jewelry stores can be discouraging, though, particularly if you're on the hunt for something other than that classic solitaire diamond mounted on a platinum band. And, if you're on a budget. If it helps, you're not alone.

"Many of our customers are not traditional brides — they're looking for something that feels special to mark the occasion, but also fits their everyday style," says Noura Sakkijha, co-founder of Canadian jewelry company, Mejuri. Last month, they launched their first collection of engagement rings and wedding bands, with the wearer's personal style and the exciting decision they're making in mind. Perhaps best of all, you can get a stunning ring for as little as $826.

Another Canadian jewelry designer, Erin Tracy, has a similar ethos to Mejuri's. "I think the modern [couple] is looking for something more personal and more customized than years past," she says. "I do a lot more mixing of metals and stacks of rings as opposed to a single engagement ring and a single wedding band." Tracy recently designed a ring with a mix of both black and white diamonds set in concrete made with sand from a couple's travels, rather than the typical gold or platinum.

If you're looking for a ring that's both special and fits your budget, scroll down for nine unique and affordable designs, all priced at under $2,000.

While this technically isn't one of Erin Tracy's engagement rings, its hand-carved band and diamond clusters make it a great, somewhat subtler option that could even negate the need for a separate wedding band.

Marissa Ring, $1,850, erintracy.ca

This 14-karat solid white gold band is set with a conflict-free blue sapphire mined in Australia, along with four brilliant cut diamonds. For an extra special touch, you can have it engraved with up to 25 characters.

Oval Cut Ring, $1,664, mejuri.com

Catbird is known for their selection of unique engagement rings at a variety of price points, and this exclusive design from Wwake is a standout. Its pale opal picks up a ton of different colours when the light hits it, and the diamonds add a classic touch.

Wwake Opal & Diamond Crossover Ring, about $989 CAD, catbirdnyc.com

This ring is a beautifully and organically shaped alternative to a traditional diamond ring. It features icy danburite crystal and rough beryl morganite with a band made with recycled 14-karat gold, too.

Danburite and Beryl Morganite Ring, about $1,484 CAD, melissajoymanning.com

Want a more colourful alternative? Go with a whole rainbow of gems. This ring has 14 semi-precious stones in its 9-karat band, so it'll match just about everything you wear it with.

Small Prism Rainbow Ring, about $594 CAD, sarahandsebastian.com

Although they're less durable than diamonds, opals are becoming an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings. And the kaleidoscopic blue-and-green opal in this ring makes it easy to see why.

Opal Inlay Bar Ring, $463.08, jennifermayer.com

If you love that vintage look but don't want to search estate sales, this ring is a great find. It's handmade, and the gemstone is white topaz, a diamond look-alike at a fraction of the price.

Stefanie Sheehan Gleaming Ring with White Topaz, $112, victoireboutique.com

Handmade in Halifax, this ring's green beryl is anchored by a 14-karat band with side cut outs that let light shine through for maximum sparkle. Each ring is customizable and made to order in about three or four weeks.

Green Beryl Ring, from $750, sarahsearsjewelry.com


Tara MacInnis is a Toronto-based writer and editor with a deep love for lipstick, jumpsuits and dogs. Follow her on Instagram @tara_macinnis.

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