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A guide to engagement ring budgets

When buying an engagement ring, it’s important to find the right one that’s beautiful yet affordable. At Browns, we have an extensive range of carefully selected engagement rings suited to every budget. In this engagement ring budget guide we cover how you can maximise the size of the diamond with tips on balancing cut, clarity, colour and carat, so that you can feel completely confident you’ve chosen the perfect engagement ring for your budget, without compromising on quality or style. 

Identify your budget 

First and foremost, you’re likely to be governed by budget when choosing an engagement ring. So, start by giving some thought to the amount you want to spend. 

Doubtless, you’ll have heard that you should spend one or two month’s salary on an engagement ring. However, this is just something that some people choose to do. There are no rules, and the amount you spend doesn’t reflect the depth of your love or commitment.

What matters most when shopping for an engagement ring, is that you find the right one, without spending more than you can afford to. Just build in a little contingency into your budget, or have an idea of your absolute upper limit in the event of the perfect ring appearing - you’re likely to have an easier time narrowing down your options if you’re clear about your top price.  

Here at Browns, you’ll find beautiful new and preloved engagement rings to suit your budget, including a wonderful range of rings for under £1000 ideal for limited budgets, as well as vintage engagement rings starting at under £300.    

The Diamond

Cut, colour, clarity and carat are the four factors that affect the price of a diamond, so with careful thought and consideration, you can create a ring with your budget in mind.


Though all the Cs are important, the most significant is the cut, which is the measurement of the diamonds light performance, and essentially how the diamond sparkles. Diamond cuts are graded from excellent down to poor. It’s advisable to choose excellent or very good and have a budget in mind for the rest of the ‘4Cs’.


Naturally, diamonds come in many colours, however, the rarest and most sought after is white or ‘colourless’. These diamonds are the most expensive, and the perfect choice if you’re working with a higher budget. On the scale, this colour is a D grade and there are 23 more grades ranging down to Z, which edges towards yellow, brown and grey hues. Grade H or I diamonds still appear white but are a little more common, meaning they are more affordable. 


The clarity indicates the diamond’s imperfections, therefore, the higher the clarity the more valuable the diamond. However, many of these imperfections are not visible to the naked eye, only under a microscope. If you’re budgeting carefully, it’s best to aim for the highest clarity grade you can afford, opting for an ‘eye-clean’ diamond that’s graded VS1 or higher.


A diamond's weight is measured in carats, and as you can imagine, the more weight carried in a diamond, the more valuable it is. If you’re aiming for the highest carat, most diamonds range up to 3 carats. If you’re on a budget, start by looking at a diamond 10 points less than a diamond you like best, so if it’s 1.10 carat, compare it to a 1 carat. 


Round diamonds are the most popular shape, making them a higher value, and a good choice if you have a higher budget in mind. Other shaped diamonds, known as ‘fancy diamonds’ come in beautiful cuts such as heart, marquise, emerald, princess and pear, all just as stunning as each other, but coming in at a slightly lower cost than a round diamond.  

Ring metal

As well as the all-important diamond, you’ll also need to think about ring metal. Engagement rings are usually crafted with yellow gold, white gold, rose gold or platinum due to their strength and durability. 

Platinum tends to be the most expensive and often more popular choice, however, high-quality white gold can give the same aesthetic for a lower cost, which is ideal if you have a certain look in mind but you’re on a budget. 

Yellow gold is less expensive than white gold and it makes a lovely choice for those that admire a traditional, vintage style. However, the most affordable of the gold metals is rose gold, a beautiful choice due to its Victorian history, used in engagement rings as the ultimate symbol of love.

Many will opt for the same metal for their wedding ring so it's worth planning your budget with this in mind. 


Though engagement rings traditionally feature a diamond, there are plenty of other beautiful gemstones that might suit much better, like a rich ruby or deep emerald. 

Sapphires are said to be a popular alternative, as they are not only beautiful but you can buy a bigger stone for the same price as a diamond (averaging 30% bigger). The sapphire also falls second to a diamond for its durability making it a reliable alternative. With cuts the same as diamonds, and striking colours including blue, pink yellow and green, sapphire is a wonderful option if you’d like an engagement ring that’s a bit different.

Gemstones are not only naturally beautiful, but they often hold symbolic meaning, such as jade embodying serenity and opal exuding passion, not to mention birthstones to mark each month of the year. 

At Browns, we’re proud to offer a wonderful selection of new and preloved engagement rings to suit every budget. Don’t forget, we’re here to help you choose the perfect engagement ring, so don’t hesitate to get in touch or pop into your nearest store.