Like so many trends accelerated by the pandemic, consumers’ desire for accessibly priced engagement rings has intensified over the past year. Before March 2020, modern brides were already more independent, opinionated, and value driven than previous generations. Now, thanks to our new work-from-home reality, they are also increasingly casual.
In the wedding jewelry arena, all these factors combined have translated into a growing interest in rings that are affordable, design-forward and made with sustainable materials. For today’s soon-to-be-engaged woman, the ultimate prize is no longer a mega-diamond stunner that cost her partner three months’ salary, but a ring—not necessarily centered on a diamond—that feels uniquely her own.
With that spirit in mind, we’ve rounded up a host of new alternative-minded engagement rings that retail for less than $5,000. Some feature diamonds, but, as you’ll see, the stones are not the big, white, round diamonds that once dominated the category. They are included, they are brownish or grayish, they are clustered. Some rings cede the spotlight to colored stones. To accommodate buyers in search of accessible pricing, many are set in 14k gold.
While these may seem like concessions, many of today’s brides would argue that rather than trading down in size and price, they’re simply disrupting the narrative that has long dictated what an engagement ring must look like and how much it should cost. Think of it this way: Who’s to say that a woman can’t have multiple rings throughout the course of her relationship?
Top: Fira ring in 14k yellow gold with 1.2 ct. rose-cut natural gray diamond and 0.07 ct. t.w. pavé white diamonds; $4,950; Vale JewelryFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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