Is $3000 Enough For an Engagement Ring?

You’re on a tight budget and have only $3000 saved up for an engagement ring. You probably already guessed that Kim Kardashian’s 20 carat diamond ring is a bit out of your price range. But is $3000 even enough for an engagement ring?

With a $3000 budget, you can buy a modest engagement ring. If you buy a lab-grown diamond online, you buy a good quality 1-carat diamond. You’ll even have enough money left in your budget for a selection of simple ring settings. In general, spend $2000 on the diamond, and $1000 on the ring setting.

We’ll get into how much an average engagement ring is, and show you where you should, and shouldn’t, compromise on cost. From lab-grown diamonds to purchasing online, we’ll show you how to save money. With these tips, you can get a stunning engagement ring for $3000.

What is the average cost of an engagement ring?

According to Business Insider, the average American spends $7000 on their engagement ring ( However, that average depends wildly on the state. South Dakotans average just $3005 spent on the ring.

The average diamond size for an engagement ring is 1 carat. The price of a 1-carat diamond can be anywhere from $4,000 to $19,000 depending on color, clarity, and cut.

What diamond grade is the best bang for your buck in the $3000 price range?

Perfect color, cut, and clarity come at a premium price. For a perfectly colorless and flawless diamond in your price range, you’ll be able to buy a small 0.25 – .044 carat diamond. If you are looking for a bigger diamond, you’ll have to make some sacrifices.

Luckily, minor flaws or imperfections are usually not visible to the human eye. The naked eye can’t distinguish a colorless D-F diamond from the near-colorless G-I diamond. A VS2 diamond (very slightly flawed) often has no visible imperfections to the naked eye. These are a couple of places where you can cut costs without sacrificing beauty.

However, when it comes to cut, this is what determines a diamond’s sparkle. I wouldn’t recommend making a sacrifice on this.

For an F color, VS1 clarity, and ideal cut, you can buy a 1.0 carat lab grown diamond for $2000. This will leave you with enough money for a simple ring setting. Opting for a 1-carat diamond will give you a bigger ring setting budget.

Knowing where to cut costs can leave you with an above-average diamond for a below-average cost.

Go Lab grown and get a Bigger diamond!

While earth-grown diamonds are found in nature, lab-grown diamonds are grown… in a lab. They are made using high temperature and high pressure inside chambers. Lab created diamonds and earth grown diamonds are chemically identical.

The difference? Lab grown diamonds are about 30%-50% cheaper! Considering even most diamond experts can’t tell the difference between the two, it’s a good place to cut cost.

In the example above for the 1.0 carat lab grown diamond for $2000, the SAME diamond for an earth-grown diamond would be $5,690! That’s over $3000 in savings!

Don’t forget about the cost of the ring setting in your budget.

You’ll need to factor the ring setting into your budget. The simplest solitaire ring setting may only cost $250. Most settings are much more expensive.

For a slightly more dazzling ring setting, set aside at least $1000. I’d recommend looking at pave or tension ring settings if you’d like something a bit more eye-catching.

Buying online is another way to stretch your $3000 budget.

You can expect to save 30%-40% by buying engagement rings online compared to a brick and mortar store. But you’ll need to do your research on reputable brands. Brands like James Allen and Blue Nile are good places to start. Take a look at this article too for tips on where to buy an engagement ring online: Where is the Best Place to Buy Engagement Rings Online in 2021?

Alternatives to diamonds can make for an impressive engagement ring under $3000.

Who said your engagement ring has to have a diamond? According to The Knot, non-diamond engagement rings are more popular now than ever ( Even some celebrities are opting for this alternative. Remember Princess Diana and Kate Middleton’s stunning sapphire engagement rings?

Some of the most popular non-diamond stones are morganite,  ruby, sapphire, emerald, pearl, and opal. Plus, in saving money on the stone, you can afford to splurge on a show-stopping ring setting.

To give you an idea of price, a 1-carat blue sapphire gemstone costs just over $300. A 1-carat red ruby is just over $350. Even a stunning 3-carat light blue sapphire gemstone is well within your budget.

Buy Small Now. Trade up later.

A popular option you may want to consider is to upgrade or trade-in an engagement ring. If you know the diamond of your dreams is out of your price range, you could opt for a smaller diamond right now. When you are able to afford a larger diamond, you can upgrade the diamond in the ring for a larger one.

The same goes for upgrading the ring setting. Or, if you’ve received a diamond ring from a relative you can also have it modified.

Go Buy your $3K Ring!

I hope these tips have shown you that you can find a beautiful engagement ring for $3000. While a stunning Kim K ring may have caught your eye, is it worth the debt? Starting married life without additional financial stress is a feeling that’s hard to put a price on.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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