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Buying Guide For A $1,000 Engagement Ring

By Mike Fried,

Even with a budget of $1,000 or less, you will still be able to buy a beautiful and elegant diamond ring. By knowing where to allocate your budget, you can easily come away with a gorgeous engagement ring without spending too much.

It’s a good idea to narrow your search to solitaire settings in 14K white gold, in order to leave enough room in your budget for a high-quality diamond. By doing so, you may be able to afford a diamond as big as half a carat, such as this gorgeous 0.51ct cushion cut diamond from James Allen or this beautiful 0.43ct emerald cut diamond from Blue Nile. And it’s sure that a half a carat diamond ring looks big enough to wow your family and friends.

Focus on finding a diamond that is eye-clean and colorless, and consider going with a less common diamond shape, such as an oval, pear, or emerald cut, which are generally cheaper per carat than round diamonds and appear bigger at the same carat weight.

Don’t feel like your budget is going to limit you from picking out the perfect ring for the perfect person in your life. Go to James Allen or Blue Nile when you decide to start your search for a $1,000 engagement ring and feel free to contact our experts for assistance along the way.

A $1,000 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.

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

What size diamond engagement ring can you get for $1,000?
What does a $1k diamond ring look like?
What is the difference between a $1k and $2,5k diamond ring?
What quality diamond ring can I get for $1,000?
Where is the best place to buy a $1,000 diamond ring from?
1k diamond ring inspiration

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$1,000 Engagement Rings

For a lot of people, the price of a diamond ring is nothing to take lightly. Movies and marketing may make you believe that it’s necessary to spend thousands on an engagement ring. But realistically, you should only spend what you have the budget to afford. You can check out the price differences across different carat weights using our diamond value calculator.

$1000 engagement ring with a half a carat emerald diamond
Classic knife edge solitaire engagement ring in 14K white gold with a 0.50ct emerald cut diamond from James Allen

Luckily you don’t need thousands of dollars to spend on a beautiful diamond ring. A $1k diamond ring can still look stunning, as long as you prioritize spending in the right areas.

When the ring is on your fiancé’s hand, no one will be able to tell that your budget was limited, and your marriage won’t start with financial problems off the bat.

Check out our recommendations below as we help you pick out a beautiful $1000 engagement ring.

What Kind of Engagement Ring Can $1,000 Buy?

You don’t need to spend a fortune to buy an engagement ring. In fact, according to data reported by jewelry industry publication Rapaport.com, eight percent of people spend less than $1,000 on their partner’s engagement ring (around a third spend $1,000 to $4,000).

According to diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky, spending less on a diamond ring is more common for younger couples. Rapaport.com

Don’t fret budget for an engagement ring only goes up to $1,000, you should begin by setting realistic expectations. In our article discussing how much money should you spend on an engagement ring, we explain that a large percentage of people we help get engagement rings for under 1k. You’re not going to get an extravagant, multiple-carat diamond ring while staying within your budget. However, as long as you prioritize the right things, you’ll be able to afford a diamond ring that shines as it should.

The first thing to understand is the relationship between diamond price and carat weight. Carat is the biggest driver of price with diamonds. And the price per carat increases the higher it goes, meaning a 0.50 carat diamond costs less per carat than a 1 carat diamond, which costs less per carat than a 2 carat diamond, and so on.

With a budget of $1,000 or less, you’ll be looking at diamonds in the range of 0.40 to 0.60 carats. This may sound low, but it’s definitely enough to make a gorgeous ring.

For a $1,000 engagement ring, you’re almost always looking at a simpler setting, letting you put the bulk of your money towards the diamond, which is the most important part of the ring.

By sticking to a simple solitaire setting, an inexpensive metal like 14K white gold and a modestly sized diamond, you won’t have to compromise on diamond cut, color and clarity, resulting in a beautiful diamond ring, like this 0.40 carat, H/VVS2, cushion cut diamond in a classic solitaire setting for just $1,090 all up.

1k diamond ring with 0.50ct cushion cut diamond
Deal Alert: Get 25% off engagement ring settings at Blue Nile!

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What Does a $1k Diamond Ring Look Like?

A $1,000 engagement ring should be simple and unflashy. But by no means does that mean you can expect a mediocre ring. While $1,000 can’t afford a huge diamond or an elaborate setting, size and flair are not everything. Often the most beautiful diamond rings are the simplest.

A solitaire setting is basic, uncomplicated, yet elegant. Solitaire engagement rings never go out of style, so this is a great way to start out, allowing you to keep the cost down.

This simple solitaire setting, for example, is $420 in 14K white gold. That gives you just under $600 for a diamond. You can manage to find a 0.40-0.50ct diamond in that range.

A unique shape, like a pear, emerald or oval shaped diamond, can be a great way to make a smaller diamond stand out, while also saving a bit of money compared to a round diamond with similar grades.

How Many Carats are in a $1k Diamond?

The sweet spot in carat weight for a $1,000 diamond is between 0.40-0.50ct. This allows for passable grades in other areas, ensuring you’re not sacrificing too much in quality, just to get the largest diamond possible.

There’s no way you’re going to get a 1 carat diamond ring under $1,000. But size isn’t everything – it’s more important to focus on finding an eye-clean, colorless diamond that displays fire and brilliance.

See these examples for more idea of what’s possible in terms of carat weight for an engagement ring under $1,000:

Differences Between a $1,000 Engagement Ring and a $2,500 Engagement Ring

In a $2,500 engagement ring there is a lot more room to play with in terms of setting and carat weight, compared to a $1,000 budget.

If you’re able to spend up to $2,500, you could take the same diamond you would for a $1,000 engagement ring, but match it with a more extravagant setting like this Three stone micropavé setting, for just over $2,500. Or you can search for a larger diamond.

While the center stone is the same as it would be for a $1,000 diamond ring, the accent diamonds (making up 0.20 total carat weight) add more brilliance to the overall ring itself, compared with a simple solitaire setting.

With a $2,500 budget, you could also spread the additional money around, going a little higher in carat weight with a slightly nicer setting.

$1000 diamond ring vs. $2500 diamond ring
$1000 diamond ring vs. $2500 diamond ring

$1k Diamond Ring: Cut, Color, Clarity and Shapes

Understanding the way diamonds are graded, and how it affects their price, is crucial to help you get a beautiful ring without overpaying.

With color and clarity, you can afford to settle for a lower grade, in order to save money that can be put towards other areas. Diamond cut, on the other hand, is an area in which you should not settle. 

On top of this, you’ll have the choice of a range of different diamond shapes, which can affect price and value as well.

Here’s a rundown on what you should look for in cut, color and clarity for a $1,000 engagement ring.

Diamond Cut

Affect of light reflecting through a diamond in different cuts

Diamond’s cut is the most important aspect of a diamond, and is something you should never compromise on. Poorly cut diamonds are not worth buying, as they won’t have the fire and brilliance diamonds are known for.

Stick with an Ideal or Excellent cut grade when you’re shopping for a diamond. A lower cut grade may save you money, but it will end up looking dull and lifeless, and not how you expect a diamond to appear.

Diamond Color and Clarity

Conversely, it’s easy to overpay on color and diamond clarity. While you don’t want to go too low in color or clarity, higher grades come at a premium in price, with little to no visible difference.

The GIA grades diamond color on a scale from D to Z. D color, E color and F color are considered “colorless.” Going further down the scale results in slightly more color, but this is rarely visible — particularly in a small diamond — until you get into the J+ range with many diamond shapes.

Look for a diamond that is eye-clean and appears colorless. For diamond color, this is likely to be in the H-J range, while an eye-clean diamond should have a grade of VS1/VS2, or possibly as low as SI1. This indicates there are very small imperfections on the diamond, which are hard to notice for the naked eye.

Diamond Color Chart

The good thing is that with a smaller diamond, you can afford to go a little cheaper in color and clarity, as it will be harder to spot any issues. Flaws on a SI1 clarity diamond are likely to stand out more on a 2 carat diamond, than a 0.50 carat diamond.

Regardless, make sure you inspect the diamond yourself to see how it appears, rather than going off the grade alone.

Diamond Clarity Chart

Diamond Shapes

The shape of a diamond you choose is generally down to personal preference. Certain shapes are not considered better or worse than any others.

Consider, however, that round diamonds are the most common and most popular, but also tend to be the most expensive. Thus you can often save money by choosing a less common shape.

Diamond shape chart

It’s just a little below $100 difference, but this can be a big deal, allowing you to spend more on a setting, or to put more towards higher grades in other areas.

Notice, that even though you can go down in color when buying a round cut diamond (for a solitaire setting: J color for rounds, I color for emeralds/asschers, princess cuts and H color for cushions, pears and ovals), the price is still higher.

Certain shapes like pear and oval shapes appear larger than a round diamond, due to their larger surface area. This can help you get a bigger looking diamond within your budget, without actually increasing the carat weight and spending more.

Where to Buy a $1,000 Engagement Ring

Online jewelers are almost always the best place to buy a diamond ring. Online vendors have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar stores, as well as being able to carry a larger range. This means they can offer better value for money, and there’s a better chance you can find a diamond ring that fits your desired budget and specifications.

For diamond engagement rings under $1,000 (or any diamond purchase), we recommend James Allen and Blue Nile.

James Allen

James Allen are renowned for their range, value, and most of all, their customer experience. They offer excellent service, along with high-quality imagery that makes it easy to inspect diamonds online.

When you shop at James Allen you get the peace of mind of a 30-day return policy and a lifetime warranty, helping you shop stress-free.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is another great choice for buying diamond jewelry online. Their range is second to none, with a massive inventory at great prices. The range of diamonds Blue Nile has on offer means you have a great chance of finding a beautiful diamond within your price range.

Blue Nile also provides a 30-day return policy and lifetime warranty, providing a great customer experience on top of their incredible range.

$1k Diamond Ring Inspiration

A $1k diamond ring can be absolutely gorgeous, despite working within certain limitations. The combination of a half carat, eye-clean diamond with a simple solitaire setting is an elegant, timeless look, which you can be guaranteed will look stunning on your partner’s hand.

Below we’ve laid out some examples of beautiful diamond engagement rings under $1,000, to give you an example of what you can get within your budget.

0.45ct J/VS2 round cut Diamond in a classic solitaire setting for $970

$1000 engagement ring round cut solitaire

0.45ct I/VS1 emerald cut diamond in a knife edge solitaire setting for $900

$1000 engagement ring emerald cut solitaire

0.42ct I/VVS1 princess cut diamond in a classic solitaire setting for $955

$1000 engagement ring princess cut solitaire

0.50ct J/SI1 round cut diamond with a six prong solitaire setting for $1,050

$1000 engagement ring round cut six prong solitaire

Email Our Experts For Assistance With Engagement Rings

The process of shopping for and purchasing an engagement ring can be nerve-wracking and stressful. It can be even more difficult when you’ve got a relatively small budget to play with.

Our experts are here to help with any questions you have during your process of picking out a $1,000 engagement ring. We’ll help you focus your budget in the areas that really matter, so you can come out with the best purchase for your money.

As long as you know what to look for, and set certain expectations, such as the size of diamond and type of setting you’ll be able to afford, it’s possible to find a beautiful diamond engagement ring under $1,000. Contact us and we’ll help you get your journey started.

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.
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!

Please enter your email address to receive your 25% off coupon code:

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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