Diamonds Aren’t Every Girl’s Best Friend: Inexpensive Alternative Engagement Rings For The Non-Traditionalists

Diamonds aren't every girl's best friend. If you're a non-traditionalist and looking for a non-diamond unique engagement ring, check out these alternative engagement rings.

Some girls (and guys) grow up dreaming of their perfect wedding: the proposal, the ring, the dress, the tux, the everything. Some girls even go to college searching not only for their bachelors degree, but their Mrs. Degree. And some, like this materialistic fiancé, criticize their future Mr. when he doesn’t deliver the 3-carat rock she’d been dreaming of since childhood.

And then there are those in the non-traditional category. The ones who elope, who have crazy themed weddings or even wedding bouncy castles. They don’t want diamonds, whether it’s for social, environmental, or political reasons or because they’d rather zig when the rest of the brides are zagging.

If you fall into this category, check out these alternative engagement rings:

1.) Family Heirlooms

Alternative engagement rings: family heirloom broach

Women have always loved jewelry,and chances are your mom, grandmother, or great aunt has a piece or two that was passed down from generations before. If you want to propose with a jewel, but can’t afford a diamond, ask your family if there is an heirloom you can propose with.

If there’s a ring, great. Just make sure to have it resized so it fits your future fiancé. If not, no worries! Vintage broaches can be made into rings, or gifted as a stand alone piece.

Sometimes families have old jewels that no one likes. Ask if you can take stones from those pieces and have a ring made out of them.

2.) Tattoos

Alternative engagement rings: tattoos

People say a diamond is forever, but that’s not really true. You can loose it, sell it, or even upgrade it. If you really want something that’s forever, get a tattoo.

More and more couples are tattooing their left ring fingers as a sign of devotion. Sometimes they cover it with a ring, other times they just let the tattoo speak for itself. Plus, it’s 100% customizable. Get your partner’s name, your wedding date – whatever you want. If you’re not afraid of needles and want to show your partner you really are in it for the long-haul, consider a tattoo wedding band.

3.) Gemstone Engagement Rings

Alternative engagement rings: Grey Moonstone and White Topaz Round Ring

Blue Nile

Blue Nile specializes in customizable jewelry. Yes, its best sellers may be diamonds, but the online retailer also has options for the non-traditionalists as well.  Take a look at what there is to offer by searching for metal, ring style, price, and more.

We’ve picked our favorite gemstone engagement rings in our unique engagement ring article!

beautiful rose gold alternative egagement ringMany jewelers and jewelry websites also have a great selection of gemstones, wedding bands, and more.

4.)Lab Grown Diamonds

Alternative engagement ring brilliant earth

Lab grown diamonds, also known as synthetic diamonds, are man made. Grown in labs, the process duplicates the conditions under which diamonds naturally form. The difference? They’re cheaper and eco-friendly.

So – if you do happen to be a diamond girl but hate the idea of a blood-diamond or non-eco friendly diamond, consider a lab grown diamond such as the ones from Brilliant Earth. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are a great alternative to traditional diamonds.

5.) Propose With A Puppy

Gifting a pet is never a good idea unless you known 100% that your future wife wants one. If your better half has been badgering you for a puppy for years, why not surprise her with one as an engagement gift?

Not everyone needs to be proposed to with a ring – puppies (and kittens) can be even better. Plus, you’re likely to get more enjoyment out of them than you would a ring.

6.) Meteorites

Alternative engagement rings: meteorite ring

Jewelry by Johan

Want to propose with something that is out of this world – literally? Consider a meteorite ring.

Meteorites are made from a crystallization process formed by millions of years of slow cooling in zero gravity. Meteorites can be worn as a center stone, a band, or combined with gems for something extra stellar.

7.) Pet Memorial Rings

Alternative engagement rings: pet memorial

Jewelry by Johan

Love your pet and want something completely non-traditional? If you lost your four-legged friend but want their member to always live on, consider a pet memorial ring.

Pet memorial rings can incorporate either your pet’s ashes or fur into your ring as seen in the above Tungsten and Black Box Elder Burl ring. If you go this route, we hope you’ll also have a ‘pawsome’ wedding topper for your cake as well!

8.) Qalo Rings

Alternative engagement rings: qalo

Are you and your significant other the sporty types want want alternative engagement rings that fit your active lifestyle? Consider Qalo rings!

Qalo rings are made of silicon and designed for athletes. If you happen to break your finger while wearing a traditional ring such as titanium or platinum, there’s a chance you could actually lose your finger as the ring would cut off circulation as your finger swelled. With Qalo rings, this problem is non-existent. Plus, they’re customizable! Choose your color and design and you’re good to go. Plus, they’re incredible cheap starting at just $30!

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9.) Claddagh Ring

Alternative engagement rings: claddagh ring

Whether you’re Irish or not, a Claddagh ring makes a sentimental engagement ring. The ring features two clasped hands representing the pledging of vows, a heart, and a crown. It symbolize friendship, love, and loyalty.

Claddagh rings were given as engagement and wedding rings during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and have never gone out of style.

There is also traditional meaning on the way to wear the Claddagh ring:

  • To wear a Claddagh ring on the right hand with the crown turned outwards, away from you indicates that the wearer is single.
  • To wear a Claddagh ring on the right hand with the crown turned inward, towards you symbolizes that the wearer is being courted in a relationship and someone has “captured their heart”.
  • To wear a Claddagh ring on the left hand with the crown turned outwards, away from you indicates a romantic engagement.
  • To wear a Claddagh ring on the left hand with the crown turned inward, towards you on the left hand indicates marriage.

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10.) Dinosaur Bone Engagement Ring

Alternative engagement rings

Stone Brooke Jewelry

If you and your significant otherare totally into paleontology,  consider a dinosaur bone engagement ring.

Jewelers such as Stone Brook Jewelry create alternative engagement rings made from “100% authentic crushed dinosaur bone fossils that are sealed into place on the ring.” If dinosaurs are your thing, this will certainly be a unique ring and conversation starter.

11.) Antler Rings

Alternative engagement rings - antler

Antler Rings

Did you andyour loved one bond over a shared love of nature and animals? If so, an antler ring may be the way to go.

Companies such as Antler Rings specialize in humanely sourced  antlers, meaning the antlers were naturally shed as opposed to the result of hunting.

12.) Fingerprint Rings

Alternative engagement rings: fingerprints

Want something super unique? Consider a ring with your partner’s fingerprint etched into it!

Not only is it super unique, but will come in handy if you for any reason need a copy of your loved ones finger prints.

13.) DIY Wedding Bands

Alternative engagement rings: carved band

Ivy Nixon Jewellry

Some women never really wear their engagement rings post the engagement period and wedding day. Instead, they wear a wedding band on a daily basis. So – if you’re not really into an engagement ring, why not skip it altogether and just wear a band?

Yes, you can doa traditional gold band, but if you’re the non-traditional type, consider having one made just for you and your loved one. First determine the metal you want. If silver, check out your local silver stores to see what they can do. If gold, check out your local jeweler or even Etsy, like the above Orange Blossom wedding ring from Ivy Nixon Jewellry.

If you know the design you want, great. If not, ask if you can work with the jeweler to come up with some meaningful to you and your loved one.

14.) Watch Your Love Grow

Alternative engagement rings: treesIf you and your fiancé are anti-rings, consider planting a tree. You can either plant your own in a park, your backyard, or other memorable spot, or partner with a company such as or Trees For the Future. 

What better a way to share your love with the world than by helping to improve the earth?

15.) Save A Rhino

Alternative engagement rings: donations

Mick Gell

If you’re an animal lover and think there are better uses of your money than on materialistic goods, considering donating to an animal conservatory or charity, such as the Rhino Conservation.

Three rhinos are poached every day in Africa. Two species of rhinos have less than 80 individual rhinos living in the wild. If the average engagement ring is equivalent to two or three months salary, imagine how much good that money could do for the rhinos or other species.

 Do you and your significant other have alternative engagement rings? Tell us in the comments!