Ever since the mid-1900s diamonds have ruled in engagement ring and wedding band marketing. The shine, shimmer, and toughness made them an easy sell. They can’t scratch, fade, or color. They can last on a ring for a lifetime without ever aging. Needless to say, diamond are pretty much the perfect way to show off your fashion, worth, and love. But should diamonds still be the best buy for engagement rings and wedding bands? There are plenty of alternatives to surprise your future love with either an engagement ring that will pop or a wedding ring that won’t make your wallet drop.

Carbon Zirconium – This is by far and away the best budget option.  Depending on the setting the ring comes in, which will often be sterling silver for a cz ring, you can usually get away with spending significantly less than any other gem alternative. It is important to know that you get what you pay for and that includes diamonds and diamond alternatives like carbon zirconium. Carbon zirconium is vastly different from a natural diamond as it will color, fade, and scratch. It’s not a total replacement for diamonds, but more of a temporary replacement for a diamond. This is a great alternative if you are on a budget and plan on upgrading your wedding bands or engagement ring later in life.

Moissanite – Moissanite was originally discovered in the late 1800s and was originally thought to be actual diamond. That was until it was tested and realized that it was not diamond, but it only looked like a diamond. This is because diamonds and moissanite stone look almost identical, especially to the naked eye. Diamond and moissanite are both extremely tough, have a clear white light that shines from them, and they both look beautiful when put on a ring or necklace.

The biggest differences between moissanite and a natural diamond starts with where and how they are made. A natural diamond is made by earth’s pressure on carbon. A moissanite stone on the other hand is made exclusively in labs now. Although it’s made in a lab, moissanite still offers more brilliance than a diamond. It’s not just the brilliance, since moissanite can be lab created, they also tend to be a lot less expensive. In other words, moissanite rings are a much better value.

Birth Stone – Lots of birth stones offer a unique and cheaper way to propose to your true love. What’s more is you can usually find unique wedding bands that will include your birth stone.  This makes your wedding bands both unique and creative, as while usually being cheaper than spending the big money on expensive diamonds. One of the biggest draw backs to this is matching your birth stone to your birth month. If you don’t like your birth stone or birth stone color, then that makes it an easy decision to throw this idea out the window. It’s hard for someone that doesn’t like red, for example, to buy a red ruby wedding band. It’s also important to note that April’s birthstone is carbon zirconium, which narrows down April’s options.