Consider it smart, thrifty or just plain mean, but new research reveals that British couples planning to say "I do" are currently spending 19% less on engagement rings today than five to 10 years ago. The term "cheap engagement ring" doesn't sound like something that results in a showstopping bit of bling, but bear with us.
While some shop for this monumental piece of jewellery under the belief that it should cost the equivalent of three months' salary, others are taking carat-cutting measures to keep sum of their big day down. And who can blame them when the average UK wedding is reported to cost in the region of £25,000?
This new survey, commissioned by jewellery insurer Protect Your Bubble, revealed that 18% more couples who bought engagement rings in the last five years spent less than £500. (Interestingly, it's millennials who are splashing the most cash on rings, parting with anywhere from £1473 to £2827 on keepsake gems.)
So what can you get for less than £500 in the jewellery department? A surprisingly good selection, in fact, so long as you're not after a giant solitaire sparkler. Entertaining alternative but equally impactful gemstones such as morganites and rubies can help keep price tags down, as can considering vintage pieces, many of which you can browse and even shop online.
If you're choosing your own engagement ring, you might want to read this handy guide for picking the right style and shape to suit you. Couple your savvy investment with a high-street wedding dress, and you may even have funds left to splurge on a pair of designer shoes to wear time and time again.
Browse the gallery below to check out some of our most coveted wedding rings under £500.
We love the rectangular angles of this stunning piece.
Enchanting by name; enchanting by design.
Seeking for diamonds minus the bling? This is a subtly chic choice.
Moonstones and diamonds made a beguiling combination.
We love all the components of this high-contrast cluster.
This sleek style will appeal to minimalists.
Dating back to 1917, this ring holds plenty of heritage.
This dark sapphire is the perfect antidote to a sparkly gemstone.
With a chrysoprase stone and pavé diamonds, this ring offers a lot of bang for your buck.