woman flashing ring
Photo: Ben White

With all the jewelers out there, finding a place to start engagement ring shopping can be pretty overwhelming. If you're seeking something more unique or less expensive, consider these non-traditional places to buy. Before you shop, make sure to educate yourself on the basics (like the 4Cs - cut, color, clarity and carat) so you know what you're getting yourself into.

Online Sellers

Thanks to the Internet, you don't have to leave the house to find her dream ring. If you already know her ring size, online engagement ring shopping can be an easy way to go. Reputable jewelers like James Allen and Blue Nile provide quality gemstones, guaranteed warranties and free shipping on all orders.

If you're looking for something that's 100% one-of-a-kind, check out Etsy for either a traditional or a non-traditional sparkler. This is also a great option to consider if you're working with a smaller budget as you'll find plenty of sellers for every price range. No matter where you buy online, do your research first regarding the seller's history, quality of products and diamond certification and confirm they have a flexible return policy (just in case it's not exactly what you ordered). If it's a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Pawn Shops & Antique Stores

If you're unsure of making such a big purchase online, there are other options closer to you. For a vintage heirloom or a diamond without the hefty price tag, these stores might just be your best bet. Before you step foot in one, research the average engagement rings prices to ensure you're getting your money's worth. And if you have a friend who knows a thing or two about diamonds, it also doesn't hurt to bring them along for a second opinion.

In addition to these tips, we can't tell you how important it is to get the diamond certification in writing prior to buying. If it's not the real deal, don't buy it.

Warehouse Retailers

Stores like Costco and Sam's Club basically sell anything and everything, and yes, that includes engagement rings. If you already have a membership to one of these places, you can find all colors, shapes and sizes from popular jewelers typically at lower costs. So the next time you go shopping for groceries in bulk, head over to the jewelry counter to save yourself a trip to the ring store.

What was your experience like with engagement ring shopping? Tell us in the comments!