Every woman deserves a bling ring – what is also called the right-hand dress ring. But you do not necessarily need to spend a bomb on it.

Jewellery is a luxury purchase. Nobody ‘needs’ jewellery. We need the basic amenities of life: food, shelter and clothing. We live in challenging times where there is no respite from bills and mortgage and there is negligible wages growth and job uncertainty. It is no surprise that synthetic jewellery has become very popular. This includes synthetic diamonds. Indeed, De Beers, the world’s largest diamond miner, has launched its own range of synthetic diamonds. But what if you are not a fan of synthetic? You love ‘real’ jewellery but are on a budget?

Well, you still have several choices and here I give ideas for the top 5 ‘bling’ rings for all price brackets under £4,000. Note the price range specified in this article is an indicative guide only.

My assumption is that you have a taste in jewellery where size matters. Big is beautiful. It’s all about the rock! But on a budget.

Budget: under US$1,200:
Rings made of semi-precious gemstones such as Topaz, Citrine and Amethyst

These semi-precious gemstones can be found in rings with and without small diamonds. They look beautiful owing to their stunning respective colours and are ideal dress rings. These are relatively inexpensive especially when set into sterling silver or 9ct gold (white or yellow). However, specific, unique larger stones can be pricey as they could be hard to come by. Some people prefer to gift a piece of jewellery based on the birthstone and its significance.

Budget: under US$1,200:
Onyx rings

Onyx is the dark brown to black variety of agate, a cryptocrystalline quartz (or Chalcedony). Since ancient times onyx has afforded gem cutters and carvers an excellent source for carving cameos, intaglios and other jewelry creations. Inexpensive, abundant and available in large sizes, onyx is also a favored stone when fashioning cabochon gems and beads. It is often set into sterling silver or titanium for men’s and women’s jewellery and there are some quite creative and unique designs on the market.

Budget: US$650 – US$4,000
Pearl rings

Pearl jewellery is often considered to be classic, timeless, understated and elegant. Not quite “bling”. But that depends on what kind of pearl it is, how big it is and how rare it is. There are pearl jewellery brands who farm the most exquisite and rare Australian South Sea pearls and manufacture them into stunning pieces of jewellery. They can be very expensive owning to the size, lustre and rarity of the pearl and of course, the brand name. Definitely serious bling!

On the opposite end of the scale are Freshwater pearls which come up to about 5 – 6mm in diameter. You can also get the small ‘rice-like’ odd-shaped Keshi pearls, and  the dark hued Tahitian pearls. Depending on whether they are mass manufactured into Sterling silver jewellery or a branded piece of jewellery made into 9ct or 18ct gold (white or yellow), they can be found to suit all budget levels.

Budget: US$2,500 – US$5,000
Precious gemstones – Ruby and Sapphire rings

Rubies and sapphires have been timeless precious gemstones in luxury jewellery. Often, handed down through the generations, indeed, history is full of famous celebrities wearing a big sapphire or ruby ring.

The price point depends obviously on the type of ruby or sapphire. Rubies can vary from a pinkish colour to a blood red (this colour is often labelled ‘Pigeon’s Blood’ – refer to image above). The pinkish to the lighter red colour rubies are relatively inexpensive and more easily available. It is the darker varieties and especially in the larger size stones that can be very rare and quite expensive.

With sapphires the very dark blue (verging on a blackish version of blue like a midnight blue) being the Australian sapphires are cheaper than the ‘royal blue’ Ceylon sapphires (refer to image above) which are now quite rare to find.

Both gemstones are commonly set into rings with diamonds as well to dress up the ring even more. There are a wide variety of plain sapphire or ruby bands or elaborately designed rings on the market.

Budget: US$4,000 +
Coloured diamonds – champagne, cognac, yellow

Left to Right: a natural yellow diamond, princess cut cognac diamond and round brilliant cut champagne diamond

Yellow, champagne and cognac diamonds offer excellent value relative to their white diamond counterparts and look very beautiful in a ring. The more intense their colour and/or in larger carat weights they will be expensive and rare. But if you exclude those extreme cases, generally speaking, they offer excellent value and look really beautiful. The lighter yellow diamonds are often called ‘Canary yellow’. Cognac diamonds are usually dark brown colour (almost like a coffee colour) than the Champagne diamonds.

But as with all coloured diamonds, there is a grade of colour, intensity and hue. So, you cannot judge colour from an image, you need a professional jeweller to show you a variety of stones so that you can make an informed decision as to what colour suits you the best. Some of the best coloured diamonds originate from the Argyle diamond mine in Australia.

Nowadays, these colours are also synthetically created and sold at high prices because (some jeweller’s say) – “the cost of synthetically producing such a beautiful intense colour is more expensive than the possibility of mining such a stone”. For those who prefer the genuine stuff please ensure that you get a diamond certificate and an insurance appraisal (or valuation) to confirm that your purchase is of the genuine variety.

The importance of all coloured gemstones including diamonds, is the intensity of colour and whether or not the colour is uniformly spread throughout the stone.

But as you can see, you do not need to necessarily spend large amounts of money to get a bling ring. Every woman deserves a bling ring – what is also called the right-hand dress ring.

In recent times, as women become more financially independent they are rightly achieving the sense of confidence to invest in a beautiful piece of jewellery themselves, spoil themselves and show it off. As they should!

This article was submitted and published in the British online magazine