The average engagement ring in 2016 cost a whopping $6,163. That’s enough to fund a vacation across Europe for two—or maybe buy a decent used car. But why are engagement rings so expensive?

By Real Simple
Updated February 22, 2017
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Historically, the purpose of the big rock was to guarantee the financial future for the bride-to-be if the wedding was cancelled and her marriage prospects dimmed.

Nowadays, the engagement ring is just a very pretty symbol of love, not a financial investment—especially since the resale value of diamond rings is extremely low, often less than 50 percent of the original price.

Couples wanting to save money can opt for cheaper alternatives to the diamond ring. Here are a few choices that could free up some funds for a nice honeymoon:

Moissanite: A lab-created stone with low environmental impact that’s less than half the price of a diamond. Plus, it’s almost as hard as a diamond and has twice the brilliance.

Sapphire: These beautiful jewels come in an array of colors (not just blue!). They’re a fraction of the price, too.

Colorful gemstones: Look for rings with amethyst, opal, emerald, or garnet for an elegant and more affordable look.

Of course, if your heart is a set on a diamond, you can also check out estate sales or resale websites for pre-owned diamonds.