While diamond engagement rings remain the most popular pick for proposals, there’s a huge range of alternative stones available that offer both an alternative look and often, a significantly lower price. More and more couples look to stand out from the crowd with a colored gemstone ring, a uniquely beautiful expression of their love.
Many brides and grooms will still prefer to splash out on a super-sparkly diamond, and that’s fine. However, did you know that the custom for a diamond engagement ring has only been around since the 1930s? Yes, the now-ubiquitous diamond engagement ring came about that time, thanks to an advertising campaign by famed jeweler de Beers.
If you don’t want to follow the crowd, here are our favorite alternatives to a diamond ring. Visit https://jewelrylab.co/ for more information.
Long associated with royalty, the most famous sapphire engagement ring in the world is that of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The ring previously belonged to her late mother-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales.
While sapphire engagement rings have always been a fantastic alternative to diamonds, Catherine’s ring led to an explosion of copycat rings on the market and saw sapphires take a huge leap up the popularity scale. Hers is blue, as are most sapphire rings, but sapphires also come in pink, white, green, and even yellow.
Often referred to as the ‘jewel of kings,’ emeralds are less popular for engagement rings than they used to be, but are still a stunning choice. Available in a wide range of shades of green, they’re pretty hardy and seriously luxurious.
That said, an emerald engagement ring does require a bit of TLC. The average emerald has a lot of inclusions
(other materials such as gas bubbles trapped in the stone) that make the stone unique but can leave it less durable. Clean with care and ask your jeweler for advice.
Rubies are the fourth of the four precious stones and are a very popular pick for engagement rings due to their stunning red color that’s sure to stand out on your hand. Rubies are also extremely hardy, sitting just below diamond in the overall hardness rankings, so they are a great diamond alternative for busy folks who worry about scratches.
Like sapphires, rubies are a variety of corundum. In fact, they’re the only variety of corundum not considered to be a sapphire. As with all other gemstones, their color and clarity can vary, and this will be reflected in the price, but the long-standing association of red as the ‘color of love’ means it’s likely to stay popular for a long time.
If you’re looking for the beautiful red tone of ruby, but need a more budget-friendly option, try garnet. Hugely popular with people who want an antique-looking ring, a garnet will give you the deep red stone you’re looking for without breaking the bank.
Garnets also come in several other colors, with the rarest green garnets especially sought-after. You can also go for garnet in orange, pink, peach, and purple.
A pretty pale pink stone that looks seriously romantic, morganite, in its crystal form, is associated with attracting love into your life. What better pick for an engagement ring?
The pink form of beryl, morganite ranges from peachier pinks to purplish in color, but is always pastel, almost translucent, making it perfect for a soft and romantic finish. Though it’s from the same gemstone family as the emerald, morganite is much less likely to contain inclusions, and therefore, less prone to fractures or breakage.
As with many other gemstones, morganite can range from reasonably cheap to seriously expensive, so ask around and make sure you’re getting the best quality for your budget.
Most commonly associated with the color black, onyx is actually available in a variety of colors. It’s a banded stone, with bands ranging from white to black and pretty much every color in between.
Black is the most popular color for onyx jewelry, and certainly, the top pick for engagement rings: timeless and yet subversive. It’s a unique and stylish pick that will definitely stand out.
Perhaps a better fit for traditional and antique-style engagement rings, pearls have a timeless feel that explains their enduring popularity. A great choice for a bride who loves chic, simple elegance, pearls come in a range of types and styles. You can even get black ones!
The main thing to be aware of when selecting a pearl engagement ring is that the stone is quite soft (it’s made from calcium carbonate), so they tend to scratch easily and may need to be replaced. It’s definitely one for brides who don’t mind taking their ring off to wash the dishes, or who plan to wear it only occasionally.
Named for the part of the world where it was first discovered, it’s estimated that there are only 30 years of tanzanites left in the world. If you want a tanzanite engagement ring, now is the time!
Tanzanite is a reasonably new stone, only discovered in the 1960s, and has a stunning blue-purple tone that’s unlike any other. The perfect choice for your one and only!
A purple stone, amethysts are rarely seen in engagement rings, but look stunning with the right cut and setting. From the quartz family of stone, amethysts come in a range of shades, from palest lavender to deepest royal purple, and are pretty hardy and difficult to scratch.
Choose gold or rose gold band for the best match.
Did you know that in its pure form, the topaz is actually clear and colorless? We didn’t either, but that’s because all the topaz we’ve ever seen has been colorful. These dazzling stones come in blue, red, green, pink, and orange, to name just a few. But then, it’s actually imperfections in a clear stone that creates this unique range of colors, which makes topaz a quirky and unique choice for any engagement ring. The imperfections can be a great talking point, too!
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