Choosing the perfect engagement ring is a big decision. After all, you are going to be wearing this ring "until death do you part." Diamonds are the most common choice, but they aren't for everyone. If you are not a diamond person or would prefer something more out of the ordinary, you may be wondering what other options there are. We researched the most popular gemstones used in engagement rings to help you find the perfect stone!
While a beautifully cut white diamond is the most popular choice for engagement rings, many stunning gemstones are used these days. The most popular of these are:
- Colored diamonds
There is a lot to learn about each type of gemstone. Keep reading to learn the details about each, from colors available, costs, stone hardness, the meaning of each stone, and more!
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1. Colored diamonds
Colored diamonds are perfect for those who want something extra special for their engagement ring. They are rarer than the traditional white diamond and thus are more costly.
Diamonds are available in pink, red, blue, orange, yellow, brown, green, purple, and gray. Red and pink diamonds are the rarest and most costly.
Brown, yellow, and gray are the least expensive options, with the other colors falling at the higher end of the middle of the price range.
If your heart is set on a colored diamond ring, many jewelers have more affordable options. Try looking at rings that have smaller stones combined with white diamonds or simulated colored diamonds. These can be quite beautiful and classy.
One of the favorite non-diamond engagement ring alternatives is the sapphire. This stone stands for loyalty and honesty, making it the perfect symbol for starting a life together.
Giving this stone in an engagement ring has become more prevalent in recent years, ever since Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with one that belonged to his mother, Princess Diana.
Pure, deep blue is what most people picture when thinking of sapphires, but they can also be found in pink, green, purple, yellow, and white.
The most expensive sapphire colors are a natural sapphire in 'pure blue' or 'cornflower blue.' The closer to pure blue, the more costly it will be. Next in price is a rich orange-pink stone, then a deep pink.
For the more budget-conscious bride-to-be, a created sapphire can get you a similar look for a fraction of the cost.
Vibrant and earthy, a deep green emerald makes a stunning engagement ring. Since the ancient days of Cleopatra, emeralds have stood for wealth and good fortune. They have also come to symbolize growth and peace as well.
Unlike most of the other gemstones on this list, emeralds are only green. Both real and created emeralds are available in a wide range of green colors.
Tales of treasures filled with gemstones bound, and they always include the delicate red ruby. It is usually set in yellow or rose gold, and the richer the red, the better! When used in an engagement ring, rubies symbolize romance, wealth, and success.
A clear blood red is the more desired ruby color, but these stones can vary from a pale, almost pink-red, to a deep inky red. They are always red, though.
A medium-dark red, called 'pigeon's blood,' is the standard for the best color of a ruby.
Per carat, rubies are more expensive than a good quality diamond. So if you are looking to get a ruby to save money, you may want to consider a garnet for your red stone instead. The Burma ruby is the most famous type of ruby, and the most costly, while lab-created rubies will be the more affordable option.
If your heart is set on a natural ruby, opt for a smaller stone paired with diamonds.
Known for its soft purple hue, amethyst is a lovely gemstone to add to an engagement ring. It is a very popular alternative choice through the ages, as amethysts stand for purity, spirituality, and integrity. It is also said to have healing properties.
Purple is traditionally the color of royalty, so amethysts would have been reserved for those of noble birth.
Amethysts are quartz, so they are a bit softer than some of the other gemstone options. It is important to be aware that they can show wear and may need to be cleaned and polished more frequently.
Purple is the color of amethyst, with a strong reddish-purple or dark purple the most desirable colors. You can find natural amethysts with redder or brown casts to the purple as well.
Amethysts are widely available, both natural and lab-created, so they are generally a more affordable option. Be careful though, high-quality deep purple amethysts can still get pricy, depending on the clarity, cut, and size.
Garnets are an exceptional choice for an engagement ring due to the hardness of the stone, as well as the color options and affordability. These rings are prevalent in vintage and vintage-style settings.
Garnets symbolize love, victory, passion, and fire, which are all very meaningful in an engagement ring.
The most common and popular color for garnets is a deep red hue. They are also available in burgundy, pinkish-red, orange, and even an elusive pale green color.
Garnets are typically easy to find, so they are not too costly, especially for the red ones. This makes it easy to get a high-quality with the pure flickering fire color you want.
That being said, if you are looking for an orange or especially the rare green garnets, be prepared to pay dearly for them.
If you want the look of a diamond, but don't have the budget for one, then moissanite might just be the answer to your prayers. It is a colorless gemstone with a hardness just slightly less than a diamond. This means it is highly durable and suitable for everyday wear. It is lab-created, so it is a responsibly sourced option as well.
Fancy-colored moissanite is available in many colors, including green, gray, pink, purple, blue, brown, and gold. Colorless stones are the most popular, though.
Moissanite stones are considerably less costly than a diamond of equal size and clarity, sometimes as much as 1/3 of the cost. Don't use this as an excuse to purchase a massive stone, though, as the larger the moissanite, the more likely it is to be able to tell that it is not a diamond to slight color variations.
What Does an Engagement Ring Symbolize?
An engagement ring is a symbol that the wearer is betrothed to be married, originating in the bride price concept. This was a practice where the groom-to-be or his family would pay the bride's family upon the betrothal, which may have been negotiated by the couple's parents or the groom and the bride's father.
In modern Western culture, the engagement ring is purely an indication that the wearer intends to be married.
Are Gemstone Engagement Rings Tacky?
It's not the type of gemstone that makes the ring tacky or not; it is the cut of the stone or its setting. To keep your gemstone engagement ring classy, you should follow a few simple guidelines:
- Choose a high-quality stone in a classic cut. Try to avoid unusual or trendy shapes, like a heart.
- The same can be said for the setting. A simple setting of precious metal is preferred. Steer away from overly elaborate settings or kitschy designs, like Disney-themed rings.
- Don't add too many diamonds. If you want a combination ring, that is great. But incorporating too many diamonds can look garish instead of elegant.
- Avoid prongs that are too wide or heavy for the stone. This can make your expensive ring look cheap.
- Opt for a smaller stone. Too large of rock is obnoxious and not at all tasteful. This is especially true for gemstones, which can end up looking like something out of a bubble gum machine if you are not careful. Save the massive stones for a statement dinner ring.
Does Moissanite Look Fake?
Moissanite is a gemstone that is nearly colorless and, from a distance, can be mistaken for a diamond. But up close, it is easy to tell the difference. Moissanite does not have the same color and clarity as a diamond and can have slight color variations that are not obvious until you get up close.
This is particularly true for larger stones. If you want to go with a moissanite ring instead of a diamond, it is best to stay under one carat in size. White gold or platinum setting can also help to reduce the reflection of any underlying color in the stone, making it appear clearer and with better fire.
Is Moissanite as Strong as a Diamond?
Close, but not quite. Precious stones (and all minerals) are measured for hardness on the Mohs scale. This scale rates stones but their ability to scratch stones that are softer or lower on the scale, ranging from 1, being the softest, to 10, the hardest. Diamonds rate at a 10. Moissanite is 9.25, which is still harder than pretty much anything other than a diamond.
What is the Rarest Precious Stone?
Painite is considered to be the rarest precious stone in the world. It was originally identified as a ruby due to its brownish-red color but was soon determined to be something separate. The first stone was discovered in Myanmar in the 1950s, then only two more were found between that time and 2001. Two of the three gems are in the Natural History Museum in London due to their rarity. Since then, more have been found, but despite their having a hardness of 8, they are difficult to facet without damaging.
Painite is estimated to cost between $50,000 to $60,000 per carat.
A Colorful Decision
Choosing a gemstone for your engagement ring allows the wearer to express their love of color and show some creativity. Quality and craftsmanship can be the difference between a gaudy bauble and a classic statement ring that you can be proud to wear for the rest of your life!
To learn more about engagement ring options, check out these other posts here on Stylecheer!