Engagement rings usually feature a shiny diamond (or diamonds) on top. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, after all. It is a timeless symbol of love and longevity, and it signifies a deep love between two people.
However, a prominent center diamond isn’t a requirement for a beautiful engagement ring. A lot of modern brides and grooms prefer a pop of color that another gemstone provides. Also, it’s becoming acceptable to save money by choosing a less-expensive-than-diamond stone and embrace a break in tradition.
An engagement ring can be something other than a diamond. Here are some of the popular alternatives to the stone:
Not every bride wants to steer clear of tradition to something unexpected. If you like the idea of saving significant bucks while still getting a ring that’s as close to a diamond as possible, then moissanite is your best choice. Moissanite is a gemstone made of silicon carbide with similar characteristics of a diamond at a fraction of a cost.
Moissanite is named as such because it was believed to have come from space a la meteorites until 1959 when they found a diamond mine in Yakutia. Naturally-occurring moissanite is very rare, so a lot of moissanite gems today are synthetically made. It’s nearly as hard as a diamond, plus it can be cut the same way, so it can be enough to fool people into thinking it’s a real diamond. It can even be shinier too, so yay for you!
Out of the colored, non-diamond engagement rings, perhaps sapphire is the most common choice. Maybe it’s popularity is influenced by the royal family’s taste in engagement rings, as Princess Diana chose her oval sapphire ring from a jewelry collection available to the common folk. Now, Kate Middleton is sporting it, since Prince William presented it to her. If a sapphire ring is good enough for Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, then it’s good enough for ordinary folk like us.
Sapphire is one of the most scratch-resistant and durable gemstones after diamond, so it can stand up to daily wear and tear. Its durability is the reason why it’s best for those with active lifestyles. It’s most known for its vibrant blue hue, but you may not be aware that it comes in a variety of other colors such as yellow, pink, green, red, teal and peach. Since it comes in every color of the rainbow, you can select her favorite hue or the most flattering shade for her skin tone. Sapphire symbolizes faithfulness, so it’s an excellent choice to express that you are willing to be hers forever, as long as you both shall live. It’s also a September birthstone.
Touted as one of the hottest diamond alternatives for engagement rings today, morganite keeps millennial pink trendy forever. It’s a pretty stone with faded peachy-pink hues that give any engagement ring a vintage aesthetic. Morganite stone was discovered in Madagascar in 1910 by George Kunz, the personal gemologist of banker J.P. Morgan. Morgan was an avid gem collector, so Kunz named the pink stone in his honor.
Morganite is called as “the stone of divine love,” and is incredibly rare. The color feels fresh and romantic and blends pretty flawlessly with a rose gold band. It’s not just pretty and feminine – it also ranks around 7.5 to 8 on the hardness scale, so it’s great to wear every day.
Want to express the all-consuming love that you have for your partner? Give her a ruby engagement ring. Rubies symbolize fire, love, and passion with its vibrant red color. It’s one of the most sought-after gems throughout history. Celebrities that rocked ruby engagement rings include Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry, and Eva Longoria. Mark Zuckerberg also proposed with a ruby ring.
Rubies can be as expensive as diamonds, but diamonds lack the wild color ruby possesses. This stone is also pretty tough, ranking nine on the hardness scale, so it can survive being banged around (accidents happen, you know). It’s also July’s birthstone.
Prized by ancient cultures, emerald is associated with Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Ancients believe that wearing emerald would protect lovers from unfaithfulness. It’s also one of the four precious stones, (along with diamond, rubies, and sapphires). The green hue is also associated with growth and rebirth. One of the most famous emerald engagement rings belonged to Jackie, JFK’s first lady.
Emerald is perfect for the unique bride who has a liking for green or was born in May. A word of warning though – emeralds are softer than other stones as it has the hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. Also, emeralds are highly included, so their toughness is generally poor. Be careful with the setting you choose.
6. Lab-grown diamonds
So this is not technically a diamond alternative, but it is in a sense that lab-grown diamonds are not your traditional diamonds. Traditional diamonds are found in a mine by an underpaid worker and are billions of years old; while lab-grown diamonds are grown in the lab by nerds. If you want your rock to be conflict-free, try to explore lab-grown diamonds. They are cheaper than natural diamond counterparts, but they are graded the same way and just as gorgeous as a real diamond. It’s still a real diamond for a fraction of the price.
7. Other gemstones
Besides the precious stones, here are some of the gems that are popularly used in engagement rings:
Opal, when in gem-quality, is one of the most spectacular gemstones. Opals can command prices per carat that can rival expensive diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emerald. It’s celebrated as a symbol of hope, as it contains all the colors of the rainbow. The impurities among its gemstones are what make it beautiful and distinct.
A birthstone of October, opal symbolizes love, passion, inspiration, creativity, lightness, and spontaneity.
So your girl isn’t fond of shiny things? See if turquoise will suit her fancy. From ancient Egyptians to Native American tribes to modern jewelers, turquoise has been a fashionable jewelry gem. It symbolizes friendship and hope, associated with nature (the blue sky and green earth). This blue-green gem is sometimes veined or speckled, and it’s thought to protect its wearer.
Turquoise is waxy and has been priced as an ornamental stone for thousands of years. It’s one of the birthstones for December.
Garnet is among the most structurally complex gems in the world, as it is normally renowned for its dark red color, but it can be found in almost every color imaginable. It is a symbol of heart, passionate commitment, and devotion. This gem has been given as a token of love for thousands of years. It’s the birthstone for January.
Fun fact: “Garnet” comes from the Latin word “garanatus,” which means “seed-like,” referring to pomegranate seeds. This makes sense as small garnet stones look like the bright red seeds inside a pomegranate.
Tourmaline is a semi-precious stone known for its vivid, saturated colors. It comes in a rainbow of hues, with pink and green being the most popular. Notable variants of tourmaline include the watermelon tourmaline, with green around the edges and pink in the middle; and the Paraiba tourmaline, a uniquely bright neon blue gem.
Tourmaline is the most colorful of gemstones, and it’s not made of a single mineral but a group of them. It’s a 7 to 7.5 on the hardness scale, so it makes a beautiful engagement ring stone as long as you take good care of it. It’s one of the birthstones for October.
Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, and it is widely used in other applications besides being made into gemstones. Quartz encompasses a whole family of stones in every color conceivable. Here are some of the standard versions of quartz gemstones:
Amethyst – A pale purple to deep violet stone. It’s known as the Bishop’s stone, and it has been set in religious and royal jewelry for centuries. It is the stone of St. Valentine and symbolizes faithful love. It also represents royalty, spirituality, and creativity. Amethyst is a birthstone for February.
Citrine – An earthy yellow-orange stone. It has grown in popularity these recent years with brides opting for nature-inspired engagement rings. It symbolizes empowerment, imagination, and magnifies the powers of personal will. It’s also one of the birthstones for November.
Rose Quartz – A pale to deep reddish-pink stone. Considered as a stone of beauty and love, rose quartz promotes gentle love, compassion, appreciation, and soothing calm. This stone is also associated with the removal of negativity and the healing of emotional wounds.
Moonstone offers shimmering blue and white colors that bring a dreamy look. It’s an ethereal stone that channels the moon, symbolizing a force that has the power to push and pull the tides of vast oceans and emotions. It’s a semi-precious stone named for its moon-like sheen. Ancient cultures claim that this stone was formed from moonbeams.
A mighty warrior stone, the onyx crystal is believed to help stomp out negative thought patterns stemming from fear. It is believed to be a protection, security, and defense against negativity, absorbing bad energy and keeping it away from the wearer. Onyx was also associated with determination and perseverance. It’s most common in black color, but the colors of its bands range from white to almost every color.
Pearl is often considered a gemstone, though it is made of organic material rather than a mineral. Natural pearls come from pearl oysters and freshwater pearl mussels, and they are extremely rare. Cultivated pearls make this gem available in various shades. It’s one of the most loved gems of all time, as this iridescent gem is perennially popular. It’s also one of the birthstones for June. Pearls symbolize harmony, purity, humility, and worth.
Channeling the healing energy of the ocean, aquamarine stones are used in talismans or amulets for good luck, eternal happiness, and fearlessness. It has a light bluish color that is between cyan and spring green. Its name is derived from the Latin phrase “aqua marinus,” which means “water of the sea.” This gemstone represents calmness and is believed to encourage inner peace, the courage to overcome fears, and soothing thoughts. It’s a birthstone for March.
Not into stones or gems? That’s alright. Think about telling you are engaged using a ring with a knot tied in it. A knot engagement ring is perfect for a simplistic woman who is fascinated with things having meanings.
The maker of the knot engagement ring describes it as the “true lover’s knot,” which was a popular ring style for sailors separated from their partners. This kind of ring is made by interlocking two overhand knots in two parallel wires. If you’re so serious about tying the knot with the person you love, this works well as an engagement ring. A knot is a symbol for the entwining of your lives and eternal love.
9. Claddagh rings
The distinctive Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring that was used as an engagement and wedding ring during the Middle Ages up to the Renaissance. It continues to be an appropriate choice for an engagement ring, particularly for a lady with Irish roots. It’s a traditional ring that says, “Let love and friendship reign,” or “This is my heart which I give to you crowned with my love.” If you have enjoyed a beautiful friendship with your gal before taking it to the next step, this is an excellent ring to propose with.
This ring features a heart, two hands, and a crown, symbolizing love, friendship, and loyalty, respectively. The clasped hands symbolize the pledging of vows. Claddagh rings are usually made from pure metal, but you can combine it with a gemstone, like a ruby. You can have a Claddagh ring with a heart and or the crown made of gems.
Finally, if you want to save, and if you have a family heirloom, it’s a great ring to use for a proposal. Heirlooms can be much more meaningful to a girl, than just heading to the store and picking out something new. Every diamond ring that has been in the family for generations becomes a lot more special than a ring that is purchased. It represents the love your family has for the woman you want to marry. Of course, your mom, grandma, or aunt only wants you to give their ring to someone worthy.