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10 Alternatives to Diamond Engagement Rings

woman raising her hand to display her new engagement ring while hugging her fiance.

Since the early days of the twentieth century, American engagement rings have traditionally been made with white diamonds.

White diamonds’ purity of color and incredible strength have come to represent long-lasting love, but there are many other faceted stones that also make for beautiful rings.

If you’re looking to buck tradition with a wonderfully unique engagement ring, we invite you to consider these alternatives!

Most Highly Recommended Stones

sapphire engagement ring Sapphire

Sapphires engagement rings are most popular in a wide range of blues. However, they are available in a variety of colors, including purple, violet, green, pink, yellow, white, and more.

Plus, sapphires are very hard and durable, right behind diamonds at a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. This makes sapphires a great option for a ring that will be worn every day.

In every color, they have a super vibrant, natural sparkle about them. They’ve enjoyed an increase in popularity after Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with a sapphire ring that had formerly belonged to his mother, the late Princess Diana.

nasbro ruby and diamond engagement ring

Ruby

Rubies are technically red sapphires. However, they’ve come to be considered an entirely separate class of stones.

Just like sapphire, ruby is made of corundum. Therefore, it naturally features the same hardness and durability at a 9 on the Mohs scale.

Most noteworthy, rubies consist of a small select range in color from deep blood red to pale pink. These gorgeous red to pink stones symbolize fire, friendship, love, happiness, and an open heart.

All the things that you probably hope will play into your engagement and future marriage!

Highly Recommended Stones

pink spinel engagement ring
picture courtesy of skind.nyc

Spinel

Unfortunately, most people are only familiar with the synthetic version of Spinel. But we love this most famous of gemstones most people have never heard about.

Famous historical royal rubies are now being classified as red spinel. Like the Black Prince’s Ruby in Britain’s Imperial State Crown, the Russia crown that bears an estimated 400-carat spinel. And likewise, Queen Victoria’s Timur ruby is a very dark red spinel.

However, spinels sparkle in every color of the rainbow. AND, are rated an 8 on the hardness scale.

spark rhodolite garnet ring Garnet

Garnets are usually thought of as red, and they make a beautiful and less-expensive alternative to rubies. However, they also come in other colors, including yellow, green, purple, and brown, and some even change colors depending on lighting conditions.

Garnets have a brilliant natural sparkle and are associated with passion, commitment, and devotion.

morganite engagement ring Morganite

Morganites are made of the mineral beryl, which makes them chemically related to emeralds. Morganites are mainly various shades of light pink, but they can also cross into the orange-yellow territory.

This gem, which was named after American millionaire J.P. Morgan, makes an especially striking, nearly monochromatic engagement ring when set in rose gold.

aquamarine engagement ring Aquamarine

Aquamarines are another cousin of the emerald, and they’re known for the greenish-blue hue that gives them their name, ranging in shade from very pale blue to deep turquoise.

Known for their incredible clarity, making them look more expensive than they often are and calls to mind the sky and the sea. A twinkling steely blue Aqua is stunning set in a white metal like white gold or platinum.

They’re quite durable, scoring between seven-and-a-half and eight on the Mohs scale.

Good Stone Options

tsavorite engagement ring
image courtesy of Lang Antiques

Tsavorite

Tsavorites are chemically related to garnets, but they’re often compared to emeralds because of their brilliant green color. Many fine and extra fine Tsavorites can have a much more vibrant, intense color than emeralds without as many inclusions.

They’re only slightly less hard than emeralds as well but not as brittle. So durable in fact, that garnet jewelry can be found dating as far back as the Bronze Age.

The name comes from Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, where many of the gems are found.

If you’re looking for a brilliant green stone at a much lower price than most emeralds, definitely consider a tsavorite for your engagement ring!

blue topaz engagement ring Topaz

Topazes are dynamic stones that are available in a wide variety of colors, including colorless, pink, blue, yellow, gray, orange, brown, and dark red. They’re found all over the world, and their commonness makes them relatively inexpensive.

They’re also pretty hard and durable, coming in around an eight on the Mohs scale, with slight differences between shades.

If you’re looking to put multiple stones in multiple colors in your engagement ring, consider different varieties of topaz.

Less Recommended Stones

amethyst engagement ring Amethyst

Amethysts are available in a variety of purple hues and look beautiful no matter what metal they’re set in.

Being that they only measure a seven on the Mohs scale of hardness (diamonds are ten; sapphires and rubies are nine), they are the last on our list.

Because although a fine quality amethyst is gorgeous, they do wear down. Meaning that over the course of a few years of wearing it every day in a ring you will likely start noticing worn down facets and very tiny scratches on the surface of the stone. When this starts becoming more noticeable you can have the stone replaced if you like.

But, they still make a lovely and striking choice for an engagement ring at a fraction of the cost of a precious stone.

emerald engagement ring Emerald

Generally ranging in color from dark to light green and sometimes including a blue or aqua tinge.

Being the most brittle of the precious stones, by some estimates, 90% of all emeralds have mechanically filled inclusions called fracture filled. Meaning it’s more likely that a hard knock to your ring could break your emerald. That’s why it’s hard for us to recommend an emerald for an everyday ring.

It’s also why smart jewelers cringe at the thought of setting large emeralds. Consequently, if setting an emerald, it’s best to work with a seasoned professional and make sure it’s set low protecting it in the mounting.

Emeralds are associated with Cleopatra. Several decades ago, they were hugely popular. And today, an emerald ring has a charming feel of vintage elegance!

Need More Expert Advice on Engagement Rings?

Copeland Jewelers boasts an expert staff that can educate you all about current and historical trends in engagement rings as well as different types of gemstones.

We’re also your source for custom jewelry and can create a one-of-a-kind engagement ring that’s as unique and meaningful as your relationship with your sweetheart!