For decades, the diamond engagement ring has sat proudly on the fingers of brides-to-be all over the world. In fact, how many of us dream of the day we too can show off a precisely cut, beautifully set and perfectly polished diamond ring?
The origins of the diamond ring date back to 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with what is believed to be the first of its kind. But, it wasn’t until the 1940’s that the trend really took off, and diamond rings began flooding markets, fingers and not forgetting, our imaginations.
Interestingly, the uptake was all down to a clever advertising campaign by internationally acclaimed diamond specialist, De Beers. The campaign leveraged Hollywood A-Listers and the now-famous slogan, “A diamond is forever”, to create a shift in consumer attitudes around the desirability of the diamond ring.
But as trends so often do, this is beginning to change once again and today, we are seeing much more interest in alternatives to what has now become, the traditional diamond engagement ring.
While some might opt for a complete revert to pre-diamond times when simple gold bands were the most common type of engagement ring, others may be looking for a stone with similar impact to a diamond, but which holds much more meaning and value to the receiver and relationship.
Fortunately, precious and semi-precious gemstones provide just that. So, if you’re looking to pop the question with a diamond substitute, or are exploring the various options on offer, here are some to consider…
- Emerald engagement rings
- Amethyst engagement rings
- Sapphire engagement rings
- Ruby engagement rings
- Pearl engagement rings
Emerald engagement rings
Emerald engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons, with the stone’s striking green colour one that needs no explanation. Simply, its boldness is not for the fainthearted, as it is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on not only the receiver, but also anyone who lays their eyes on it.
Emeralds are symbolic of a variety of things, too. Firstly, they are the birthstone for anyone born in the month of May, and so become much more meaningful and personal to a receiver who this applies to.
The stone is also believed to represent loyalty and hold healing properties, particularly for issues relating to the heart - and what could possibly be more fitting for an engagement ring?
Additionally, with a rating of 7.5-8 on the hardness scale, emerald engagement rings are ideal for everyday wear. Although, like any precious piece of jewellery, regular maintenance checks and attentive care are always recommended to ensure the ring remains in the best possible condition over time.
If price is the reason behind an alternative purchase, emeralds are not always the best substitute as in their most natural and authentic form, they can often be more expensive than their diamond counterparts. This is because emeralds are a rarer find than diamonds.
However, it is possible, and more and more common, for lab created emeralds to be used in engagement rings, as this can reduce costs without impacting the shine and stun of the finished piece.
Amethyst engagement rings
Amethyst engagement rings are another popular choice for making a colourful statement. The purple of the gemstone is rich and luxurious and creates an instant look of glamour when placed on the finger of any bride-to-be.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February born babies, making it that much more personal to a receiver who celebrates a birthday in the month. And similarly to an emerald stone, amethysts are also believed to have spiritual and healing properties, and are symbolic of protectiveness and purity, which only adds to their value and meaning when offered as an engagement ring.
However, with a rating of 7 on the hardness scale, amethysts are less durable than diamonds. Although they can still be worn daily, regular servicing appointments are crucial to ensure the longevity of the ring.
Sapphire engagement rings
Sapphire engagement rings have long been a popular alternative to diamond ones - after all, if one was good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge herself, who are we to argue otherwise!
Since Kate Middleton debuted her famous sapphire piece, which had once belonged to Princess Diana, demand and interest really has not settled, and it’s not too difficult to understand why. The stone’s colour is sophisticated and subtle, yet it manages to possess a certain allure that makes it incredibly eye catching.
And as the birthstone for September born babies, and representative of faithfulness and sincerity, sapphire rings can hold so much meaning and value for couples.
Furthermore, sapphires are rated at 9 on the hardness scale, making them ideal for everyday wear and able to withstand all the regular impacts of day to day life. With some care and consideration, these rings can truly last a lifetime.
Ruby engagement rings
Ruby red has long been a symbol of love, romance and passion, so, what could possibly be more appropriate than popping the question with a ruby ring that represents all this and more.
Even Orlando Bloom agrees, which is why his symbol of commitment to Katy Perry back in February 2019 was one made up in a cluster style and flower shape, with a sizable ruby sitting perfectly at its centre.
Again, rubies also have extra meaning and personal connection to those born in July.
Similar to sapphires, rubies hold a hardness rating of 9, meaning they can be worn day in day out with peace of mind, particularly if regular care is taken to ensure the ring is clean and maintained.
Pearl engagement rings
Pearl engagement rings are typically very traditional, however, the current trend in vintage inspired designs plays perfectly in their favour, and is one of the driving forces behind their rise in popularity.
Because of this, we are also seeing greater demand from customers wanting older pieces of jewellery, that have often been passed down through generations, restored or recrafted into something suitable for today.
For instance, famous pop star Ariana Grande wowed followers when she shared a precious picture of her engagement ring; a contemporary design that combined a pearl detail taken from a gift from her grandfather.
The incredibly personal nature of these types of rings offers the perfect alternative to a diamond one, but, with a hardness rating of just 2.5, they require much more care and consideration.
Clearly, there are many alternatives on offer, all of which are suitable for various styles and preferences. In many cases, this enables them to be much more symbolic and meaningful to the receiver and the relationship as a whole, which may be the reason you’re exploring your options.
For more information and advice, why not speak to our expert team of engagement ring specialists to discover the complete list of diamond alternatives, and how to go about choosing and caring for the perfect one. Get in touch today.