Diamonds are considered a classic choice when it comes to engagement rings and is still the most popular gemstone for said ring. Diamonds are one of the strongest natural materials known to man, and this is meant to symbolise the type of strong relationship and commitment you have when you are married. Although diamonds are durable and beautiful, they may not be the right choice for everyone. In recent years, other gemstones and ethical diamond alternatives have become increasingly popular.
With brilliant colours and incredible cuts, coloured gemstones will give you something that is going to be unique and stand out with a classic engagement setting. There are many types of coloured gemstones suitable for engagement rings including sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, and can make beautiful statement pieces. If you are wanting a gemstone that resembles a diamond but the price point puts you off, then gemstones such as moissanite and white sapphire could be the choice for you. In this article, we will go through the best alternatives to diamond engagement rings.
What Should I Consider Before Buying a Diamond Alternative
When one opts for a diamond alternative, one of the most important factors to consider is that not all gemstones are suitable for everyday use. If you are choosing the engagement ring with your fiance, ensure that you keep in mind your typical lifestyle as this will help to determine the type of gemstone to choose. Some gemstones are more delicate than others so choose a gemstone that is durable for your lifestyle. If you are going to choose this option, speak to a professional to discuss your options.
Another factor to take into consideration when choosing the gemstone is the colour. Diamonds are clear and will go with any outfit, whereas if you have chosen a coloured gemstone, you may find that it doesn’t go with all outfits. If you are worried about this, then ensure it is a colour that you absolutely love so you never get tired of it.
Benefits of Diamond Alternatives
- One of the biggest reasons why people opt for an alternative to a diamond is the price. Diamonds are pretty expensive and this is what can turn people off. When you are looking for a diamond alternative you can find something that is cheaper whilst also being larger but this depends on the quality and the type of the gemstone.
- It is no secret that a diamond is a classic option for an engagement ring. When you have something other than a diamond, you are definitely going to stand out from the crowd and have that uniqueness that you are wanting.
- If you like colour, then a diamond alternative can be a great way to get this into every outfit. A ruby, sapphire or emerald are all popular choices in recent years.
Disadvantages of Diamond Alternatives
- Due to a diamond being one of the strongest natural sources, nothing is quite as hard as it or durable. Whilst sapphire is strong, a diamond will withstand the test of time.
- A diamond will give off a dazzling sparkle which is hard to replicate with other gemstones.
- A diamond is a classic and timeless gemstone and will last forever whereas anything other is unique, but it may not be trending in the coming years to come.
What Are The Most Popular Alternatives To A Diamond Engagement Ring?
In recent years moissanite has become one of the most popular diamond alternatives and it is easy to see why. Not only does moissanite come at a fraction of the cost of a diamond, but it also similarly resembles a diamond and is almost as durable with it being a 9.5 on the Mohs scale. Moissanite is the second hardest gemstone used for making jewellery, so it will even last maybe just as long as a diamond ring.
Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan. Initially, they were first thought to be diamond but later discovered that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide. As we said, it is one of the cheapest alternatives to a diamond with it costing around £400-£1,000 per carat. The main telltale sign that it is not a diamond is due to its faceted pattern. When moissanite sparkles, it gives off a rainbow/disco sparkle whereas a diamond won’t. Moissanite has a higher refractive index ranging from 2.65-2.69 whereas a diamond refractive index is around 2.41.
Lab-grown diamonds are also becoming increasingly popular in recent years for many reasons. They were first created in the 1950s by Tracy Hall for the purpose of industrial use. Since then, there has been leaps and bounds with innovation until it is not widely used for engagement rings and other pieces of jewellery. They are still graded under the 4 C’s and they also have the same compounds, it is just done in a lab rather than mined which makes it more sustainable. The issue with lab-grown diamonds is due to them being readily available and are being mass-produced, they don’t hold their value.
Due to them being made in a lab, the cost of a lab-grown diamond is significantly lower than a mined diamond. If you were looking for a diamond without the price tag, then a lab-grown diamond is definitely a great choice.
Sapphires are an elegant option and it comes in a range of different shades. It is also a classic option with the likes of Kate Middleton having a sapphire engagement ring from Prince Harry. Sapphires are one of the hardest and most durable diamond alternatives with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale. This means that it makes it perfect for everyday wear and also requires less upkeep than other gemstones.
Sapphires used to be the main choice of engagement rings until the 20th century when diamonds become increasingly popular. They can come in a range of hues including peach, teal, yellow, pink and white. The great thing about sapphire is that it is comparably cheaper in comparison to a diamond of the same carat size; typically costing around £750-£4,000.
If you do opt for sapphire, it is best to work with a professional or a reputable seller as coloured gemstones are less regulated. You want to look at the quality of the crystals as this should be able to pass through molecular level light. If a sapphire has been in contact with radiation or significant heat treatment, this can make the gemstone duller and sparkle less.
Aquamarines are light blue and it is an elegant and unique choice for an engagement ring as it can be your “something blue” as well as it making a fantastic piece to leave your children or grandchildren. Their name means “water of the sea” and has been known also as the sailors stone as it was believed to give safe travel and protect against disasters at sea. The stone is part of the beryl family which means they are the same species as morganites and emeralds.
Aquamarine is often mistaken for blue topaz but in reality, aquamarine is much rarer and has a natural blue colouration. Blue topaz on the other hand is produced colourless and coloured through radiation. Due to aquamarines having a score of 7.5 on the hardness scale, it is suitable for everyday use on jewellery, but if you are doing anything strenuous, it is best to take it off.
In terms of its sparkle, it isn’t known for it especially, but it does have fantastic clarity. Typically a 1-carat aquamarine will cost you around £700. The more intense the colour, the more expensive it will be.
Emeralds have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason, they are stunning. Their beautiful green hue is like nothing else as well as they can be made into a variety of shapes to suit the ring you want. They are also one of the rarest gemstones.
Due to it being part of the beryl family, the colour comes from iron, chromium and vanadium. More iron in beryl will create a slight tint of blue whereas more vanadium and chromium will create a more intense green. Due to it being rarer than most stones, it is only natural for them to be more expensive than other alternatives. A 1-carat emerald can cost anything from £1,000. Due to emeralds having visible inclusions, their brilliance is measured by the eye rather than a 10x magnification that a diamond needs.
This is highly sorted after for its vintage look. This is why when people looking for emerald engagement rings may go down the road of vintage emerald rings as you can get a stone that is better quality than a new one whilst paying less due to you not having to pay VAT on second-hand jewellery.
Rubies have always been valued as a rare beauty and are also known as one of the four original gemstones including emeralds, sapphires, and of course diamonds. They really do pack a punch when it comes to standing out from the crowd. Due to the red colour meaning passion and love, it is definitely a worthy choice for an engagement ring. They also come in other lighter colours from pink to a deep dark red.
Rubies are part of the corundum variety meaning they are of the same species as sapphires. The trace element of chromium in the crystals are what make the stone ruby red. They are also ranked 9 on the Mohs scale meaning they make a great stone to be worn every day.
Due to the ruby’s history and beauty, it is easy to see why it is one of the most expensive gemstones. The price will be affected by the colour of the stone and then its carat, cut and clarity. Usually, a 1-carat ruby can cost anything from £1,200.
Morganite was discovered in 1922 in Madagascar and was formerly known as rose beryl. It is a feminine pink stone that resembles a pink diamond and it is trending a lot recently. The colour makes it easy to match with a range of outfits as there are many different options which makes it a great choice for an engagement ring. It is also part of the beryl variety meaning they are of the same species as emeralds and aquamarines which means they are softer than a diamond and is scored 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
Morganites are extremely cost-effective, due to their pink colouration, which creates a lower price point as they start at around £500 for 1 carat. As well as their beautiful colour, the other factor that draws buyers’ eyes is the fact they emit a beautiful sparkle. It especially looks great with a rose gold setting.
If you prefer a more vintage or heirloom look, then an opal is a fantastic option for an engagement ring. Opals have a stunning milky white colour to them and are the birthstone of October. Opals come in a variety of sizes and colours which make them extremely versatile.
The issue with opal engagement rings is they don’t withstand the test of time due to them being softer than most gemstones. With extended wear, you will most likely find chips and scratches, as well as the stone, may change colour over time due to it being porous.
In recent years it has become increasingly popular for people to steer away from the classic diamond and for good reason. There are so many other beautiful alternatives to a diamond engagement ring that suit a range of needs. It is important to understand that the reason why many opt for a diamond is due to the fact that it will withstand the test of time as it is extremely durable and versatile. If you are looking at a cheaper or more colourful alternative, these options provided are certainly the best to consider.