Must an engagement ring be a diamond ring – or can any ring be an engagement ring? Below, we give you all the answers to these questions.
Included in this article:
- Reasons for choosing a diamond-alternative
- What to do if you cannot afford a diamond?
- 5 alternatives to traditional diamond rings
- Best coloured gemstones for engagement rings
1. Is it ok to choose a ring that’s not a diamond?
There’s no rule that says you must buy a diamond ring for an engagement.
2. What type of engagement rings are there?
Almost any ring can be an engagement ring.
There is no rule that dictates an engagement ring must have a particular stone or design, or be a certain size.
3. Reasons why some choose a non-traditional ring (that’s not a diamond)
There are many reasons why you might want an alternative style of engagement ring:
- You prefer a coloured gemstone
- Most people have a diamond ring, so you want something unique
- Diamonds are expensive, and you want a more affordable alternative
- A diamond ring does not reflect your culture or religion
- Some people prefer a plain band
- Some people do not want a ring at all
4. My partner wants a traditional diamond ring, but I don’t agree. What should I do?
Some people simply do not like the idea of a diamond ring. This can be a problem if your partner expects one from you. What then?
If you’re the ring giver, try to at least consider your partner’s wishes and reach a compromise. Why? Because…
- Tradition is powerful. Your partner’s father probably bought a diamond ring for their mother. They want you to measure up.
- Spirit of generousity. A gift or a symbolic item you buy for a loved one is about them, not you.
Rest assured there are plenty of options. Have an honest conversation and find some middle ground. Then take a look at alternative ideas below.
5. What coloured gemstones are suitable as diamond alternatives?
The main thing to consider with an engagement ring is durability. It has to last a lifetime of wear and tear, so the harder the gem, the better.
Jewellers measure gem hardness from 1 to 10 on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness. Diamonds are the hardest at 10, which is why they’re so popular.
- Sapphires and rubies are 9 – well suited to long-term daily wear
- Tanzanite and topaz are 8 – within the limits for engagement rings
- Emerald and aquamarine are 7 – you’ll have to be very careful not to knock or scratch them
6. I’ve been told the gem I want won’t stand wear and tear. What should I do?
Some gems are considered ‘soft’, i.e. below 7-8 on Mohs Scale. For example, pearl, garnet, opal and turquoise. They’re not ideal for engagement rings.
Why? Because ou’ll need to be very careful not to scratch or knock your ring, or expose it to sudden heat or soak it in water.
Consult your jeweller about gemstone care, if you decide on a ‘soft’ gem. Also, choose a sturdy gold or platinum setting that protects the gem.
7. What about quirky or unique designs?
You may want a unique ring. That’s great! There are no rules.
Just make sure your partner is on board. They’ll be wearing the ring so they need to love it as much as you do.
Overly quirky rings can have the downside of getting ‘old’ quickly. There’s a lot to be said for simple, timeless designs; you won’t get fed up looking at your ring, and classic jewellery is easy to match with all kinds of outfits.
8. I cannot afford a diamond… but my partner wants one anyway
If your partner wants a diamond, but the cost is a worry, you need to discuss it openly. Always remember, you have options. For instance, you can buy an affordable ring now and upgrade it later. Or choose 9K gold, which is more affordable than a setting of 18K gold or platinum.
5 Non-diamond engagement ring alternatives:
1. Sapphire rings
Sapphire is the hardest coloured gem at Mohs Scale 9. It’s beautiful and comes in many colours including blue, pink, green and many more. Sapphire is popular among celebrities; the Royal sapphire engagement ring passed from Princess Diana to Kate Middleton is the most famous.
2. Ruby rings
Ruby is made from corundum, the same mineral as sapphires. This means rubies rank 9 on the Mohs Scale, guaranteed to withstand wear and tear. Celebrities with ruby engagement rings include Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson.
3. Lab created diamonds
Lab-created diamonds are a fusion of art and technology. They’re real diamonds, grown from a mined diamond ‘seed’ in a laboratory; a sustainable choice. Budget-friendly, they can give you an up to 60% bigger diamond for your money.
4. No-stone rings
There are alternatives to rings with a stone. You could choose an Irish Claddagh ring, a lovers knot ring, or simply a plain band. Whatever feels comfortable to you or reflects your culture or customs is wonderful, as long as you both agree on it.
5. An item that’s not a ring
Some people don’t care for a ring at all, so they choose a non-ring alternative. This could be a tattoo, a locket, or an heirloom ring or a pretty chain around your neck. Or it could simply be a promise to love each other forever.
Final words of advice
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to engagement rings. Whatever you both feel is the appropriate symbol for your relationship is the right choice for you.