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.
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 for you, if your partner expects one from you. What should you do 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.