Are you considering whether you should opt for a diamond or gemstone engagement rings? Diamond rings have become largely associated with big milestones in our lives – and most iconically – engagements. However, gemstone engagement rings have recently attracted quite a following of their own. So which is better? Read our handy guide to help you make your decision.
Diamond Engagement Rings
Diamond Engagement Ring Advantages:
- Firstly, diamonds are rare and beautiful, renowned for their sparkle which adds luxury to the everyday. It’s a lovely way to remind yourself of your love, when you glance at your beautiful ring.
- Secondly, diamonds are very strong and hardwearing. This makes them ideal for everyday wear as they endure a lifetime and more.
- A third benefit of diamonds is their colourless appearance. It means they’re a very versatile accessory because they match any style and skin tone.*
Diamond Engagement Ring Disadvantages:
- Diamonds are more expensive than other gems. A single diamond, called a solitaire, is usually the most expensive kind. The bigger and better quality your diamond is, the pricier it gets.
- Some brides consider diamond solitaires too conventional and prefer unusual designs, gems or settings that better suit their personal style.
*TOP TIP: On a tight budget, opt for a “cluster ring” made up of smaller diamonds. They simulate the look of a large diamond, but you get more for your money.
Diamond Engagement Ring Cost:
- The cost of a diamond depends on its quality and size. Very roughly speaking, you can purchase a 0.25 carat diamond ring, set in 18K white gold, set with a premium quality solitaire in a round brilliant cut, for about £900 on the high street and around £500 online.
- For the same ring, but with a diamond in 0.50 carat weight, premium quality and round brilliant cut, you’d be looking at about £2,200 on the high street and around £1,200 online.
- Finally, going up to 1.00 carat with the same style of ring, but better quality solitaire as big diamonds require a higher grade to look clean and sparkly to the eye, you’d pay around £7,000 on the high street and about £4,600 online.
This is the most popular style of diamond engagement ring, with a round brilliant cut solitaire. See it here in various sizes, prices and qualities.
Gemstone Engagement Rings
Gemstone Engagement Ring Advantages:
- Gemstones come in an array of stunning colours, each with their own individual character. They really stand out from the crowd.
- Gems are not as conventional as diamonds, and have grown increasingly trendy and popular in recent years. For example, Kate Middleton’s sapphire and Eva Longoria’s ruby.
- Despite some gems being too brittle or soft for daily wear (eg. opal and pearl are not suitable), sapphires and rubies are extremely durable, ideal for engagement rings worn every day.
- Gemstones cost less per carat than diamonds, so you will be able to get a much larger ring for your money.
TOP TIP: Rubies range from dark pink to bright red, sapphires in almost all colours of the rainbow, so you won’t be limited to blue and red.
Gemstone Engagement Ring Disadvantages:
- Certain gems are not suitable for engagement rings because their mineral structure is too weak. They could chip, break or get surface damage while you take a shower, clean the house or expose them to heat.
- Ideally you should stick to rubies and sapphires.
- Topaz is also very durable, although not as conventionally chosen for engagement rings.
- Though not ideal, emeralds, tanzanite, quartz, aquamarine, amethyst and tourmaline can work if you look after them carefully. These gems should be set in a robust platinum or 18K gold and proteted from knocks and environmental damage, removing them when in the gym, swimming, sunbathing and so on.
- Opal, pearls, garnet, turquoise and amber are not suited to engagement rings. They are either too soft or, for instance in the case of pearls, damage very easily in water.
Gemstone Engagement Ring Cost:
- The cost of a sapphire or ruby (in the same way as diamonds) depends on its quality and size. Very roughly speaking, you can purchase a 0.50 carat sapphire or ruby ring, set in 18K white gold and accented with premium quality diamonds, for about £750 on the highstreet and around £500 online.
- For a 0.80 carat sapphire accented with H/Si quality diamonds, set in 18K white gold, you’d be looking at about £3,200 to £4,000 on the highstreet and around £2,800 to £3,500 online.
- Finally, going up to a sapphire or ruby around 2.40 carats with multiple accent diamonds in H/Si quality, set in 18K white gold or platinum, you’d pay around £4,500 to £4,900 on the highstreet and about £2,700 to 3,300 online.
TOP TIP: This is the most popular style of gemstone engagement ring with an oval cut blue sapphire. See blue sapphire rings here in various sizes, prices and styles.
The Final Verdict; Diamond vs Gemstone Engagement Rings:
A diamond engagement ring is for you if…
You’re looking for timeless sparkle that will never go out of fashion. If you value tradition, beauty and luxury, then a diamond solitaire engagement ring is for you. Remember, there are many diamond ring designs and even coloured diamonds to choose from if you want something that stands out from the crowd. Cluster diamond rings can be a great option if you’re on a tight budget as you get a bigger ring for your money. If in doubt… a classic round brilliant cut diamond solitaire ring in a simple setting is always a sure-fire choice.
A gemstone engagement ring is for you if…
You’re looking for unique sparkle with a colour and originality. A gemstone ring makes a statement and can be a real conversation piece. Also, if you’re looking for a bigger stone for your money, then switching from diamonds to gems is a ideal. Finally, remember that your fiancée will wear the ring every day. If you pick a ring that’s too quirky, she may get bored with it or it may end up looking dated. So classic designs are better. If in doubt: a blue sapphire in a classic setting is a timeless choice you cannot go wrong with.
Please note prices quoted 6th November 2017 and may vary at any time after this date.