Diamonds are the obvious and classic choice when it comes to engagement rings. But they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. For one thing, they can be expensive. For another, they tend to be a little bit too obvious for many – after all, if jewellery is a means of self-expression, then it makes sense to go for something that more precisely matches your tastes!
So what are the alternatives you might consider? Let’s run through a few of the leading candidates.
These purple stones need to be well-cut if they’re to be truly spectacular. You’ll find many of them available in a rawer state. Amethysts aren’t quite as hard as diamonds, and thus they’re more easily cut into a range of exotic shapes, like squares and hearts. Having said that, they’re still durable enough to weather day to day use.
Around a third of the price of the average diamond, and, since they’re available in white, they’re often considered as a like-for-like substitute. They don’t sparkle quite as brilliantly as the girl’s best friend does, but they will allow for greater size. Available in blue, green, yellow and white, they’re often employed in combination in the same item, to spectacular effect. If you want something blue that doesn’t cost the earth, you might go for a blue topaz or a lapis lazuli – though the latter are easily scratched.
By definition, emeralds are green. Specifically, they’re a kind of beryl that’s been made green by specific quantities of chromium and vanadium. Jewellers can argue about precisely what constitutes an emerald and what constitutes a merely green beryl. From the point of view of the wearer, what’s important is that emeralds tend to be a little old-fashioned-looking – but in an engagement ring, you might well want to make reference to a previous age.
Considered one of a quartet of classic stones, rubies are exceptionally hard (though not quite as hard as diamonds). With that said, this quality comes at a cost – you might easily pay more for a ruby than you would for the equivalent diamond. If you’re looking for something red that won’t break the bank, then you might consider a garnet.
If you want something that might be mistaken (by a layperson) for a diamond, then a moissanite is an obvious choice. They’re the second hardest mineral in the world, but, given that they’re nowhere near as expensive as the classic diamond, they can be made much larger.