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How to Choose a Diamond Ring Alternative

diamond alternatives, gemstone engagement ring, gemstone jewelry
How to Choose a Diamond Ring Alternative

Purchasing an engagement ring can be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It can also be challenging, especially with so many available options. While many adore the classic option of a simple band with a solitaire diamond, your bride may prefer a dramatic or alternative design that showcases her unique style.

But how do you choose a diamond ring alternative that fits your bride’s unique look and distinctive personality? We’ve put together the following helpful guide.

Why Are Diamonds Used for Engagement Rings?

These days, plenty of brides are embracing alternative engagement rings which feature different types of precious and semi-precious gemstones. John Atencio features world-class jewelry designs that have made him one of the state’s most celebrated designers. 

In addition to his iconic diamond engagement rings and use of brilliant trillion-cut gemstones, John provides a full spectrum of stone options and distinctive pieces forged to echo your personal tale of love and commitment. Let’s look at some of the most popular stone choices for non-diamond engagement rings.

A Rainbow of Options

Glittering with breathtaking brilliance, gemstone engagement rings radiate vibrant color. Available in a rainbow of hues, these beautiful diamond alternatives have become a popular choice among many modern brides-to-be.

Enchanting most any ring design, colorful gemstones glitter with striking facets and beautiful depth. Whether you choose to enliven your ring with a bold blue sapphire, plum-colored amethyst or regal green emerald, the results are immensely eye-catching, especially when the stones are accented with fiery diamonds.

Bursting with color, gemstones exquisitely complement classic yellow gold, icy white gold and blush rose gold settings. From timeless solitaire rings to striking, ornate designs layered with accent stones, gemstone engagement rings are available in diverse designs. You can choose from the trendiest styles, including halo, three-stone and vintage-inspired settings, many with scintillating diamonds that complement each gem's colorful hues. There are many stones to choose from, and each is available in your favorite stone shapes, including cushion, oval, pear, round, emerald, princess and marquise.

Giving a nod to traditional engagement ring styles while infusing mesmerizing color, gemstone engagement rings come with all sorts of options. Among the most popular include:

Sapphire Engagement Rings

sapphire engagement ring

Before diamonds took their place as the engagement stone of choice, sapphire was at or near the top of the list. Typically blue, this stone is actually available in varying colors, including pink, purple, yellow and even orange. Sapphires also boast a Mohs’ Scale rating of nine, providing considerable long-term durability and scratch resistance.

A sapphire’s deep color creates an intriguing ring worthy of your unique love story. Romantic and regal sapphires have long been associated with trust and loyalty. Set in rose, yellow or white gold, this vivid gemstone emits a resplendent glow, especially when accented by fiery white diamonds.

Sapphire engagement rings come in diverse designs that suit a range of preferences. Some include blue sapphire center stones, while others incorporate sapphire side stones to accent a center diamond. Many pieces have a vintage-inspired feel, while others integrate contemporary curves or sharp graphic lines.

Amethyst Engagement Rings

amethyst engagement ring

When it’s well-cut, this lovely lavender stone can look truly beautiful in an engagement ring. At 7 on the Mohs scale, amethysts aren’t as durable as diamonds; but they still hold up relatively well with proper care. Pair the purple hue with rose gold or silver for a dazzling romantic setting or set it along with other colors for a modern, quirky look.

Glowing with lovely shades of purple, deep plum and soft violet, amethyst enchants any ring design. Regally radiant, this luminous gemstone glimmers with expressive facets and dark-to-light flashes that create vibrant depth. Prized for its tranquil energies and vivid, fashionable vibes, this gorgeous gemstone adds a radiant flair to any ensemble, especially when showcased amid a stunning engagement ring.

Emerald Engagement Rings

Symbolizing love and new beginnings, green emeralds are one of the more popular choices for non-diamond engagement rings. Their vivid color provides a “wow” factor and pairs quite well with the styles of most women.

With a Mohs Scale rating between 7.5 and 8, the stones are relatively scratch-resistant. Despite their good hardness factor, they could be susceptible to chipping and cracking due to natural inclusions. If you select a quality emerald with a center inclusion, you shouldn’t have a problem. You can ensure this by purchasing your ring from a reputable jeweler.

With bold, regal hues, green emeralds are one of the world’s most celebrated gemstones. Associated with love, success and abundance, emeralds are 20 times scarcer than diamonds, making them one of the world’s rarest gems. The stone's deep green color looks striking when set in refined white gold, classic yellow gold or romantic rose gold. The effect looks especially elegant when paired with glittering diamond accents.

Ruby Engagement Rings

ruby engagement ring

Passionate, romantic and beautifully bold, red rubies create exceptional engagement rings with eye-catching fire. Prized for millennia, the deep red gemstones were long-adored by European nobility and royalty. These days, they remain one of the world’s most coveted gemstones and a popular diamond alternative for modern engagement rings.

A timeless option for engagement rings, the ruby is one of the few precious gemstones that will maintain its beauty decades after you buy it. With an impressive Mohs Scale hardness rating of nine, this stunning stone is as strong as a diamond. The beauty and durability can come at a cost, however. Some top-quality rubies can actually cost more than diamonds.

Aquamarine Engagement Rings

aquamarine engagement ring

With a dazzling, unique sea-green color, aquamarine is a popular alternative engagement stone. In certain instances, lighter aquamarine stones can even be mistaken for diamonds. With a Mohs’ Scale rating between 7.5 and 8, aquamarine can show signs of scratching over time if exposed to extreme wear. With proper servicing and care, however, this lovely green-blue stone will typically last a lifetime.

Topaz Engagement Rings

topaz engagement ring

Bring some extra intrigue to your engagement ring with a beautiful blue topaz center stone. Framed by flickering white diamonds, this gorgeous blue gem sparkles with soft, tranquil hues. A London blue topaz can look wonderfully vivid when complemented by luxe diamond details. They also blend quite well with diverse styles, allowing your soulmate to show off their one-of-a-kind style.

Tanzanite Engagement Rings

Perfectly poised between vibrant blue, deep purple and velvety violet, tanzanite is only found near Mount Kilimanjaro. This fascinating exotic quality makes the gem a compelling diamond substitute for your bride-to-be. With its deeply saturated purple-blue hue, tanzanite radiates eye-catching color. Prized for its color-shifting qualities, tanzanite can appear vibrant violet or brilliant blue depending on the angle and lighting.

Pearl Engagement Rings

Another timeless option, the pearl has seen a resurgence in contemporary engagement rings. Simple, elegant and understated, pearls are popular among no-frills brides. With so many available choices, including cultured pearls, freshwater pearls and saltwater pearls, it’s easy to find a ring that fits your individual style and budget.

It’s important to remember that pearls only have a Mohs’ Scale rating of between 2.5 and 4.5, making them susceptible to discoloration and scratching. With thoughtful care, however, you can make your pearls last a lifetime.

Morganite Engagement Rings

Feminine and romantic, morganite has become one of the more popular alternative stone options for engagement rings. The pink to orange-pink variety of beryl, and morganite is in the same stone family as emeralds. With a 7.5 to 8 rating on the Mohs scale, the stone offers good durability, depending on the cut and quality of your chosen stone.

Garnet Engagement Rings

Garnets are available in a diverse array of colors, but most brides are drawn to the romance of the deep red hue. Often included in antique settings, these bold stones look very pretty paired with pearls or gemstones of other colors. Rated 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs’ Scale, garnets aren’t quite as durable as rubies, but this is reflected in the cost.

Cluster Concept: Creating Brilliance with Grouped Gemstones

In your quest for the perfect engagement ring, you may come across the cluster design. Cluster rings feature a group of smaller gemstones artfully clustered together to create a dazzling centerpiece that’s as breathtaking as a single, large stone. This design serves as a beautiful metaphor for the harmony and unity of your shared life, where each individual moment comes together to create a compelling whole.

Cluster engagement rings offer endless possibilities when it comes to the type and combination of gemstones used. The vibrancy of emeralds, the royal allure of sapphires, the serene charm of aquamarines, or even a collection of colored gemstones can each tell a unique love story. Each gemstone carries its own distinct meaning, allowing you to create a ring that truly symbolizes your journey together.

Moi Et Toi Concept: Two Gems, One Eternal Bond

Another distinctive style is the moi et toi design, which is French for "me and you.” These romantic rings incorporate two gemstones, often of different shapes or colors, placed side by side on the ring's band, representing two souls intertwining in a beautiful dance of love. The moi et toi style serves as a visual expression of your unique bond, embodying the shared dreams and complementary nature of your relationship.

Gemstone options for moi et toi engagement rings are endless. Consider, for instance, a bold ruby nestled next to a diamond, each representing different facets of your love, or a royal blue sapphire coupled with a clear, brilliant topaz, symbolizing the depth and clarity of your bond. Each stone adds its own unique flavor to the narrative of your love story.

Comparing Prices of Diamond Ring Alternatives

The price of diamond engagement ring alternatives can vary considerably, influenced by factors such as the type and size of the gemstones, the metal used in the setting, the complexity of the design, and the craftsmanship involved. Generally, non-diamond gemstones can be significantly less expensive than diamonds, allowing for a larger or more intricate ring for your budget.

It's important, however, to remember that the most precious aspect of an engagement ring is its sentimental value rather than its price tag. Regardless of the type of stone or design, what truly matters is the love and commitment it represents.

Pros of Choosing Alternative Engagement Rings

Choosing an alternative to the traditional diamond engagement ring offers a number of benefits. First, non-diamond rings can be much more affordable. An alternative engagement ring also allows you to express your unique style and personality.

With countless combinations of gemstones, metals and designs, you can create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that tells your unique love story. Additionally, many alternative gemstones are sourced ethically and sustainably, ensuring that your ring aligns with your personal values. 

When sourcing stones for their jewelry, not every designer maintains the same uncompromising ethical standards of John Atencio, and this is something to keep in mind when shopping for a ring, whether it includes a traditional natural diamond, lab-grown diamond or gem, or colorful alternative engagement ring stones. 

It’s also important to remember that alternative gemstones do not always offer the same durability as diamonds, which have an unrivaled 10 rating on the Mohs Scale for Hardness. Be sure to inquire about each gemstone’s durability and scratch resistance before you choose it for your alternative engagement ring.


Choosing the Right Gemstone Engagement Ring

When it comes to choosing a gemstone engagement ring, there are so many options, from sapphire and amethyst to emerald, ruby, peridot, tanzanite, morganite, garnet, topaz and more. The broad selection can make ring buying feel like an overwhelming process, especially if you don’t know where to start.

As you embark on your journey to select the perfect engagement ring alternative, remember that the most important thing is to choose something that speaks to your heart. Whether you're drawn to the bold hues of a ruby, or the serene beauty of an aquamarine, each gemstone has its own story to tell.

Working with a knowledgeable jewelry artist can help guide your decision. We invite you to explore the world of non-diamond engagement rings with John Atencio, a celebrated designer who is dedicated to helping couples express their love through beautiful, unique pieces.

Gemstone engagement rings can be breathtaking alternatives to traditional diamond rings, especially when you shop at John Atencio. Unlike most jewelers, John designs each ring around the center stone, creating an exceptionally beautiful jewelry piece as unique as your love.

Shop online or visit one of our convenient locations and let our attentive consultants help you find the perfect engagement ring for your monumental moment.