There’s a reason diamonds are considered such a classic choice when it comes to engagement rings. One of the strongest naturally occurring substances on earth and able to withstand almost anything, diamonds symbolize the kind of forever love and commitment that come with marriage. But for all of their durability and beauty, diamonds aren’t the best choice for everyone. If you’re looking for a less expensive or more unique engagement ring, you might want to consider a diamond alternative instead.
After all, there’s certainly no rule that says you have to have a diamond as your center stone in your engagement ring. There are plenty of other gemstones out there that make for gorgeous rings that are ideal for everyday wear and will stand out in a crowd. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Longoria, and Halle Berry are just a few who have opted for other colorful stones, and the British royal family is known for doing the same: just take a glimpse at Kate Middleton’s stunning sapphire engagement ring.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to go the non-diamond route, here are a few important things to keep in mind, with input from jewelry experts and designers Jillian Sassone and Collen Montague.
Meet the Expert
- Jillian Sassone is a jewelry designer and the founder of jewelry line Marrow, which reimagines fine and bridal jewelry through design and material.
- Colleen Montague is the owner of Moissy Fine Jewellery, located in Canada and the U.S., and was recently featured on the cover of Canadian Jeweller Magazine.
What to Consider Before Buying a Diamond Alternative
When opting for a diamond alternative, the most important thing to keep in mind is that some gemstones are not really fit for everyday wear. Montague strongly recommends keeping your lifestyle in mind when choosing a stone. “Some gemstones are more delicate and will need to be worn with more care to ensure they are not damaged,” she says. “Choose a gemstone that will have the durability that fits your day-to-day activities.” Be sure to discuss this with a jeweler, or do your own independent research to see how strong your stone of choice is.
You should also keep color in mind. Diamonds are clear and colorless, which means they go with everything. Many diamond alternatives, however, are colorful and bold, meaning they might not be quite as versatile. “Make sure it’s a color that you absolutely love and that you won’t grow tired of,” Sassone warns.
Pros of Diamond Alternatives
The biggest pro of a diamond alternative is that, generally, other gemstones are more affordable. Diamonds are expensive and their price tag is what turns a lot of potential buyers off. Sassone points out that when you’re looking for an alternative stone, you can spend less and get something bigger. “Of course, that depends on the quality and species of the stone that ultimately speaks to you,” she adds.
Another advantage of a non-diamond is that you’re automatically making your ring stand out more. “It means you will have something unique and different from the traditional-looking engagement ring,” Montague says.
Lastly, a diamond alternative can just feel a bit more fun. “You can add a pop of color to your jewelry, which can really wow everyone that sees your beautiful piece,” Montague says.
Cons of Diamond Alternatives
Probably the biggest con of a non-diamond is that, while other gemstones can be very strong, none are as strong as a diamond. Some other options you may love just might not be durable enough to withstand everyday wear and tear. For example, Sassone notes that stones like opals and pearls are very soft and are tough to wear all the time. “These stones need more care than what is practical for a ring that you’ll never want to take off,” she says.
Some people may not love a non-traditional option, so if you’re looking for something more classic, your best bet is to opt for something like moissanite.
Below, learn more about some of the most popular diamond alternatives for engagement rings.