One of the key trends of contemporary jewelry is that all trends are actually OK. Previously unshakable rules of mixing metals and stones have become sheer recommendations that often come with a lighthearted remark that you are free to choose what you like. We think this trend is beautiful and it’s all the more important for engagement and wedding jewelry.
Previously, the only appropriate choice for an engagement ring was a diamond, and the bigger the better. Yet today, the only factor to consider is the couple’s wish and concept of beauty. All stone options are available and welcomed, and it’s possible to create a ring that will be unique, will reflect your couple's values, and fit into any jewelry combination for daily or occasion wear.
Alongside the classic diamonds, colored gems like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds have become staples of engagement rings. These stones make the Big Four in the jewelry world and for a reason. A ring with any of these gems is bound to be a stunner in your collection.
Yet modern jewelers don’t stop there and venture into the underexplored world of other interesting gemstones. Underrepresented in wedding jewelry designs during past decades, now they make a triumphant debut on the stage and look astonishing when put into your ring. From the cooler elegance of aquamarine and alexandrite to warm sunstone and mysterious moss agate, a whole array of beautiful gems is now highly coveted as an engagement ring centerpiece. The only reservation is that a stone should be tough and durable enough to withstand daily wear.
So if you want your engagement ring to stand out and reflect the unique nature of your relationship, choose a one-of-the-kind colored gem that matches your idea of perfection. In this article, we will point your attention to some of the coolest and chicest (and tough enough) stones that you can proudly show off on your ring finger.
The ‘Forever’ Stones: Diamonds
Whether cleverly marketed or not, a diamond is outlandishly beautiful in its own right. This sparkling drop of light on a fine band declares proudly about your engagement to the world, ruling out any other interpretations. This is why diamonds still hold one of the leading positions as stones preferred by brides.
Besides, a diamond possesses a set of qualities that make it a perfect choice for daily wear. It’s very tough and wear-resistant, and so hard that on the Mohs scale, the highest hardness degree, 10, is assigned to the diamond. It does not take scratches or chips and is resistant to impact as well.
These facts make diamond rings very popular and constantly evolving in shapes and styles. Yet before you splurge on that shiny boulder, remember to check the 4Cs of a diamond in a ring. Then your purchase will bring you nothing but pure joy.
Cut is about the stone’s shape but also about the number of facets, proportions, and finish of the stone. Cut impacts how the stone will reflect the light and how brilliant and radiant it will look. So when buying an engagement ring with diamond, pay attention primarily to the cut, with color and clarity coming next. The cut defines the stone's appearance, and when cut properly, a smaller stone can look larger and more expensive. Diamond cuts are classified as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Look for Excellent or Very Good grades, and you’ll get the most for your money.
When we talk about diamonds, we usually mean colorless diamonds. Yet even these icy-looking jewels can have variations in color. It can range from completely transparent to visibly yellow. This color gradient is marked on the scale from D (no color) to Z (yellow), and most good-quality diamonds fall into D - J brackets. Interestingly, the cut also impacts how noticeable the color is. Round and emerald cuts hide the yellowish tint, while elongated shapes like marquise or pear make it more visible.
It’s about the inclusions the diamond has, and the stone should not be necessarily totally inclusions-free to look perfect. The clarity of diamonds ranges from flawless (FL) to included (I), but in between, there is plenty of room for good stones that look visually clear but cost reasonably. Very Slightly Included grade, marked as VS1 and VS2, for example, means that stones are not technically perfect but inclusions are so minute that diamonds visually seem flawless. Again, the cut plays a key role in the stone look. So if you examine the stone and like the play of light in it, and it is graded as, say, VS1, go for it confidently.
Yes, when choosing a diamond, we tend to think of carats first. But actually, what we want is a bog-looking stone. So if you don’t want to pay too much, here’s a tip. Carat is about the weight, not about the exact size in millimeters or fractions of an inch. So, several diamonds of the same carat weight can look somewhat different in size because of their cut, shape, and other factors. Consider several stones – or rings with stones – of the same carat size, and you’ll discover that some look a bit smaller and some look bigger (while being of the same quality in all other respects). So you can choose a bigger-looking stone without paying extra money for additional stone weight, and this difference can amount to thousands of dollars.
The Trendiest And Coolest Alternative Stones For Engagement Rings
Since we are exploring a variety of popular stones, it’s time to move to other gems worth putting on your finger.
Moissanite is an ethical diamond alternative. So if you want to wear this unique fiery glow on your finger but are concerned with mining issues, go for moissanite.
The stone looks totally identical to a good-quality diamond, with clarity, color, available cuts, and everything comparable to top-class mined stones. In terms of the play of light in an engagement ring moissanite wins the contest because it has a more complex internal structure and looks gorgeous when light passes through it. Stones are lab-grown and can come in a variety of colors similar to diamonds.
Two more big advantages of moissanite are its very reasonable cost and high hardness (9.25 on the Mohs scale). So if you want a big bold (and tough) stone at a fracture of a diamond’s price, glorious moissanite rings are right for you.
The only drawback is that it’s not a ‘diamond’ in its direct sense if the very idea of owning a diamond ring is important to you.
Sapphires are regal and beautiful stones in their own right, and you can see them in the most unique and astonishing sets of jewelry created by known jewelry houses. Yet these stones look equally great when put into an engagement ring. Deep blue color works well alone when set in gold or silver, but its beauty is highly amplified when paired with a colorless stone halo or separate sparkly accents.
Blue sapphires are not the only option for an engagement ring with sapphire: they can come in a variety of colors, except deep red. So if you want a splendid stone in some other hue, sapphires can do it for you.
Their mineral class is corundum; its hardness grade is 9, next to diamonds only. So, sapphire engagement rings are a very reasonable choice in terms of elegance, style, and durability. They can well become a treasured heirloom piece to pass on.
The drawbacks? Good sapphires may cost quite a lot. Besides, you’ll have to do some searching before you find ‘your’ stone in terms of shape and color, as every sapphire is unique.
Black diamonds are mysterious and cool, they have the hardness of their mineral class but don’t produce that over-the-top sparkle. Instead, they have the special adamantine shine that sets them apart from all other black stones. If you want a refined yet edgy look, opt for black diamond rings crafted in modern or classic styles.
Black diamonds can be natural and treated. Natural diamonds are pitch-black due to myriads of inclusions, but these very inclusions make them rather brittle. Besides, natural black diamonds are extremely rare and will cost a ton of money. Treated black diamonds are colorless diamonds with a moderate number of inclusions that were heated to obtain a deep black tone. These diamonds are tough enough for daily wear, and an engagement ring with black diamond of this type will cost significantly less than a natural one.
Moss agate may not be the first stone to come to your mind as an engagement ring centerpiece, but this situation is changing, fortunately. Many brides now opt for this picturesque stone with healing and abundance-bringing properties.
Moss agate got its name from its amazing look: the stone features all kinds of patterns of green embedded into its structure. These patterns may resemble moss climbing up the stone, waves in the dark-green sea, or even rich forestry. No two agates are alike, and when you choose your engagement ring moss agate sample you may be sure that your jewel will be one-of-the-kind.
Moss agate is hard enough to be set into a ring (6.5 by the Mohs scale), and cool moss agate rings cost very reasonably even when you purchase a big stone. It’s quickly becoming a very trendy ring inset, and, charged with the metaphysical ability to heal and bring abundance to a wearer, it makes a perfect stone for an engagement ring.
Moonstone takes its name from the moon, as mesmerizing and beautiful as this celestial body. Moonstone can come in a variety of pastel colors, but its most valued kind is semi-transparent, milky-white, or grayish, with an intensive blue sheen playing on the surface. It is this cold blue fire named adularescence that makes a moonstone so valued. The stronger this sheen, the more expensive the stone. Moonstones are usually polished as cabochons to preserve and amplify this satin shimmer. For an alternative engagement ring moonstone is a perfect option.
The advantage of a moonstone is that the size doesn’t matter as much as this precious sheen. So even a small stone can be spectacular and amazing when set into dainty moonstone rings. Moonstone is hard enough to be set into a ring (6.5 on the Mohs scale), but you should be gentle with your jewelry and take it off when working actively with your hands.
Sunstone looks like condensed sunlight, warm-orange, earthly, and powerful as the sun itself. The stone can be cut with facets or polished as a cabochon, and every variety will have its own charm. Its mystical properties include boosting leadership, instilling an enjoyment of life in a wearer, and in general bestowing good blessings. Seems like a perfect stone to adorn the finger of a bride. That’s why sunstone is climbing in popularity in wedding jewelry trends, and sunstone rings are on the radars of the trendiest girls and fashion influencers.
In terms of durability, sunstone rates at 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so wear it with care. In other respects, a sunstone engagement ring is an excellent addition to your jewelry collection.
Aquamarine is serene and aquatic blue, like a calm lake under the sun. The stone provides a gentle pop of color while featuring an elegant icy shine. It has long been loved by royals and now it reenters the fine jewelry scene in unusual and very cool interpretations.
The stone’s name itself is ‘water,’ so look for transparent gems with even and rich coloring. The better the stone, the higher the cost, but such pieces also become a valued heirloom. If you settle on a smaller stone, you can get quality for a very reasonable price, though. With a hardness of 8, the stone will stand the test of active wearing, and usually, aquamarine engagement rings last for generations.
Aquamarine is believed to bring health and courage to an owner. Yet even without knowing about these properties, you can purchase rings with aquamarine confidently because they can rival diamond jewelry in style and glory.
Rutilated quartz is known for inclusions of rutile that form intricate patterns of multiple needle-like shapes. If you have ever seen a kaleidoscope toy, this stone is like that: many details of golden color are whimsically thrown into the translucent environment. That’s why it’s great for statement jewelry, including engagement rings. The stone looks expensive and astonishing while featuring a very moderate cost. It also has the ability to give energy, love for life, and joy to its owner.
Quartz varieties are durable and tough (7 by the Mohs scale), so they are regular materials on the workbenches of indie designers and big jewelry houses. Whether you decide to set rutilated quartz into gold or silver, its unique beauty, and properties will not be diminished. Rings with rutilated quartz are enjoying the long-deserved popularity now, and for an engagement rutilated quartz ring trend is only gaining momentum.
Alexandrite deserves a separate ode from jewelers, but we’ll be brief here. It is a rare gem, beautiful and unusual, and if you can lay your hands on the stone, go and get it. Alexandrite changes its color from day to night, bluish-green by day and purple-red by artificial light. Owning alexandrite is like owning two separate jewels, and for an engagement ring alexandrite stone makes a truly astonishing centerpiece.
Natural alexandrite is extremely rare and costs almost a fortune, while the lab-grown stone is more affordable but equally amazing in its change of color. Alexandrite is very hard, 8.5 on the Mohs scale, so you can proudly wear it day by day on your finger. As the stone long reserved for royalty only, alexandrite brings prosperity, wisdom, and changes for the better. Even the contemplation of alexandrite rings is pure delight. Wearing such a ring is an absolute pleasure and a point of pride.
Important Considerations To Make Before Choosing A Stone
We’ve looked at the stones that are trending now for engagement rings, and you can see that the choice is diverse and you can pick the look that fits your image of perfection. Yet take a word of wisdom from our weathered YourAsteria experts: while choosing, don’t skip other reasonable considerations, like durability and ethical matters.
Durability of Stones
The durability of a stone is important because it defines if the ring will survive your ‘happily ever after’ journey. Some stones are too brittle or soft to withstand daily wear, but all gems listed here are durable enough to sit proudly in the ring for many years to come (and even become a cherished heirloom for the next generations).
Rarity and Price Correlation
Well, rarity is great in principle, but the rarest stones are the priciest. So we don’t recommend choosing a stone by rarity alone. Instead, consider that some rather widely available stones are so unique in patterns and color palettes that there are no two identical ones, like moss agates or rutilated quartz. So pick the stone that you really like and be sure that it is one-of-the-kind, yours only and truly.
Personal Preferences and Ideas
We’d say that you should start from this point. Think about what you like: colors, shapes, and probably spiritual properties, and use this information as a reference point. If you want a diamond only, then choose a diamond you like. If you want some other interesting and popular stone, start with color and see where the search will get you. It’s your ring, your engagement, so you should enjoy it, first of all.
Ethical Considerations: When and How To Apply Them
This point mainly refers to diamonds, because the mining practices and conflicts that may get funded through these diamonds raise serious concerns for people who don’t want to contribute to these problems. So if you buy a mined diamond, ask questions about its sourcing and how ethical considerations are handled.
If you want to completely rule out problems, buy lab-grown diamonds, or other gems, for that matter. Lab-made emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are sublime and not burdened with doubtful ways of mining.
If we talk about such engagement ring diamond alternatives as sunstone, moonstone, or moss agate, they are sourced in unproblematic ways and often contribute to the well-being of the communities surrounding them through established industry and sources of income. So you can buy them safely and be sure that you’ve made an ethical choice.
Choosing a stone for an engagement ring is a very thrilling yet complicated task, and we did our best to bring to your attention the coolest and the most interesting stones currently enjoying popularity among celebs and common folks alike. As you see, diamonds are not the only option, and you can pick and choose stones by color, unique features, spiritual meaning, and whatnot. Nothing is prohibited, creativity and individuality are welcomed.
The main point is that you should love your ring and enjoy wearing it. The rest is a matter of fashion and collaboration with a good jeweler. And talking about a good jeweler, our team at YourAsteria is always at your disposal. So let’s get started and make your dream ring come true.