A diamond is the traditional option for an engagement ring and we can source them at any size, shape and quality for very competitive prices. In recent years many people are choosing to go with other gemstones for a unique engagement ring for cost or ethical reasons. There are many other beautifully coloured stones to look at, however some are more suitable than others for engagement rings due to their durability.
Mined diamonds come in white and coloured (fancy). White mined diamonds are categorised using the ‘four Cs’ – carat, clarity, colour and cut.
- Carat refers to the weight of the stone with one carat being a fairly large diamond
- Clarity is very important up to a certain point; stones above SI1 rating can cost much more but have no visible difference unless you are trained in what to look for
- Colour is possibly the most important and overlooked as it often looks like quite a saving but then just doesn’t really shine
- Cut is about how uniform and twinkly the stone is, but they tend to all be very good these days, so it’s less of a concern
Fancy diamonds are rare and therefore very expensive, but mined diamonds that aren’t such a good whiteness are often treated to become blue/yellow/pink/green/black etc. Blue diamonds are a particularly lovely colour and we have used them regularly.
Lab grown diamonds are also available. Making them is complicated process, so they only tend to be a little more affordable than mined diamonds, but they can be a more ethical choice.
Half carat diamond
Other precious stones
Moissanite is gem grade silicone-carbide, the second hardest substance known to man after diamond (although it is man-made, unlike sapphire). In recent years it has become another more affordable, ethical alternative to diamonds, however the colour isn’t as good and can often look a little yellow.
Sapphires and rubies are both a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum. Rubies are always red whereas sapphires come in a huge variety of colours, such as blue, yellow, purple, pink, orange and green. Corundum is the next hardest naturally occurring substance after diamond, making it very suitable for using in rings that are going to be worn for a long time.
Lab grown sapphires are also available, and are an astonishingly beautiful colour at a very low price. We find people often feel that lab grown hasn’t got quite the romance of mined, though.
Tanzanite isn’t quite as hard as we’d like for engagement rings, but as it is such a beautiful colour, it does get requested fairly regularly. It is found only in Mererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania.
Emerald the most commonly known variety of the mineral beryl. It is fairly soft compared to diamonds and sapphires so we tend to recommend well-protected settings for engagement rings. Emeralds are readily available but to get a lovely clear stone with a good deep colour, the prices can be comparable to diamonds.
Lab grown emeralds are also available, and have a beautiful clear deep green colour.
Lab grown emerald
Lab grown sapphire
Sri Lankan blue sapphire
Here are some examples of semi-precious stones and other gems that work better in dress rings.