Planning the perfect proposal takes some doing these days, with ambitious grooms- and brides-to-be setting the bar pretty high with their grand plans.
But whether you opt for an elaborate public display of affection, or choose a more intimate way to ask that all-important question, you have to be equipped with the right accessory.
The engagement ring is a symbol of your love and your commitment to marry. In 2020, engagement rings double as status symbols, but you don’t have to purchase the biggest diamond to impress.
Diamonds aren’t always a girl’s best friend, and there are tons of alternative gemstones that make the perfect engagement ring.
Here we explore the best alternative engagement gemstones that go beyond the classic diamond.
Choosing a perfect gemstone
Other than their obvious beauty and timelessness, one of the many reasons why people choose diamonds for engagement rings is due to their durability.
In terms of hardness, diamonds are as solid as they come and can withstand endless wear and tear as a result. The hardness of a gemstone is rated on the Mohs scale, and diamonds achieve the perfect 10.
When selecting your alternative gemstone, be sure it has a Mohs rating of at least 7 to ensure it will stand the test of time. Those looking to choose a softer stone, such as a pearl or opal, should consider their setting carefully. A bezel setting for instance provides the protection that a softer stone needs to last that little bit longer.
This lesser-known semi-precious stone is a stunning option for just engaged couples looking to make a statement, and the popularity of Alexandrite is rising in the proposal world. This gemstone sports a bluey-purple shade but is also available in a variety of other colours, including green and red.
As well as providing a cutting edge look, an Alexandrite ring is extremely durable thanks to its Mohs scale rating of 8.5.
Sticking with the blue theme, aquamarine makes a fitting and stylish engagement ring. With a Mohs rating of 7.5 to 8, your bride-to-be can enjoy the brilliance of this icy blue stone for a long, long time.
Aquamarine engagement rings are very budget-friendly too, which means you can splash out on an even bigger stone.
If a brighter, sunnier shade is more to your fiancée’s taste, then a canary yellow or fiery orange citrine engagement ring will be a great choice. This stone also carries a hidden meaning, representing health and happiness.
When it comes to the hardness of citrine, this can vary massively from stone to stone. The cut quality is well worth noting too during your search for the perfect citrine engagement ring. The International Gem Society offers some words of advice on the matter:
“Many citrine gemstones will have some cut quality issues. Watch out for poor cutting. Standard cuts may produce a window in the gem. The centre of the stone will be a lighter colour than the outer portion. This means that the light is passing through the gem, instead of reflecting to your eye. To check this, place a paper with writing behind the gem and look through it. If you can see the text, the gem has a window.”
Unlike our previously featured semi-precious gemstones, the emerald is in the same category as the popular diamond, ruby and sapphire, and is classed as a precious gemstone.
Known for their deep green colour, emeralds are favourites among lovers of vintage. With a Mohs rating of 8, an emerald engagement ring will stay dazzling for years to come.
The opal is a stunning stone, and despite its famous milky white hue, is available in a plethora of colours. Those looking to get down on one knee with a darker coloured ring will love fire opals. These are lab-grown but provide a stunningly stylish, vivid orangey glow that will impress any bride-to-be.
Whether you choose to opt for a classic opal or a fire opal, it’s worth noting that you have to take good care of an opal engagement ring to ensure its longevity.
Opals have a Mohs rating of between 5.5 and 6.5, making it a much softer stone than the previous alternative gemstones mentioned.
So you’ve found the perfect engagement ring for your partner, but your ring shopping adventure isn’t over just yet. Read our 101 on wedding rings for further advice.