Unconventional Engagement & Wedding Ring Options
Written by Sara Hanks
May 18, 2022
Diamond rings have been an engagement tradition for a long time, but maybe not for as long as you’d think. The idea took hold in the 1930s and ‘40s thanks to an advertising campaign from luxury diamond company De Beers. Prior to that time, diamond rings had little if any special connection to the idea of marriage, and today, some engaged couples are questioning the idea.
If you don’t want a diamond ring, what are your options? You might favor a ring with a stone other than a diamond, perhaps a birthstone or personal favorite, or you can forgo precious gems altogether. Whether you make this choice to minimize expense or simply to assert individuality, there’s no denying the wide range of beautiful options that await you in today’s jewelry world.
Here are a few ideas for beautiful alternatives to the traditional diamond engagement ring.
Sapphires boast one characteristic that puts them in close contention with diamonds: hardness. This resilient stone makes a great choice for wedding rings because it can stand up to daily wear without being at significant risk for damage.
We often associate the sapphire with the color blue, and while that is indeed one of its striking colors, you can also find sapphires in varieties of pink, green, yellow, and even white.
One of the most famous engagement rings in the world originally belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales. The center stone is a sapphire, which is also the birthstone of the month of September. Today the ring is worn by Diana’s daughter-in-law, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The emerald’s striking green tone definitely stands out in a crowd! While not quite as hard as sapphires, emeralds are still a popular choice for engagement rings. This stone has a unique reputation for natural inclusions, which makes every individual emerald more distinctive and visually interesting.
In 2022, actress Megan Fox received a diamond and emerald engagement ring from her fiancé, Colson Baker a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly. Baker reportedly chose the stones to honor their respective birth months, with diamonds being the birthstone for April (Baker’s birth month) and emeralds being the birthstone for May (Fox’s birth month).
While its shades can range from pale lavender to a deep, almost-black shade, amethysts always stay in the purple family. Jewelry featuring amethysts has been made for millennia, so if you choose this stunner for your wedding ring, you’ll be joining a long history. This February birthstone pairs especially well with rose gold.
Some stones come with a personality all their own. This is definitely the case with citrine, a yellow stone with occasional flashes of fiery orange. The colors can be reminiscent of fall leaves, which might be the reason behind citrine’s designation as November’s birthstone. Citrine can either grab attention or be more subtle, depending on the cut and setting.
The aquamarine’s pale blue color is both sweet and sophisticated. This stone is closely related to emeralds in its mineral structure and is known for its outstanding clarity. The March birthstone features prominently in the engagement ring of actress Jessica Biel, who was born on March 3rd.
One potential drawback of aquamarine is its tendency to lose luster over time. Consistent care and occasional professional cleanings will keep it looking as lovely as possible.
Red is acknowledged in many cultures as the color most associated with love and passion. Just look at Valentine’s Day decorations for proof! This makes the red ruby a perfect choice for your declaration of love. The bright red can also remind us of summer’s heat, which may explain why rubies are July’s birthstone. Rubies are recognized for their durability, so scratches and chips aren’t a big concern. Celebrities Eva Longoria and Katy Perry both sport ruby engagement rings.
You can find numerous varieties of tourmaline on the market; in fact, it’s available in more colors than any other gemstone in existence. While a beautiful green shade is most popular, you might find yourself drawn to a rarer choice. You can even find bicolor tourmaline, where pink fades into light green or gray-blue transitions into magenta. Those born in October have the special chance to incorporate tourmaline as their birthstone.
So far we’ve been looking at crystals, and indeed, there are plenty more to choose from. But we shouldn’t forget about options like turquoise, lapis lazuli, opal, onyx, jade, and pearl. Celebrities like Ariana Grande and Emma Stone have opted for pearls in their rings. These non-crystalline choices can truly set you apart, and if you or your partner have a special affection for any of these examples, don’t let tradition stop you from finding the ring you want.
These options are definitely more delicate than diamonds, sapphires, and other crystals, so do your research on any special care and maintenance they require. Gemstone polishing is an option if you need to remove any scratches.
If you or your partner aren’t interested in a ring with prominent stones, you can opt for a wedding band instead. Gold is a classic choice, of course, and it’s versatile; whether you prefer white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold, you’ve got options. But gold isn’t a given — some couples choose silver, platinum, palladium, or even wood as their favorite material.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple! Diamonds have certainly become the standard, but wedding bands have even deeper roots as the traditional choice. If you have a separate engagement ring and wedding band, you can solder the rings together for ease.
Choosing an engagement ring or wedding ring is a big decision. No other piece of jewelry gets as much use or is as meaningful. Don’t be afraid to select something that feels right, no matter how conventional or unconventional your ring may be.