The Diamond Pro

11 Alternatives to the Diamond Engagement Rings

By Michael Fried
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Alternative engagement rings feature a main element that’s not a center diamond, such as a colored gemstone. Alternative rings stand out from mainstream diamond engagement rings and offer a unique personal style. 

Compared to diamond rings, alternatives provide an increased opportunity for a personal touch. They give the wearer the feeling that the ring is truly designed for them, not just a ring that follows tradition. Some alternatives to diamond engagement rings are also less expensive, depending on the gemstones.

Those who buy alternatives to diamond rings have a personal style or color they desire, such as an emerald engagement ring or a citrine engagement ring. Others choose an alternative engagement ring because it costs less. 

Alternative engagement rings are increasingly popular. Expressing your unique style through your engagement ring is a growing trend, even for celebrities. For example, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with a sapphire engagement ring and Eva Longoria received a ruby engagement ring from Jose Antonio Baston.

In general, you can find alternative engagement rings in the range of $500-$20,000. The value and price of alternative rings depend on the gemstones and precious metal. Some alternative gemstones, such as amethysts and morganite, are less expensive than diamonds. For instance, this beautiful solitaire amethyst ring costs $295, while a comparable solitaire ring and 0.50 carat diamond cost a total of $1,610. Other gemstones are more closely priced to diamonds. For example, this 1.11 carat sapphire ring costs $3,019, while this comparable halo setting and 1 carat diamond combine to cost $4,330. Some rare colorful gemstones, such as a vibrant red ruby, can even cost more than a diamond.

Engagement Ring Alternative

With engagement ring alternatives, there are a variety of styles and gemstones to choose from. Use the jump-to links below to learn about each type and to see ring examples in a variety of price ranges.

Emerald Engagement Rings

Emeralds are beautiful green gemstones of the beryl family that range in tone from light green to rich, vivid green. They are a stunning focal point of any engagement ring, and can be surrounded by smaller diamonds, such as in a halo ring. Emeralds rank 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them a durable gemstone for everyday wear. Emeralds are also the birthstone for May.

Emerald Halo Engagement Ring
Emerald Halo Engagement Ring from Blue Nile

Check out these stunning emerald engagement ring examples:

Sapphire Engagement Rings

While sapphires come in a variety of colors, blue sapphire is the most popular, especially for engagement rings. The striking blue color offers exceptional character and style. The richness of a stone’s color dictates its beauty, desirability, and price. For instance, the more vivid the blue, the more expensive it will be. Sapphires score a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it a very durable stone. Royalty has been wearing sapphires for generations. Sapphire is also the September birthstone.

Sapphire and Diamond Floating Halo Ring
East-West Sapphire and Diamond Floating Halo Ring from James Allen

Here are sapphire engagement ring styles to inspire you:

Ruby Engagement Rings

A stunning red ruby is an eye-catching gemstone for an alternative engagement ring. Rubies also symbolize passion and courage, making it a meaningful choice for the one you love. Rubies are formed of mineral corundum and are durable stones that have been revered for centuries. They rank a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Rubies are also the birthstone of July.

Baguette Ruby and Diamond Pavé Ring
Baguette Ruby and Diamond Pavé Ring from Blue Nile

Ruby engagement ring styles to consider:

Amethyst Engagement Rings

Amethyst is a variety of quartz and ranges from pinkish lilac to a deep violet color. Its vivid hue makes it stand out from diamond engagement rings. Amethysts have long been worn by royalty and symbolize a balanced mindset. They’re also February’s birthstone. Ranking a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, amethysts are durable, long-lasting stones for engagement rings.

Oval Amethyst Ring with Trio Diamond Accents
Oval Amethyst Ring with Trio Diamond Accents from Angara

Here are amethyst engagement rings to consider:

Citrine Engagement Rings

Citrine offers a unique color to engagement rings, ranging from pale yellow to brownish orange. Citrine is thought to bring healing, comfort, and peace. As a variety of quartz, citrine ranks a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, great for everyday wear. Citrine is also the birthstone of November.

Citrine Halo Ring
Citrine Halo Ring from Angara

Citrine engagement rings that’ll inspire you:

Rose Quartz Engagement Rings

Rose quartz symbolizes universal love, making it a special choice for an engagement ring. Its color ranges from soft to medium dark pink. This feminine beauty ranks a 7 on the Mohs scale so it’s durable enough for everyday wear. The delicate color of rose quartz is graceful and unique but not overpowering.

Bezel-Set Pear Rose Quartz Ring
Bezel-Set Pear Rose Quartz Ring in rose gold from Angara

Check out these beautiful rose quartz engagement rings:

Moissanite Engagement Rings

Moissanite is a gemstone composed of silicon carbide that’s nearly colorless. From a distance, it can look similar to a diamond. Due to the rarity of natural moissanite, almost all moissanite for jewelry is lab-created. Moissanite is distinct from a diamond and is a much less expensive alternative. Moissanite is a durable gemstone (9.25 on the Mohs scale) and can offer sparkle to your engagement ring.

Three Stone Moissanite Engagement Ring
Three Stone Princess Cut Moissanite Engagement Ring from Angara

Here are some moissanite engagement rings and what they cost:

Morganite Engagement Rings

Morganite is a gemstone in the beryl family and is a pink to orange-pink stone. Its delicate color offers personality for those looking for a beautiful alternative to a diamond. It ranks a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Morganite Cocktail Ring with Floral Diamond Halo
Morganite Cocktail Ring with Floral Diamond Halo from Angara

Check out these morganite engagement rings for inspiration:

Lab-Created Diamond Engagement Rings

Lab-created diamonds are man-made diamonds that mirror the chemical and optical properties of natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamond engagement rings are available in a range of shapes and styles, just like diamond engagement rings. They offer a less expensive alternative to natural diamonds, although their resale value is very little.

LAB-CREATED 1.30 CARAT ROUND CUT HALO ENGAGEMENT RING
Lab-Created 1.30ct Round Cut Halo Engagement Ring from James Allen

Here are some beautiful settings for lab-created diamonds:

Heirloom Engagement Rings

Heirloom engagement rings are rings passed down from previous generations, such as a mother or grandmother’s ring. These rings provide a meaningful touch but also often feature a vintage, one-of-a-kind style. Heirloom engagement rings are an environmentally-friendly option, as they are recycled from a previous wearer. Style can range from art deco rings to floral rings, depending on the specific piece.

Petite Pavé Leaf Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Petite Pavé Leaf Halo Diamond Engagement Ring from Blue Nile

While an heirloom ring comes from family or close friends, they often have an antique style, like these vintage engagement rings:

Eternity Bands

Instead of a large center stone, eternity bands feature a complete loop of diamonds or gemstones around the band. The endless circle of stones represents the never-ending love of a marriage. Eternity bands are made with diamonds, colored gemstones, or a combination of the two. You can find eternity bands made of platinum, white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold.

Pink Sapphire Eternity Ring
Pink Sapphire Eternity Ring by Monique Lhuillier from Blue Nile

Check out these eternity band styles:

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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