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11 Alternatives to the Diamond Engagement Rings

By Mike Fried,

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 and diamond 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 from James Allen costs $295, while a comparable solitaire ring and 0.50 carat diamond from James Allen 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 from James Allen 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.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

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.

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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 this halo ring from Blue Nile. 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

Check out this stunning emerald engagement ring example: Oval and Baguette Emerald Engagement Ring from Blue Nile

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

Here is a sapphire engagement ring to inspire you: Three Stone Sapphire Ring with Diamond Halos from Blue Nile

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.

”Ruby can command the highest prices of any colored gemstone. The per-carat prices of fine-quality rubies have been rising consistently, many times breaking auction records.” “The per-carat price of ruby can also increase dramatically as size increases, especially for better-quality stones.” Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

Baguette Ruby and Diamond Pavé Ring
Baguette Ruby and Diamond Pavé Ring

Ruby engagement ring you might love: Oval Cut Ruby with Diamond Halo from James Allen

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

Here is an amethyst engagement ring to consider: Cushion Cut Amethyst Swirl Halo Ring from Blue Nile

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

Citrine engagement ring that you’ll fall in love with: Citrine Cushion Cocktail Ring from Blue Nile

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

Check out this beautiful rose quartz engagement ring: Rose Quartz Cabochon Ring from Blue Nile

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

Here is a moissanite engagement ring and what it costs: Three Stone Moissanite Engagement Ring 

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

Check out this morganite engagement ring for inspiration: Vintage Inspired Cushion Cut Morganite Ring

Lab-Created Diamond Engagement Rings

Lab-created diamonds are man-made diamonds that mirror the chemical and optical properties of natural diamonds. As the AGS explains, lab-growth diamonds are actual diamonds that are “optically, chemically, and physically the same as natural diamonds.” However, they’re created in a lab over the course of a few weeks, as opposed to the several billion years that are typically required to produce a 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 1.30ct Round Cut Halo Engagement Ring

Here is an example of a beautiful setting for lab-created diamonds from James Allen: Cluster Halo Engagement Ring from James Allen

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

While an heirloom ring comes from family or close friends, they often have an antique style, like this vintage engagement rings: Hexagon Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring from Blue Nile

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

Check out this eternity band style: Pavé Diamond Eternity Ring from James Allen

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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