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Everyone wants a diamond engagement ring, right?

Not so fast! Though diamonds are still by and far the norm, colored gemstone engagement rings have steadily become less of a shock, more of a new norm in the bridal world. So what’s up with women ditching diamonds? It’s complicated. Some don’t care for the color (or lack thereof), some are turned off by the potential unsavory ethical implications, and still others just like to buck tradition. Nothing says nonconformist faster than a vibrant gemstone on your left ring finger. If you’re hunting for non-diamond engagement rings, you need to get familiar with your other options. There are tons of gems in the world, but only a select few precious colored gemstones are engagement ring-worthy. How can one measure engagement ring worthiness? The quickest route is to employ the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, a tool that assigns a numerical value based on the ability of one stone to scratch another. The top dog is diamonds at a perfect score of 10, and there are a limited number of gemstones that come close. Any stone that’s too soft (like pearls at a 2.5-4.5 rating) can easily scratch up and crack. If you’re dreaming about gemstones, let’s make sure you get one that’s made to last for years to come.

The Brooke custom aquamarine engagement ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

The Best Colored Gemstones For Engagement Rings

Gemstone: Sapphire

Mohs Hardness: 9.0
Why we love sapphire for engagement rings: Sapphire engagement rings date back to pre-diamond ubiquity because of the stones incredible durability and resistance to scratch. Besides being a natural pick for a modern brides “something blue,” sapphires have a long and prestigious history of being worn by royalty, most famously used in Kate Middleton and Princess Diana’s engagement ring.

The Julie sapphire engagement ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

The Liz sapphire engagement ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

The Melanie sapphire engagement ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

The Morgan sapphire engagement ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

Not into blue gemstones? Sapphires naturally come in all colors of the rainbow: white sapphires, colorless sapphires, green sapphires, yellow sapphires, and even multi-colored and color changing sapphires…and this is just scratching the surface. Like most stones, lab created gemstone versions of sapphire are available and are indistinguishable to anyone but the experts.

The Corrie dark blue sapphire engagement ring.

The Tess diamond and pink sapphire engagement ring.

The Amanda white sapphire engagement ring.

The Sierra green sapphire engagement ring.

Gemstone: Ruby

Mohs Hardness: 9.0
Why we love ruby for engagement rings: Translated as “king of gems” in Sanskrit, rubies accomplish the near impossible feat of being timeless yet daring. Besides turning heads with its over-the-top bold red color, rubies are a great choice for engagement rings because of their durability and hardness. Rubies are one of the most popular and most valuable gemstones, some are rarer than comparably sized diamonds. Rubies come in a range of reds, from reddish pink to fire engine to reddish brown or purple, and lab created versions are available if you’re looking to go the ethical or eco-friendly route.

The Megan ruby engagement ring.

The Carrie ruby engagement ring.

The Devon ruby engagement ring.

Gemstone: Emerald

Mohs Hardness: 7.5 – 8.0
Why we love emerald engagement rings: The first emerald mines are believed to be in 3500BC Egypt, and if Cleopatra was famously a fan, you know they’re something special. Rounding out the ‘precious four’ of all gemtones, which includes diamond, sapphire and ruby, emeralds are a classic for a reason. They’re beautiful, sophisticated, and they’re tough enough to be used in fine jewelry. However, because emeralds are lower on the Mohs scale than the other gemstones, make sure you work with a reputable fine jeweler like Abby Sparks Jewelry to make sure you’re not only getting a great stone, it’s also put into a durable setting that will extend its life.

The Rachel emerald engagement ring.

The Manasvinees emerald engagement ring.

The Carmen emerald engagement ring.

Gemstone: Morganite

Mohs Hardness: 7.5 – 8.0
Why we love morganite for engagement rings: If you don’t want a colorless stone, but aren’t looking for eye-popping vibrance, morganite is like a gentle nudge into the world of colored stones. Available in light peachy-pinks up through more vivid purple pinks, you’ve got options for how intense you want to go. Morganite makes for a great engagement ring center stone because of the high degree of brilliance and excellent durability. Because of their romantic blushy hues, morganite engagement rings are a popular pick for feminine brides looking for a dreamy ring, especially when paired with complimentary rose gold.

The Alanna morganite engagement ring.

The Krystin morganite engagement ring.

Gemstone: Topaz

The Gemstone: Topaz
Mohs Hardness: 8.0
Why we love topaz for engagement rings: Though blue topaz is the most common, stones are available in an incredibly wide range of colors including blue, green, yellow, red, pink, purple and more, with the most valued colors being reddish orange to red. This means that you can score an exceptionally hard stone in the color of your choice. Like sparkle? Topaz has a high refractive index and takes to high polishes. All of this makes for a durable, dazzling, and totally unexpected engagement ring choice.

The Janmarie blue topaz engagement ring.

The Krystin blue topaz engagement ring.

The Jamie blue topaz engagement ring.

With modern brides embracing color now more than ever, don’t be surprised if you start dreaming of colored gemstone engagement rings. We love working with the unique brides who come in to create custom gemstone engagement rings. All of the rings we design are 100% one-of-a-kind, and colored gemstones are just that much more rare. If you’re thinking about a gemstone ring, heed our advice and go with a gem that’s durable enough for everyday, lifetime wear. If you’re interested in designing a custom gemstone engagement ring, give us a call!