Rarer than diamonds, colored gemstones have been used as articles of adornment and affection for millennia. A gemstone engagement ring pretty much guarantees your ring won’t be anything like your sister’s, or your neighbor’s, or your mom’s ring because each stone is inherently uniquely colored and formed to be one of a kind.
Get to Know MOH.
Gemstones aren’t as durable as diamonds, but there are several varieties that are plenty durable to wear every day as your engagement ring. The MOHs Scale of hardness helps identify which gemstones are excellent engagement contenders: Diamond is the hardest at 10, Corundum (Sapphire and Ruby) is a 9, Chrysoberyl an 8.5, Spinel an 8. Gemstones rated 7 and above can be safely worn with care on a regular basis, but we like to stay about 8 for engagement rings because they get so much daily wear!
Taste the Rainbow.
All the colors of the world are open and available in gemstones, even if you stay within the MOH rated 8 and above varieties, there are thousands of color options. Did you know Sapphire comes in every color? And not just ROYGBIV, but thousands of variations on tone and saturation of color: hot pink, baby pink, purple pink, barely pink, bubblegum pink, reddish pink. Your imagination is your only limit!
Show me the Money!
There are colored gemstones that will run you upwards of diamonds- but they don’t have to. Choosing color is a great way to get more size, more punch, more stones, more bang for your buck than a diamond engagement ring. Most gemstones will be less than their size-equivalent diamond counterparts, some significantly so!
Yin and Yang.
You don’t have to forgo diamonds to add color! Diamonds and colored gemstones have been used together since forever and for good reason- it’s a stunning combination! So add some diamond side stones to your ruby center stone or use a halo of blue sapphires to highlight the icy whiteness of your diamond.
Yang and Yin.
Want the unique personality of a colored gemstones, but don’t want to forgo the brilliance and durability of diamond? Try a colored diamond! Diamonds also come in every color, but some are very rare and very expensive, like purple or orange. Yellows, silvers, champagnes, and irradiated blue-greens, however can be comparable to white diamonds and can be beautiful statement pieces that mix tradition with a pop of modernity.
Color is King.
Gemstones are not graded the same way diamonds are; color is first and foremost what determines the value of a gemstone, but the most important thing about color is that YOU like it. The jewelry industry may say that medium royal blue sapphires are the ideal, but they aren’t ideal for YOU if you love the lighter hint of purple in a cornflower blue sapphire. Gemstones are all about your personality!
Cut is Queen.
Cut is important in all gemstones, but especially in colored gemstones. A well cut stone will show even color throughout without a lighter center (a ‘window’); this helps the stone perform to the best of it’s ability. Diamonds are known for being super sparkly, but a well cut gemstone can also be full of sparkle. Some varieties of gemstones can even throw rainbows (technically called spectral color) like their diamond cousins. But poorly cut gemstones will leak light out the window in the middle and this seriously inhibits the sparkle potential.
Gemstones are Special.
Not just because they are all so unique, but because they do need a bit of special treatment when being set and handled. If you are purchasing a gemstone engagement ring or having one custom made for you, especially, choose a jeweler who works with color on a regular basis. There are special considerations when setting and working on gemstone jewelry about pressure and heat that don’t necessarily apply to diamonds, so choose your jeweler wisely and it will serve you well over the lifetime of the ring!
Some gemstones, like opals and emeralds, are delicate and need special care to clean and maintain them, but most are as simple to take care of as diamonds! They can be cleaned in an ultrasonic by your jeweler or by you at home with mostly water and some dish soap and a clean toothbrush. Cleaning often is recommended- clean jewelry is prettier and lasts longer!
And now you know the 10 most important things about gemstone engagement rings!