Should I buy a non-diamond engagement ring?

Should I buy a non-diamond engagement ring?
July 5, 2020 Fairina Cheng

Ever since mining giant DeBeers launched its Diamonds Are Forever marketing campaign in 1948, the predominant belief has been that an engagement ring should always feature a big blingy diamond. No exceptions.

Don’t get me wrong. Diamonds are beautiful. If you’ve always dreamt of owning your very own diamond engagement ring, then you can stop reading here. But if you’re one of the growing number of people looking for an alternative to the traditional engagement ring, then this article is for you.

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to determine if a non-diamond ring (or at least one without a diamond as the centre stone) is right up your alley.

Lilac spinel ring in white gold

What is your budget?

Next to almost any other gemstone in the world, a diamond of the same size is significantly more expensive.

This is where a jewellery salesperson may offer the not-so-helpful advice that a diamond ring should cost three month’s salary. However, the ‘three month rule’ is actually the result of a series of highly effective Debeers marketing campaigns (and the number of months has shifted to suit their agenda over the decades).

Other than practicality and durability considerations, there are no rules when it comes to engagement rings. Sapphires, for example, have excellent hardness (second only to diamonds out of all the natural gemstones) and are comparatively more affordable. This means a lower price point for your engagement ring or perhaps a larger stone for your budget.

If you want a unique design that tells your story, you don’t have to play by the three-month rule to achieve it.

Do you love colourful engagement rings?

Gemstones come in all colours of the rainbow, offering a much larger range of choices than diamonds do.

Choose sapphires for beautiful blue, green, yellow, teal, pink, orange and purple tones in pastel to vivid colours (or even a combination of those colours in a single gem).

Other gemstones and colours include:

  • Rubies for bold scarlet hues
  • Tourmalines for minty lagoon greens, neon paraiba blues, vivid pinks, oranges and plum shades and more
  • Aquamarines for watery blues
  • Morganites for soft peachy hues
  • Spinels for metallic greys, purples, blues and teals, as well as bright pinks and reds

Some gems are more durable than others, so it’s best to consult with a jeweller to determine what might best suit you and your lifestyle.


Are you looking for a gemstone with meaning?

Perhaps it’s your partner’s birthstone, a gem that reminds you of the sea, or a stone that originates in a country with a special place in your heart.

Your engagement ring should put a smile on your face every time you look at it. Go beyond ‘off-the-shelf’ and use gemstones to create a ring that tells the story of who you and your partner are.

Keep in mind that some gems are more durable than others. Diamonds are the hardest gems of all, while sapphires and rubies are the second hardest natural stones, making them top choices for engagement rings.

If you like the idea of a softer stone that isn’t a diamond, sapphire or ruby, wear it with care or consider using it as a hidden gem on the inside of your band where it’s more protected.

Are you into non-traditional engagement rings?

Diamonds these days may seem like the ‘standard’. But why be standard? Unconventional gems make for unconventional rings, and if that feels like you, go for it!

Using a non-diamond gemstone as your centre stone can be a great way to add colour, character and put a unique spin on your special piece.

Think about using bold pops of colour or pastel tones, as well as playing with different gemstone shapes and sizes. Rather than the classic solitaire or three-stone ring, enjoy the freedom to dream up asymmetric clusters, Toi et Moi designs and unconventional halos.

Read more about choosing an engagement ring for your anti-diamond partner.

Pink sapphire rose-gold ring

Need a recommendation on the perfect non-diamond gemstone for you?

As a jeweller that specialises in untraditional engagement designs, my favourite pieces are those with distinctive gems and special stories. Tell me what colour you imagine your engagement ring to be and I’ll send you a personalised gemstone suggestion.

Comments (2)

  1. Mary 4 years ago

    I have a beautiful engagement ring. The jeweler just about had a heart attack when I told him to take out the diamond and put in a amethyst stone in his custom design. But I love it an he agrees. Diamonds do come in other colors also. Goo for it

    • Author
      Fairina Cheng 4 years ago

      Hahaha as a jeweller I shouldn’t support giving jewellers heart attacks, but that’s pretty funny! There are definite benefits to using durable gems like diamonds. However if you want an amethyst and are aware of the difference in durability/longevity then go for it! It’s important to feel like the ring you’re wearing is right for you!

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