Sell With a Story: Best Gemstones for Engagement Rings
Consider these stunning gemstones that are durable for daily wear and perfect for a modern engagement ring.
The diamond engagement ring — a classic and eternal symbol of love and commitment used by couples throughout the years. With a diamond’s durability and signature sparkle, it truly is an ideal choice for any engagement ring style. However, the past few years have seen the modern bride wanting even more options that come with a pop of color and wider flexibility on price range.
According to The Zoe Report, incorporating colored gemstones and other diamond alternatives in engagement rings is among the top engagement ring trends that are thriving in today’s bridal jewelry market. Much of this can be attributed to celebrities showcasing their own unique engagement ring designs, such as Ariana Grande’s diamond and Pearl Toi et Moi-style ring and Megan Fox’s diamond and Emerald Toi et Moi-style ring. Of course, there is also the hallmark of gemstone engagement rings — Princess Diana’s Sapphire engagement ring currently being worn by Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales.
Whether used as eye-catching statement center stones or colorful accents, gemstones will continue to be a part of the conversation when discussing the world of possibilities with any fashion-forward bride. When talking to brides about using gemstones in their engagement ring, remember to educate them on durability and recommend a few gemstones that will be as lasting as their love.
The Basics of Gemstone Durability
Other than the visual appeal of the gemstone, a bride will need to consider its ability to withstand being worn day after day while staying safe, secure, and undamaged. This is called a gemstone’s durability and is measured by understanding hardness, toughness, and stability.
A gemstone’s hardness is its ability to withstand scratching on the surface. We know that diamonds are the hardest substance and is highly resistant to scratching. Other gemstones on the higher end of the hardness scale include Moissanite, Sapphire, and Ruby. For softer gemstones, like Amethyst and Emerald, it’s best to be cautious when wearing daily to avoid scratching.
A gemstone’s toughness is its resistance to breaking and chipping, which is actually different from hardness. For example, Sapphire and Ruby have a higher toughness rating than diamond, which means they are less likely to break and chip. While diamonds do not scratch very easily, hitting them at the right angle can cause damage. Tanzanite and Opal are examples of weaker gemstones that should be secured carefully to avoid potential for breaking.
A gemstone’s stability is its ability to endure exposure to light, heat, and chemicals. Gemstones like diamond and Moissanite can be exposed to long-term light, heat, and most chemicals without concern to the visual appearance or structure of the stone. However, gemstones like Pearl, Amethyst, and Opal will lose their color or even fracture when exposed to the same conditions.
The variety within gemstone durability shouldn’t deter you or your customers from exploring every option available. Even with gemstones that don’t have optimal durability, following proper care can ensure the stone maintains its quality.
Explore Stuller’s Gemstone Information Center to better understand the durability of each gemstone.
Five Best Gemstones for Engagement Rings
Are you in need of a quick guide to know the best diamond alternatives for engagement rings? We’ve selected the best options based on popularity, durability, and visual appeal. Check out our picks and mention them to your next bridal customer.
Moissanite is quickly becoming the most popular diamond alternative in bridal and fine jewelry. This lab-grown and cost-effective gemstone boasts a refraction index twice that of a diamond — giving it twice the sparkle. Not only are there extensive colorless options in every shape and size imaginable, but there are also several types of colored Moissanite. Beyond the visual attractiveness of Moissanite, it is also extremely durable and perfect for everyday wear.
Sapphire is most notably known for its iconic deep blue hue, but other iterations of Sapphire are starting to enter the scene, such as pink, teal, and orange. We are seeing Sapphire not only being used as a center stone, but also as a popular option for accent stones. Sapphire is very durable and has long been associated with romance, which makes it an ideal gemstone for engagement rings.
Throughout history, it’s hard to find a gemstone with more notoriety and fame than Ruby. The warm glow that occurs when the deep red stone is exposed to sunlight makes Ruby a vibrant option for an engagement ring. Ruby belongs to the same mineral family as Sapphire, which means that it has the same durability virtues.
Many throughout history might have mistaken Spinel for Ruby at some point due to its bright red hue. However, Spinel can also have a stunning cobalt blue color as well as vivid pinks and oranges. While Spinel compares to the color range and visual quality of Sapphire and Ruby, the largest benefit is price point — perfect for an attainable, showstopping colored center stone.
Tourmaline may not be the most durable gemstone in our list of alternatives for engagement rings, but what it lacks in durability is made up for in color range. Tourmaline can come in virtually every shade, hue, and intensity imaginable, but the most popular are its pinks and greens. There are even options that are parti-color featuring an ombre effect between two or more different colors.
Care for Soft and Fragile Gemstones
While some gemstones are better options than others for an engagement ring due to their durability, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accommodate other requests. Soft and fragile gemstones — such as Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, Amethyst, and Pearl — are also very popular in the market right now. Talk with your customer about the following topics to make sure their gemstones stay safe while being worn.
Having more metal to create a barrier that secures the gemstone is ideal. For example, if your customer requests an Emerald center stone, suggest a bezel setting to not only secure the stone, but to also take the force of anything that comes into contact with the ring.
Highly recommend that your customers come into your store for routine cleaning and inspection. This will help you monitor the security of the setting and the quality of the gemstone as time goes on. Also, let them know the proper precautions they should take when trying to clean the ring at home. Some gemstones should never be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner or encounter certain chemicals. Education is key!
At the end of the day, one of the best things your customer can do to protect their soft or fragile gemstones is to be cautious. Suggest that they not wear their ring while performing certain activities, such as exercising and cleaning the house. Mindfulness can go a long way in preserving a gemstone.
Exploring the World of Color
Colored gemstones and other diamond alternatives unlock infinite possibilities in the realm of custom engagement ring solutions. Jewelers around the world are finding success in integrating unique and beautiful gemstones in their engagement ring designs. With some guidance and creativity, you’ll be able to craft a cherished symbol of love for every couple.
If you are looking for an additional resource on gemstone options and how to care for them, explore our Gemstone Information Center on Stuller.com.
Diamond & Gemstone Project Specialist
Morgan holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana. Along with multiple certifications from AGS and GIA, her love and passion for all things sparkly give her the drive to help every customer find the perfect loose stone for every piece.