So, you have decided, you are going to ask the one you love to marry you. Congratulations! There are so many wonderful gemstones to choose from, knowing where to start can be a daunting experience! There are many aspects to creating a custom ring, the first part to consider is what gemstone you should choose. Here’s our top 10 gemstones that are best suited to engagement rings:
There is a reason why diamond is number one on this list! With a Mohs’ Scale of Hardness of 10. This gemstone is the hardest material on Earth. This means it will never scratch, as only a diamond can scratch another diamond.
Diamonds are great for engagement rings because they are super durable. Not only are they hard (won’t scratch) but they are also very tough (resistant to fracturing). Of course, diamond is the most classic stone for engagement rings, as they represent the purity & everlasting element of love & commitment. Nowadays, diamonds are mined in several places around the world most notably in Southern Africa, Russia & Canada. All the diamonds we sell are ethically sourced & documented under the Kimberly Process.
Did you know, diamonds come in a variety of colors? White, brown, black, yellow, blue & pink – all available for engagement rings.
2. Blue Sapphire
Blue sapphire is our number two pick. With a Mohs’ Scale of Hardness of 9, sapphires are very resistant to scratching. Their timeless beauty make them a fantastic center stone for engagement rings. Whether alone as a solitaire or accented with diamonds, blue sapphire brings a depth of color & originality to your engagement ring. Blue sapphires are mined in many parts of the world including Sri Lanka, Australia & Montana. They are generally cut as faceted rounds, ovals or pears but are also cut as fancy shapes & cabochons.
Did you know that certain cabochon blue sapphires can exhibit a natural star moving across its surface? This phenomenon known as asterism can add a extra special element to any engagement ring.
The deep red of a ruby is unmatched by any other gemstone. As a center stone for an engagement ring, this one is extraordinary. With a Mohs’ Hardness of 9, a ruby is extremely hard & will last for generations without scratching. Whether alone as a solitaire or accented with diamonds, a ruby brings an almost primal element to your engagement ring.
Rubies are mined in many parts of the world including Sri Lanka, India, Eastern Africa, Vietnam, Thailand & most famously Burma (Myanmar). They are generally cut as faceted rounds, ovals or pears but are also cut as fancy shapes & cabochons. Certain rubies present a naturally occurring six-pointed star which makes for an extra original engagement ring.
Did you know that many rubies are fluorescent? Under the right lighting conditions these rubies will glow red. The finest specimens of Burmese rubies actually give off an inner purple glow within the deep red.
No list of engagement ring gems would be complete without Emerald. Its deep green color & even its name conjure up an image & sensation shared across cultures. The deep green beryl has a harness of 7.5, making it quite resistant to scratching & highly lustrous. Unlike other gems, emeralds present a garden of natural inclusions that add to the individuality of each stone.
As a solitaire or accented with diamonds, an emerald engagement ring has a timeless elegance. The same unique inclusions that add to the allure of emerald also make the stone more prone to fracture. Therefore, the center stone must be placed in a well-protected ring setting so as to protect it from impact. Special care must be taken when servicing an emerald ring so as not to lose the natural cedar oil filler with which nearly all emeralds are treated.
Did you know that among the inclusions found in emeralds, it is not uncommon to come across a three-phase inclusion? That means a single spot inside the stone where solid liquid & gas are trapped within one another in the same space for eternity. Pretty cool!
Often, when clients are looking for a green stone for an engagement ring for a very active person, I will recommend tsavorite as an emerald substitute. Mined in Eastern Africa, this deep green member of the garnet family has the same Mohs’ Hardness as emerald (7.5), is almost always free of inclusions which makes it much less prone to fracture than emeralds.
It also is quite affordable in larger sizes and is cut in very precise and well-defined facets. I´ll bet you were thinking “hey, aren’t garnets red?” The fact of the matter is that the term garnet refers to a large group of gemstones that is subdivided into six species. Tsavorite is part of the grossular species of garnet.
Discovered in 1967 by a Masai tribesman, this violet, purplish-blue gemstone became an instant hit. Tanzanite is a type of zoisite with a Mohs’ Hardness of 7, making it quite scratch resistant. This stone was made popular by Tiffany and Co. in the late 1960’s; so much so that for a while it was more coveted that sapphire.
Tanzanite is available in a wide variety of cuts and variations on its color tones making it a nice choice for a variety of engagement ring styles. Two very interesting facts about tanzanite: it is found in only one area of Northern Tanzania known as the Merelani Hills. Also, this gemstone is pleochroic which means that it shows three different colors when viewed in different directions.
Alexandrite is a classic phenomenal gemstone. Often described as emerald by day and ruby by night, this type of chrysoberyl shows red under incandescent light & green under florescent lighting. In addition, this gemstone is extremely hard with a Mohs’ of 8.5, which makes it a great choice for an engagement ring center stone. While it was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia, modern deposits are located in Sri Lanka, East Africa & Brazil, although few modern deposits yield stones with such extreme color change as those from Russia.
As you may have guessed, the discovery of this gemstone in 1830 caused quite a stir in Imperial Russia since red & green were the colors of the empire. The stone was thus named after Alexander II who was, at the time the heir to the Russian throne & would go on to become Tzar.
As an alternative engagement ring center stone, moonstone, with its characteristic adularescence is a nice pick for a unique design. It has a Mohs’ Hardness of around 6.5, and thus, is still rather scratch resistant. For the billowing blue phenomenon to be seen, moonstone must be cut in a cabochon & is best set in a bezel.
Like all members of the feldspar species, the phenomenon of light-play is caused by microscopically thin layers of material that actually form this gemstone. Many cultures have associated moonstone with the moonlight, as with good reason. But did you know this gem comes in a variety of colors – including grey, brown, pink, orange, green & blue?
9. Yellow Sapphire
Adding a yellow center stone into an engagement ring makes for something very original. Yellow sapphire is a great option for this. Just like all corundum (the gem species that includes sapphires & rubies), yellow sapphire has a Mohs’ Hardness of 9, making it extremely scratch resistant.
Yellow sapphires are mined primarily in Sri Lanka, but can also be found in Tanzania, Madagascar, Australia & Thailand. Their color saturation can range from pale to intense yellow & they are cut in all shapes & sizes both faceted & cabochon.
Did you know that yellow sapphire is important in Vedic astrology where it represents the planet Jupiter? This gemstone is very often used to modify the influence of this planet on the wearer of the gem.
10. White Sapphire
White sapphire is our choice for the customer who wants a white gemstone other than diamond. More affordable than diamond & yet completely natural (unlike cubic zirconia or moissanite), white sapphire has a Mohs’ Hardness of 9 & has top notch luster.
White sapphire can be set in all types of engagement rings in the same way as diamond. They are most often cut in faceted round or oval shapes providing a range of options as center stones. Of all the options for substituting diamonds, white sapphire is the best & most durable natural option.
So, there you have it – Our top 10 picks of the best gemstones for use in engagement rings. Of course, you can choose any gemstones you wish and we can source any you require with ease. Our GIA gemologist David Ciralsky will go through all of your options and advise you on the best route to take.