Diamonds are the (not-so-well-kept) dirty secret of the wedding industry.
Everyone knows diamonds aren’t worth the price tag. Everyone knows a single company has a monopoly on diamond mines and has artificially inflated the cost of diamonds. And everyone knows the high costs have caused problems, with diamonds being used to finance things you probably don’t want the sweet announcement of your everlasting love to finance.
But everyone shrugs it off. Everyone thinks it sucks but it’s just how it is. Everyone thinks they don’t have another choice for an engagement ring.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to your other choice: it’s called every other gemstone, ever.
Sapphire engagement rings
Sapphires are a fantastic alternative to diamonds. They’re sturdy enough to be worn every day (even if you’re as prone to hand-meets-door accidents as I am), they’re considerably cheaper, and they’re gorgeous.
Garnet engagement rings
Garnets are: a) stunning and b) much cheaper than both diamonds and rubies, the only stones that get close to the same deep red colour. Admittedly, ‘cheaper than rubies’ doesn’t sound that impressive, but garnets are affordable, strong, lasting, and fun.
Amethyst engagement rings
Amethyst, truly the most glam rock of the gemstones, is a great alternative to diamond. It’s a little softer than sapphire but it should still stand up to daily wear and tear. (Just remember to take it off before your weekly Fight Club.)
Plus, it’s purple. Do you really need another reason?
Pearl engagement rings
Pearls look incredible on rings (and have the added bonus of making you feel like Ariel). They’re not often seen as engagement rings because they’re soft (so get scratched and beaten up quite easily) and because they don’t play well with lots of every day cleaning products. If you want to wear the same ring, day in, day out, for eighty-odd years, you might need to have a jeweler on speed-dial.
But if you want a ring to wear in the short-term and plan to upgrade it later, when you’re a bit more financially secure, pearls are fun, fabulous, look a lot more expensive than they are, and, again, make you feel like Ariel.
Opal engagement rings
If you want the iridescent shine of a pearl but the stay-in-one-piece-for-thirty-years-ness of a diamond, opals make a fantastic alternative. They’re unique and, despite being much rarer than diamonds, are usually bought for much less!
Topaz engagement rings
Topaz makes a colourful* alternative to diamonds.
* Less colourful alternative alternatives are also available.
Labradorite engagement rings
If you want something a bit more unusual and uncommon for your engagement ring, labradorite is a gorgeous stone with imperfections and unique markings that couldn’t be more different from a clean, precision-cut diamond.
It’s a soft stone, so you might want to look elsewhere if you were planning on having your ceremony mid rock climb, but – unlike a diamond – a bit of wear and tear won’t look bad on labradorite.
Tourmaline engagement rings
If you want something colourful and unique, tourmaline is the stone for you. It comes in a huge variety of colours – often on one stone. You can even get ‘watermelon tourmaline’, which has distinct (and adorable) sections of pink and green.
But the list doesn’t end there. Even if coloured gemstones aren’t your thing, even if you’re looking for a more traditional engagement ring, you have so many gorgeous, interesting, and inexpensive options that aren’t diamonds.
See our round-up of engagement rings that are similar to – but crucially aren’t – diamonds, and sign up to our free email course on stress-free wedding planning for more advice and inspiration.
The ring in the title image is from MinimalVS on Etsy.