Amy Ray, special to Nvate
Credit: Flickr user GerryT
It is said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. However, sales trends show that a diamond engagement ring is far from your only option. After all, if you plan to wear it for a lifetime, it should be a stone or gem you’ll always love.
If you want a stone that says opulence, diamonds are not the only expensive gem on the market. In fact, a quality ruby says elegance. The deep red glow is also the color of love. Rubies are a hard gemstone, making them ideal for jewelry worn every day. Large rubies graded as gem quality are costlier and rarer than equal carat diamonds. Small, quality rubies are rarer than equally-sized blue sapphires.
Color choices in sapphires range from intense blues to purples, greens and yellows. Quality sapphires do have strength for daily wear, rating at a 9.0 on the Mohs scale. Star sapphires and cat’s eye cuts are also gem choices for a truly unique engagement ring. Sapphire is the mineral family corundum, which also includes rubies.
Mix it Up
If you still desire a diamond, consider mixing diamonds with other gorgeous gems. You can find excellent engagement ring ideas at Macy’s. Try a sparkling blue tanzanite, or deep-green emerald, surrounded by pave diamonds. Select the dramatic look of black diamonds offset with sparkling white diamonds.
White Goes With Everything
Pearls, opals and even cubic zirconium will meet the needs of wearers wanting a ring that blends with any occasion. You can choose a classic round pearl or freshwater pearl for a unique shape. Choose a high-grade pearl for maximum luster. Opals can provide you with a soft, iridescent rainbow of colors as you move your hand.
Pearls and opals require more care than other stones. You don’t want to expose them to chemicals. These stones are also softer — avoid any impact or damage from scratching. Follow your jeweler’s cleaning instructions.
Cubic zirconium, or CZs as they’re often called, give you the look of diamonds without the expense. This man-made gem does not score quite as high on the hardness scale as a diamond, but does offer extreme durability. Do not look at a CZ as a fake diamond; look at it as a financial decision.
Vintage Styles and More
Sophisticated and delicate vintage rings offer more options in unique style. Intricate designs give you a more one-of-a-kind look. Stack rings without large stones or gems allow you to create your own style. Eternity bands, with diamonds or other gems, also layer well. Mixing metals, including the use of white and yellow gold, platinum and more provide a stunning setting for any gem or stone you choose.
Diamond cuts are also changing from the simple round solitaire. The somewhat square princess-cut is still popular. This style is often less expensive due to less cut work needed to shape the diamond. Halo settings, with small diamonds surrounding the larger gem, add sparkle. Oval cut diamonds are considered modern and emerald cuts are growing in popularity. You are unique, so make your engagement ring too.
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