Using Gemstones in Engagement Rings

Gemstones exist in such a wide variety that there is one to represent practically every color across the spectrum. For this reason and others, people may choose to consider a gemstone for their engagement ring as an alternative to the classic choice of diamond. It’s a great way to add something extra special to your piece, especially if the gemstone holds special meaning to the wearer.

But the world of gemstones requires different considerations than diamonds. Choosing a beautiful stone to complete your jewelry will be based on different priorities. We work with a variety of gemstones and deeply understand the unique characteristics of each.

To help arm you with the best information, we’ve put together this primer on the most popular gemstones. Then we’ll finish with a concise discussion of the pros and cons when comparing gemstones to diamonds. Let’s start first with the myriad of gemstones available to you for your customized piece.

Popular Gemstones for Engagement Rings

Most gemstones besides diamonds are loved and valued for their color. And when gemstones are chosen for an engagement ring as the main stone, it’s usually due to the color. The following gemstones make truly beautiful choices for jewelry and are commonly considered to be the most popular stones for engagement rings.

Sapphires are a favorite gemstone for engagement rings because of their lustrous color and durability. Sapphires are known to come in a rainbow of colors with some even exhibiting color-changing properties. These natural shifts in the stone may have it appearing blue in one light then grayish-green in another. A common practice in the sapphire industry though, is to heat the stones to enhance their color.

Rubies are part of the same mineral species as sapphires called corundum. With the same crystal structure, rubies are classified apart from sapphires due to their special allure and long historical significance. The most preferred color of ruby is a deep red with a slight bluish hue commonly referred to as “Pigeon’s Blood Red”. Just as sapphires, rubies are known to often be heat treated to improve their color and clarity.

Emeralds are a precious gemstone highly valued for their deep rich green hues. A variety of the mineral species beryl, emeralds are notorious for their visible flaws. It is extremely rare to find a natural, flawless emerald. For that reason, very slightly included emeralds exhibiting ideal color are considered to be a prized find. However, due to their natural inclusions, emeralds require much more care when wearing and storing to protect them long-term.



Aquamarine is another gemstone in the beryl family and is typically a light to medium blue color, sometimes even greenish-blue. Many aquamarines exhibit a lovely transparency and are commonly found in larger sizes. The tranquil quality of this gemstone’s color and its relative flawless look is a huge draw for this stone. But it does lack the strength of diamonds and other precious stones.



Moissanite is a very rare and scarce mineral, so the version of moissanite commonly known is exclusively manmade. Introduced into the jewelry market in 1998 by the firm Charles & Colvard, moissanite has quickly gained popularity as a very appealing diamond alternative. Moissanite reflects light beautifully, rivaling the natural brilliance of a diamond. Their hardness and durability also make them perfect options for regularly worn jewelry.


Morganite is the name given to pink hued beryls. The pinkish color can range from rosy salmon colors to orange tinges. A very romantic feeling stone, morganite gets its name from famed gemstone collector and banker J.P. Morgan. Like aquamarines, the morganite stone is generally very clear and found in larger sizes. It may also be heat treated to remove yellowish tones and enhance a pink appearance.

Tanzanite exhibits a lovely color range of pure blue to purplish-blue and has a color-shifting effect when viewed at different angles. Named after its country of origin, Tanzania, this gemstone has a relatively short history but has quickly grown to be a very popular stone for jewelry. Tanzanite is another one to handle with care as the stone is quite soft when compared to diamonds, and is prone to scratching.

Spinel comes in a rainbow of colors but is most famous for its deep red that closely resembles a ruby. These two gemstones are so commonly confused that one of the most famous rubies in history, the Black Prince’s Ruby showcased in the the royal crown of England, was determined to in fact be red spinel. This gemstone often exhibits fluorescence and they are rarely ever treated.

Tourmaline seems to offer the most colorful personality of all gemstones. Tourmaline is a common name for a variety of different minerals. As a result, there is a wide range of value and price associated. A rare neon-blue form known as Paraiba Tourmaline and a multicolored variety called Watermelon Tourmaline can command very high prices for their unique color expression.

Garnet, like Tourmaline, is a series of several different minerals and exists in many different colors. The most common forms are Almandine and Pyrope, appearing as dark red gemstones. Other varieties exhibit orange to orange-red and even green, yellow, and black. Treatments to enhance color are ineffective on garnets, so true garnets always show a natural color.

Moonstone is a lovely, ethereal looking gemstone from the feldspar family. Named for its glowing sheen that resembles moonlight, moonstone shows a playful spray of colors when viewed at different angles. The most valuable and desirable moonstones have high levels of transparency and a bluish sheen. Special care is needed for these stones though as they are quite sensitive to being cracked or chipped.

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