Want to break free from traditional gemstone engagement rings? Choose a beautiful coloured gemstone engagement ring instead. However, don’t choose gemstones based solely on aesthetics. You must consider other factors, such as a gem’s wearability, clarity, and optical performance. The following ten coloured gems will make beautiful engagement rings. They combine excellent gem properties, beautiful colours, and stunning performance. From these possibilities, you’ll certainly find something to fit any jewellery design style imaginable.
Put a twist on tradition with a coloured diamond. Diamonds have some enviable properties that help make them the top-selling gemstone for engagement rings. With a hardness of 10, diamonds resist scratches better than any other gemstone. That quality is paramount for a ring stone. They also have extraordinary brilliance or “brightness” and dispersion, the capacity to turn white light into flashes of colour or “fire.” (However, other gemstones can actually outperform diamonds in that regard).
Roughly 1 in 10,000 diamonds exhibits natural colour. Those with the most intense colours are prized more highly and, thus, cost more. Coloured diamond options include bold canary yellow, sparkling pink, pastel green, eye-catching black, and champagne. Elegant blue diamonds rank among the most expensive.
All stones following are below our recommended hardness standard of 10/10 or 9/10 hardness on the Mohs scale for engagement rings. If you do choose a ring with a stone that is under 9/10 we recommend insuring your ring with Q Report .
EmeraldsWant more royal gemstone options? Consider emeralds, the “jewel of kings.” Reputedly Cleopatra’s gem of choice, emeralds come in gorgeous greens, from light to a deep, dark shade.
With a hardness of 8-7.5, emeralds can resist scratching well but do require special care. An emerald’s jardin or “garden” of inclusions and fractures makes every stone unique. However, they can also affect clarity and durability. As a result, emeralds commonly receive oil and filler treatments, which may need to be reapplied over time. Never clean emerald jewellery with ultrasonic, steam, or boiling systems.
Choosing emeralds takes extra effort, but their stunning colour and rarity make them particularly prized options for gemstone engagement rings.
The tourmaline gem family includes many species in many colours. Some, like the aptly named watermelon tourmaline, even display two or three zones of distinct colours. Like quartz, they have a hardness of 7 and no cleavage, making them very durable choices for engagement rings. All tourmaline varieties have a vitreous luster. This means their surfaces look like glass when light hits them. Some varieties also change colours under different light sources, and others show a cat’s eye optical effect known as chatoyancy.
Some of the most popular tourmaline varieties include:
- Green or verdelite tourmalines, readily available and affordable.
- Chrome tourmalines, rarer green tourmalines with emerald-like colour, coloured by chromium.
- Rubellite tourmalines, beautiful raspberry red to deep red gems.
- Blue or indicolite tourmalines, gems with light to dark tones and moderately strong saturation, generally more expensive than green verdelites.
- Paraíba tourmalines, rare and expensive, almost neon blue tourmalines, coloured by copper.
CitrinesYou can easily see why citrine has become a popular choice for gemstone engagement rings. Its colours can range from light, lemony yellow to golden and even a champagne brown. So-called “Madeira” citrines show a rich, orange colour with red flashes and command the highest prices. Citrines have the durable physical characteristic of all quartz varieties, like amethyst. Thus, they make good ring stones.
ZirconsLong valued for its brilliance, zircon is a natural and affordable beauty. Often confused with cubic zirconia, a synthetic diamond substitute, zircon remains unfamiliar to many. However, with colours spanning the rainbow and colourless stones that outshine even mid-grade diamonds, this December birthstone makes an excellent addition to any jewellery collection.
The name ‘Zircon’ derives from the Persian word ‘zargun’ meaning golden hued. Zircons (and possibly other gems) in the pinkish-purplish-reddish color range were historically referred to as “Hyacinth” or “Jacinth”.
Zircon is rated 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It has fair to good toughness. While zircon is not as hard or tough as a stone like sapphire, it can still be worn in all types of jewellery as long as proper care is given to avoid rough wearing or hard blows.
OpalsLooking for a completely different type of engagement ring? Consider an opal gem. They display a unique gemstone optical phenomenon known as play of colour. These multi-coloured flashes move across the surface of the stone. Opals can also show many different, vibrant body colours as well as unusual patterns with imaginative descriptions, like floral and harlequin. Opals differ so much from other gemstones they have their own distinct terminology and grading system.
Of all the coloured gems discussed here, opals require the most care. They have a low hardness of 5.5 to 6.5, which makes them very susceptible to scratching. They also have great sensitivity to sudden changes in temperature. Stories abound of opals cracking when taken from room temperature into a cold winter evening. Opals have a high water content. If they dehydrate, they may “craze” or crack. Thus, these gems have special storage and cleaning requirements.
Opals as ring stones will need protective settings, such as bezels, with metal covering the edges of the stone.
If properly set, whether mounted alone or surrounded by complementary gems, opals will look lovely in engagement rings. Your opal ring will never look like anyone else’s.
MorganiteWith delicate shades of peach and pink, morganite gems have recently gained popularity. This gem, though rare in nature, is available and affordable in large sizes. Its subtle tones create a look of timeless beauty, perfect for engagement rings. Elegant enough for special events, morganite makes an ideal jewellery stone choice for any occasion.
Morganite is the salmon-coloured to pink variety of beryl. The stone’s colour, symbolic of love, arises from the presence of manganese. Heat treatments often enhance this colour. Like other coloured stones, the most important factor in cost is the gem’s colour.
AmethystsA pretty and popular alternative to diamonds, amethysts make striking gemstone engagement rings. This lovely variety of quartz shows colours ranging from light lavender to deep purple. They have a hardness of 7 and no cleavage planes, making them difficult to scratch or break. (Incidentally, a gem needs a minimum hardness of 7 to avoid scratches from a very common hazard: household dust).
Both light “Rose de France” and dark purple, red flashing “Siberian” amethysts have their aficionados. Either colour or any between would make beautiful jewellery pieces. At first glance, a gem with symbolic connections to calming passions might seem an odd choice for an engagement ring. On the other hand, this could perfectly represent a love ready for an enduring, deeper commitment.
GarnetsAlthough commonly associated with the colour red, garnet gems come in more colours than perhaps any other gem species. (In fact, garnet is a family of gems, like tourmaline, and includes many different species). You can also find white, brown, orange, yellow, green, purple, and even very rare colour change stones. Garnet species range from a 6.5 to 7.5 hardness and have no cleavage.
Rare, green demantoid garnets are highly prized. They have greater brilliance and dispersion than diamonds.
- Tsavorite garnets show an emerald-like colour. However, they have more durability, brilliance, and dispersion that emeralds. In smaller sizes, they are also easier to find on the market.
- You can’t get more orange than very rare mandarin garnets. This eye-catching gem has wonderful brilliance.
- Malaia or malaya garnets come in many shades of red and orange, including pink and peach. Some stones also show colour change and, when properly faceted, scintillating or sparkling red flashes throughout the gem.
- Rhodolite garnets show a ruby-like purplish red colour. Some gems may change colours from purplish red in incandescent light to blue in daylight.
AquamarinesThe light blue to blue-green shades of aquamarine can bring a dream-like quality to engagement rings. These gems can look great alone or surrounded by diamonds, especially with a round cut. Like emeralds, aquamarines belong to the beryl gem family. They have an exceptional hardness of 7.5 to 8, too. However, aquamarines possess greater durability than their emerald brothers and don’t require special care or cleaning.
Although gems with deeper blue tones may cost more, even lighter tones can make beautiful jewellery stones with ocean-like beauty. Some rare aquamarine gems can show asterism and cat’s eye effects.