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What is the best diamond alternative for your engagement ring? A look at non-diamond rings

What is the best diamond alternative for your engagement ring? A look at non-diamond rings

You're looking at engagement rings, but your partner (or yourself) has never really seen themselves as a big sparkly diamond kind of person. That's not a problem - there are some beautiful non-diamond engagement ring options, with plenty of colours and cuts to choose from.

Not all gemstones are equally suitable for this purpose though, so today we're taking a closer look at what to consider if you're seeking a diamond alternative for a special proposal.


Diamond Solitaire Ring with Natural Band


Do engagement rings need to be diamonds?

There is absolutely no need for an engagement ring to use a diamond as the centre stone - or even to feature diamonds at all! While undeniably beautiful, there are other options that make engagement rings just as special. An engagement ring is about your relationship and the promise you are making to each other; there's no one rule for that, so ultimately it can be whatever you want it to be.

However, it is for that very same reason that it is worth keeping in mind the hardness and durability of the stone you choose. Your promise is set to last a lifetime, so you want your ring to as well - yet it will be worn in a place that is very open to contact with other materials on a daily basis. This is why you may have seen it said that other gemstones are not suitable.

Ideally, engagement rings should be able to withstand daily life and all its various movements and materials. This means that using strong, durable stones is an important consideration, enabling you to wear your ring with pride without excessive maintenance or needing to replace them.

We use the Mohs Hardness Scale to rank a stone's resistance to scratching, which runs from 1 - 10. It might seem incredible, but household dust ranks at the equivalent of around a 7 on this scale, meaning that it has the potential to scratch stones that rank below it!


Green Sapphire and Diamond Cluster Engagement Ring


The best diamond alternative for an engagement ring

For this reason, our best recommendation for which gemstones to use in an engagement ring are those which score a 9 or 10. Diamonds are ranked at 10 (there's a reason people use 'hard as diamonds' as a description), which means our favourite diamond alternative is...


It's no secret that we love a sapphire, and for good reason; not only are they captivating, they are incredibly hard and durable, making them perfect for a ring you are going to be wearing on a daily basis. Sapphires are part of the corundum family which is very dense and compact, giving them a sturdiness which ranks 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.

Sapphires are traditionally associated with several meanings which fit beautifully with an engagement; loyalty, sincerity, and faithfulness, amongst others. Different colours will come with their own special connotations too, but one thing's for sure; they are a perfect promise to be true to one another.

They also come in a kaleidoscope of shades, from pretty pastels to vibrant hues, so there is plenty of flexibility in the look you can achieve with them - whatever your taste, we're willing to bet there's a sapphire you'll love. For us, a sapphire is the ultimate meaningful alternative to a diamond in an engagement ring.

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 9


9ct Gold Ruby Solitaire Chevron Engagement Ring



Since rubies are also part of the corundum family, they also make an excellent alternative gemstone for engagement rings. Being in the same mineral group as sapphires, they have a brilliantly strong Mohs hardness rating of 9, making them a great choice for daily wear and one of the most durable stones you could find. Their vivid shade makes them ideal for those who want something bright, bold and beautiful - and they pair wonderfully with gold!

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 9



Lab-grown diamond

If your reluctance to use a diamond is for ethical reasons, then firstly: you're one of us. Secondly, it's worth considering a lab diamond if you haven't already. While not a diamond alternative (because it is a real diamond!), it is a far more conscious option than a mined diamond, with all of the same sparkle. If you see yourself with a classic and traditional diamond engagement ring but are looking for something that avoids damage to people and the planet, make sure to browse investigate lab grown diamonds.

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 10


Other popular diamond alternatives for engagement rings

While sapphires and diamonds would be our most enthusiastic recommendations for an engagement ring, the heart wants what it wants, and we know that sometimes there are sentimental reasons that a particular stone is part of someone's dream ring.

Here are some of the more common engagement ring diamond alternatives we get asked about.


9ct Gold Emerald Cut Sapphire Solitaire Engagement Ring



The stunning green shades of an emerald have a definite allure, so we understand that for some they are an irresistible option! Emeralds come with a whole host of associations, having been thought to symbolise truth, love, rebirth, balance, growth and many more throughout history. At around a 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale, they are a fairly tough gemstone, but emerald engagement rings will need a little more care and attention than their diamond or sapphire counterparts. If you love the colour and are willing to ensure you look after yours well, it's still a stone that's likely to last.

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 7.5-8


9ct Gold Three Stone Aquamarine Engagement Ring



This is a beautiful stone in a range of soft blue shades. Soothing and delicate in tone, it's not quite as soft as its colour would suggest; it is certainly a durable gemstone, but aquamarine engagement rings will need to be treated with care, to prevent damage and guard against wear and tear over time. It has good resistance to scratches, and will not be scratched by most materials you could come into contact with. It could, however, be scratched by sapphires or diamonds, so take into account any other jewellery you might wear alongside it.

If you're not going for diamond or corundum and are willing to be a bit careful by taking your ring off when needed, aquamarine or emerald are probably your best bet.

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 7.5-8


9ct Gold Marquise Cut Garnet Solitaire Engagement Ring


Garnet rings have a charming vintage feel. This stone generally has a hardness score of between 6.5 and 7.5, although most often, garnets that are being used for engagement rings will be chosen based on being above a 7, since this means that they will not be scratched by household dust. They are resistant to most common cleaning solutions that you might use (although many people like to remove their rings when cleaning anyway) as well as to light.

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 6.5-7.5


18ct Gold Green Tourmaline Baguette Three Stone Engagement Ring



Commonly found in green, but available in any colour (even two colours in the same stone in some cases!), tourmaline engagement rings can be worn daily for most, but with caution. For example, if your job involves working with your hands and a high chance of knocks, you would want to store it safely away - or opt for another stone if you can't bare the thought of spending long periods not wearing it. Tourmaline has the potential to be damaged by very excessive heat, but is unlikely to have any reaction to light and chemicals. It's one of the October birthstones, which appeals to some couples as a symbolic opportunity.

Mohs Hardness Scale rating: 7-7.5

While there are some stones that can work for engagement rings when looked after carefully, engagement ring buyers should be cautious of gems that are less hard than these. Opals, for example, while beautiful for jewellery pieces that aren't designed to be worn daily, are inadvisable for an engagement ring, with a hardness between 5 and 6.5 - and pearls come in at 2.5 on the scale, so are definitely not suitable.

Shop our range of ethical engagement rings today where you'll find plenty of beautiful sapphire options, or get in touch if you'd like a bespoke engagement ring with especially - and ethically - sourced stones to create a unique ring for your proposal.