Alternative Gemstones for Engagement Rings: Pros & Cons

When it comes to engagement rings, the classic diamond has long reigned supreme. However, in recent years, an increasing number of couples are exploring alternative gemstones to make their engagement rings truly unique. These alternatives offer a wide range of colors, meanings, and price points. In this blog, we'll explore some of the most popular alternative gemstones for engagement rings and discuss their pros and cons to help you make an informed choice.

Why Consider Alternative Gemstones?

When it comes to engagement rings, diamonds have long been the traditional choice. However, there is a growing trend of using alternative gemstones in engagement rings, but is this a good idea? Let's explore the pros and cons.

Pros of Alternative Gemstones


Incorporating alternative gemstones into your bespoke engagement ring allows you to create a truly unique and personal engagement ring, as many people still opt for a diamond or Lab diamond ring. Gemstones provide you with a larger number of choices narrowing the chance that someone has a very similar ring idea to yours. You can choose a gemstone that holds special meaning for you and your partner, a birthstone of you or your partner or simply a favourite colour.


Alternative gemstones are often more affordable than diamonds as diamonds are popular for their rarity. This means you can often get a larger or higher-quality gemstone for a similar price to a diamond. Although this is not always true in the case of lab created diamonds so don't let affordability be the only reason to opt for an alternative gemstone. Explore our lab grown diamond engagement rings or learn more about lab diamonds here.

Variety of Colours

Diamonds are known for their white/clear colour, but alternative gemstones are known to come in a much wider range of colours. Although you can get different coloured diamonds they tend to have a high cost due to their rarity and can be difficult to acquire. From vibrant blues to deep reds, you will have a variety of choice making it easy to find a gemstone that matches your partner's personality and style.

Ethical and Sustainable

Some people choose alternative gemstones because they are concerned about the ethical and environmental issues surrounding diamond mining. One option to avoid this is to opt for a lab grown diamond, however some people prefer naturally formed gemstones. If this is the case, many alternative gemstones are sourced in a more sustainable and responsible manner making them a great natural alternative to diamonds.

Cons of Alternative Gemstones


While diamonds are the hardest gemstone, being a 10 on the Mohs scale, alternative gemstones can vary in their durability. Some gemstones may be more prone to scratching or chipping, so it's important to choose a gemstone that can withstand everyday wear. For durability and to avoid damage to your ring we would recommend stones with a hardness rating of 8.0 or more on the Mohs scale, which I will give some examples of further down in this article.


Diamonds are known for their rarity, which adds to their value. Alternative gemstones may not hold the same level of rarity, which could affect their long-term value. If rarity is important to you, you should look further into each alternative stone you are considering, or purchase a multi-stone ring such as a trilogy, Toi et Moi or diamond band with other gemstones featured on the ring alongside diamond(s).


Diamonds have a unique sparkle and brilliance that is hard to replicate, alternative gemstones may not have the same level of sparkle, which could be a consideration if your partner values that characteristic highly. 

Cultural Significance

Diamonds have been associated with engagement rings for centuries and hold a strong cultural significance. Using alternative gemstones may not have the same symbolic meaning for you or your partner meaning you may not want to choose a different gemstone, or you may want to incorporate one in a more subtle way such as within a hidden halo or as the side stones for a trilogy ring.

Gemstone Options


Emeralds are a gemstone we get asked about a lot, while they can be stunning, they may not be the best choice for an engagement ring. One of the main reasons they aren't ideal for engagement rings is their durability, emeralds are relatively soft therefore they are prone to scratches and chipping. This makes them more susceptible to damage over time, especially with everyday wear as an engagement ring is usually worn daily.


We love rubies as an alternative engagement ring stone, they have a rich history and are associated with love, passion, and romance. They score a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them highly resistant to scratches and suitable for everyday wear. The intense red hue of a ruby can make a statement and catch everyone's attention. Additionally, rubies are known for their longevity, ensuring that the engagement ring will last for generations to come.


Sapphires are not only known for their mesmerising blue hue but also for their durability. They are often used in engagement rings as a main stone or as an addition to a diamond as they can withstand daily wear. While a deep, rich blue is the most popular and classic  colour choice, sapphires can also be found in stunning shades of pink, yellow, and even white. This variety makes sapphires a perfect choice to add some colour to your engagement ring.


Moissanites are gemstones that were first discovered in a meteor crater, many people find this romantic as it is a gemstone from space. They are made of silicon carbide and possess a brilliance and fire that rivals that of diamonds. In fact, moissanites are often mistaken for diamonds due to their similar appearance making them the perfect alternative if you want the look of a diamond but will not use a diamond for any reason. They are also exceptionally hard, ranking at 9.25 on the Mohs scale. This makes them highly resistant to scratches and suitable for everyday wear. Just like Lab diamonds they are more affordable than mined diamonds of the same size and quality, allowing couples to invest in a larger stone.


Opal is a very delicate gemstone that requires extra care and attention, otherwise it can easily become scratched or chipped. Opals are also highly sensitive to water and chemicals, they can absorb liquids which may lead to discolouration or even cracking. This means that everyday activities such as washing dishes or taking a shower can potentially damage an opal ring. Additionally, contact with chemicals like perfume or cleaning products can also harm the stone. Despite their beauty and fire opals are a stone much better suited to jewellery worn occasionally, not daily like an engagement ring.

Bespoke Creating Your Own Ring

When it comes to incorporating colour and creating a unique ring, alternative gemstones offer a world of possibilities. By working with a jewellery expert, you can design a ring that is truly one-of-a-kind and showcases the beauty of alternative gemstones. Book an appointment with our expert jeweller to visit our London studio. You can choose the gemstone, the setting, and the overall design to create a ring that perfectly matches your style and personality. Whether you prefer a vintage-inspired design, a modern and sleek look, or something completely unconventional, the possibilities are endless. Contact Us to begin creating your custom ring.


Choosing alternative gemstones for an engagement ring can be a great option for those looking for something unique, colourful, and ethically sourced. However, it's important to consider the durability, rarity, sparkle, and cultural significance of alternative gemstones before making a final decision. Ultimately, the choice should reflect you and your partner's preferences and values.