There’s something silly happening on the internet.
That’s not a rare occurrence. But this time, it’s something I take personally: there’s been an avalanche of random websites publishing articles about alternative engagement rings and giving truly idiotic, completely uninformed advice.
I love the alternative engagement ring trend, but when it’s practiced without understanding of the relevant gemological facts, it’s going to end in tears. And in a world with SO MANY beautiful rings that would work well as an alternative engagement ring, there’s no reason to give bad advice.
Today we’re going to talk a little bit about which gemstones make good alternative engagement rings and look at a few gorgeous and currently available possibilities.
Tradition isn’t the only reason diamonds are the most frequently chosen engagement gem: it’s also because they’re the strongest. There aren’t actually all that many gemstones that can hold up to everyday wear.
There are a few stones that genuinely work well, like sapphires and rubies, and a lot more that are an okay bet if you’re prepared to baby your ring and not wear it every day, but there are some – like pearls and opals – that are seriously high risk engagement stones. As in, you shouldn’t pick one of those unless you’re prepared to replace your engagement ring periodically.
Personally, I had been wearing my own engagement ring for about 4 days when I slammed it in a drawer. It hurt my finger, but because my ring was platinum with diamonds, it remained unscathed. If it had been an emerald, I probably would have been picking green shards out of my socks.
I understand completely the impulse to pick an alternative engagement gemstone based on what calls to you, rather than what is practical, but if you do, you could be setting yourself up for heartbreak. The more fragile the stone, the more likely that it will chip, break, or fall out and need to be replaced.
I got to talking – by which I mean Twitter ranting – about the recent avalanche in bad alternative engagement gemstone advice with the fabulous Nikky of Fellows Auction House (that’s where these stunners are from!). Nikki and I both agreed that it’s a shame that popular websites are giving people such bad advice about alternative engagement rings when there’s a whole world out there of fantastic rings that would work well as alternative engagement rings.
Auction houses – especially one like Fellows – which has a dazzling reputation for jewelry sales – can be a great place to find charismatic rings that you’ll be able to admire on your finger for years to come.
Let’s look at some, shall we? These beauties are all headed to auction at Fellows on May 11th.
Let’s be honest, this is a super sexy ring. The sensuous curves, the deep hue of the ruby, the sheen of the gold. We’re looking at a first class alternative engagement ring right here.
Even better: ruby is a great stone for everyday wear. The ruby and its corundum cousin, the sapphire, are just one step below diamonds on the Mohs scale of hardness.
The Mohs scale of hardness is one of the ways that different minerals’ properties are measured. It’s a great quick reference chart for how likely a gemstone is to survive everyday wear.
Here’s another ruby and diamond knockout – a very different one. This one’s a little trickier as an engagement ring because it has a whole lot of little prongs to check on (those are the metal bits that hold the stones in place, and they are the #1 thing you should pay attention to as your engagement ring gets older). But this ring is so badass, it would be entirely worth it.
I would wear this ring on any of my fingers at any time, for any reason.
Speaking of sapphires…how about this little number? The sapphire engagement ring has been enjoying a resurgence as a popular alternative engagement ever since a woman named Kate started wearing one that had belonged to her mother-in-law.
The best thing about sapphires is that they come in so many colors! This one is a vibrant orange, and it would look like a captive sun on your ring finger.
Lot 42 above was a perfect Kate-style classic, while this beauty here – Lot 29 – feels like a funky modern update of the classic sapphire and diamond cluster. It’s more unusual, but equally compelling.
This one is so beautiful that I can hardly stand to look at it. Its big juicy center stone is a sturdy diamond, while its bright accent emeralds bring some color. Diamond strong + emerald bright is a good combination.
The little emeralds are more likely to fall out and need to be replaced than accent diamonds would be, but that’s much less heartbreaking than the possible loss of the a center stone.
Many glamorous women throughout history have opted for emerald engagement rings, and it’s easy to understand why. But the truth is that emeralds are a high risk choice for an alternative engagement ring. They’re around a 7.5/8 on the Mohs scale, but because of the nature of the stone, emeralds are much more prone to cracking and chipping than something like a sapphire or a ruby.
There are things you can do to mitigate the danger – like choosing a bezel setting and always taking off your ring when you’re working with your hands – but you shouldn’t choose an emerald engagement ring unless you and accept that there’s a reasonable chance you’ll need to replace your pretty green stone someday.
Here are some more emerald rings from the upcoming Fellows auction, in case you’re mesmerized by dreamy green and you’d rather accept the risk than miss out on the beauty of an emerald! It’s no wonder that so many people decide emeralds are worth the risk as an alternative engagement ring.
Just remember there are probably going to be repairs in your emerald engagement ring’s future. It’s not easy being green.
This beauty is from the late Victorian era. I love the vibrant effect of vivid rubies and bright diamonds side by side in a yellow gold band. Such a regal, passionate ring.
As you already know, both rubies and diamonds are great for everyday wear. With this ring’s low profile, it would fit seamlessly into any on-the-go lifestyle. This little beauty would be a great alternative engagement ring.
“Low profile” means that the gemstones are nearly flush with the band. If they stuck up out of the band, taking up more vertical space, that would be “high profile.” Low profile rings are less likely to get caught on things, which means less lifetime stress on the setting.
Here’s another ruby for good measure. This one is the Marilyn to the previous ring’s Audrey. A total, over-the-top bombshell.
There’s a lot more to love in the upcoming Fellows May 11th auction, so get on over to the main catalogue and see what else you can find!
This sponsored post is brought to you by Fellows. All images via Fellows.