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If you’re looking for an engagement ring that's a bit more colorful than a diamond but just as elegant, you may want to consider aquamarine. The light blue stone brings to mind the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, giving these rings a fresh vibe—not to mention, it's the "something blue" you won't have to think twice about. The color and history behind it make this option unique, but it’s still a timeless piece you’ll love years down the line.
What Is Aquamarine?
Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family, with sister stones like emerald and morganite. The name comes from two Latin words, aqua marinus, and means “water of the sea,” which refers to its greenish-blue color. It’s known for its wonderful clarity, which gives it a dazzling look.
The History of Aquamarine Gemstones
The myths and legends surrounding aquamarine only make it more desirable. “Legend has it that the aquamarine gemstone originated in the treasure chests of mermaids,” says jewelry expert Lauren McCawley. “Mariners have long carried the stone for protection against the wrath of the sea.” This stone will have an especially special meaning for anyone who loves the sea and the beach.
Meet the Expert
Lauren McCawley is a jewelry and style expert and the owner of Carbon West PR.
Aquamarine vs. Diamonds
For many, the biggest advantage of opting for an aquamarine engagement ring over a traditional diamond is the price tag; aquamarine is much more affordable, even in larger carat weights.
The gorgeous color of aquamarine is another big advantage. “If you’re attracted to color gemstones, it comes as a refreshing alternative to a colorless diamond or a more budget-friendly alternative to a blue diamond,” explains certified diamontologist Kim Kanary. Aquamarine is also versatile, available in a variety of shades that work well with a range of cuts.
Meet the Expert
Kim Kanary is a certified diamontologist and vice president of community development and engagement at JTV, an online jewelry shopping destination.
“The stone is quite resilient, so it is a wonderful alternative to a diamond as far as durability,” says McCawley. Kanary adds that it is a 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale (for comparison, a diamond is a 10), which makes it suitable for everyday wear. However, a diamond is still more durable as it's the hardest gemstone. “Diamonds have a higher refractive index, which means they reflect light more, providing the brilliant sparkle that people love,” says Kanary.
What to Look for in an Aquamarine Ring
Aquamarine is generally described as light greenish-blue, but it does come in different shades, so you’ll want to decide which hue you like best. “Aquamarines come in a variety of color saturation, and the more common, pastel hues will be more affordable than the rarer, more vivid stones,” says McCawley. “Look for a color that speaks to your personal style, be it a calming pastel or a dramatic, deep blue aquamarine.” The color can also be intensified by deeper pavilions and higher crowns, so keep that in mind when looking at settings and designs.
For maximum sparkle, McCawley recommends looking for a cut graded as excellent. “While most faceted aquamarines are free from visible inclusions, have your jeweler help you select a stone that has even color and is ‘eye-clean,’ meaning that flaws aren’t visible to the naked eye,” she adds. Kanary also says to ask if the gemstone has been treated to enhance its color or clarity if that’s something that’s important to you.
Aquamarine can mix well with any metal, although some metals may enhance the features while some may provide a contrast. “White gold will bring out the coolness, while yellow gold is generally warmer and will balance out the aquamarine,” says Kanary. Opt for white gold for more blue-toned stones and yellow gold for more green stones.
As far as cuts go, you can do whatever you please, although McCawley says the gemstone looks excellent in a stone cut like emerald, round, or oval.
How to Care for Your Aquamarine Ring
You’re going to take care of your aquamarine ring pretty much the same way you would care for a diamond or any other gemstone. “Gentle care and cleaning after every third or fourth wear is recommended,” says McCawley. “Use a soft toothbrush after soaking in gentle dish soap with warm water to clean it.”
Since you’re wearing it every day, you’ll also want to do a deep, more thorough clean every six months or so. Kanary says, “A deep hydroponic clean and checking of the prongs to ensure your aquamarine is still securely set is highly recommended at this twice-annual cleaning.”
Below, scroll through some of our favorite aquamarine engagement rings.
DeBebians Pavé Diamond Aquamarine Engagement Ring
Aquamarine gives this classic and simple style a more unique spin. The stone stands out on its own without a halo or elaborate setting, and the u-pavé setting adds a bit more sparkle.
SHOP NOW: DeBebians, $1,585
Selim Mouzannar Rose Gold Aquamarine Diamond Ring
Although this isn’t sold as an engagement ring, there is no rule that it can’t be worn as one. The delicate rose gold band offers a gorgeous contrast to this light blue stone, and the square setting is a really interesting one.
SHOP NOW: Farfetch, $895
Effy Aquarius White Gold Aquamarine and Diamond Ring
This ring is an excellent example of how beautiful aquamarine looks in an emerald cut. Surrounded by smaller diamonds on a simple white gold band, this is sure to stand out on any hand.
SHOP NOW: Effy, $2,517
J.R. Dunn White Gold Teardrop Aquamarine and Diamond Double Halo Ring
To make your aquamarine ring even more unique, get it in a teardrop cut that actually works well with its history. The double halo and eternity band make this one extra dazzling.
SHOP NOW: J.R. Dunn, $8,700
Bario Neal Radial Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring
Cluster rings are enjoying a moment in the spotlight right now, and mixing several different similar gemstones makes for an aesthetically pleasing design. This one aquamarine stones with two kinds of sapphires and one champagne diamond for contrast.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $2,837
Gemvara Scarlett Ring
Three aquamarine stones, with one as the center and two small ones as accents, add lots of color to your finger. A simple white gold band really allows this stone to take center stage.
SHOP NOW: Gemvara, $1,762
Effy Aquarius Rose Gold Aquamarine and Diamond Ring
This stunning emerald-cut aquamarine stone is surrounded by tiny round and baguette diamonds for an interesting design. The double cushion cut halo in rose gold gives this a slightly vintage vibe.
SHOP NOW: Effy, $3,185
DeBebians Oval Aquamarine Floral Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
For an ultra-feminine look, opt for this floral halo created by small round diamonds. The center oval aquamarine stone fits perfectly.
SHOP NOW: DeBebians, $1,725
Bario Neal Stellium Aquamarine with Diamond Halo Ring
This diamond halo has a celestial look to it in the shape of a sparkling star. The round aquamarine stone is set in the center, and the yellow gold band is a nice contrast to the color.
SHOP NOW: Bario Neal, starting at $2,800
Vale Aquamarine and White Diamond Aurora Ring
A simple round aquamarine looks beautiful in a milgrain-accented bezel with white diamonds on the band. This is a unique take on a classic cut and style.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $1,250
Bella Aquamarine Engagement Ring with Diamond Matching Band
This vintage-inspired ring features a round aquamarine center stone with an intricate milgrain and filigree band. The white diamond accents add a little extra sparkle.
SHOP NOW: Capucinne $1,270
Rough Aquamarine Engagement Ring with Meteorite
The unconventional bride will love this ring that definitely doesn’t resemble your typical engagement ring. A rough aquamarine stone may not be as sparkly, but it still catches the eye, especially when paired with meteorite and contrasting white gold.
SHOP NOW: Jewelry by Johan, $1,239
Artemer Geometric Baguette-Cut Aquamarine Rin
One larger baguette center aquamarine stone is surrounded by smaller baguette aquamarine stones on either side for a stunning finish. The slim yellow gold band gives this a more simple and delicate look.
SHOP NOW: Artemer, $1,780
Soho Gem Aquamarine Three-Stone Ring
An emerald-cut aquamarine diamond stands out when surrounded by two brilliant diamonds on either side. A simple band finishes this off perfectly.
SHOP NOW: Soho Gem, $5,400
Aquamarine Engagement Ring
Aquamarine makes it easy to play around with different styles, and this one is truly different. An oval cut aquamarine stone features asymmetrical side diamonds for a show-stopping take on a cluster ring.
SHOP NOW: Capucinne, $1,300