Diamonds aren’t necessarily a millennial girl’s best friend. Whether they have economic limitations, concerns over conflict diamonds, or a desire to express themselves with a more boldly colored gemstone, more and more brides are looking for non-diamond engagement rings.
Young couples in love want a ring that represents who they are, the life they want to build, and their unique love. “Sometimes that uniqueness is expressed through a colored gemstone or a precious metal band,” explains Lisa Bridge, CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler. “A gemstone could be selected because it is a favorite color, it is from a meaningful place, or it represents a special connection.”
Sapphire is one of the most popular alternative stones for an engagement ring. Since Princess Diana revealed her stunning sapphire ring, one that Kate Middleton now wears, these gorgeous gemstones have become more sought-after. According to Bridge, sapphires are next to diamonds on the scientific MOHS hardness scale. “Diamonds score a 10 in terms of hardness, sapphires score a 9,” she says. “Sapphires come in a rainbow of colors and are a great option for an engagement ring.”
Here, we're sharing the best non-diamond engagement rings—including pearls, rubies, emeralds, quartz, sapphires, and more—that can be treasured for a lifetime.
Best Emerald Style: Gillian Conroy Pear Ring with Emerald
This vibrant, pear-shaped emerald is a sight to behold in and of itself. With its 18-karat yellow gold band, the ring emulates a clean, elegant, and minimal look.
Price at time of publish: $1,800
Best Quartz Stone: Mejuri Heirloom Ring
This honey quartz stone beams of warmth and happiness. It is set in a 14K solid gold band.
Price at time of publish: $550
Most Unique Setting: Allurez Tension Set Solitaire Peridot Engagement Ring
Peridot is often associated with strength and balance and holds a unique olive-green color. This ring features the vibrant stone in a tension setting with a 14K white gold band.
Price at time of publish: $3,178
Best Black Diamond: Angara Princess-Cut Black Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring
Black diamonds are a bold and sleek option, and this one encompasses just that. The princess cut stone is set in a 14K yellow gold band.
Price at time of publish: $799
Best Ruby: Angara Ruby Solitaire Engagement Ring
Rubies are second to diamonds and equal to sapphires on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making it an excellent gemstone for engagement rings. The lustrous, deep red hues give this ring understated elegance, and the 14-karat yellow gold band complements it perfectly.
Price at time of publish: $2,659
Most Unique: Bloomingdale's Amethyst & Tanzanite Cocktail Ring
Romance radiates from this baguette-cut watermelon tourmaline lined with shades of tourmaline pavé detailing. The stones are hand-picked so no one ring will look the same, making it a true one-of-a-kind piece.
Price at time of publish: $1,650
Best Pearl: Marco Bicego 18K Yellow Gold Ring with Cultured Freshwater Pearl
While diamonds are sparkly and captivating, pearls are a sophisticated, lifelong treasure. This cultured freshwater pearl is held on a textured 18K yellow gold band.
Price at time of publish: $1,340
Best Opal: Blue Nile Opal Cushion Cocktail Ring
While it might be an atypical choice for an engagement ring, Opals have a shimmering multi-color effect that make for an eye catching stone. Opals have been tied to happiness and faithfulness. Just keep in mind that Opals are a softer gemstone, so they must be treated with extra care.
Most Romantic: Brilliant Earth Morganite Willow Ring
This ring subtly alludes to a flower with its morganite gemstone center accompanied by marquise cut emeralds. It's an untraditional twist that still remains timeless.
Price at time of publish: $1,780
Most Delicate: Catbird Blue Vistas Ring
This ring's flawless blend of sapphires and tanzanites is inspired by a sea of blue, just as its name suggests. The band is made of 14-karat recycled yellow gold, making it an environmentally conscious choice.
Price at time of publish: $2,668
Best Gemstone Band: Gemvara Emerald-Cut Aquamarine Carrie Engagement Ring
This glittering, emerald-cut aquamarine ring was inspired by the delicate beauty of the sea. The blue sapphires that line the gold band are a dramatic contrast to the aquamarine gemstone.
Price at time of publish: $1,605 for 1.36 approx. ct center stone
Most Statement-Making: Kwiat Oval Engagement Ring
This emerald and yellow diamond ring is truly a showstopping piece. The center stone is encompassed by yellow diamonds in a halo setting with a pavé split band.
Price at time of publish: starting at $8,000
Best with Mother-of-Pearl: Pomellato White Topaz, Mother-Of-Pearl Ring
The romantic delicacy of this white onyx and mother-of-pearl ring still brings a traditional feeling to this non-diamond choice. It's set in an 18-karat rose gold and 18-karat white gold band.
Price at time of publish: $3,200
Most Regal: Era Trio Sapphire Cluster Ring
The three 1.9 carats special cut sapphires at the center of this ring are eye-catching, especially set in the 14-karat yellow gold band. This ring has a regal feel, and, placed together, the stones form a shape that could be mistaken for a subtle crown.
Price at time of publish: $1,015
Best Floral-Inspired: Sofia Kaman Antique-Inspired Ruby Flowers Ring
Sweet and reminiscent of antique floral jewelry, Sofia Kaman’s whimsical ring features rubies that are set in the shape of a forget-me-not flower that wraps around the finger. Emeralds form the leaves of the flower and it has a 14-karat rose gold band.
Price at time of publish: $1,260
Best Emerald-Cut Aquamarine: Yi Collection Aquamarine and Emerald Spring Ring
The distinctive aquamarine center stone that’s over 3 carats paired with the gorgeous array of emeralds that line the thin band is a sight to behold. It's tied together with an 18-karat natural white gold band.
Price at time of publish: $1,995
Most Dainty: No. 3 Emerald-Cut Green Sapphire Wisp Ring
For something simple but special, consider this emerald-cut green sapphire ring with a thin, handmade 14-karat gold wire band. The ring's design draws the eye directly to the stone and it's beautiful color and cut.
Price at time of publish: $683
Most Dramatic: Oval Tanzanite Engagement Solitaire Ring
Tanzanite is a gemstone with a true color that lies somewhere between deep purple and dark violet, and it gets its name because it can only be found in one place: Tanzania. The oval tanzanite is set off by the 14-karat white gold band.
Price at time of publish: $3,400
Most Playful: Tiffany & Co. Love Ring
For something centered on the word that’s at the heart of any engagement, the Love ring of Tiffany & Co. is stunning in 18-karat rose gold. It features the word “love” written in designer Paloma Picasso’s own handwriting.
Best Double Band: Sofia Kaman Double-Banded Green Garnet
Garnets might usually be red, but the striking yellow-green hues of this one help make it a conversation piece. It’s set between two twin 18-karat gold bands.
Price at time of publish: $5,500
Best White Jade Center Stone: Yi Collection Jade and Ruby Globe Ring
The large, white jade gemstone at the center of this ring is set off perfectly by the rubies that line its band. The white jade was selected by the jeweler for its purity and strength, and its 9-karat gold band was handmade for durability.
Price at time of publish: $1,450
Best Prince-Cut Gemstone: Angara Solitaire Princess-Cut Blue Diamond Celtic Knot Ring
Inspired by eternal love and faith, this princess-cut blue diamond Celtic knot ring makes for a unique choice. The band features the traditional Celtic knot motifs and is crafted from 14-karat gold.
Price at time of publish: $1,099
Best Under $700: Wouters & Hendrix Gold Pearl Emerald Ring
This ring combines the elegance of a pearl with the boldness of an emerald stone. The two come together on an 18K yellow gold band with chain detailing.
Price at time of publish: $728
Most Intricate: Camellia Blue Diamond Engagement Ring
The various eye catching details in this ring are all memorable in their own way. The ornate detailing in the 14K white & rose gold band give the ring a vintage feel, and the 2ct blue diamond set in the center makes for an unforgettable heirloom.
Price at time of publish: $13,900
Meet the Expert
Lisa Bridge is a gemologist and the first female CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler, a company that has been in her family for five generations. In 2015, Ben Bridge launched the Lisa Bridge Collection, a jewelry collection designed by Lisa.
What to Look for When Buying a Non-Diamond Engagement Ring
“The ring should be able to stand the test of time and be worn and enjoyed every day. Looking for a strong and durable gemstone is key. Some gemstones can be easily scratched or need special care, [and] it is important to keep in mind how the gemstone will match their lifestyle," says Bridge.
If you are looking for a gemstone or other colored stone, it is important to make sure that the metal of the band complements the stone. As a general rule of thumb, yellow gold or platinum typically go with most stone options.
Since your engagement ring is a piece you will be wearing every day, it's important to make sure the color of the stone you choose goes with your everyday lifestyle. You want your ring to be a timeless jewel that you will never grow tired of.
Are non-diamond engagement rings less expensive than diamond engagement rings?
It depends on which stone you are choosing, but in general, yes. Non-diamond engagement rings tend to cost less than traditional diamond rings.
Why have non-diamond engagement rings recently become so popular?
Alternatives to diamonds may be more personal and unique to a relationship, and they're usually a more eco-friendly option, as well. Additionally, with non-diamond rings, there are endless style options to choose from.
How do I clean a non-diamond engagement ring?
While most diamonds are cleaned the same way, non-diamond stones may have different methods to keep them in tip-top shape. Make sure to talk to your jeweler about the best method for your particular stone.
Why Trust Brides
Robin Raven has been a professional journalist for over a decade. She has written for publications including Forbes, The Washington Post, HuffPost, Reader's Digest, and USA Today.