Sorry Marilyn, but as it turns out, diamonds are not always a girl's best friend. Well, at least not according to millennials, anyway. In recent years, it appears that to-be-wed millennials have been ditching the standard crystal-clear diamond stone and opting for colored stone engagement rings in a rainbow of hues. Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and opals have been trending among this youthful crowd—hence, the stream of #engagementringselfies flooding our Instagram feeds. Here's why we're seeing more and more colored stone engagement rings popping up in proposals.
For a myriad of financial, ethical, and stylistic reasons, millennials are exploring ring options that go beyond the traditional diamond. Instead of shelling out for a hefty diamond with a carat count that could rival Hailey Baldwin's super-sized sparkler, millennial couples are opting to put that cash toward a house, children, or even an epic honeymoon (YOLO). As The Telegraph previously reported in 2017, instead of spending two-to-three months' salary on a ring—which has long been considered the norm—couples are spending just an average of £573 (about $600) on engagement rings in the U.K., which makes less expensive, colored stones an excellent option.
"The great thing about colored stones is that you can buy something really fabulous-looking and most people will have no idea how much it cost," explained jewelry expert Joanna Hardy to the British daily. "This is a big selling point for people who perhaps don't have as much to spend on a ring and don't want others to know exactly what they've spent on it."
And with many millennials pushing for ethical shopping options, there's been a move away from the traditional clear stone in favor of more ethically sourced gems. For example, designer Chopard offers "traceable" emeralds especially for eco-conscious consumers, according to The Telegraph.
Gaining major traction among trendsetting brides-to-be, not only do colorful engagement rings tote a much friendlier price tag, but they also offer more room for self-expression. Brides are able to show off their individuality with stunning blue, gorgeous green, and romantic red hues, with some going as far as choosing their own birthstone for their engagement bling. "It's more personal, rather than the ego thing of showing everyone how big your diamond is," Nikolay Piriankov of custom jewelry design company Taylor & Hart told The Guardian.
The trend is expected to continue with even more brides opting for colorful bling. “Brides are incorporating color in new and interesting ways,” jewelry designer Stephanie Gottlieb tells Brides. “I created a ruby design as my ‘push present’ when my son was born this past summer, and brides can’t get enough of it.”
Jewelry designer Selin Kent has also noticed the shift in shades. “A recent bride-to-be fell in love with the teal green color of tourmaline, loving both the unique color and irregular shape,” Kent says. “She loved that no one else would have a ring like hers.”
With celebs such as Jessica Simpson, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, and even royalty (like Princess Eugenie and Kate Middleton) all toting engagement bling with colorful stones, millennials are certainly in good company.