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It can be tough to relinquish the notion that all engagement rings should feature a diamond center stone, but once you welcome the possibility of a nontraditional approach, you’ll discover an expansive world of beautiful, historic gemology to choose from. One of these options that warrants a closer look is turquoise.
What Is Turquoise?
Turquoise is an opaque gemstone known for its striking color. It occurs in several different shades of blue and green, though the highest valued is robin’s-egg blue.
This striking gemstone dates back thousands of years. It was discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs in the el-Qaa region circa 5000 B.C.E, and it is now primarily mined in Iran, China, and the American Southwest. The word "turquoise" is derived from the French phrase pierre tourques (Turkish stone), which implies it came to Europe from the Turkish region. We talked to jewelry designer Grace Lee about how this ancient stone can be used for your head-turning engagement ring.
Meet the Expert
Grace Lee is a fine jewelry designer who founded her eponymous collection in 2008. The pieces are produced in Los Angeles, and Lee only sources from vendors that adhere to the Kimberly Process.
Wondering if turquoise is a good option for you? Read on to learn more about turquoise engagement rings.
Pros and Cons of a Turquoise Engagement Ring
The unique color of turquoise, with opaque shades of blue and green, definitely makes a visually appealing option for an engagement ring. It's also very versatile, whether you set it on its own or surround it with diamonds. Since turquoise ranks 5-6 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale (meaning it’s softer than several other gemstones), it’s easier to cut and carve. Unfortunately, this also means it is more likely to crack and get scratched.
What to Look for in a Turquoise Ring
Here are a few questions and answers you should know before purchasing a turquoise engagement ring.
• Are there color variations? The higher the density of copper, the more intensely blue the turquoise appears. Another element of turquoise is its matrix, which is when you see spiderweb-like veins that run throughout the stone (as opposed to a solid color). Naturally, matrix versus no matrix comes down to personal preference when choosing your stone.
• Is there a particular setting that works best? “Personally, I think prong settings work best, so you don't put too much pressure on the turquoise,” says Lee. “But it is often set in bezels and even as an inlay.”
• Can other stones be incorporated with turquoise? Many engagement ring options featuring turquoise also incorporate other stones into the design, including diamond halos and complementary side stones.
• What’s a good cut for a turquoise engagement ring? “Smooth cabochon cut seems to be the most common cut for turquoise,” Lee says.
• What determines the pricing for a turquoise ring? As for cost, prices can vary. The Gemology Institute of America says turquoise is judged on three basic quality factors: color, texture, and the presence or absence of matrix. Lee explains that the primary cost will be the gem itself as well as “the value of the metal used and how intricate and detailed the setting is.”
How to Care for Your Turquoise Ring
You should take care when wearing your turquoise ring, as it's softer than other gemstones. It's probably for the best that you remove your turquoise ring when performing household tasks or other activities that could ding or damage your stone. Warm, soapy water will suffice for weekly cleaning or as needed. Dry the ring with a soft cotton towel or cloth. Lee recommends avoiding harsh chemicals or high heat when cleaning your turquoise jewelry, as the former could compromise the color of your gemstone. If you need to store the ring, use a fabric-lined jewelry box.
Below, scroll through some of our favorite turquoise engagement rings.
ILA Felicia Turquoise and Diamond Ring
Who needs a big sparkler when you have a trio of turquoise stones to elevate your ring selfie game. To be fair, the 14k gold band is flanked with two diamonds for a pretty finish.
Sophie Jane Antique Edwardian Turquoise and Diamond Ring
Are you a modern bride looking to add a special heirloom piece to your wedding-day look? This charming Edwardian ring from the 1900s consists of a round turquoise center and eight old mine–cut diamonds.
Retrouvai Triple Coil Mini Compass Ring
This handmade ring offers a unique turquoise inlay design that’s perfect for the bride-to-be who works with her hands and doesn’t want to accidentally knick the stone. In addition to a polished 14k yellow gold finish, you'll notice white diamond accents completing the triple coil silhouette.
No. 3 Star Gypsy Ring
Say "I do" to this incredibly unique etched gold ring with stackable appeal. Lavish details coupled with a turquoise stone give it the royal treatment.
Yvonne Léon 9-Karat Gold, Turquoise, and Diamond Ring
We're enamored with this panache-packed ring that looks like it has a story of its own. The vintage-inspired design from Yvonne Léon is made from 9kt. gold and includes a gorgeous turquoise stone with a .015-ct diamond bringing a hint of sparkle.