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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 non-traditional 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 (or sky blue).
The History of Turquoise Gemstones
This striking gemstone dates back thousands of years; perhaps most notably, turquoise jewelry that was discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs in the el-Qaa region circa approximately 5000 B.C. It is now primarily mined in Iran, China, and the American Southwest and the name turquoise is derived from the French phrase pierre tourques (Turkish stone), which implies it came to Europe from the Turkish region (though its original origins are believed to be from Iran).
What to Look for in a Turquoise Ring
Turquoise is relatively rare and found in dry regions where copper-rich groundwater is present. 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 (opposed to a solid color). Naturally, matrix vs no matrix comes down to personal preference when choosing your stone.
“Smooth Cabochon cut seems to be the most common cut for turquoise,” jewelry designer Grace Lee explains to Brides. Because turquoise ranks 5-6 on the Mohs scale (meaning it’s softer than several other gemstones), it’s easier to cut and carve. Unfortunately, this also means it can get scratched or crack.
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.
If you’re considering a turquoise engagement ring, Lee notes that in addition to cut, settings are also important to think about. “Personally, I think prong settings work best so you don't put too much pressure on the turquoise,” she says. “But it is often set in bezels and even as an inlay.”
As for cost, the Gemology Institute of America says that turquoise is judged on three basic quality factors: color, texture, and the presence or absence of matrix. Lee also mentions 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.” Many engagement ring options featuring turquoise also incorporate other stones into the design, including diamond halos and other complementary side stones. Similar to diamonds, turquoise is also weighed in carats.
How to Care for Your Turquoise Ring
Lee recommends avoiding harsh chemicals or high heat when cleaning your turquoise jewelry (the former could compromise the color of your gemstone).
Scroll through stunning turquoise rings below.
Michelle Fantaci Diamond and Turquoise Octagonal Ring
The center stone for this ring features “Persian Turquoise,” nodding to the history of this beautiful gemstone.
SHOP NOW: Michelle Fantaci, $1,800
Yi Collection Turquoise and Diamond Eos Ring
The stunning turquoise center stone on this ring is further accentuated by a dazzling halo of diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Yi Collection, $1,995
Ila Felicia Turquoise and Diamond Ring
Proof that several pretty stones can be better than one statement diamond.
SHOP NOW: Catbird NYC, $650
Grace Lee Maman Crown Bezel Turquoise Ring
This ring features a rose-cut turquoise stone set in a 14k gold crown bezel.
SHOP NOW: Grace Lee, $785
Effy Yellow Gold Turquoise Diamond Ring
The kind of engagement ring that gives off serious royalty vibes.
SHOP NOW: Effy Jewelry, $1,256
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.
SHOP NOW: Retrouvai, $2,165
Dru Jewelry Halo Signet Ring
This modern turquoise ring is surrounded by 34 brilliant white diamonds for a sleek, architectural finish.
SHOP NOW: Dru Jewelry, $3,160
Victorian Old Mine Cushion Cut and Turquoise Ring
A turquoise engagement ring that also features a delicate old mine cut diamond.
SHOP NOW: 1st Dibs, $4,500
Samantha Tea Laluna Ring Persian Turquoise Ring
This bold ring is made of 18k rose gold with Persian turquoise and 0.20 ct of grey diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Samantha Tea, $1,248
Shahla Karimi Mini Honey Ring
If you’re looking for a low-key engagement ring featuring a turquoise center stone, look no further than this option from a cult favorite jewelry designer.
SHOP NOW: Shahla Karimi, $350
Gemologica Diamond and Oval Turquoise Yellow Gold Ring
The matrix on this turquoise stone looks especially antique thanks to the halo of small diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Gemologica, $260
The Last Line Turquoise and Gold Heart Ring
Though subtle, this heart-shaped turquoise stone feels whimsical and romantic.
SHOP NOW: The Last Line, $415
Tamara Comolli Large Bouton Yellow Gold & Turquoise Ring
Though minimalist in design, this 18k gold band ring featuring a breathtaking turquoise center stone is the epitome of timelessness.
SHOP NOW: Saks Fifth Avenue, $3,080
Melissa Joy Manning Milkyway Ring
Does it get much dreamier than turquoise, moonstone, and tourmaline? An engagement ring for the lover of natural splendor.
SHOP NOW: Melissa Joy Manning, $2,640
David Yurman Châtelaine Turquoise Ring with Diamonds
Turquoise is the star of this statement piece, which is set in an 18k gold band with pave diamonds nestled in each claw.
SHOP NOW: Neiman Marcus, $2,900