The Best Alternative Stones For A Non-Traditional Engagement Ring

The tradition of the engagement ring dates back to Ancient Rome, when men would present their wives with rings attached to small keys as a symbol of their ownership (via American Gem Society). However, the concept of the diamond engagement ring is a much newer idea, with diamonds only becoming the mainstream engagement gemstone following the launch of the 1947 De Beers slogan, "Diamonds are forever." The slogan, which tied into the infinite nature of the ideal marriage, helped diamonds to become a long-standing symbol of commitment and the most iconic choice for betrothed couples.


While diamonds still remain the most popular engagement ring gemstone, an increasing number of couples are turning away from them in favor of alternative jewels. According to The Bleu Studio, millennials, in particular, want engagement rings that are unique and meaningful to their relationship. In addition to wanting to save money by opting for a less expensive gemstone than a diamond, millennial couples tend to prefer rings that represent their personalities, values, and memories rather than those that are mass-produced.

There are no cemented rules when it comes to choosing an engagement ring. If you're looking for a gemstone that is special to your relationship, you might go for your or your partner's birthstone or a gem in your favorite color. However, if you have no idea how to start choosing a non-traditional ring, there are a few popular options on the market.



Sapphires can come in a range of colors, from pink to yellow, though the most common color is deep blue (via The Natural Sapphire Company). The rich shade is appealing to many couples, in addition to the fact that sapphires are durable and don't scratch easily (via With Clarity). Every sapphire is unique, which makes them seem more meaningful to some couples. This is also the birthstone for September.


A few celebrity couples have famously had sapphire engagement rings, increasing the jewel's popularity. The most notable example is The Princess of Wales' 18-karat sapphire engagement ring, which once belonged to Princess Diana.


If you love the look of a diamond but can't justify the price tag, the best alternative stone may be moissanite, which tends to be far less expensive. In addition, its transparent qualities make it look just like a diamond to the untrained eye, and moissanite also shares the kaleidoscopic sparkling quality that diamonds have.


Like diamonds, moissanite is hard-wearing, meaning you can feel confident in wearing it every day without worrying about scratches. Don O'Connell, the President of Charles & Colvard (the company that first created moissanite), explained that the gem is lab-grown and therefore "socially responsible" in an interview with Brides.


Red is a universal symbol of love, so a brilliant ruby engagement ring is an ideal alternative for those who want a special meaning to surround their marriage jewelry. Metaphysically, ruby is believed to stimulate the heart chakra and has protective properties over the home and family (via Fire Mountain Gems). This may also be a great choice for those born in July, as ruby is the July birthstone.


Given their rarity and popularity, rubies don't come cheap (via Gem Society). However, while some rubies attract astronomical price tags, the majority are still more cost-effective than diamonds (via The Diamond Pro).


Emerald is a striking engagement ring stone that is sure to catch the eye — just ask Halle Berry, Olivia Wilde, and Victoria Beckham! According to Do Amore, natural top-quality AAA emeralds are rarer than diamonds and even more expensive. However, most emeralds are more affordable than diamonds, whether they are natural or lab-grown. Emeralds are also reasonably durable and appropriate for everyday wear, though it's a good idea to remove them before exercise.


The green shade of the emerald also has symbolic meaning, representing new beginnings (via Diamonds Factory). Additionally, emeralds are thought to symbolize other qualities that a couple may prioritize in their marriage, including love, luck, peace, and hope.

Rose Quartz

A less traditional engagement ring jewel than the rarer stones, rose quartz is a pink healing crystal widely associated with unconditional love (via My Crystals). The stone represents compassion, calmness, love, and femininity, and crystal healers believe it can strengthen romantic relationships, heal negative emotions, and even serve as an aphrodisiac.


Rose quartz is abundant in many countries, meaning it's far more affordable than diamonds and other rare stones (via Holly Birch Photography). However, quartz rings aren't common engagement jewelry options as they're soft and easily scratched, so be sure to take care with your rose quartz ring (via Valerie Madison).