Gemstones for Alternative Engagement Rings

6 Unique Gemstones for Alternative Engagement Rings

In the last few years, the trends in engagement rings have definitely shifted away from diamonds and towards more affordable, eco-friendly, and socially conscious choices. Since ‘diamonds being a girl’s best friend’ was a big push from DeBeers in the 1950s to change people’s perception of the gemstone, it’s no surprise that at the turn of the century, the allure they created faded and younger generations turned to alternative gemstone engagement rings.

Looking for unique gemstones for your engagement ring? Here are some colorful options that offer you a lot of versatility.

1. Pink Tourmaline

Pink Tourmaline Diamond

One of the most important things to consider in a ring that you plan to wear every day is the hardness of the gem. You don’t want a stone that falls too low on the Mohs Scale and runs the risk of breaking or cracking when you wear it during everyday activities.

The lowest you want to go is probably around a seven on this scale, and pink tourmaline falls in this zone. It’s a really special color that stands out on all metal colors and skin tones. Whether it’s your birthstone or you just love the color pink, this type of tourmaline is a great alternative.

2. Swiss Blue Topaz

Swiss Blue Topaz

For those who love sapphire, but aren’t sure they have the funds to afford such an expensive stone, the Swiss blue topaz is a crowd favorite. It’s an enhanced version of the yellow/brown topaz that’s just as flexible and can be cut in any of your favorite shapes including marquis, emerald, and cushion. Choose the cut that best suits your finger and hand shape for the right look.

Topaz rates an eight on the Mohs Scale, making it almost as durable as sapphires and rubies. Swiss blue topaz is typically a lighter hue, while London blue topaz will deliver the deep, cobalt tones sapphire lovers crave.

3. Citrine

Citrine Diamond

Another semi-hard gemstone, citrine isn’t typically used in engagement rings because its yellow hue simply isn’t for everyone. It is the perfect choice for anyone that wants to mix different colors of gemstone in a single ring, as its citrusy hue doesn’t overwhelm other colors. While a bold orangy yellow color looks great as the center stone of a solitaire engagement ring, the lighter versions of this stone pair beautifully with pink tourmaline, light blue aquamarine, and even the green tones of peridot.

Since it’s a slightly softer stone than diamond or ruby, you may want to take it off while doing chores like cleaning the toilet or washing the dishes. Design your own original storage ideas to ensure you have a nice spot to put the ring when you aren’t wearing it.

4. Peridot

Diamond Yellow Gold

Peridot is another lesser used ring because of its unusual color. With a range that swings between yellow and olive green, the hue depends entirely on the iron saturation within the mineral. When you choose a deep, olive peridot, it looks beautiful as the center stone of an engagement ring. Some of the lighter hues pair well when combined with other, brighter colors like aquamarine, topaz, and citrine.

If you’re an August baby, peridot may be the perfect engagement ring for you because it’s also your birthstone!

5. Blue Aquamarine

Aquamarine Blue Diamond

There’s something subtle, classic, and sophisticated about the light blue of aquamarine that puts it on the same level as a diamond. With a Latin name that means “water of the sea,” aquamarines play a central role in legends about mermaids and sailors. The calming blue hue is a great option for anyone that wants an alternative engagement ring that doesn’t overwhelm their everyday jewelry and attire.

6. Black Onyx

Black Onyx

One of the most unusual gemstones on this list, a black stone isn’t typically the first choice for anyone’s engagement ring. If you’re one of those that simply loves darker stones — like black diamonds — a black onyx offers you similar durability and style without all the added cost.

A modern and contemporary stone that has a long history, onyx can be found both in women’s engagement rings and in men’s wedding bands. It’s a great stone if you want to match your partner’s ring design without wearing something overly ostentatious or flamboyant.

Going Alternative

While opal, pearls, and azurite are stunning stones that look beautiful in jewelry, their general durability is much lower than those of other gems. Before opting for one of these alternatives, consider the wear and tear they’ll suffer in a ring that you have on every single day.

Learning everything you can about engagement rings is crucial to making the right decision about the gemstone for your engagement ring. While you can always buy a new ring if you end up disliking the original, you don’t want to make such an expensive investment without considering every avenue. Browse the various options of alternative engagement rings before making your final decision.


Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for gemstones and often writes about jewelry and engagement rings, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry in general.