Brides everywhere are shunning the traditional diamond ring in favour of splashes of colour… usually in the form of sapphires, rubies or emeralds. If your significant other is one of them, here’s what you should know.
Coloured Gems vs. Diamonds: The Pros
Believe it or not, there are plenty of things a coloured gemstone engagement ring can offer that a diamond ring can’t. Firstly – price. Since diamonds are the traditional choice and always in demand, prices tend to be on the high side. That’s especially true of high quality, larger diamonds. Coloured gems like sapphires however are often cheaper, even if the size and quality is similar. If she has her heart set on a vintage ring, you’ll often find much more varied designs with sapphires, rubies and emeralds to choose from than you will diamonds. But if you don’t fancy the extra maintenance that can come with vintage styles, plenty of jewelers are making coloured gem rings in vintage styles too. The biggest draw however is that gemstone rings are unique, eye-catching and beautiful – and definitely more interesting than the ubiquitous diamond engagement ring.
Coloured Gems vs Diamonds: The Cons
While rubies and sapphires are very durable and suitable for everyday wear, most other coloured gemstones aren’t. Diamonds are the only jewels that will still look pristine after several years of constant wearing – even rubies and sapphires, which have a hardness level of 9/10, will still pick up teeny tiny scratches over time. For that reason, they require extra maintenance and check-ups. With such strong colour finding coordinating jewelry pieces (like earrings or bracelets) to exactly match her engagement ring can sometimes prove problematic. And if she ever needs to replace a coloured stone in her engagement ring, it may be difficult to find one that matches exactly in size, shape and colour.
Maintenance of Coloured Gem Engagement Rings
As we’ve already mentioned, she’ll need to be a little more careful with her gemstone engagement ring. It’ll need yearly (if not twice yearly) check-ups with a professional jeweler, and eventually the coloured stones may need to be replaced. If the stones have been heat treated (more on that below), they may be especially susceptible to damage. Other than that, all of the usual advice applies – have it cleaned annually, keep an eye on the setting elements – especially prongs – don’t wear it if you’re doing vigorous activities or getting your hands dirty, etc. etc.
Beware of Treated Gems
If you spot a coloured engagement ring with a really intense hue at a bargain price, think carefully before buying it. It has most likely been heat treated to enhance the colour. This often causes structural damage to the gem and may result in cracks appearing – which means you may as well set your wad of cash on fire and walk away. Reputable jewelers will disclose any gemstone treatments if you ask, and the really good ones will refuse to sell coloured stones that have been enhanced in any way. Don’t sacrifice quality for colour!
With all of the above in mind, you should now be ready to find the perfect coloured engagement ring for her. Happy shopping!