Below you'll find a variety of extraordinary alternative engagement rings that outshine your run-of-the-mill diamond solitaire. There are so many gorgeous gemstone and non-conventional diamond alternatives that couples can choose to use in the creation of their wedding rings. Some of our favorites to work with include moissanite, morganite, moonstone, tanzanite, opal, meteorite, and rough-cut stones.
To the naked eye, the moissanite looks extremely similar to the diamond. Upon closer look, the stone appears far more brilliant and has higher luster. It gets better, especially for pragmatic couples; the moissanite is equally as durable and costs significantly less. Needless to say, the moissanite is a very popular stone choice for alternative engagement rings. Plus, it has an interesting (and controversy free) story of origin.
Literally forged from the stars, traces of this rare, naturally occurring crystalline mineral comprised of silicon carbide was first discovered in a crater created by a meteorite in Arizona. French chemist Henri Moissan was its original founder in 1898 and later became its namesake.
Naturally-formed moissanite is very scarce and the lab-created variety is primarily what you’ll find used in jewelry sold today. It’s important to know that not all lab-created moissanite is created equally! Charles and Colvard is a premier creator of moissanite that offers various grades: Classic Moissanite (has color), and Forever One Moissanite (colorless).
Moissanite costs considerably less than a diamond of the same size. Keep in mind, the price of a diamond is dependent on the "4 Cs": Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat. In contrast, moissanite stone prices vary dependent on its size in millimeters and the type of moissanite (enhanced or non-enhanced).
This image illustrates the vast difference in cost of a nearly identical ring with diamond vs. moissanite 1 carat princess cut stone.
Morganite boasts beauty and femininity and has become a popular diamond alternative for engagement rings. Interestingly, Morganite gets its name from J.P. Morgan, a visionary who is one of the most esteemed founding fathers of American industry.
Morganite is classified as a beryl, has a high degree of brilliance, is very durable and comes in soft shades of pink, purplish pink, or peach. Morganite and rose gold rings are common as their blushy hues are perfectly complementary of one another.
You've found your one true love so why not lock things down with an engagement ring featuring this exotic, rare gemstone mined in only one place on earth, which is near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Tanzanite is a crystaline mineral known as a zoisite. It was given its name and also made famous by Tiffany & Co in the 1960s. It continues to be popular for its vivid blue and purple color options, high clarity, and its ability to be cut into large stones like the one featured in the ring below.
Believed by ancient civilizations to inspire love, and an alternative birthstone for June, the moonstone is growing in popularity for use in alternative wedding rings and art nouveau jewelry. Contrary to its name, moonstone is not from the moon - it is created from an intermixing of two types of the mineral feldspar and is found on many continents. The layered composition of moonstone creates an opalescent luster that is truly out of this world.
Whether sourced in nature or crafted in a lab, opals have a similar iridescent look to the moonstone. Opal happens to be the birthstone for October, so it makes for an especially perfect diamond alternative if your partner has a birthday in that month, or if you plan to propose on Halloween.
Most jewelers prefer to craft opal engagement rings with the stone in cabochon form (as it's shown in the ring above), which means that it is left unfaceted in its solid, natural state and simply polished and shaped to be more symmetrical. Because opal is a relatively delicate and soft stone, rating a 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, it is most common for opal cabochons to be set in prongs or a bezel.
If you want something completely out of the ordinary (and is literally from out of this world), opt for a meteorite stone in lieu of the usual diamond. This gemstone alternative is not as easily sourced, and Jewelry by Johan is proud to be one of the few jewelers to offer it. Because meteorite is very hard, it takes a special process to shape each meteorite stone.
We can't think of a more opportune time to propose with a meteorite engagement ring than during a meteor shower. Fortunately, there are annual meteor showers that allow you to plan ahead for your perfect moment. Here is a list of some of the larger events according to the American Meteor Society's meteor shower calendar and the month that they peak:
Quadrantids - January
Alpha Capricornids - July
Perseids - August
Orionids - October
Leonids - November
Geminids - December
Go for a bold splash of color with a beautiful Sapphire engagement ring! While known for their deep blue color, sapphires are actually available in a wide range of colors, ranging from colorless (also known as "white") to pink and bright yellow. The popular blue sapphire is the birthstone of September, making it an ideal choice for a late-summer engagement.
In addition to the wide variety of colors and cuts available, sapphires are generally less expensive than other gemstones of comperable size. Lab-created sapphires are also available for lower costs, and still look stunning.
Many precious gems are available in the raw and cost significantly less than their faceted counterparts. If your beloved is one who appreciates natural beauty, this could be a perfect choice for their engagement ring.
Sometimes known as rough-cut or uncut stones, these gems lack the faceted cuts of a traditional diamond or the smooth polished finish of a cabochon. This means each raw stone is absolutely unique among all other gemstones!
Raw stones come in a variety of shapes and sizes and may have visible inclusions. Similar to faceted stones, most types of rough stones are subjected to quality grading that's usually based on color, transparency and presence of imperfections. Here are some images of rough birthstones.
Now that we've shared some of our favorite non-conventional engagement ring designs, have any caught your eye or inspired a new design idea? If yes, contact a design consultant to ask any questions and to get started with an order. We are here to bring your one-of-a-kind engagement ring dreams to reality.
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