Non Diamond Engagement Rings?
Can I use a gemstone in an engagement ring?
This is for the ladies that are considering non diamond engagement rings. Are other stones as hard as a diamond? A diamond sits on top of the Mohs scale of mineral hardness with a rating of ten. Now, while a sapphire and ruby are only one level lower at nine, they are really nowhere near as hard as a diamond. In fact, a diamond is four times harder than a sapphire. Next of the major gemstones is an emerald on eight, and tanzanite on seven. So if your partner is an avid rock climber or outdoor enthusiast, it might be a safer option to stick with looking at diamond engagement rings, rather than a non diamond engagement rings.
How the ring is worn will affect how long the stone is likely to last. I have seen the most delicate rings that have been worn with such care that, in 10 years’ time, they look like they have hardly been worn. Likewise, sometimes a brand new ring can look like it has been hit with a hammer even after six months. I call this ‘loving your rings hard’. So if your partner or you are like this, then maybe non engagement rings might not be the best option.
No two people are the same, and neither is the way they wear their rings. Imagine if two people were given the exact same car – brand new and perfect in every way. One person drove their car very carefully, never sped up too quickly or braked too hard, and always parked their car with extra care. Contrast this with someone who, with the same car, loved the thrill of acceleration and cornering through a roundabout, and maybe didn’t always look behind them when reversing into a car park. (I’m not going to make any gender jokes about driving here!) One person’s car would still look immaculate; the other car would have worn tyres and brakes, and scratches down the side panels. I think we could hardly blame the car for the different level of wear and tear it has endured. I think most drivers would be aware of how they drive, so it is a good idea to see how she describes herself and how she wears her other jewellery, to see if she ‘loves her rings hard’. If she is a little on the hard side, a diamond is definitely the best option for the long term.
Using a gemstone in non engagement rings
While the hardness of the other precious stones – that is, rubies, sapphires and emeralds – and any of the semiprecious gemstones is nowhere near as hard as a diamond, there are still a few things you can do to incorporate some of your partner’s favourite colour into the engagement ring.
If your partner has her heart set on a coloured gemstone as the main feature for her engagement ring, try to choose a sapphire or ruby. These stones are the best of all the coloured gemstones for wear and tear and because an engagement ring will be worn every day, this is important.
Emeralds are not only softer, but they also tend to be more brittle due to their tendency to have many inclusions. Emeralds are also oiled, which means that you really can’t take them near hot water. So wearing them in the shower is out. Tanzanites are beautiful but probably best kept to a dress ring that isn’t worn every day, because they are even softer than emeralds.
If your partner really has her heart set on the main stone being a coloured gemstone, you might want to consider setting the stone in a bezel or semi-bezel setting to protect the stones edges a little more.
Having your diamond as your main stone with supporting coloured shoulder stones is also a great option. It means that the main diamond will bear the brunt of any major knocks she gives it. The shoulder stones in an engagement ring tend to get a lot less scratches and wear and tear. You could either have matching pear-shaped blue sapphire shoulder stones, or the same shaped pink sapphire stones as the centre in a trilogy set (if that is her favourite colour). Alternatively, if it is a single stone in the middle she wants, you could always put some coloured shoulder stones in to the band.
Getting the best out of your coloured gemstones
Gemstones perform very differently to diamonds in settings. If you open the side of the setting and let more light into it, the stone will appear lighter and often have more life to it (sparkle). Likewise, keeping the setting closed will make the stone look darker. This is a good option if the stone you are using is a little on the pale side.
Maintaining after-sale services
With a coloured gemstone engagement ring, it is a good idea to make sure you schedule a few extra trips to the jeweller to have your settings checked and the ring professionally cleaned. The jeweller will also be able to tell you if the wear your ring is getting is consistent with the age of the ring. If you have accidentally damaged or chipped the outside edge of the centre stone, the jeweller can always rotate the stone, so the chip is hidden under the claw.
One thing to bear in mind with a coloured gemstone ring is that, as the years go on, your stones will start to show signs of wear (scratches). When it gets to the point that the wear is detracting from the ring, ask to have the stone taken out and re-polished. If only minor abrading of the facets is required, there shouldn’t be any change to the outside diameter of the stone.
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