There was a time when almost everyone associated the idea of an engagement ring with a diamond, but these days, especially with the advent of millennials getting engaged, there are so many unique and beautiful alternatives on the market. From budget and eco-friendly diamond look-alikes to unique colored gemstone alternatives, there's no reason to feel confined to the idea that an engagement ring has to be a diamond. There are literally dozens of gemstones that are great diamond alternatives, but here are just a few of my favorites...
White Sapphire is the number one most popular white diamond-like gemstone that I use. It's completely natural and super affordable, so it's a great option for anyone on a budget or for anyone who wants an all-natural colorless stone but doesn't feel comfortable contributing to the diamond mining industry. White sapphires reflect a whiter light than diamonds which makes them shiny but not as sparkly. They also require more frequent cleaning to maintain their optimal sparkle, but if you don't mind some extra maintenance, white sapphires are quite beautiful when looking their best and brightest. They are also just as durable as blue sapphires, which makes them an ideal choice for everyday wear.
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Moissanite is a natural gemstone material that is created in a lab, so it kind of bridges the gap between synthetic and natural stones. It's very diamond-like in appearance and much more budget-friendly than a genuine diamond, so it's a great diamond alternative for someone who wants the diamond look without breaking the bank. As an added plus, the lab creation process is a lot friendlier to the environment than the energy required for diamond mining, so Moissanite is often the number one choice for those looking for a more eco-friendly, ethical alternative to a diamond.
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Colored Sapphires are my personal favorite stone to set in an alternative diamond engagement ring. Everyone knows about the most popular blue sapphire, and you may have just learned about the alternative white sapphire above, but they also come in a huge range of colors in between- all shades of pink, peach, yellow, green, teal and the whole blue spectrum (pale blue, deep blue, purple...) and even black! Sapphires are a very durable stone, second only to diamonds, so they're ideal engagement ring gemstones. Plus, they're a great way to add color and a touch of personality and uniqueness to your ring. I've matched sapphires to the eye color of a future fiancee countless times- which I think is hopelessly romantic! Budget-wise, colored sapphires run a huge range. Some of the more brilliant blues can rival diamond pricing and the true peach padparadscha sapphires can even exceed the cost of a diamond, but a lot of the in-between shades are much more attainable and super popular at the moment, like pale sky blues and teals.
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Morganite is one of the most popular diamond alternatives at the moment and, in my opinion, one of the most romantic. It comes in a dreamy array of pink tones from light peach to champagne to a soft watery bubblegum pink. It's like a pallette of blush with a shade to complement literally every complexion, and the rosy tones make it a natural companion to rose gold. Morganite is a member of the beryl family, which coasts other familiar members such as emerald and aquamarine. This puts it behind sapphire in hardness and durability but still makes it a viable option for everyday wear. I love to set morganite low down in my rings and often surround it with smaller diamonds to give it an extra level of protection.
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Not sure if a natural diamond or an alternative stone is right for you?