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10 Alternative Stones for an Engagement Ring with a Difference

10 Alternative Stones for an Engagement Rings

Are you looking to ‘pop the question’ to your loved one but not quite sure which engagement ring to get? Or perhaps you have already discussed the question at length and are searching together

Ernest Jones - Editor

Either way, if your special someone has a unique style or would like to break the mould with an alternative to the traditional diamond then read on. Here at Ernest Jones, we have the ultimate guide to diamond alternatives for engagement rings to help make your decision that little bit easier.

What is an Alternative to a Diamond Engagement Ring?

For the woman with her own unique style, for those who seek out un-trodden paths, those with character, who choose not to follow the herd, or who like to add a little more colour, there are an array of alternatives to the diamond engagement ring. Indeed, diamond alternatives are becoming increasingly sought after, and with such stunning colours and cuts of unique stones, here is a curated selection of the finest. Coloured gemstones offer an element of distinction to those classic engagement rings and can make a gorgeous statement piece. So, continue reading to find out which unique engagement ring stones could be the one for that special someone.


Amethyst is a form of quartz which may range in colour from the deepest shades of purple to the palest shades of pastel lavender or pink. A strong purple is considered the most valuable shade, but when pairing the lavender hue with silver, you’ll get a simply stunning romantic setting. For something more unique, set your amethyst with other colours and metals and you’ll get a ring your other half will love. Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.

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Aquamarine is a form of the mineral beryl with a cyan, or blue-green, colouration. You don’t need a classical education to recognise that the name means ‘water of the sea’ which reflects the translucent blue of the ocean on a perfect day. Indeed, the ancient Romans believed that the gem would keep travellers safe at sea. Aquamarine offers beautiful clarity and a gorgeous centrepiece for an engagement ring setting and could make the perfect choice for any woman with a passion for the sea or anything nautical, or perhaps might be a good choice for a lady with pale blue eyes. Aquamarine is also the traditional birthstone for March.

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If you are truly after a stone which is not only exotic but also will make a remarkable talking point for many years to come then aquaprase is surely one to investigate further. It is something extraordinarily rare; a new gemstone. Discovered only a few years ago in Africa by Greek gem explorer Yianni Melas who named it aquaprase which is Greek for water-green. It is a milky translucent blue-green chalcedony that holds natural brown matrix giving each stone a unique beauty, perfect for the truly unique lady.

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Blue Zircon

Zircon is a naturally occurring zirconium silicate not to be confused with cubic zirconia (zirconium dioxide) a synthetic gemstone. Although reasonably common in very small sizes, large crystals are very rare. Zircon may be found in a range of colours depending on the impurities contained; of these, blue zircon is the most popular. With outstanding brilliance, in shades from very pale to mid-blue, blue zirconium is a stunning choice for a lady who likes blue stones and wants something just a little bit out of the ordinary.

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The traditional birthstone for November is citrine, yellow quartz which gets its colour from iron impurities and its name from the same root as citrus fruits. Naturally occurring citrine is very rare with most coming from Brazil. The yellow colour can also be achieved by heat-treating amethyst or smoke quartz. Citrine engagement rings are a yellow to orange colour and can be cut into a variety of shapes. The deeper coloured stones tend to be the most prized. Superstition has it that citrine will bring the bearer prosperity. If your partner was born in November, or just likes the idea of an amber gemstone, then citrine could well be the choice, and if the superstition turns out to be true, that would be a no bad thing.

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A green form of beryl, emeralds have been valued throughout history and are the gems of royalty. In ancient times the main source of emeralds was Egypt while in modern times most emeralds come from Columbia. An emerald creates the perfect centrepiece for a statement engagement ring. They range from a yellow-green to a blue-green but ideally, they should have a verdant green colour with a high degree of transparency. The very best stones have good natural clarity while lesser stones may be treated to improve their appearance. Emerald is the traditional birthstone for May.

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The traditional birthstone for January has been used as a gemstone since at least the bronze-age, often inlaid into gold. Although coming in many colours it is the deep red variety which is best known and most widely used in modern gemstones. Garnet engagement rings boast all kinds of romance. With a deep red hue, they pair beautifully with pearls or stones of other colours. If your loved one was born in January, has a love for dark reds, or has a unique, quirky edge, the garnet stone could be a perfect choice.

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A rose-pink form of beryl, morganite stones large enough to be used in jewellery was discovered in 1910 and named for American financier J.P. Morgan. Morganite engagement rings have increased dramatically in popularity recently as an alternative to diamonds. The pale pink hues give this stone strongly romantic connotations and coming from the same family as emeralds certainly add to their appeal.

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The birthstone for the month of October is the most varied and unique of all. In antiquity, it was believed to be extremely lucky bearing all the qualities of every other colour of gemstone and an opal wrapped in a bay leaf rendered the holder invisible (testing has shown this is no longer effective if it ever was). Although Opal engagement rings offer the most unique ring since no two stones are identical. So for the most individual lady or those who love all the colours, an opal ring is likely to be your ideal choice.

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Sapphires are a form of the mineral and can come in a huge variety of colours and shades including yellow, purple, orange, green, and even grey, as well as the more familiar blues ranging from cornflower blue to almost black, but not red because then they’re rubies. The classic colour is a deep blue from royal to navy and makes for a stunning engagement ring. Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September.

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What Stone is Best for Engagement Rings?

Although the classic engagement stone is always going to be a diamond, it is hoped that this article gives you enough information to make an informed choice about the many stunning and creative alternatives. Just as no two brides are alike, nor are any two engagement rings. Your selection is a symbol of your eternal love for one individual and will depend more on their character and preferences than on any recommendations or personal opinions, and that is exactly as it should be.

If you need inspiration following your purchase, check out our guide on how to wear and style your engagement ring.