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Colourful Gemstone Engagement Rings

Colourful gemstone engagement rings

The precious trio: rubies, sapphires and emeralds

When Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in 2010, he gave her the stunning 18-carat oval sapphire and diamond engagement ring that had belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. This sparked a trend in coloured gemstone engagement rings that shows no signs of abating.

And for good reason! Coloured gemstones are (usually) much less expensive than diamonds, they offer the chance to choose a truly unique ring and they avoid the ethical concerns linked to diamond production.

Gemstones are categorized (perhaps somewhat arbitrarily) as precious or semi-precious stones. This article takes a look at the three precious coloured gemstones: rubies, sapphires and emeralds.


Ruby engagement rings

Ruby engagement ringThe ruby is a variety of corundum, an extremely hard mineral with a mohs rating of 9.0. (Diamonds are the hardest with a mohs rating of 10.0.) Rubies therefore make a fantastic choice for engagement rings, as they should easily withstand a lifetime of wear.

The colour red has come to represent love and passion, making the ruby an extremely meaningful stone for a marriage proposal. If you decide on a ruby engagement ring, you will find yourself choosing from a seductive range of reds and deep pinks. The most sought after rubies are the blood red stones, known as “pigeon’s blood” rubies. There are, however, many other lovely … and less expensive … shades to choose from.

When choosing any coloured gemstone, purity and beauty of colour is the primary consideration. Clarity is also important, although a ruby with no inclusions (imperfections) would indicate that it has been treated (or is possibly even synthetic). You will likely wish to purchase a relatively modest-sized ruby. Good quality rubies of more than 3 carats are very rare and disproportionately expensive!

Price range for a 1 carat ruby: £250 – £5,000

Sapphire engagement rings

Sapphire engagement ringSapphire engagement rings are a very popular alternative to diamond rings. Sapphires are also a variety of corundum and so make another fantastic choice for engagement rings.

Blue sapphires, symbolising sincerity and faithfulness, are by far the most prominent choice for engagement rings. However, this gemstone comes in a multitude of different colours. In fact, other than the reds and deep pinks that are classed as rubies, you will struggle to find a colour that sapphires do not come in!

Cornflower blue sapphires are the most sought-after, although the pinkish-orange Padparadscha sapphires are also highly prized. Look for a stone with a vivid, highly saturated colour. It should preferably be eye-clean, i.e., no flaws visible to the naked eye.

Price range for a 1 carat blue sapphire: £150 – £2,000

Emerald engagement rings

Emerald engagement ringEmeralds are a variety of beryl and come in one colour – deep, gorgeous green. The name “emerald” actually comes from the Greek word smaragdus, which means green gem.

Emeralds symbolize love and virtue and so are another meaningful choice for an engagement ring. However, with a mohs rating of 8.0, emeralds are not as hard as rubies or sapphires. They also tend to have many inclusions, making them prone to fracture when impacted. A top quality emerald should stand up to daily wear; however, if you lead an active lifestyle, you may wish to choose another stone and reserve the emerald for an occasional ring.

An ideal emerald is deepest green with flashes of blue. Natural emeralds have fine scratches on the surface and a fine layer of oil or wax is usually applied to improve appearance. This treatment should be repeated every few years. Choosing an emerald with minimal inclusions will help to ensure its durability.

Price range for a 1 carat emerald: £250 – £7,500

Written by Harriet of, a website dedicated to providing inspiration and guidance to all those seeking that perfect engagement ring.

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