How to Choose the Right Engagement Ring #1
Combating Engagement Ring Anxiety With Deeper Understaning
It is a shared experience of everyone shopping for an engagement ring to feel some anxiety about making the right choice. This of course makes perfect sense, as you put pressure on yourself to get it right, given the significant symbolism which engagement rings represent. So it’s natural to feel somewhat overwhelmed, hesitant or tense about making a decision.
However, we often find a large amount of this anxiety comes from people feeling that they don’t know enough about jewellery or engagement rings to be making a well informed choice.
It important to us (and to you) that you have a reasonable understanding of how to judge the qualities of engagement rings, so you feel comfortable with your final choice and in control of the decision making.
So with this guide, we want to help you have greater confidence when considering your options for engagement rings, by deepening your understanding of what matters and why.
Understanding Engagement Gemstones
Durability and Toughness of Gemstones
Traditionally, engagement rings are bought as diamond solitaires (‘solitaire’ meaning any ring set with a single prominent gemstone). But the number of couples choosing other precious and semi-precious gemstones for engagement rings is fast growing.
While semi-precious stones are becoming more popular, we advise caution when deviating away from diamond for one very important reason: your significant other will likely want to wear their ring daily for the rest of their life. This makes the durability of the jewellery extremely important.
A piece of jewellery that is worn all the time tends to experience a lot of unintentional abuse, as it bumps, rubs and scratches against things as you move about naturally. As a result, we believe the most important baseline factor for an engagement ring is the durability of the chosen material. It needs to last a lifetime. Symbolically also, the durability is important, as it is meant to represent the commitment between the couple lasting through time, even against the bumps and scrapes of life.
There are only four ‘precious stones’: diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. All other gemstones are dubbed ‘semi-precious’ stones.
Why are some stones considered more precious than others? Simple, it’s their durability that determines their value!
These four ‘precious’ gemstones are therefore more durable and expensive to purchase than other gemstones but by their qualities, are the best choice for engagement rings.
So while you might be drawn to another type of gemstone, if your future partner wears their engagement ring all the time (in the shower, doing housework, at the gym etc) it will likely develop cumulative damage over time which will reduce the shine and sparkle of the stone. In general for engagement rings, we recommend stones that are at least an 7 on the Mohs scale for hardness and durability.
What is Moh's Hardness Scale and Which Gems are Best for Engagement Rings?
Diamond Engagement Rings
Friedrich Mohs was a German mineralogist who developed a scale for measuring material hardness in 1812. He selected ten minerals of distinctly different hardness that ranged from a very soft to very hard. Diamonds, the hardest known material, are a 10 on the Mohs scale.
Diamonds being the hardest precious stone known to man makes them the single best choice for engagement rings. They will fully resist any daily unintentional abuse and will last for generations without losing their beauty, making them the ideal symbol for lasting commitment and love.
Some people however shy away from Diamonds due to their cost, concerns about sourcing or because they are too traditional/boring.
Nowadays though, there is a growing market of man made diamonds, which are indistinguishable from mined diamonds, cost less, are 100% ethical and can come in any colour you desire (contact us for more info).
Ruby & Sapphire Engagement Rings
Corundum is a 9 on the Mohs scale. Corundum is best known for its gem varieties, Ruby and Sapphire. Corundum is a very hard, tough, and stable mineral, making highly suitable for engagement rings.
Rubies & Sapphires have long been regarded as symbols of love and romance for good reason. They are the most historically significant of the coloured stones, due to their popularity amongst European royalty. They were thought to bring health, love, peace and wisdom to their wearer, and they come in many different shades of red, blue, orange, green etc colours and due to their lower hardness, are often cut in more interesting ways than diamonds.
Emerald Engagement Rings
Emerald is 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale and has fair to good toughness, making it a stone that requires a little bit more care in wearing than ruby or sapphire. Even so, emeralds are stunning stones and with proper care will last a long time.
An emerald’s deep green hue makes it eye-catching, and just like glimmering diamonds, options are limitless when it comes to settings, cuts, and style.
From oval to pear to cushion in platinum, white, yellow or rose gold, emeralds really pop. Vintage brides will be all over Edwardian and Art Deco inspired variations set in yellow gold, while modern brides will enjoy platinum set stones, surrounded by a diamond or pavè band.
If you’re weary about committing to an emerald centre stone due to it’s relative toughness, an emerald accent for just a touch of colour can be stunning — complimentary side stones, a halo, or as part of a cluster.