All the glitters is not gold, and all that sparkles is not a diamond.
When it comes to engagement rings, there are plenty of ways to get the same glitz and glamor without sticking to a traditional yellow gold and clear diamond style.
Today, more people than ever before are injecting a little color in their lives by choosing engagement rings with colored gems, and there are numerous options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a gemstone with a difference or a unique one-off ring, a colored engagement ring is an excellent choice.
As custom jewelers, Peter Norman has created engagement rings that feature gems of all shapes and colors. Here, we share our knowledge of colored engagement rings and a few ideas.
- Precious gems and semi-precious gems
- Colored diamonds
- One color or two?
- Precious metal options
- Mixing metals
- Ready to color your world
Color your world, and your engagement ring
Just because diamonds are the traditional choice doesn’t mean they are right for you and your partner. Other gems offer the same level of sparkle and make for truly beautiful and unique engagement rings.
Precious gems and semi-precious gems
You may select a cool green emerald, a royal blue sapphire, or a rich and deep ruby for your colored engagement ring. All of these stones are available in a range of tones and hues too, so the intensity of the color and exact shades vary.
Outside of these three, which are classified as precious gems, there is also the option to choose a semi-precious stone, such as garnet, citrine, spinel, or aquamarine. Birthstones are another possible choice for colored engagement rings, using one can give your ring a little extra meaning and significance.
Popular semi-precious gems
- Aquamarine – This blue to blue-green toned gem is a popular choice for jewelry, and when cut well, offers up plenty of sparkle and shine. As it’s not particularly rare, this beryl stone can be an affordable choice. However, the darker and more intense the color, the more expensive the gem.
- Citrine – A jewelry staple, citrine’s bright yellow to orange tones make a real statement. As a member of the quartz family, citrine can have varied hardness, meaning some stones are more suitable than others.
- Garnet – Rich, deep, and with more than a hint of a gothic noir aesthetic, garnet is making a comeback of late. These stones are often found in antique jewelry and are prized for their intense color.
- Morganite – With its soft and subtle pink tone, morganite has a definite romantic feel. A type of beryl stone, these alternative gems reach a 7 to 8 on the hardness scale.
- Moissanite – First discovered in the 1800s, moissanite was mistaken for diamond at first, and it’s easy to see why. The shiny, clear stones rate a 9 on the Mohs scale and are nearly as sparkly as a real diamond.
- Opal – It might not be the most durable of all the semi-precious stones but opal’s soft iridescence is eternally beautiful. Plus, no two opals are ever the same or have exactly the same colors.
- Pearl – These gifts from the sea are significantly softer than other precious materials yet their creamy luster means they’re an enduring choice for delicate jewelry.
- Peridot – Emeralds aren’t the only green gem, peridot is bright, bold, and demands attention. The vibrant green tones mean these stones are often mistaken for their more expensive counterparts.
- Tourmaline – A fascinating gemstone that comes in a broad range of colors from mint-green to red. Tourmaline is growing in popularity, little wonder as it’s pretty, sparkly, and makes a big statement. We love these soft mint tourmaline earrings we created.
One thing to note with semi-precious stones is that they are not as hardy as precious gems. For instance, a diamond rates a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, a sapphire is a 9, and a garnet sits between 6.5 and 7.5.
Because less durable stones are more likely to be damaged or scratched accidentally, it’s best to contact your jeweler before settling on a semi-precious stone as some are more suitable than others. We’re custom jewelers and create bespoke pieces for our clients, many of which feature semi-precious gems. If you have an alternative idea for a stone in your ring, please get in touch for expert advice.
Hardness is not a concern with diamonds, which are among the most durable things on earth, whether they’re created in a lab or formed naturally. Diamonds come in a range of colors, making them an excellent choice for those who want a colored engagement ring but would prefer to stick to tradition.
Natural diamonds are available in several colors including blue, yellow, orange, pink, and even black. These tones are the result of interstitial impurities or slight defects in the gem, while this might lead you to think that colored diamonds are cheaper, many are more expensive than clear stones as numerous factors, such as clarity and rarity, affect a diamond’s cost. Consider the fancy blue Hope Diamond, one of the most famous and expensive gems in the world.
As with natural diamonds, lab-created stones are available in numerous colors. But as there is human input, the colors created are often more intense. If you’re looking for a bold colored diamond for an engagement ring, a gorgeous lab-grown stone could be ideal.
When looking into diamonds and colors, you’ll hear the term ‘fancy color.’ This term designates a diamond’s color against the scale used for colorless diamonds. Most natural stones fall into the colorless to light-yellow range and are graded on a D to Z scale.
Fancy natural diamonds are figuratively off the chart and are instead valued for their intensity of color and scarcity. Like natural stones, colored lab diamonds are also termed fancy if they meet the criteria. For more on the differences between natural mined and lab diamonds, take a look at our full article here.
One color or two?
If you’re creating a custom engagement ring with colored stones, you’re not limited to just one central gem or even one color. The ring’s overall design could feature several stones that complement the main stone, or it could have three gems of near equal size but different types.
For example, Jessica Simpson’s stunning engagement ring is a three-stone dazzler that features a large central ruby paired with flanking diamonds of a similar size. She’s not the only celebrity flaunting a colored engagement ring, either. Plenty of stars have chosen impactful colored gems, read more about their rings here.
A classic choice for a colored engagement ring is a central precious gem, such as an emerald, with flanking diamonds. These diamonds can surround the center stone like a halo, be part of the band, or form part of a three-stone setting.
As with many things in life though, you’re only limited by your imagination. There’s no need to stick to traditional designs, and no ‘rule’ saying a colored central stone should only be paired with clear diamonds.
The beauty of a custom engagement ring is the chance to imprint your own style and aesthetic. If you’d like light pink stones paired with pale yellow stones in a soft, candy-colored combination, you can. Likewise, if you’d like to have a large central diamond with flanking baguette-cut emeralds, instead of a central gem flanked by diamonds, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
Of course, gems aren’t the only way to add pizazz and interest to a piece of jewelry. The precious metals we use can also help create a unique colored engagement ring.
Precious metal options
Most engagement rings are made with platinum or one of the three gold options: white, rose, and yellow.
- Platinum – A cool, white metal with a crisp luster, platinum perfectly complements the dazzle and sparkle of diamonds, and it looks spectacular with a range of colored gems. The most precious of all jewelry metals, platinum is five times rarer than gold and won’t lose its sheen over time.
Gold is versatile and the most common metal choice for jewelry, including engagement rings. Pure gold has 24 karats, but as this metal is quite soft, gold is generally combined with other metals to increase its durability.
For engagement rings, 18 karats (that’s 75 percent pure gold) is an excellent option. It’s also Peter Norman’s preferred choice for durability without losing the metal’s aesthetic qualities. The remaining 25 percent is composed of metals such as copper, zinc, silver, and nickel. Each additional metal and percentage of an alloy impacts the metal’s exact color.
Gold jewelry comes in three color options:
- White gold – A contemporary choice, white gold gets its silver color from a combination of yellow gold with copper, zinc, and palladium or nickel. Rhodium plating helps protect the white gold from scratches and tarnishing, it also boosts the metal’s reflective properties. Because rhodium can wear off with time, white gold rings may need to be re-plated.
- Rose gold – This warm and romantic gold is the result of yellow gold combined with a copper alloy, the percentage of which is the same in rose gold as yellow or white, but the copper gives rose gold its unique shade.
- Yellow gold – A classic and traditional choice, yellow gold fell out of favor for a few years but is making a comeback of late. Yellow gold’s warm and rich patina comes from the combination of pure gold with copper and silver.
While choosing a single metal is a classic choice, if you want to inject a little extra color and interest into your engagement ring, consider mixing metals. There are several options, for example, you might have intertwined dual bands with rose and white gold, or a single band that displays both yellow gold and platinum.
Engagement rings that feature two different metals are known as two-tone rings, the most common combination is platinum and yellow gold, but you can choose any two (or even more) metals you like.
Another option is to use different metals for the band and for the setting of the gem or gems. For example, a platinum band can look great with a yellow gold setting for the central stone, or vice versa as seen in this Peter Norman ring. The metals you use can help the center stone pop, bring out its reflective properties, or complement its color.
For more colored engagement ring ideas, take a look at our range of unique and custom-made rings.
Ready to color your world?
Whether you choose to add color to your engagement ring with gems, mixed metals, or a combination of both, Peter Norman is here to help you color your world.
With more than 40 years of experience, our master craftspeople and gemologists know how to set gems of all colors, sizes, and shapes for maximum impact. Please get in touch and let’s start designing your colored engagement ring today.