When it comes to engagement and wedding rings, diamonds have reigned as the stone of choice for quite some time. After faltering in desirability during the Great Depression, the ultimate monopoly over the diamond industry, De Beers, made it their mission to make diamonds universally synonymous with marriage. A vastly successful ad campaign and a few generations later, diamonds have still been going strong. Yet, as times and attitudes change, new styles and trends are inevitable. Not every single woman needs a diamond engagement ring anymore, or wants to hold on to old diamond jewelry. If you are considering breaking away from the norm, here are some lovely, eye-catching stone options as compiled by Diamond Lighthouse. Precious or semi-precious, each stone holds its own intrinsic significance. They also are drastically different in terms of value and gradation (as opposed to the standard “4C’s” used to determine a diamond’s worth – learn more here). Listed here by birthstone, there definitely is a tailor made gem out there for everyone.
Garnet (Capricorn/January) – while garnet actually comes in a wide variety of colors, it is most often associated with a deep red or maroon hue. Its name in Latin is “granate,” which means “seed,” as it was thought to resemble the seed of the pomegranate fruit. Garnet is identified with vitality, regeneration, and the ability to ward off evil.
Garnet is on the inexpensive side; one carat typically costs around $20 to $100, depending on condition.
Amethyst (Aquarius/February)- known as the “Sobriety Stone” (just be careful about sending someone the wrong message with this one). Amethyst naturally occurs in light to deep purple shades, with frosty white perimeters. Thought to have calming and peace providing powers. Plus it complements girls with blue eyes nicely.
A nice, polished amethyst will cost in the $150 range per carat.
Aquamarine (Pisces/March)- mythologically, the stone of courage, strength and bravado. Redundantly named in Latin (aqua marina: “water…of the sea”), this stone represents fortitude – but ironically is quite delicate; when exposed to sunlight or intense heat, its beautiful blue color can fade to white.
Aquamarine, when at its bluest and brightest, can fetch up $500 per carat.
*Sorry Aries/April, you get skipped for obvious reasons… (it’s diamond).
Emerald (Taurus/May) – the “poet’s gemstone,” emerald is quite the steamy stone, with its connections to love, romance and passion. Coined by the Greeks as “smaragdos” (green gem), the verdant emerald is one of the four “precious stones.”
Since emerald is a precious stone, its value is drastically affected by its 4C’s; one carat will range from $30 to $10,000.
Pearl (Gemini/June) – these naturally round objects (technically not stones) are formed in a rather odd way (in the belly of a clam – and in extremely rare circumstances, spontaneously), and as such, have quite a unique appearance. Perhaps due to their birth at sea, pearls are purported to provide the wearer with the ability to effortlessly vacillate with the “ebb and flow” of life. Also known for purity, humility and a spiritual connection to divine feminine energy.
Due to the vast discrepancies in the quality, size and caliber of pearls, they can cost anywhere from $10 per pearl to $400 and more.
Ruby (Cancer/July)- is believed to inspire joy, promulgate integrity, forge commitments and strengthen bonds. Technically, rubies are red sapphires (made of the mineral corundum, the third hardest next to diamond and moissanite). The most valuable rubies are “blood red,” and descend in price as their color grade becomes less intense.
Ruby, another precious stone, can be on the more expensive side. One of high quality can yield $700 to $3000 per carat.
Peridot (Leo/August)- known for its supposed healing properties, ability to evoke compassion and an overall friendly energy. In the olivine mineral family, peridot usually appears in a lighter olive green color. Its name stems from “paederot” in Latin, which is a type of opal, hence its similarly ethereal appearance.
Peridot can be pretty reasonably priced; a low quality stone will range from $50 to $200 per carat, and a higher quality one from $300 to $500.
Sapphire (Virgo/September)- most famous for their bright blue hue, sapphire actually comes in a wide spectrum of colors (fancy colours, padparadscha (pink), star (with an asterism; a star-like pattern imbedded) and “color change” – where they appear as different colors in varying light). Exquisite beauty aside, sapphire is the stone of the intellectual; thought to increase intuition and promote deep meditation.
Sapphire (the final precious) is graded in a similar manner to diamond, and usually costs just slightly less. Finer stones can be valued up to $10,000 per carat.
Opal (Libra/October)- for those looking to find their path, opal is ideal as it is the stone of inspiration. Also thought to bolster creativity and unleash the imagination. It’s mystically opaque, translucent tone is often rife with delicious iridescent shimmers.
Since opal is a more nebulous stone than many of the others on the list, it is measured in ounces; it can cost from $75 to $225 per ounce.
Topaz (Scorpio/November) – aids in the balancing of emotions, soothing of the spirit and the deliverance of tension. Topaz in its purest form is clear and colorless, but like many stones, manifests in a variety of tints, usually on the paler side. Perfect for those who like understated gems/who have unassuming personalities.
Depending on the aspect of the stone, the range in price can differ quite dramatically; from as low as $20 to $350 per carat.
Tanzanite (Sagittarius/December)- the “stone of magic,” it helps you become attuned to the spiritual realm and awakens psychic abilities (if you go in for that). Its blue, violet and purple tones are all amazingly radiant (hence it has emerged as a less costly alternative for sapphire). Named for the country that it was originally mined from, tanzanite is also referred to as the “workaholic’s stone,” as it lets you figuratively stop and smell the roses and slow things down a notch.
Tanzanite currently ranges from $700 to $1,200 per carat, for higher quality stones.
This is just the tip of the gemstone iceberg; there are a host of other lovely and jaw dropping stones to choose from. These include, but are not limited to, apatite, onyx, rose quartz, turquoise and chrysoprase. Many of these stones are significantly less in price than diamonds. If you opt for any of the aforementioned gems and minerals for your new rings, you could save yourself a considerable amount. If you have old diamond rings, consider selling them and updating your stone to one that better suits your personality. When selling with Diamond Lighthouse, you get the most money possible for your diamonds, guaranteed. Then you’ll be free to upgrade to a new stone that fits your style, and still have extra money to shop with! Learn more.