Engagement Ring Stone Varieties
Ok people, ’tis the season once again. No, not just that of the annual ‘turkey stay of execution,’ of avaricious munchkins clamoring for toys and the ‘imposed family visitation’ season; it’s marriage proposal time as well. For some reason, one third of the year’s proposals occur during the holidays. Perhaps this is because people are feeling so cheery and warm (despite the plummeting temperatures) in their lover’s arms, that they can easily envision and hope for a well spent life together. Maybe they just get all giddy at the sight of candy canes. We’ll never know for certain, but one thing that is for sure is that engagement rings will need to be purchased.
So what’s a potential proposer to do? Drop the requisite ‘three month’s salary’ on a costly, environmentally destructive, possibly bloody diamond? Well, that’s always one way to go – but luckily there are a bunch of other merry options.
If you’ve been following diamonds in the news at all over the past year or so, you will have seen an explosion of information on the man-made diamond front. Scientists are becoming increasingly more efficient and clever at growing diamonds in labs (instead of under the earth’s crust, like ‘real’ diamonds that are made by the gods). These stones have the same exact chemical composition as naturally derived diamonds (often with less blemishes too; they’re farmed in pristine labs, not the dirty, dirty dirt). The only noticeable difference is that they are cheaper: significantly. Score! White diamonds, the most desirable across the board, that are fabricated will run you about 15 to 20 percent less than natural diamonds. Even better if your thinking lies somewhere over the rainbow; colored High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) diamonds can cost an astounding 80 to 90 percent less than ‘real’ diamonds of the same hue.
Moiss Doesn’t Grow on a Rolling Gemstone
Now, on to the ‘diamond simulant’ category. These are stones that mimic diamond in many sparkling ways. The much maligned cubic zirconia is in this batch; the main complaint about this guy is that it chips, breaks and eventually loses its luster. As a result, most people turn their noses up to the high heavens at all diamond simulants. However, there is one of these diamond copiers that has some real staying power; moissanite. Naturally occurring moissanite is found in meteorites (obviously making them the most cherished gemstone of intergalactic aliens) and is incredibly similar to diamond in terms of density and glitter-ifficness. Believe it or not, moissanite can have a higher rating than diamond in the brilliance (sparkle) and fire (the way that light is refracted and dispersed through the stone) categories. Moissanite is commonly replicated in labs now, just like diamond, and is priced well below what human-made diamonds go for. Expect to pay about a cool grand (or less!) for a perfect 1 carat moissanite stone. Unless your soon be to betrothed and all of your mutual friends are expert gemologists, no one is going to be able to tell that this isn’t a diamond. We’re not saying to try to pass it off as one; just use all that saved cash for more essential things as an engaged couple, like a ravishing vacation or bathroom supplies.
We’ve been touting the benefits of alternative gemstones for quite some time. Not even getting into how much cheaper these all can be than diamonds, they can also be so much more unique and personal. Each gemstone has its own story as to where it comes from, how it was named and what its hue (or hues) symbolize. Maybe you pick your lover’s birthstone, maybe you just go with their favorite color. The possibilities here are endless (see?)