Which stone is best for an engagement ring?
A couple of questions I get all the time is what stone should I put in an engagement ring or wedding band? & What is the difference between a mined diamond, lab-grown diamond, moissanite and white sapphire?
Ultimately the choice is up to you, however some stones (like the ones listed above) definitely hold up better to everyday wear making them popular choices. While it can be easy to see a “clear white” mineral and assume they all have the exact same properties as a diamond (the more traditional engagement ring option) these stones actually are all quite different. It’s important to think about your lifestyle and philosophies when picking out gemstones for such important daily pieces such as engagement rings or wedding bands.
(Round salt and pepper diamond center with SI trillion cut diamond accents)
So diamonds are definitely the most classic option for an engagement or wedding ring and for good reason. They are the hardest mineral on earth, they rank at 10 on the Moh’s scale of hardness which is basically a scale that rates gemstones. The reason hardness is important is because for a ring you plan to wear everyday for a lifetime, it’s crucial you pick something that will hold up to the test of time. (you can read more about gemstone hardness and durability here) Diamonds are also incredibly sparkly, which is why so many people love them! They are super reflective which is nice because even if they haven’t been cleaned in quite some time they’ll still hold lots of sparkle. Not all diamonds are created equally though, they have a range of qualities (clarity, cut and color) For a client that is looking for a more traditional look with a clear white diamond I typically like to work in the VS-SI clarity range and D-H color range. This basically means that you’re getting a diamond that is colorless or near colorless with excellent clarity . Unfortunately diamonds of this quality don’t come cheap. For clients wanting a diamond but not wanting to break the bank some other options like salt and pepper diamonds are a good way to get a diamond of a decent carat size without spending your life savings. Choosing a colored diamond or more included style like a “salt and pepper” or “icy” diamond is a great option for edgier clients who aren’t necessarily going after the “traditional” engagement ring look. Something to keep in mind however is that all diamonds are mined. This means they come from the earth and not only can the mines be devastating to our planet but the stones pass through a lot of hands. While I do my best to source these stones as ethically as possible the industry still has lots of issues. I do hope as time goes on transparent sourcing will become even easier!
(Round lab grown diamond)
Fairly new to the scene are lab grown diamonds, because they don’t come from the earth they are an excellent choice for the eco-conscious couple. The labs actually create the exact same environment that causes diamonds to form underground. These stones have the same composition and optical qualities as the traditional mined diamond. This means you’ll get the same durability and sparkle as a mined diamond without the negative social or environment impacts. These stones are also available in tons of different colors and clarity so the options are nearly endless. While lab-grown diamonds are less expensive than their mined sister they still come in at a fairly high price point which is definitely something to keep in mind when stone shopping.
(Colorless pear moissanite center with melee moissanite accent stones)
Ah Moissanite, where do I begin? Moissanite is also a lab-grown gem, but it has a completely different composition than a diamond. It looks and acts like a diamond but there’s a molecular difference. Moissanites are available in colorless and near-colorless options, so they're very similar in clarity and color when comparing them to high quality diamonds. They’re super durable to ranking only second to diamond, making them even harder than sapphires and rubies! Moissanites sparkle, and I mean it, even if you’re in a dimly lit room with a gunk filled ring because it hasn’t been cleaned in ages, it’s still going to sparkle! What I also love about Moissanites is that they are completely ethical, the stones I use, Charles & Colvard, are actually created right here in the United States. These stones are an excellent option because not only are they nearly indisguishable from a diamond they also come in at a very affordable price point. Which means you can get that 1 carat sparkle and still afford your rent! In my opinion you really can’t go wrong with the sparkle, durability, price-point and ethical qualities of a moissanite.
(Round white sapphire center with melee white sapphire accent stones)
Over the years I’ve had several couples come to me asking for white sapphires. They rank at a 9 on the Moh's Scale, ranking it in the top 3 for hardness. While a sapphire isn't as strong as a diamond or say a moissanite, it’s still one of the hardest earth mined gemstones, making it a good choice for an engagement or wedding ring. Unfortunately sapphires require a lot of cleaning as they don’t have the same optical qualities as a diamond or moissanite. They have less fire which means less sparkle. As the stone gets dirty from daily activities, the facets aren’t going to reflect as much. However, with frequent professional cleaning you can minimize this downside to keep your sapphire looking as good as new! Also, even though a sapphire is quite hard, they will eventually show wear. Depending on your lifestyle a sapphire may not be the best choice as after many years of everyday wear the facets will wear down, resulting in an almost foggy look. This isn’t something that can be fixed with a cleaning and in most cases the stone will have to be replaced. However don’t let this turn you away if you have your heart set on a sapphire, the come in lots of different colors and with special care a sapphire can last a very long time!
The end decision on what you choose is up to you, and you don’t even have to pick any of the above! But I hope you come away from this with a little more direction on this important decision. If you still have questions and need more guidance I am happy to help, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you:)