By Devorah Isenberg
, Monday, October 18, 2010 6:39 AM
Diamonds have been the de rigeur stone for solitaire engagement rings
for over a hundred years, but did you know it wasn’t always this way? Throughout the Middle Ages, before modern cutting techniques were invented sapphires
were the most favored stones for jewelry. And although the modern tradition of diamond engagement rings
also dates back only about a century, couples have been giving each other gemstone rings for hundreds of years.
There are hundreds of kinds of gemstones available, in almost every color. But not all of them are suited for use in a solitaire engagement ring and here’s why: with daily wearing and exposure, the engagement ring is more prone to damage than any other piece of jewelry. Not all gemstones are hard enough to withstand that kind of pressure. Rubies, sapphires and emeralds are the three most popular gemstones for solitaire engagement rings, but lesser-known beauties like spinel, citrine and tsavorite can make gorgeous rings as well. Beware of a jeweler who promises to make an engagement ring with amber or turquoise, as these beautiful stones are too soft to make durable rings.
Gemstones can be set just like diamonds
are, so try looking at diamond solitaire settings and then asking if your favorite can be set with a gemstone instead. Gemstones are a great way to add individuality to your solitaire engagement ring, as well as an affordable but no less beautiful alternative to the classic diamond.
Take a look at some stunning solitaire engagement rings that feature stones other than the classic diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
This gorgeous solitaire engagement ring is set with a 2.33 carat green tsavorite gemstone. Tsavorite, which is named after Tsavo National Park in Kenya where it was discovered, is relatively new to the gemstone market. It is hard enough for use in a solitaire engagement ring, and its naturally-occurring color, which ranges from light to deep green, makes it a great alternative to the emerald.
This unbelievable solitaire engagement ring features a rock of over 5 carats, a size that would unattainable to most of us if it were a diamond. Instead, this ring features a spessartine garnet. Garnets are popular, beautiful gemstones that can occur naturally in virtually any color. This variety, known as spessarite, is a smoky yellow-orange that is sexy and subtle all at once. If you are looking for an unusual and eye-catching color, consider a garnet solitaire engagement ring.
This variation on the classic Swan by Vatche
design features an aquamarine stone. Aquamarine is a variation of the mineral beryl that has a lovely sky-blue color and exceptional clarity. It is the March birthstone, making it a perfect solitaire engagement ring choice for a woman with a March birthday.
This blood-red stone is a ruby, one of the most popular gemstones for a solitaire engagement ring, because of their glamorous color and their superior hardness. The July birthstone, these stones date back to the ancient world, where they were considered symbols of good luck and of eternal love and passion. Set into a beautiful diamond setting, this gorgeous stone is a sexy, eye-catching variation on the classic solitaire engagement ring.
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