Colored stones in engagement rings have never been more popular! Celebrities and royals such as Mariah Carey, Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry, Jessica Simpson and, of course, Kate Middleton, all sport colored sparklers on their left hands.
There are many ways to add color to your engagement and wedding rings, either as a center stone or as accents to set off a diamond center. Here are some tips to consider:
Fancy colored diamonds.
Fancy diamonds offer a hint or blaze of color as well as the hardness and brilliance of diamond – the hardest natural substance on earth. They score a 10 on the Moh’s scale of mineral hardness.
Fancy colored diamonds come in a rainbow of hues, including champagne, yellow, pink, blue, purple, violet, red, brown, orange, green, black and gray.
As with all diamonds, the cost goes up with quality. The 4Cs – color, clarity, cut and carat weight – still apply in grading, but color is considered the diamond’s most important attribute.
Because of their rarity, natural fancy-colored diamonds can be expensive. Color-treated diamonds are a budget option, but be careful. Not all color treatments are stable over time or well accepted in the jewelry industry.
Rubies and sapphires
Rubies and sapphires are both varieties of the mineral corundum. With a Mohs’ score of 9, they stand next to diamonds in terms of gem hardness.
Because the Mohs scale is not linear, diamond is about 300 percent harder than corundum. Still, rubies and diamonds are hard enough to stand up to daily wear, making them a good choice for engagement ring centers and accents.
September’s birthstone, sapphire, comes in a rainbow of colors. Blue is the most common. Other colors, including pink, yellow, orange, green, purple and a pinky-orange known as padparadscha, are known as fancy sapphires.
Ruby, the birthstone for July, blazes red. Hues range from orangey red to purplish. The finest ruby has a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red hue with vivid color saturation.
As with fancy colored diamonds, color is the most important factor in determining the value of rubies and sapphires, followed by cut, clarity and carat weight. When shopping for rubies and sapphires, ask about any treatments that may have been used to improve color and clarity. Some are widely used and considered stable, while others are unproved or controversial.
Other Colored Gemstones
Despite their beauty, we don’t generally recommend most other gemstones for everyday wear in an engagement ring. Because they are more easily scratched or shattered, gems such as emerald, aquamarine, amethyst, tourmaline and Tanzanite should be worn only occasionally.
Of course, if your heart is set on one of these gems, our designers can recommend protective settings. Keep in mind that you might have to replace your gem one or more times over the course of a long life together.
If you’d like to learn more about colored gemstones and jewelry, please stop by our store any time. Our non-commissioned jewelry consultants are here to teach you about the qualities of each gem and help you select the best option for your style and budget.