I was really touched when my fiancé asked if we could design my engagement ring together. While we did lose the element of surprise, we gained an opportunity to create a ring that represented us as a couple, and since I intend on wearing it for the rest of my life, I wanted to make sure it was something that we both loved. Neither of us are particular fans of the diamond industry so we wanted something with a classic vintage look but with a unique centerstone. We ended up with this emerald cut natural yellow sapphire with a diamond band that still causes me to drive recklessly due to my staring at its sparkle.
Since we did a lot of ring related research, I figured I would share a little of what I learned for any other ladies out there that are looking for an alternative type of ring. If you are like me and want to wear it constantly, you do want to keep in mind that certain stones hold up much better and won’t be damaged as easily. While diamonds are the hardest stone, emeralds and sapphires are very close behind and in fact used to be the most popular stones for engagement before the DeBeers campaign.
Sapphires are especially appealing because they come in literally every color of the rainbow and in terms of sparkle and quality are very close to diamonds for a fraction of the cost. The Natural Sapphire Company is a good place to research what colors and cuts you like, and they also have a selection of cut stones and pre-made jewelry. We chose to go with a local jeweler, but we did a lot of our initial looking here and its a great place to start.
If you aren’t concerned about wearing your ring everyday then you have a lot more freedom to choose different stones and settings. Just browsing department stores you can find some really beautiful rings that will still be high quality and make a statement. This ring from Saks has that luxury look about it, and could have special personal meaning if your birthstone is a topaz.
Of course if you’ve dreamed of a diamond ring all your life, then go for it! But why not avoid supporting diamond cartels and go fair trade or vintage instead? Green Karat makes amazing ecologically friendly jewelry with recycled metals. Their diamonds are lab created, which can sound unappealing but really they have the exact same physical characteristics that diamonds do, without waiting for the whole thousands of years in the ground thing to happen.
Searching for a quality vintage ring can be a little like looking for a needle in a haystack if you have a really specific idea of what you want, but even if you do the looking is half the fun. You do want to be careful of condition obviously, but there are some great reputable dealers out there. One that I like is Adin Antique Jewelry. The other advantages of a vintage ring are of course that it is completely unique, and while it might turn some people off, I think it would be really cool to have a piece with a history, even if you don’t know exactly what that history is.