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Diamonds may be a girl's best friend however an increasing number of brides-to-be are thinking outside the diamond solitaire box when it comes to choosing an engagement ring. While a sparkling white diamond atop a gold or platinum band is still the first choice, the popularity of non-diamond engagement rings is on the rise. Stars like Elizabeth Hurley and Rebecca Romijn have opted for colourful stones in hues like canary yellow and sapphire blue. The Duchess of Cambridge, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Biel and Elizabeth Hurley all have stunning sapphire engagement rings.
Coloured gemstones are a great option for couples with a restricted budget as they offer a more affordable alternative to the traditional diamond solitaire. There is an endless array of colours and cuts to choose from, however as an engagement ring is a jewel that most of us will wear every day, the stone needs to be hardy enough to withstand daily wear and tear.
Diana and Kates Sapphire and diamond cluster.
Developed by Friedrich Mohs in 1812, the Mohs scale is the system used to grade gemstones according to their hardness. Although the diamond sits in the top spot with a perfect score of 10, there are other gemstones that make good centre stones for engagement rings. Out of the big three coloured gemstones, Rubies and Sapphires are good choices as they score 9 on the Mohs scale, while Emerald is a more delicate 7.5-8 and therefore less suitable for an engagement ring. If you opt for Sapphire, there is no need to restrict yourself to blue as the stone comes in such a wide assortment of hues, from pink and purple to yellow and orange.
Morganite engagement rings are becoming increasingly more popular in Ireland. The beautiful pink and peachy tones of this particular stone evoke romance and looks amazing when set in a stunning halo of diamond.
If you want a gemstone that is certain to become a talking point wherever you go, the Chameleonic Alexandrite could be the one for you. Alexandrite shifts its colour from green or bluish-green in daylight, to red or purplish-red in incandescent light. With a good hardness of 8.5, it is the perfect choice for brides who want to stand out from the crowd.
Topaz is another durable gemstone with numerous colour options including white, yellow, red, grey, blue or pink. If you’re on a tight budget, it is also worth checking out spinel, which again comes in a variety of colours including a beautiful deep red.