A wise man (or woman) once said something along the lines of:
“The only constant in life is change.”
In recent years (especially in the past year-plus), we’ve all come to realize the truth in this pearl of wisdom. Now more than ever before, we must not only be familiar with the alternative and the non-traditional — we must be willing to embrace it.
While the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the reality of in-person weddings, the trend towards non-traditional partnerships, marriages and weddings was already…much more than merely a change.
And let’s all pause and give thanks for that, shall we? To each their own — including their own individual interpretation of what a relationship, marriage, wedding or wedding ring should look, sound and feel like.
Of course, the pandemic also altered quite a few peoples’ budgets. As much as we here at Zillion love diamonds (and know that many of you do, too), there’s no doubt that these special stones also come with a steep price tag. So a lower price point is another attractive lure to choose a non-traditional, non-diamond-centered engagement ring. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular alternatives available today.
Though it’s far from a household name, Morganite is quite striking in its own right — and has become quite popular with Millennial couples in recent years. An alluring pink-to-orange-pink-to-coral shade of beryl (a mineral that includes both emerald and aquamarine), it resides in the same family as emerald (green beryl) and aquamarine (blue beryl). It has a pretty cool history, too. Morganite was discovered in Madagascar in 1910 by George F. Kunz, the chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co. who also served as the personal gemologist to banker J.P. Morgan. Many people who select a morganite-centred ring choose to pair it with a rose gold band, since the warm pink-hued tones pair so well together. Just like you and your loved one.
Not to be confused with morganite, moissanite is a brilliant, clear gemstone that at first glance might resemble a diamond. There’s a few big differences, however. Including the cost — with moissanite clocking it at about 90% less than a diamond. This gemstone was first discovered in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan, hence its name. Moissan himself at first thought he had found diamonds inside a meteor crater, but it turned out this gemstone is composed of silicon carbide. Another difference involves light reflection, with moissanites having a higher reflective index than diamonds. Since they’re so brilliant, these stones look great on just about any band.
Believe it or not, there was a time where sapphire was actually the go-to gemstone for engagement rings. That all changed in the 19th century , but it’s easy to see why sapphire held sway for a few centuries of its own before that turning point. As durable as they are beautiful, sapphires’ score of 9 on the MOHS Hardness Scale is second only to diamonds’ 10. Blue sapphires in particular also long symbolized romantic traits like loyalty and truth. You might recall that Princess Diana turned heads with a 12-carat blue sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring back in the 1980s — or that Kate Middleton revived this Royal resurgence around 10 years ago. Of course, if you’re opting for blue sapphire minus the diamond, you don’t need to have a Royal budget.
Though similar in hue to sapphire, tanzanite is typically a more affordable gemstone. A top-end tanzanite will showcase a deep tone that can range from royal blue all the way to a dazzling violet. Tanzanite has gained some recent celebrity popularity due to Los Angeles-based fine jeweler Kyle Chan — who has draped everyone from Lady Gaga to Beyonce to Miley Cyrus and more in dazzling tanzanite pieces. The stone itself is quite rare, as it is only found in the East African country of Tanzania. Considered a “semi-precious” gemstone, it’s a sub-variety of the mineral zoisite.
We’ve covered a lot of ground when it comes to history, but maybe no gemstone is more steeped in history than jade. Artisans have been crafting with jade for thousands of years, and the stone’s spiritual connotations are world-renowned. The Mayans and Aztecs thought it could cure pain, and the Chinese have revered Jade since its discovery in Burma (now known as Myanmar) as far back as 2950 B.C. From statues to weapons to jewelry, the incredibly durable gemstone makes many appearances throughout Chinese culture, and it’s also enjoyed popularity as a non-diamond alternative in engagement rings. There are actually two types of jade; nephrite and jadeite — with jadeite being valued more for both its rarity and extra vivid green shine. A specific shade of green known as Imperial Jade was even once reserved for only the emperor of China. The primary cut for jade is known as “cabochon” (meaning it’s not faceted nor carved), and jade-centric engagement rings are typically oval, round or marquise silhouette in their cut.
If none of these above options are really doing it for you, why not consider…the next best thing to natural diamonds? In recent years, the popularity of non-natural, lab-grown diamonds has surged dramatically. Because lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural diamonds, they’re every bit as durable, beautiful and brilliant as the real thing (which take a lot longer to form). In addition to being more affordable, they’re also preferred by many because they are more…ethical. They’re grown in a lab, not mined in some far-flung country.
Whatever You Choose…Accent it with Insurance
No matter what you choose to do when it comes to your engagement ring, make sure to add an extra layer of protection and affection by purchasing jewelry insurance from Zillion. The gemstones that star and shine inside your engagement ring are a lot like your love — brilliant, rare and invaluable. And always worth protecting.
It’s easy to get started, too. Just visit our homepage and get your free quote today!