Breaking Tradition: The Rise of Non-diamond Engagement Rings

In the past, when you decided to pop the question, that meant finding the perfect diamond. Today, you can just throw all the rule books out, choosing something that perfectly suits the love of your life. A non-diamond engagement ring that prominently features a sapphire, amethyst, or even an aquamarine gemstone? A simple band with no stone at all? Or maybe a ring featuring a totally unexpected material, like meteorite or a wood inlay?

The options for engagement rings without diamonds are endless! Here’s the scoop on non-diamond engagement rings, non-diamond wedding rings, and even promise rings — as well as how to choose the best one for your beloved.

History Of Non-Diamond Engagement Rings


Any history buff knows how much Ancient Rome impacted trends and customs we still recognize today, and the engagement ring is no different. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Romans marked their contracted betrothed with rings made of flint, bone, and ivory. (Think less romance and more business transactions. Not exactly dreamy, right?)

Egyptian pharaohs eventually decided a ring — a non-ending circle — should represent the eternal bond between two individuals. And in 850, Pope Nicholas I established the engagement ring as the official representation of a man’s intent to marry a woman. It was centuries later, in 1477, that the first diamond appeared on an engagement ring, thanks to Austrian Archduke Maximilian’s proposal to Mary of Burgundy. Even then, it wasn’t regular practice for everyday folks professing their love.

It wasn’t until jeweler De Beers first launched its “A Diamond is Forever” advertising campaign in 1947 that a diamond ring became synonymous with engagements. However, before World War II, things were a bit different. In fact, during this era (and many before it), ninety percent of proposals featured non-diamond engagement rings. Gemstones, like rubies, were much more prevalent, and today’s tides are turning in that same direction.

Diamond Engagement Ring Alternatives


While diamonds still reign supreme, more and more modern brides are leaning more toward engagement rings without diamonds — options that more completely capture their individual personalities and unique styles. Here are a few more modern (or historic, depending on how you look at it) ideas for non-diamond engagement rings:

Vintage Rings

A vintage ring is one that’s anywhere between twenty to ninety years old. (If it’s more than one hundred years old, it’s considered antique.) That means if your beloved treasures their mother’s pear-shaped diamond ring from the ’80s or their grandmother’s 1960s-era mid-century modern engagement ring, it could be just the inspiration you need.

Birthstone Rings

Emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and other colored engagement rings were de rigueur among wealthy families. For instance, they believed the mysterious emerald symbolized a happy, long-lasting marriage, while aquamarine stones conveyed courage, health, clarity, and communication. A non-diamond engagement ring with your and her birthstones set atop a never-ending circle of love? Sounds like the perfect romantic symbolism!

Minimalist Rings

Whether owing to her job or her no-frills lifestyle, she may not want an extravagant center stone. In this case, consider minimalist engagement rings without diamonds. An understated ring that boasts a single, brilliant gemstone on a sterling silver band may be “the one” for her. Or a simple yellow or white gold band may be everything she wants. And if diamonds are a stone you still want to incorporate, you can flank the main gem with smaller diamond or moissanite stones.

Finding The Right Ring


With all these options, how do you select just the right non-diamond engagement ring for your beloved? It may not be as hard as you think. A simple evaluation of your bride’s personality, style, and lifestyle may be just the ticket.

Consider Her Personality

Is she a tomboy through and through, or does your fiancee’-to-be prefer to dress in elegant dresses and colorful tops, always sporting a pair of earrings and a bracelet? Pay attention to how she dresses and the jewelry she selects for herself. That’ll give you a better guide to the styles she prefers.

Examine Her Job And Lifestyle

If your soon-to-be betrothed spends most of the day getting their hands dirty, they’re going to need a ring that can hold up to any task at hand. Engagement rings without diamonds typically include settings, precious stones, and more durable materials that can withstand wear and tear. We also suggest a band that fits snug on their finger, one that isn’t too bulky and is less likely to catch or snag on things throughout their active day.

Ask Her Friends

When it comes to selecting the right ring, there’s one invaluable resource you may not consider — your partner’s besties. Not only will her circle of friends be over the moon to hear about your proposal plans, but they’ll jump at the opportunity to offer any suggestions or guidance about what your true love might like or dislike. In fact, it may not be a bad idea to take one or two of them shopping with you so you can get their take on engagement rings that are not diamonds.

Also, don’t forget to consider things like reputable jewelers, stone quality, and the right metal to complement your one-and-only’s skin tone. You should also obtain ring insurance just in case anything happens to this precious symbol of your love.

Shopping for a non-diamond engagement ring or wedding rings without diamonds can be a bit tricky, especially for a first-timer. But at the end of the day, the ring you select will be just that — the one you chose to represent your love. And that will, ultimately, mean the most to your forever partner.