Does it ever feel like it was easier finding Prince Charming than selecting the perfect engagement ring? When it comes to a piece of "forever" jewelry, there can be more pressure than there needs to be. Ultimately, pick a ring that reflects your style, and you will grow to love it even more over the years. We've got 10 rings using 10 different gemstones to help you find a stone for your ring that you will adore just as much on your 40th anniversary as you do today.
First up is an engagement ring classic. Diamonds are a gorgeous and timeless way to go for your center stone (or for complementary stones around the setting and band). Symbolizing eternal love and strength, diamonds are among the most expensive gemstones, but are also the most popular. Therefore, it should be an easy and straightforward process to find plenty of options in different cuts and settings. Above, this stunning round diamond is nested inside a circle of silver beads. Perfect for brides that like their jewelry unique and playful, this diamond is also conflict-free, so there need be no worry about where it was sourced.
These beautiful deep blue gemstones are judged for their color quality (as are most gemstones), with the clearest, deepest blues being the most valuable. These are stones that have a slightly more purple than greenish tone, and present as more of a royal blue than a turquoise. They are synonymous with fidelity, and are therefore an ideal stone for a ring that represents your marriage vows. Above, this emerald-cut sapphire is flanked by two diamonds on a platinum ring, creating a sleek, modern style.
Related to the emerald, as they are both from the mineral beryl, these lighter blue stones have a sparkling, watery quality. The ideal aquamarine stone is a deeper aqua than the one shown above, but many brides favor the look of the lighter shades, regardless of cost. These lovelies represent peace and courage, and complement a wide variety of skin tones.
When considering gemstones for their rings, brides often forget about the humble pearl. Simple, pretty, and nostalgic, pearls are vastly more affordable than a gemstone of a similar size. Whether your pearl is cultured or natural, they symbolize purity and innocence. Vintage brides should consider going to an estate jewelry dealer to check out antique options, if they want a one-of-a-kind piece.
Mentioned earlier, the quality of the color of these gemstones is the most important aspect for determining their value. In emeralds, in addition to a deep green hue, it is equally important for the stone to have excellent clarity. In other words, you don't want a cloudy emerald regardless of the depth of green. Emeralds represent wisdom and hope; a great philosophy to enter into marriage with. This ring above features an emerald nestled between two smaller diamonds on a pave band of platinum. This stone suits "winter" skin tones well.
A completely unique and often underused gemstone is peridot. It's distinctively bright yellow-green coloring looks fantastic on brides with darker complexions. Symbolizing good luck (something we all want on our wedding day), this ring above features an oval peridot completely surrounded by glittering diamonds. It's thin band and longer stone would be great for a bride looking to visually elongate her fingers.
Of course, as with most gemstones, size matters. In almost all cases, a much larger stone will have a much higher value. However, as amethysts are a variety of quartz, this stone is absolutely all about the color, and size is much less relevant. Ideally, an amethyst will be a clear, yet deep purple. This example above shows off the gorgeous luminosity of amethysts with its round cut and tiny gold detail along the white gold band. Amethysts symbolize humility and sincerity.
With its signature brick red color, garnets have been a tremendously popular gemstone. If you are interested in vintage pieces, you will probably find many garnet engagement rings because of their prevalence during the 19th century. Because of its deep, bold color, a garnet doesn't need to be big to have an impact. Above, this demure round garnet on a gold band proves that this stone can be stunning no matter the size. In fact, in many cultures the garnet reminded people of pomegranate seeds. It represents healing, fertility, and sacrifice.
A pinker red than the garnet, rubies are arguably the most popular gemstone after diamonds. Indeed, they have represented wealth and status throughout many centuries and cultures. Thought to herald good fortune, rubies symbolize passion, love, and courage. Above, this unique floral setting with small round diamonds holds a deep magenta ruby. For a ruby to be of the best quality, it must be a deep pink-red (often referred to as "blood" red). Rubies that are too light are often labelled pink sapphires.
Topaz comes in a variety of shades from bright yellow to vibrant aqua, but some of the most highest-valued stones are those that have an almost transparent, slightly yellowed quality (as shown in the halo engagement ring above). No matter the color, topaz stones represent trust, success, and confidence; a perfect choice for the couple just starting out with big aspirations.
All of these gemstones are also birthstones, so one reason you might want to consider a particular stone is if it is assigned to the bride's birth month. That shouldn't limit you, though, it's fine to use a topaz if you were born in June and not November. Most of all, just pick a stone with a color that you love or a meaning you identify with. Consider skin tone or budget separately, as you can most likely find varieties or sizes that can accommodate both.