Harriet Tuppen: Coloured gemstone engagement rings- Part I

The big three: rubies, sapphires and emeralds

If you like the idea of a unique engagement ring that expresses your personality, consider exploring the gorgeous world of coloured gemstones.

Ever since Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with the 18-carat oval sapphire engagement ring that belonged to his mother, Princess Diana, coloured engagement rings have been very much in vogue. Think of Jessica Simpson’s vintage-style ruby engagement ring or Halle Berry’s 4-carat emerald engagement ring.

If you would like to join this fashionable elite, read on!

Gemstones are divided (rather arbitrarily, one can argue) between precious and semi-precious stones. This article looks at the three precious coloured gemstones: rubies, sapphires and emeralds.


THE MOHS SCALE:The Mohs scale measures the hardness of gemstones. The scale runs from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest. It is important to match the durability of the gemstone you choose with your lifestyle. Certain gems are simply too soft or brittle for everyday wear.



Dramatic Rubies

Mohs Hardness: 9.0

Ruby engagement ring

Rubies are a variety of corundum (or aluminum oxide). This mineral is extremely hard and so rubies make a fantastic choice for engagement rings. Not to mention that the colour red symbolizes love, passion and vitality!

If you set your heart on a ruby engagement ring, you will be choosing from an alluring range of reds and deep pinks. The deepest, blood red stones, known as “pigeon’s blood” rubies are the most prized. However, there are many other lovely … and less pricey … shades to choose from.

When choosing a ruby, purity and beauty of colour is the primary consideration. The transparency of the stone is also important, although a flawless stone could indicate that it has been treated or is synthetic. When it comes to carat size, you may wish to purchase a relatively modest-sized ruby. Good quality, large rubies are very rare and can easily exceed diamonds of comparable quality in price!


Stylish Sapphires

Mohs Hardness: 9.0

Sapphire engagement ring

Blue sapphire engagement rings are the most popular alternative to diamond rings. Blue symbolizes faithfulness and sincerity. Similar to rubies, sapphires are varieties of corundum and so make excellent, hard-wearing choices for engagement rings.

While you usually see blue sapphires, you may be surprised at just how many colours of sapphires exist. In fact, other than the shades of red that are classed as rubies, you would be hard pushed to find a colour that these stones do not come in. You can find sapphires of purple, green, pink, orange, yellow, brown and even white.

“True” blue sapphires, without hints of green or purple, are the most sought-after. Look for a vivid, highly saturated colour, without patches of brown or gray. There should also be no inclusions (imperfections) visible to the naked eye.


Cool Emeralds

Mohs Hardness: 7.5 - 8.0

Emerald engagement ring

Unlike sapphires, emeralds come in one colour – deep, glorious green. In fact, the name of this variety of beryl comes from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning green gem. Emeralds symbolize love and virtue.

Emeralds are not as hard as rubies or sapphires. They also tend to have a multitude of inclusions, making them more prone to breakage when impacted. However, a good quality emerald is tough enough to stand up to daily wear and so can still be a good choice for an engagement ring.

As with other coloured gemstones, colour is the most important consideration when choosing your perfect emerald. An ideal emerald is deep green with flashes of blue. You should choose a stone with minimal inclusions to increase its durability.



About Harriet Tuppen

Our featured writer, Harriet Tuppen, owns EngagementRingChoice.com to help you choose your perfect engagement ring. You will find it full of useful content whether you are researching your own engagement ring, or choosing an engagement ring as a surprise for someone else.