Diamond-Alternative Gemstones for Engagement Rings

When most think of an engagement ring they think of a simple solitaire ring with a big diamond. But diamonds although, strong, sparkly and traditional aren't necessarily the best option for everyone.

Statement gemstones can be used with diamonds, as the main gemstone or as a colour pop alongside diamonds. There are lots of great options if you're looking for a ring which is a little unusual!  

Here's our breakdown of the best diamond alternative gemstones which work in engagement rings and which gemstones you should avoid.

1. Amethyst

 Amethyst and Cushion Cut Diamond Enagement ring by Jessica Flinn Jewellery

Amethyst and Cushion Cut Diamond Enagement ring by Jessica Flinn Jewellery

At 7.0 on the Mohs scale for strength and toughness, Amethyst's are a great alternative to diamonds and they can add some drama to your ring design. Found in both raw cut shapes and polished diamond cut states you can add a purple hue'd sparkle to your design or go for something a little rougher in cut and make it look and more alternative. Pair it with white metals such as Platinum and White Gold or pink metals like Red/Rose gold. Purple colours also work well with greens so you could always introduce some green gemstones along a side of your statement amethysts. 

2. Sapphire

 Pear Shaped Sapphire Engagement Ring by Jessica Flinn Jewellery

Pear Shaped Sapphire Engagement Ring by Jessica Flinn Jewellery

If you're wanting larger stones then sapphires are a great alternative to diamonds. They also look amazing with diamonds if you want to mix up the gemstones in your design. At 9.0 on the Mohs they're super tough making them a great alternative to diamonds. Sapphires are actually the third hardest mineral and around a third of the price of diamonds. They're normally found in either a blue colour or pink shade but they can also be found in peach colours, yellow colours and white. 

3. Emerald

 Yellow Gold, Emerald and Pear Shaped Diamond Engagement Ring by Jessica Flinn

Yellow Gold, Emerald and Pear Shaped Diamond Engagement Ring by Jessica Flinn

Normally a green shade these beautiful gemstones are great for either mixing with diamonds or stand alone. They can be "gem-cut" which doesn't have the same shape a traditional diamond or they can be "diamond-cut" to have the same facets as a diamond. They tend to be more unusual as they can be cloudy, have natural "inclusions" which give the gemstones their own personality. Although they're not as popular as they once were, emeralds can add a timeless chic feel to your design. They're desirable, luxury and can be truly breathtaking! 

4. Morganite

 Morganite and Diamond Red Rose Gold Enagagement Ring by Jessica Flinn

Morganite and Diamond Red Rose Gold Enagagement Ring by Jessica Flinn

Morganites are peach/pink in colour and as a beryl, they are from the same "family of stones" as emeralds, sitting at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. They look amazing with Rose Gold/Red Gold and are soft feminine and beautiful. They look amazing too when combined with smaller melee diamonds or a halo of diamonds around the stone.

Here's an example of a morganite wedding ring too. Why have one morganite when you can have many? 

 Morganite and Diamond Tiara Crown Wedding Ring by Jessica Flinn

Morganite and Diamond Tiara Crown Wedding Ring by Jessica Flinn

There are so many amazing gemstone alternatives out there… Here’s a list of some others we would definitely recommend!

5. Tourmaline

6. Garnet 

7. Topaz

8. Onyx

9. Peridot

10. Ruby

11. Aquamarine

12. Tsavorite

13. Tanzanite

Gemstones we wouldn't recommend for an engagement ring...

1. Turquoise

Although turquoise gemstones are a vivid and bright blue colour the gemstones are often matte and don't sparkle. They also range from 5.0-7.0 so can be significantly softer than other alternatives. When it comes to picking a gemstone for an engagement ring its best to pick a stone which is tough, strong, durable and doesn't scratch easily. After all, your partner is going to want to wear this ring for a long time! 

2. Opal

Although beautiful, opals are too soft for an engagement ring and are better suited for fashion or costume jewellery worn on special occasions.

Here’s a list of a couple more gemstones we would urge you to avoid for an engagement ring:

3. Pearl

4. Labradorite

Good luck with your engagement ring hunt - if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

Working Out Your Ring Size With An At Home Ring Sizer

Working out your ring size...

Here are my top tips for working out your ring size when using an at home ring sizer.

  1. Make sure your body is a nice temperature. If your hands are hot or too cold this can affect your measurement.

  2. The best time of day is midday as your hands can change size across the day and are generally larger in the evening.

  3. Some clients have larger knuckles than the fleshy section of their fingers. If this is a case you want to aim for a ring size which is a negotiation over the knuckle but sits comfortably on the flesh section of the finger.

  4. If you don't have a larger knuckle than fleshy section you might want to choose a more snug feeling ring size as you don't have the knuckle to act as a barrier for the ring.

  5. As a general rule I recommend ring sizes where the ring sizer feels like it goes "easy on and slightly harder to get off".

  6. How tight you want it to be is personal preference, but you don't want the flesh to bulge either side of the ring - that's too tight.

  7. Clients often push the ring up from behind the finger to see how much space there is between the ring and finger, but this technique doesn't help us determine if the size is right.

  8. Normally wider rings feel tighter on the finger than slimmer rings. I encourage clients to pick a looser feeling ring size when using a slim ring sizer when they have a wider ring.

  9. The best way to get an accurate ring size is to have an appointment and sit down with a jeweller. If you're unsure of the size you want, email to book an appointment.

  10. Although most customers get their ring size correct when sizing at home - please be aware that if you size it incorrectly and need it changing at a later date this would be at your expense. Most rings can be re-sized more than once but some rings (such as shoulder set rings) are more tricky to resize.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Can I propose to someone without a ring?

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a couple getting engaged. I'm sure the fairytale image of a man, down on one knee with a ring proposing to a lady pops into your head. Surprise engagements like that, of course, are romantic, but today proposals happen in lots of different ways. 

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Can I propose to someone without a ring?

The short answer is, yes absolutely! Proposing without a ring is no longer a faux pas and is actually more common than you might think. You may wish to give your partner the opportunity to design or choose their own ring. Or you might want a set of engagement rings - one each. It's also increasingly more common for the men to have an engagement ring too. Or perhaps you want to get engaged whilst travelling or on holiday but don't want to take the real deal ring in your backpack - proposing without a ring could be the perfect option for you. 

Another reason you may want to propose without the forever ring is when you don't know their ring size. You could have the ring designed and bring your fiancee in to meet your designer and then their ring size can be accurately measured.

"I booked an appointment with Jessica Flinn on our 5th anniversary. I popped the question at home that morning, and we came to speak to Jessica about Alex's ring design later that morning" - Daniel S

Should I use a temporary engagement ring? 

You may want to use a "placeholder ring". Although this doesn't sound very romantic, it 100% can be. A placeholder ring is a simple ring which your fiancee to be can wear on their finger. After all, it's lovely to be able to put something on their ring finger in the moment, even if it isn't the forever ring. 

Some jewellers sell miniature engagement ring necklaces which your fiancee can wear and keep and others offer a proposal in a box kit. We offer a "no ring proposal kit" which you can use to propose with and keep as a keepsake after to treasure. 

What is a "No Ring Proposal Kit"? 

Our "No Ring Proposal Kit" comes in a beautiful folder, which contains a "Will you marry me?" appointment card. This has the time and date for your ring design consultation. Having the appointment lined up shows you've put some serious thought into the proposal and have researched jewellery designers and where you want the ring made. 

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Optional extras which we can add to your "No ring proposal kit" are below:

1. A design concept sketch - a simple sketch or line drawing which shows the style of the ring we have designed for you. 

2. CAD-rendered design images - these are life-like images which I can create for you which show what your ring will look like before it is made. 

3. A gemstone or diamond with a certificate - why not purchase the gemstone or diamond you wish to use in your forever ring. We have a specialist stone selecting service where you can choose your diamond or gemstone. 

4. 3D Print of your ring design - your partner can try on the 3D printed model and get a feel for the size and shape of the ring design before it is made. 

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However you choose to propose, whether that's with a ring or without, we are sure it will be totally magical. If you do decide to propose without the dream engagement ring please get in touch to talk to us about designing and making a ring for you. Or drop us an email and we can get your "No ring proposal kit" ready for when the time comes! 

Written by Jessica 

 

 

Stainless Steel, Damascus, Wood Inlays... it's all happened this summer.

We are proud to say that alongside of our Sheffield Stainless Steel wedding bands we can now offer Titanium wedding rings. We have increased our offering to include Stainless Steel Damascus too. Not only this, we can now offer wood inlays on the outside of the ring or inside of the rings. Resin inlays and Damascus channels. Book an appointment to come and see the new mens wedding rings in the flesh! Contact us using our contact us form or call 01142303476.

 Stainless Steel and Damascus Steel Ring - From Summer 2017

Stainless Steel and Damascus Steel Ring - From Summer 2017

 Titanium Ring with wood inlay

Titanium Ring with wood inlay

Watch Our New Video By Sheffield Hallam

Sheffield Hallam Visited our studio a few weeks ago to produce a video as part of a small series about their successful alumni.

We recently had a visit from Sheffield Hallam University as they were producing a small series of videos about their successful alumni. They got in touch to say... would we like to be involved? And of course we said yes! After our head size reduced to normal we invited them into the workshop and studio and they put together this amazing little video. It shows our studio, gemstones, some of our manufacturing process and summarises what we do brilliantly. Thank you Team Hallam!

 

 

Which Metal is Best for You?

Deciding which material to make your wedding ring or engagement ring from is a big decision - after all you are planning on wearing them for a very long time!  The different materials on the market have various different pros and cons. The three main things you need to consider are, it's colour and the way it looks, how strong it is and how expensive it is.  Take a look at our quick guide below which we have created to give you an idea of each of the different metal options.

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Diamonds all the information

The four basic rules that determine a diamond’s value are known as the 4Cs. Carat, Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat are standards throughout the world used to describe diamonds. But what do these words actually mean? How can they help you choose the perfect diamond engagement ring? We’re here to answer all your questions to help you find a diamond engagement ring she’ll love forever.

Take a few moments to read over these brief descriptions regarding: carat weight, cut, colour, clarity and certificate.

Carat Weight

The Carat is a unit of weight for precious stones equal to 200 milligrams, 1/5 of a gram. Price is exponential and is based on size. A 1-carat diamond could cost 10 times that of a 1/4 carat due to the rarity of its size.

Carats refer to the size of the diamond. Each carat has one hundred points. The carat weight refers to the mass of a diamond, for example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can be referred to as a 50-point diamond.

Cut

Cutting of a diamond takes extreme precision and patience. Perfectly cut diamonds will reflect light entering from the top or "table," refract the light in a balanced manner throughout the diamond, and exit the light back out through the top portion of the diamond. The quality of a diamonds cut and its proportions can have a significant effect on its price.

To achieve an ideal or perfectly cut diamond, more of the raw material or "rough" is lost in the cutting process, which creates a higher cost for the diamond from the onset of the cutting process. This also explains why all diamonds are not perfectly cut.

The most common form of diamond cut is the round one, called brilliant. This term identifies a round cut with 57 facets minimum, to which is added a culet (not always present).  Other types of cut, among the most popular and widespread are: heart, oval, marquise or navette, princess, cushion, emerald, pear and asscher as shown here.

Colour

Diamonds come in a variety of colours, some of them highly prized (pinks, blues, even yellow). However, in a white diamond, the presence of a yellow tint will lower the price of a diamond. The less body colour in a white diamond, the truer colour it will reflect, the rarer and more valuable it is in most cases. Some diamonds come out of the ground with very vivid and well-defined colours. These diamonds are extremely rare and valuable.

  Diamonds of D, K, and Z GIA Colour Grades

 Diamonds of D, K, and Z GIA Colour Grades

The diamond industry has adopted the GIA diamond colour scale; almost every diamond sold today is rated using the GIA colour scale, whether it was actually certified by the GIA or not.

The GIA grades diamonds on a scale of D (colourless) through Z (light colour). All D-Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain varying degrees of colour. True fancy coloured diamonds (such as yellows, pinks, and blues) are graded on a separate colour scale. 

Clarity

Every diamond is unique with distinctive internal and external characteristics. Because diamonds formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).

Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Using the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obviousinclusions (I3).

For all grades except I1, I2 and I3, a 10 power magnification microscope or loupe (pronounced "loop") is used to observe the diamond to decide its clarity.

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Diamonds frequently have inclusions, or small flaws, air bubbles, scratches or other minerals which lower the transparency and decrease the amount of light that can be transmitted through the diamond. The less inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable and beautiful it is.

Conflict Free

The Kimberley Process is a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.  All the diamonds we use are from British sellers that provide on their invoices a Kimberley Process Warranty.

"The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.“

The Kimberley Process – covers 99.8% of all diamonds traded globally. The diamond industry says that one conflict diamond is one too many and it will not rest until they are eradicated completely. 

The Diamond Development Initiative International (DDII) is a unique effort bringing NGOs, governments and the private sector together in a common effort that aims to ensure that diamonds are an engine for development. They envision “development diamonds”, as diamonds that are produced responsibly, safely, with respect of human and communities’ rights, in conflict-free zones, with beneficiation to communities and payment of fair prices to miners. Jessica Flinn Designs Ltd supports the work of the DDII and it's positive work to help diamond miners and their communities in Africa and South America. DDII Facebook page .