Colored Gem Engagement Rings as an Alternative to Diamonds

Bob writes: “My girlfriend has told me that she wants a sapphire which is her birthstone instead of a diamond as the main stone in her engagement ring. I’m not sure how I feel about that, what are your thoughts? I’ve been looking at this Halo design from James Allen.  Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

The use of colored gems such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds and other semi-precious stones in engagement rings as an alternative to traditional diamond center stones.  If your girlfriend has indicated that she wants a sapphire center stone in her engagement ring, then I say buy her the most beautiful sapphire that you can find! It’s her ring and it should reflect her personality and preferences.  The James Allen Twisted Shank Halo Engagement Ring which you selected is beautiful and is well suited for a round cut blue sapphire… you are referring to a blue sapphire aren’t you Bob?  I’m assuming so because most people think of blue when they talk about sapphires, but the truth is that they are also available in practically every color of the rainbow.  Until you indicate otherwise, I’m going to move forward working under the assumption that you’re looking for a blue sapphire.

If you don’t mind, I think that this topic will be of interest to multiple people, so I’m going to back up a second and turn it into a blog on how to Build Your Own Engagement Ring on the James Allen web site and combine that with my response to your initial inquiry about colored gem engagement rings as an alternative to traditional diamond engagement rings.

How to Build Your Own Engagement Ring:

The James Allen web site features an extensive collection of engagement ring designs including a line of traditional engagement ring such as solitaires and split shank rings, it also features most of the more intricate designs which are popular right now.  To build your own engagement ring, simply click on this link or move your mouse over the menu heading “Engagement Rings” on the James Allen web site and then select “Start by Choosing an Engagement Ring” or “Start by Choosing a Diamond” (which is kind of a moot point for this tutorial on colored stone engagement rings).

When you click on the link “Start by Choosing an Engagement Ring” it will take you to a page on the James Allen web site which features a collection of solitaire style engagement rings.  There is a row of ring sketches located just under the menu bar which features other types of ring designs such as Pavé, Channel Set, Side Stones, Three Stone, Mixed Metal, Tension, Halo, Vintage, Wedding Sets and different types of metal.  Click on the ring style which appeals to your personal taste and preferences and it will take you to the collection of those rings on the James Allen web site.

In this particular instance, we’re looking at the Twisted Halo Shank Engagement Ring from James Allen.  To select this ring and proceed to the next step of building your own engagement ring, click on “Select this Ring” in the lower right hand corner of the web page.  A pop-up box will appear in your browser asking “What would you like to do?” and presenting you with the option to either “Add a Diamond” or “Add a Gemstone” in this particular instance click on “Add a Gemstone”.

This will add the ring to your virtual shopping cart and update the page with a selection of colored gems which are separated by type and shape. In this particular instance, the ring is designed to accommodate a round cut colored gem, so all of the other options for shape appear as grey boxes to indicate that they may not be selected.

Options are available to select a blue sapphire, pink sapphire, yellow sapphire, red ruby or green emerald.  Click on blue sapphire if that is your preference, or at least to follow along with this tutorial.  Options are available to refine the search criteria by carat weight and price, but I don’t see the need to do so since only two pages of options appeared when I clicked on blue sapphire.  Notice that the images for the blue sapphires can be rotated if you move your mouse over them so that you may view the available sapphires from different angles and get an idea of how they look… this is pretty helpful.

It’s Your World, Color it as You See Fit:

Everybody has different preferences for color, when it comes to blue sapphires I prefer them to be kind of a medium electric blue and therefore I selected this blue sapphire from James Allen, Item #10380 which weighs 1.44 carats.  Unlike white diamonds which are cut for maximum light return and to increase the levels of brilliance, dispersion and scintillation, colored gems and colored diamonds are cut to enhance the intensity of color… so there is no need to worry about the proportions of colored gems, instead focus on finding a color that appeals to you.

Sapphires have a different specific gravity than diamonds, so while this blue sapphire weighs 1.44 carats, it has an outside diameter around 6.0 millimeters which is about the same size as a 0.90 carat diamond.  So this blue sapphire will face up just a smidge smaller than the eraser on a #2 pencil which measures around 6.5 mm in diameter.

If you look at the bottom of the page for this blue sapphire, you’ll see that it has been heated to enhance the natural color of the gem, this is perfectly normal.  Most colored gems have been enhanced in one or more ways to enhance their natural beauty, sapphires are most often heated.  Colored gems which have not been treated in any way are quite rare and tend to be pretty expensive.  If by chance you want assistance locating a colored gem which has not been treated, drop me a note and I’ll see what I can find for you… but be forewarned that you might go into sticker shock!   Of course most colored gem engagement rings tend to be less expensive than diamond engagement rings, so the cost of a natural untreated colored gem might not seem so bad in comparison to a diamond of the same size.

Assuming that this sapphire looks good, click on “Select this Gemstone” which is located just to the lower right of the picture of the blue sapphire and it will update your shopping cart.  A message will appear indicating that “Your Ring Was Successfully Designed” and prompt you to “Check Out Now” or save the purchase to complete later.

By the way, if you happened to have followed me step-by-step through this tutorial, then your Shopping Cart on the James Allen web site contains two items which need to be removed if you do not intend to purchase them so that they remain available for other people to purchase.  if the items are in your cart, you will see Cart(2) in the upper right corner of the James Allen web site, simply click on that link and then click on “Remove” to remove each item from your cart until it reads Cart(0).

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