Colored Gem Engagement Rings as an Alternative to Diamonds

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April 4

Colored Gem Engagement Rings Alternative Sapphire Center Stones.

Build Your Own Ring on James Allen.

Let's talk about using colored gems like sapphires and rubies as center stones for alternative engagement rings.

“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 Halo Diamond Engagement Rings from James Allen.  Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.“ -- Bob.

The use of colored gems for diamond alternative engagement rings is becoming more popular as are lab-grown diamonds.

If your girlfriend has indicated that she wants a sapphire engagement ring, then that's what you should buy. Of course, you should buy her the most beautiful sapphire available.

Halo Style Colored Gem Engagement Ring:

The James Allen Twisted Shank Halo Engagement Ring that you selected is beautiful. It is well suited for a round-shaped 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.

As that may be, sapphires, AKA corundum, are 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.

Many people express an interest in diamond alternative engagement rings. In that case, I’m going to expand on your inquiry and create a post about how to Build Your Own Engagement Ring on James Allen.

The Best Places to Buy Colored Gems Online:

Of course, James Allen is not the only vendor that we work with who offers colored gems. However, they are the vendor vendor of choice for this particular client.

Choosing a colored gem is mostly about finding a range of hue and saturation that appeals to you. In that case, I suggest searching on these popular sites:

How to Build Your Own Engagement Ring:

The James Allen web site features an extensive collection of engagement ring designs. This includes a line of traditional engagement ring such as solitaires and split shank rings.

James Allen also offers all the more intricate designs that are popular right now. Click on this link to build your own James Allen engagement ring.

Alternatively, you can visit the main site and choose to start with a diamond, or begin with a setting. Obviously, we'll start with a setting in this case since we're building a sapphire engagement ring.

In that event, it's best to start with a setting from James Allen. Clicking that link will take you to a page on the James Allen web site. There you will find an extensive collection of solitaire style engagement rings. Plus, there is a dropdown menu featuring illustrations of alternative ring styles such as:

  • Pavé settings.
  • Channel settings.
  • Side stones.
  • Three stone rings.
  • Mixed metal rings.
  • Tension settings.
  • Halo settings.
  • Vintage engagement rings.
  • Wedding sets.
  • Alternative types of metal.

Choose Your Favorite Ring Style:

Click on the ring style that 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.  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?" 

Next, you have the option to either "Add a Diamond" or "Add a Gemstone." In this particular instance, click on the option to "Add a Gemstone."

This will add the ring to your virtual shopping cart and update the page with a selection of colored gems that are separated by type and shape.

Pick the Right Shape:

In this case, 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 chosen.

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.

There are additional options to refine the search criteria by carat weight and price. However, I don't see the need to do so since only two pages of options are available at this time.

You can rotate the images of the sapphires by moving your mouse over the video frame. That will enable you to see the sapphires from different vantage points.

It's Your World To Color As You See Fit:

As stated previously, sapphires are available in every color of the rainbow. I personally prefer medium electric blue sapphires. In that case, I chose a Blue Sapphire from James Allen in that spectrum of color and intensity.

Our diamond buying guides recommend specific proportions and cut qualities to ensure the highest performance. In contrast, they polish colored gems and fancy color diamonds to enhance the intensity of color.

In that case, there is no need to worry about the proportions of colored gems. It is much better to focus on finding a stone with the intensity of color that you find appealing.

Colored Gem Carat Weight:

The principles of diamond carat weight also apply colored gems. However, you'll probably need to buy a larger stone to achieve the same overall look.

One reason is that sapphires have a different specific gravity than diamonds. In that case, the 1.44 carat, round blue sapphire we've been discussing has an outside diameter around 6.0 millimeters. That happens to be about the same size as a 0.90 carat round brilliant cut diamond.

Consequently, a 1-carat round diamond has an average outside diameter close to 6.5 millimeters. That is roughly the same size as the pink eraser on a standard number two pencil.

Common Treatments for Colored Gems:

Natural untreated colored gems are available, but they tend to be quite expensive. In most cases, sapphires are heat-treated to enhance the intensity of color.

In fact, most colored gems are enhanced in one or more ways to enhance their natural beauty. In most cases, the treatments are permanent and cannot be detected without special equipment.

The exception might be green emeralds that are sometimes immersed in diesel oil to hide the cracks. Yes, you read that correctly. Trust me, I almost fainted the first time I discovered that this was common practice.

Consequently, untreated natural colored gems are quite rare and very expensive. However, I'm happy to help you search for whatever type of gem quality you prefer. Just drop me a note and I'll see what I can find for you.

Are Colored Gems Cheaper than Diamonds?

You might be in for a shock if you think that high-quality sapphires are cheaper than diamonds. I've seen plenty of sapphires, rubies, and emeralds that rival the price of natural diamonds.

There are many characteristics that factor into the price of colored gems. Obviously, the clarity and carat weight factor into the equation and so does the intensity of color.

Sapphires that are dark tend to cost less than lighter ones because light cannot pass through. That's one of the reasons why I prefer medium electric blue sapphires.

Of course, there are plenty of people who prefer sapphires that are darker in color. Clearly, it's a matter of finding a center stone with the characteristics that you find appealing.

About the Author

Dive deep into the glittering world of diamonds with Todd Gray, the CEO of Gray Matter Development, LLC. Todd has 35+ years of experience as a diamond buyer and trade consultant. He ghostwrites content for several online vendors and is an avid Freediver, currently exploring the Cenotes of Yucatan, Mexico. Dive into brilliance with Todd Gray!