Image credit: GIA
Generally speaking, the term gemstone rings, refers to a ring which does not have a diamond as its main stone. In Ireland, gemstone rings account for approx 10% of all engagement rings.
We will look at the 7 most popular gemstones people use in rings and then mention birthstones.
5 Most Popular Gemstone Rings in Ireland
The sapphire ring is by far, the most popular gemstone used in rings and engagement rings. Many styles exist – the main ones being:
- Oval sapphire in a halo of diamonds (like Kate Middleton).
- 3 stone ring with the sapphire in the centre and two smaller diamonds at the side.
- Emerald cut sapphire surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds.
While sapphires are generally blue in colour, there are different shades, from light,to inky blue to dark blue. The most sought after would be the inky blue with an element of sparkle to it. A cheap blue sapphire with no like can look very different to a well cut, inky blue sapphire with like and sparkle. One that looks like a blue diamond. On paper the two stones would both be sapphires but they are very different animals. In many instances, the blue stone (with no like) is the type of sapphire one receives when they buy on-line.
In the last 12 months we have seen an increase in the demand for ‘lab grown’ sapphires or Chatham Created sapphires. These have all the same properties as natural sapphires but just grown in a lab. Their popularity is due mainly to their quality (look like AAA grade sapphires) and their price (generally 30% – 60% less than the cost of a natural sapphire).
2. Morganite Gemstone Rings
Morganite is a pretty gemstone which is quite popular in Ireland. It has a pinky or peach colour off it and often looks best in rose gold settings. Some jewellers call these ‘peach sapphires’ – they are not sapphires; this is totally misleading. A peach sapphire is exceptionally rare. I the wholesale market, they are similar price to a diamond.
There are two main colour tones from a morganite – light pink to peacky brown. As a gem, they are not too expensive. The main cost of a morganite ring would be the setting cost. On the mohs scale, they are a 7.5 – 8.0 so hard enough for daily wear (with a bit of caution).
The most popular styles of this type of ring are:
- Oval morganite in a halo or large diamonds – like the image shown
- Oval morganite in a rose gold setting in a regular halo
- Emerald cut morganite in a halo
3. Green Emerald
The emerald gem is a classic and traditional stone, used in jewellery for many decades. Its green colour adds brightness to any piece.
The most popular styles for emerald gemstone rings are:
- 3 stone ring (all rouns) with the centre being the largest in emerald with side stones being diamonds
- Kate Middleton style ring with an oval emerald
- Emerald cut emerald in a halo
Like many gemstones, they require being paired with diamonds to add a bit of bling. On its own one can appreciate the colour but it lacks sparkle. Matching it with diamond – either on the side or in a halo – add a new element to this gem.
As emeralds are quite expensive, we have been asked about lab grown emeralds. They look very similar with same chemical structure. Similar to sapphires above, approx 30% – 60% less expensive.
Emeralds would have a lot more inclusions compared to other gemstones. Their inclusion and visibility can have a large impact on price. The tone of green can also impact price greatly – most people preferring a darker green hue.
Similar to the morganite, they are 7.5 on the mohs scale. Grand for daily wear but caution should be exercised.
The red ruby is a pretty gemstone. Not as popular in Ireland (still top 7) but more popular as an eternity ring. We find many people going for this stone as a 40th wedding anniversary.
The cost can vary widely. The pinky red with a cloudy hue and no like are not expensive. Simply put, they dont look nice so the demand for them is low. The more expensive ones are the deep blood red with sparkle in them. Almost like a red diamond. Like most naturally formed gemstones, expect inclusions.
The prices for nice rubies has increases a lot over the years with Burmese rubes getting exceptionally expensive. For ethical reasons we would not source or work with a ruby from Burma. Without going into it, nobody should touch these for ethical reasons. We are all familiar with ‘blood diamonds’ thanks to Hollywood. This very upsetting truth is not not restricted to diamonds – please look for country of origin for your gemstones, particularly rubies.
However, this style is popular in a number settings. The most popular ruby gemstone rings are:
- Oval shape ruby in a halo of diamonds
- Three stone with a ruby in the centre and a diamond on each side – in a trilogy setting.
Our most watched YouTube video is of a ruby and diamond halo ring – this has approx 3 million views (yes 3 million!!). We do sell this ring a lot and usually have a few in stock!
A nice alternative to a ruby is:
– lab grown or Chatham created rubies – identical in every way just grown in a lab.
100% ethical and for similar quality, approx 40% less expensive
– Rubelite. These are from the tourmaline family but look amazing. They can be the deep redish sought after colour and usually have less inclusions compared to a ruby.
– A red sapphire (yes they come in red) look very similar to the best quality ruby. Many high quality rubies you see in jewellers are red sapphires. Most jewellers would be unable to tell the difference between a ruby and red sapphire.
5. Aquamarine Gemstone Rings
This light blue stone in increasing in popularity. Many celebrities have been spotted wearing this gemstone in recent years. This has translated to many people replicating the look.
In 80% of cases, this gemstone is cut in the shape of the emerald cut (rectangle shape). It is most popular in the following settings:
- Emerald cut aquamarine in the centre with a small round cut diamond on each side
- Oval shape in a vintage style halo
Similar to the emerald and morganite, it is a 7.5 – 8 on the moh scale. So hard enough for daily wear but exercise caution. It ranges from light blue to deep intense blue – the deeper one being more expensive.
This gemstone is also nice in fine jewellery – earrings and pendants.
While coloured gemstones are not as hard as diamonds, how hard are they. Below is an image from ‘pink book’ which shows the hardness of each of the gemstones. Generally anything from 7.5 and up should be durable enough for daily war (assuming it is worn with care).
Useful article from GIA relating to gemstone durability linked. The GIA would be the main authority in the diamond and gemstone industry.
What can be a bit confusing, many months have more than one birthstone. I wont go into each one below as it deserves a blog post of its own but below is a nice image I saw from a website called jewellery secrets (jewellerysecrets.com).
So we have heard of gemstones for each month. The most know one being September = sapphire. However, if one digs a bit deeper, you can see there are also different gemstones relating to each sign of the zodiac.
This is useful if you don’t like your birthstone! Without going too deep into each one, the below is a useful list of the gemstones for each sign.
Image credit: Arvinoonline.com
I hope you found the above useful for your gemstone search. All ring you see can be easily changes to have a gemstone of your choice set instead of a diamond. Its good to be different so and and not all engagement rings have to be diamonds.