Designing the perfect engagement ring and choosing the gems is an exciting endeavor, and while there are numerous stunning stones to choose from, it’s important to be aware of certain stones that may be less suitable due to durability or other factors. We want to ensure your ring remains beautiful and resilient for a lifetime, and is a match for both your style and your lifestyle. Here are some considerations for stones and style.
Choosing Wisely, Stones to Avoid in an Engagement Ring
Hardness, measured by Mohs Hardness scale, is how well a gemstone resists scratches and abrasions which is an important consideration for wearability. Toughness is a gem’s resistance to breaking and chipping, which is often measured as its tenacity or resistance to blows. Softer gemstones, such as opal, pearls, or turquoise, are prone to scratching, chipping, or being damaged during everyday wear. Given the significance and longevity of an engagement ring, it’s advisable to avoid softer gemstones or to ensure they’re cut and set in the most protective manner possible.
Inclusions are internal imperfections, formed during the natural crystallization process of gemstones, and can be caused by factors like: mineral traces, internal cracks, crystal growth irregularities or external materials that become trapped during formation. Gems with significant inclusions, or those known to be fragile, like emeralds or certain types of garnets, may not be the most suitable choice for an engagement ring. These stones are more vulnerable to cracking, chipping, or damage from regular wear, potentially diminishing the longevity and beauty of your ring.
Organic gemstones like pearl, amber, coral and jet are derived from living organisms or natural organic substances, unlike most gemstones which are minerals formed through geological processes. These gems are created through biological processes or the accumulation of organic materials over time are generally not recommended for engagement rings due to their relatively low durability. They’re more prone to scratching, fading, and other forms of degradation, making them less suitable for a ring that is meant to be worn every day.
How to Choose the Best Stone for Your Engagement Ring
Choosing the right stone for your engagement ring is a highly personal decision that depends on your preferences, lifestyle, budget, and desired characteristics. There’s no right or wrong stone, but there are some important considerations. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting the stone for your engagement ring:
- Budget: determine your budget for the ring, including the stone which will help narrow down options and guide your decision-making process.
- Stone Type: consider the type of stone you want; diamonds are the most popular due to their durability, brilliance, and timeless appeal, however other gems like sapphires, or rubies can be excellent options.
- Stone Cut: the cut of the stone affects its brilliance and overall appearance. Different cuts, such as round, princess, cushion, or emerald, have distinct styles and qualities.
- Stone Color: if you opt for a diamond, consider the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight). Otherwise, choose a color that appeals to you and matches your style. For colored gemstones, consider the hue, saturation, and tone of the stone.
- Stone Carat Weight: consider a size that suits your style, finger size, and budget, and remember a smaller stone with exceptional cut, color, and clarity can appear more eye-catching than a larger stone with inferior quality.
- Lifestyle and Durability: if you have an active lifestyle or work with your hands, you’ll want to prioritize a durable stone to ensure longevity and minimize the risk of damage.
- Setting and Design: the stone should complement the setting and design of your ring. Consider the metal (like platinum, gold, or white gold) and if you’ll need a more protective setting.
- Personal Meaning and Symbolism: some prefer a stone that holds personal meaning or symbolism such as birthstones, family heirlooms, or stones associated with specific qualities or beliefs can add sentimental value to your ring.
Scratching is probably the most frequent and common daily hazard to your engagement ring- how many times a day do you put your hands inside your pockets, purse, glove compartment, desk drawers, etc, and what does your jewelry brush up against? A 7 or higher on Mohs scale usually indicates that a gem is hard enough for normal jewelry use, but this is a guideline not a rule, and remember that hardness alone isn’t a measure of a stone’s wearability.
Jewelry settings are another factor for gemstone wearability. Rings, especially engagement rings that are worn daily, probably receive more abuse than any other form of jewelry. If you are considering a stone with a poor wearability grade, you can surround it in a protective setting such as a bezel setting to give it a better chance of enduring daily wear.