Published: Nov 2010
by Diana Jarrett, GG and Registered Master Valuer
Diamond Engagement Rings
Diamonds account for the majority of all bridal jewelry today, but there’s a growing trend toward extreme personalization with engagement rings, and color plays a big part with this individual preference nowadays. Celebrity engagements have captured public attention for the almost-endless potential that these important rings can have. To show the bride-to-be that she is the only one, men often seek out unique rings to wow her, urging her to say, I do!
Colored Gemstone Engagement Rings
The notion of colored gemstone engagement rings sounds trendy, but the idea, actually, is quite old. Famed French designer Renee Lalique created colorful gemstone engagement rings for Art Nouveau-era brides in the late 19th century. In late Victorian and in Edwardian times, aquamarine, ruby, and sapphire engagement rings were fashionable with society brides. And through the 20th century, the trend never waned. England's Lady Diana's engagement ring to Prince Charles was a large oval sapphire surrounded by round accent diamonds. Later, red-haired Sarah Ferguson wore a complementary fiery ruby and diamond engagement ring.
Today's elegant engagement ring sets include colored stones, which often possess a special meaning for the couple. For instance, some rings include the birthstone of the bride-to-be. At other times, the ring may feature a center stone designating the month of their wedding - selected from birthstone charts - or the state stone where their first home will be. For instance, it might be intuitive for you to imagine that turquoise is the state stone for Arizona, but guess what. Did you know that Alaska's state stone, besides gold, is jade? This should get you to thinking about interesting and highly-personalized gemstones for an engagement ring you may be considering.
Recently, a well-known gemologist revealed to us that her very own tsavorite garnet solitaire engagement ring actually memorialized the African photo-safari she took and where her fiance proposed. Well, you get the idea. The colored stones chosen for anyone's engagement or wedding ring should be individualized, creative, and limited only by the couple's imagination.
The Value of an Engagement Ring
Once upon a time, the assumption was that diamonds were the priciest gems. So naturally, those were the only stones pushed in the bridal department with retailers. But that's not true today.
Have you checked the price guides for Paraiba tourmaline, Padparadscha sapphire, and Winza ruby? Their extremely high values are warranted because of the rarity of their color and often single-source availability. For example, the stones just mentioned, depending on quality, may fetch upwards of $10,000 a carat or more. But creativity and individuality is the goal of modern couples opting for colored stone wedding sets. So they may also choose beautiful stones like Madeira citrine or heliodor, which are also outstanding gemstone choices. And fine examples of these precious stones may hover on either side of $90 a carat.
So while diamonds still have pride of place with many brides-to-be today, take a look around you. You may discover that, just like weddings, which are becoming reflections of the couple's unique personalities, their engagement and wedding rings are also following the trend with colorful gemstones that tell a personal story about the couple.
In 2017, we saw the introduction of a wide variety of engagement rings in the industry. These trends include rose gold, halo mountings, vintage designs, split shanks, micropave’, fancy colored diamond center gems and accent gems, colored center gems and accent gems, and even……grey or black center diamonds!