Designing Gemstone Engagment Rings: Economize and Personalize with Alternatives to Diamonds

Design Idea A514 Ring
by Lisa Coen, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Yes, diamonds are a girl's best friend and will always be a traditional, popular and well-received choice for an engagement ring. And yes, there are alternatives to diamonds that will allow the prospective couple to save money and express themselves by designing an engagment ring full of personal meaning.

First, let us sing the praises of the the diamond. Diamond engagement rings are a tradition that became popular in the early 20th century, perhaps influenced by a De Beers Diamond Company marketing campaign and by Hollywood actresses who were encouraged to wear diamonds. The majority of brides-to-be today wear diamond engagement rings--many worth thousands of dollars. However, today's economy, and perhaps the fear of unknowingly acquiring a conflict diamond, has forced many couples to re-think the standard. Besides, who says an engagement has to be symbolized by a diamond?

Gemstone Engagement Rings

An engagement ring should have special meaning attached to it, and that sentiment doesn't have to cost two months' salary--which, based on the 2009 U.S. Census average would be somewhere around $4,000. I personally received an engagement ring purchased from a jewelry vendor in Waikiki's International Marketplace. The etched sterling silver band may not be an iconic diamond, yet it represents the day my fiancé spontaneously proposed to me on stage at a Hawaiian luau--priceless.

Couples can use their imagination and creativity to design a one-of-a-kind engagement ring that represents something personal and meaningful. It may help to know that you can create your own ring using a precious metal setting and a natural gemstone at a mere fraction of the cost of a diamond ring. Faceted gemstones are available in the same cuts as diamonds: round, emerald, pear shape, marquise and more--not to mention various carat sizes.

Gemstone Engagement Rings
Gemstone Engagement Rings

A great idea for an engagement ring is to show off your birthstone or the birthstone of your fiancé or another special person. With multi-stone settings, you can even incorporate different gemstones into one ring and feature multiple birthstones. Maybe you'd like to incorporate a certain gemstone due to its metaphysical significance. Or, perhaps you simply love the color purple and you'd like a ring featuring a faceted amethyst.

It's a great time for jewelry artists to take advantage of the new trend towards economizing and personalization to create a new line of gemstone engagement rings to offer customers. Armed with a supply of ring settings and a selection of faceted gemstones, creating personalized engagement rings is literally a snap.

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