As designer and owner of Valley Rose Fine Jewelry, I specialize in alternative engagement ring designs and have heard some interesting myths over the years about how wedding or engagement rings should look. Here are some of those myths and some ideas to inspire you to break from tradition and to help you find the perfect engagement ring that is as unique as you are.
1. The Bigger the Diamond the Better Engagement Ring
The first myth is probably an artifact of the opulent luxury popularized in the '80s: the bigger the rock, the better'. I have seen so many editorials and even chatter amongst people I know feel that they need a giant carat diamond for their engagement ring.
Don't get me wrong-a giant sparkly diamond is amazing but you can totally do something very dainty and still make a statement. These delicate styles do have many advantages like being easy to wear and more accessible in price while still catching the eye with lots of sparkle.
For those with understated style, I suggest exploring designs with center diamonds 1 carat and under. Also don’t be afraid to try out different shapes like pear, marquise, and kite that trick the eye to being bigger but actually has a smaller carat weight.
2. The Diamond Has to Be Flawless for an Engagement Ring
The flawless diamond myth makes me sad about all the other gorgeous diamonds that are overlooked. A quick geology lesson for you: Diamonds are tiny pieces of carbon that are compressed in the earth using intense heat and pressure over billions of years. This process produces diamond material that is naturally rustic and comes in a range of colors and textures that in my opinion are absolutely gorgeous. It has been a trend in the jewelry industry to throw out all these “imperfect” diamonds because the market simply favored diamonds to be flawless.
Now, diamonds with “flaws” are highly sought after for their character and charm. Rustic diamonds tell the story of how the earth was made and because of that they have a lot of drama and romance. If you have edgy style check out grey salt and pepper diamonds, or if your style is more boho and romantic brown and pink diamonds are a classic choice.
3. A Wedding Band is Only for the Wedding Ceremony
It has been a fairly recent trend to do a wedding band for your wedding ceremony and stack it with a larger engagement ring. In years past, most brides and grooms just did a simple stacking band. I see this vintage trend coming back in style and some brides are opting for an understated and minimal stacking band design for their engagement ring. You can even switch it up and do a larger stone for your wedding ceremony, or not! It's completely up to you. Another trend I love is when brides collect stacking bands for anniversaries or milestone years and evolve and grow their stacking set.
4. You Can’t Do Color for an Engagement Ring
Color is a big one that a lot of people shy away from. But precious gemstones actually come in so many gorgeous colors (every color of the rainbow in fact). I know we associate the sapphire blue with Princess Diana’s engagement ring set, but blue sapphires used to be the go-to for engagement rings back in the day. Colored gemstones aren't just for the royals or ancient times, many brides love wearing a colored gemstone because it can hold special symbolism and meaning that is totally unique.
I recommend checking out sapphires that naturally come in bright vibrant colors like blues and greens, rubies are beautiful shades of reds and pinks, and garnets also have gorgeous hues of strawberry red and burgundy. Be sure to stick with stones 7-10 on the MOHs hardness scale to ensure it holds up to wear and tear.
5. Any Stone Will Work for an Engagement Ring
I have seen a growing trend with engagement rings especially on sites like Etsy that advertise opals, turquoise, pearl or even moonstone engagement rings. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but jewelers do not recommend these aforementioned stones for rings that will be worn every day like your engagement ring.
The average engagement ring really takes a beating, if you think about it, your ring comes along for doing dishes, gardening, arts and crafts, exercising, and just about anything else. Chances are you are not going to be able to notice if it gets dinged or scratched or exposed to harsh chemicals or be bothered to keep taking it off and on.
Stones like opals and turquoise are extremely soft, so soft in fact it doesn't take much to scratch them or even break them. Jewelers report that opal, pearl and turquoise rings frequently come back to their repair bench. Like I mentioned in the last section, the MOHs hardness scale determines the density and strength of stones, opals and turquoise are much lower on the scale and therefore considered “soft” whereas a diamond is a 10 and the hardest material on earth making them more ideal for an engagement ring.
6. It’s Too Hard to Order an Engagement Ring Online
Many people might not think to order their engagement ring online. It can seem daunting to establish trust with an online designer but chances are there is a real live person sitting behind that screen that is more than happy to talk with you and help you shop. Many designers are using Instagram as a tool to connect with their clients, or you can email them through their website and set up a one-on-one consultation.
Whether you are shopping for a ready to ship style or looking for a custom design, jewelry designers nowadays can bring you the in-person shopping experience digitally and offer you the convenience of shopping online.
7. It’s Not Possible to Get An Ethical Engagement Ring
2020 has ushered in a new age of consciousness and shoppers are ready to change the way they approach their consumption so that it contributes to an equitable future for all. Shopping for ethical and sustainable engagement rings may seem daunting or not possible but more and more designers today are shifting their focus to design with materials that respect people and the planet.
Brides now have a lot more choices in a range of designs that will not only fit their personal style but also align with their values. As a designer that specializes in ethical jewelry, here are some materials to look for when you shop: traceable gemstones, recycled gemstones, lab-grown diamonds, fair mined gold, fairtrade gold, and recycled gold.
Bonus points for designers that offer carbon offset programs or give back to organizations that aim to help precious gemstone mining and precious metal mining communities.
I hope you enjoyed my discussion on engagement ring myths and I hope you got some good ideas for shopping for your alternative engagement ring. If you head over to my website www.valleyrosestudio.com. I have a lot more articles about engagement rings and ethical jewelry. Also feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions I’d love to hear from you: email@example.com