The time when diamonds were the undisputed number 1 among precious stones seems to be over. Completely exorbitant prices and the aspect that the sparkling gemstones enjoy a questionable reputation has been omnipresent since the film "Blood Diamond" starring Leonardo Di Caprio at the latest.
The awareness of sustainability and the desire for individuality among people has long since come to the fore. They are no longer influenced by the old marketing machinery of the local jewelry industry and are looking for alternatives - be it for bridal jewelry or engagement rings.
But there are also suitable alternatives for those of you who don't want to do without diamonds entirely, but want to protect the environment and your wallet.
Salt and Pepper Diamonds
These natural diamonds are so attractive because no two gemstones are the same - each of them is absolutely unique and mostly hand-cut. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are also sourced in an eco-friendly manner, making them the perfect choice for sustainable jewellery.
Many of the Salt & Pepper Diamonds are mined in Botswana by artisanal miners on a small scale using environmentally friendly methods. Most salt and pepper diamonds are even mined by hand, because the profit is not big enough to use heavy equipment. For this reason, the salt and pepper diamond is one of the most innocent gemstones and is enjoying increasing popularity. Although this means that the price is constantly rising, it bears no relation to the “pure” diamonds.
But now away from diamonds, towards what is probably the most popular gemstone of modern times:
Opals are mainly mined in Ethiopia and Australia. The unmistakable and unique glow, which often makes viewers stare spellbound at these gemstones for minutes, makes them so desirable.
The translucent specimens, which range from transparent to milky white, inspire in the bright colors of green, blue, yellow and orange to red.
Probably the highest quality variant is the black opal, which - as the name suggests - has a dark blue to black basic color, which can be interspersed with a wide variety of colors and patterns, thereby providing a spectacular appearance.
The sapphire has long been THE alternative to the diamond when it comes to engagement rings. Even Lady Diana's engagement ring, with which Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton, sets a deep blue sapphire and is one of the most valuable engagement rings in the world.
As the second hardest known gemstone, it's safe to say that it will last forever. There are big differences in price here. Treated sapphires can be purchased for little money, while the price of the natural beauties of this gemstone is in no way inferior to that of diamonds. The so-called Montana sapphires, whose origin the name already reveals, are particularly popular. This is where the purest sapphires come from in a wide variety of colors. In addition to the blue sapphire, it is mainly blue-green and purple-colored specimens that are in great demand.
Let's come to another classic gemstone, which is not only popular for alternative engagement rings, but also for women's jewelery in general.
Numerous celebrities can also be found for the emerald who own the highest quality pieces of jewelry with this gemstone. Take Angelina Jolie, for example, who has a soft spot for emeralds. In 2009, she presented her emerald earrings on the Oscars red carpet. Estimated at $2.5 million, these magnificent specimens are among the most expensive pieces of jewelry in the world. Angelina's look was so well received that it triggered a real run on emeralds. But even John F. Kennedy showed good taste when he had the engagement ring made for his Jackie. Even then, he paired diamonds of the highest quality with a beautiful example of an emerald.
The nice thing is that this gemstone is also affordable for "mere mortals". Because similar to the sapphire, the emerald can also be found in a wide variety of price ranges and is an absolute feast for the eyes with both silver and gold!
No matter which ring and stone you choose for your proposal, it is not the price tag of your engagement ring that matters, but the message it carries.
A ring made from recycled sterling silver and an ethically sourced emerald has a much higher ideal value than a ring set with brilliant-cut diamonds whose extraction is more than questionable. The latter is also no longer up-to-date, because fortunately we are all becoming more attentive and beginning to question the production and origin of luxury goods.
So it quickly becomes clear that a classic diamond, which unfortunately still often leads to exploitation and war, is simply inappropriate for an engagement ring - THE symbol of charity!
It is all the more gratifying that there are so many wonderful gemstones that can be used to say "Yes, I do!" are the perfect companion.