Roundup: Non-Diamond Engagement Rings

Diamonds: not always a girls best friend.

When Michael and I were teenagers, dreaming about our married future together, I informed him bluntly that under no circumstances did I want a diamond ring to be part of the equation. I wanted an heirloom emerald (“something with a story,” is what fifteen-year-old me said) and that was that. Of course, when push came to shove, the saleslady at the jewelry store told Michael that emeralds are very soft and that his klutzy ladyfriend would probably destroy it just by looking at, so when we got engaged a lovely vintage-inspired diamond ring was slipped onto my finger. And while it’s true that I love the ring Michael picked out, there is still part of my stomach that grips every time I see a beautiful emerald ring or blingy colored gemstone pass by my eyes.

There are lots of reasons for choosing to forgo the traditional diamond engagement ring: ethical concerns, cost-consciousness, or a general aversion to bling (I’m assuming this is a thing? I’m not sure. I bleed sparkles). So with a general eff you to DeBeers, today we’ve rounded up our favorite diamond-alternative engagement rings, from the very simple to the super blingy. In the meantime, I’m going to go see if I can’t find $949 in my couch cushions so that I can live out my dream with this beauty. As for the rest of you, if you have a diamond-alternative ring that you love, leave it in the comments! APWers consistently have the most amazing rings I’ve ever set my eyes on. (This is not an empty compliment. I’ve seen them.) Show that shit off.

No Stone Rings: 1. Knottedrush Ring by Bario-Neal ($80) 2. Pale Pink and Black Gold Dipped Geo Ring by amerrymishap via Etsy ($24) 3. Senna Round Ring by Bario-Neal ($285) 4. Pink Gold Pyrite Chunk Ring by Jennifer Cervelli via Etsy ($225) 5. Style R0802 by Satomi Kawakita ($130.00 – $520.00) 6. Wave Band by Digby & Iona ($440)

Clear Stone Rings: 1. Herkimer Diamond Solitaire by Erica Weiner ($110) 2. Channel Narrow Band* by Bario-Neal ($1120) 3.  Oval Bezel Ring by Blanca Monros Gomez available at Steven Alan ($265) 4. White Topaz Engagement Ring by Jen Burrall available at ($250) 5. Pear Sapphire Ring by Conroy Wilcox ($2800)

*Okay, this one has diamonds in it. It’s too pretty. So sue us.

Dainty(ish) Rings: 1. Titan Pearl Ring by Conroy & Wilcox ($2750) 2. Silver Amethyst Bea Ring by Anna Sheffield available at Bona Drag ($335) 3. Opal Teardrop Ring available exclusively at Catbird ($198) 4. Raw Ruby Rings by Erica Weiner ($495) 5. Ombre Eternity Band by Elisa Solomon available at Catbird ($1420) 6. Diamond Shape Knuckle Ring from Uncovet ($55)

How To Buy A Guy An Engagement Ring

A Practical Guide To Buying An Engagement Ring

How To Buy A Vintage Engagement Ring

Ask Team Practical: How Much Should I Spend On The Engagement Ring?

Remember The Lesbians: On Engagement Rings

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  • Anka

    I’m not a stone kind of girl, so I spend a long time trying to figure out what kind of non-stone ring I might be into. We ended up settling on poesy rings, which were popular in the 15th-17th centuries as lovers gifts. We have a replica of a ring that is from 15th century France. The original is in a museum in England! Here it is:

    We followed the old tradition of silver for engagement and gold for marriage. My husband and I both had engagement rings in silver (men in my family have worn engagement rings for many generations) and then added a gold version of the exact same.

    • That is really nifty!

    • I didn’t know that the tradition was silver for engagement and gold for marriage… I’ll have to remember that, because I like both sterling silver and yellow gold, and both my fiancee and I have sterling silver engagement rings.

  • Kira

    I have a custom-made pearl engagement ring that I love! The band is silver with the texture of shale. I’ve gotten a bit of grief on occasion about how it’s not expensive/traditional/durable enough, to which I always respond, “I dunno, I think a ring designed by my husband containing a unique stone formed organically by a living creature that requires some special caretaking and will probably change in appearance over the next fifty years is a pretty appropriate symbol for my marriage, actually. But to each her own, right?”

    • Kira

      Also, I think a super romantic ring would be one of the victorian acrostic rings that are SECRET MESSAGES! There are a row of tiny gemstones, and the first letter of each stone is used to spell out a phrase, such as “REGARD” (ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond” or, awesomely, “REPEAL” (during Prohibition!). A vintage one would be super cool, as would a custom-made one with a secret meaning.

      • Laura C

        What’s the L in REPEAL? Lapis? Something that should be really obvious but I’m not thinking of? In any case, WANT!

      • Kira,
        Are there images of such rings? Or a place to find them? That sounds amazing!

      • Caroline

        Also my new fave, and with which I must get a piece of jewelry someday: Emerald, Amethyst, and Pearl is Green Violet White for Give Votes to Women.
        Maybe not the most romantic ring for an engagement, but the best buy-it-for-yourself-because-you-are-an-awesome-lady jewelry ever. I’m thinking a bangle with the three set in. How weird would a pearl set in look?

        Suffragist jewelry? Yes please.

        • Caroline

          Although I’m saddened to find out this may or may not have been a thing. I don’t have time right now to do further research, but this was possibly made up to sell antique jewlry, which is way way less cool.


          • Caroline

            Sadly, apparently (according to the first few google results I looked at while searching for said jewelry), it was a thing made up by auction houses to sell antiques. Green, purple, and white were suffragist colors, but the idea of using it as jewelry with that acronym was not a thing. :(

    • mimi

      I have a vintage ring that’s a pearl encircled by little diamonds. Yay for pearls! And I love your response. Fortunately, no one has made me need to use something similar yet.

  • Rae

    Moissanite for me! was awesome to work with — we picked a setting and specified the stone type, and they sourced it for us and sent the completed ring. Easy peasey! 1/10th the price of a comparable diamond.

  • quinners

    This, which was about $50 cheaper when we bought our rings. I love it.

  • Ashley
    • Brenda

      That is GORGEOUS.

  • Gina

    This has inspired me to comment for the very first time, because it’s something about which I feel so strongly. I have an amazingly beautiful amethyst set in brushed silver. It was purchased at a local gallery, and made by an almost-local artist. My fiance was worried that it wasn’t enough, or that I wouldn’t like it. It’s the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen, and means more to me than a diamond would.

  • Lena

    I was JUST telling my boyfriend yesterday that I don’t want a diamond and I’m actually not even sure I want a stone – maybe like channel/pave set ones but not pronged ones (if that made sense??). Or a herkimer diamond/raw ruby kind a thing.

    I love the Digby and Iona wave band, and a few from Bario Neal and Erica Weiner. It might look like I’m married instead of engaged, but I don’t care. There are some great suggestions in here for me to keep looking so…thanks for the afternoon entertainment, APW :)

    • My partner wears a narrow channel set band as her engagement ring, and sure, it might make her look married, but to me the important part is that is what she wanted and would wear. She loves it. We are probably going to add a thin gold band (I’m thinking the finger print ones by Brent & Jess) to her set once we get married, and I will do something totally different.

      My engagement ring isn’t a diamond, we don’t actually know what it is, but is a gorgeous clear round solitaire set in a 1930’s window frame setting. Its a family heirloom that has been passed through at least 3 generations.

  • Laura C

    Here’s a really pretty one that a friend of mine is looking at:

    • Oh wow, that’s super pretty! I’ve always loved rose gold.

  • Mine’s a flower made of white, polished glass pieces that look kind of like moonstones. You can see it on the second pic of this post.
    I never take it off, I just changed it from the left hand to the right hand when we got married.

    • littleone

      Completely off-topic, but I followed the link from that post to the story of you meeting your fiance. CUTEST STORY EVER!!!!

      • Oh thank you :) It surely was unexpected, I still smile when I think about it.

  • Kater

    We went with moissanite & love it:

    Cheyenne Weil is uber talented and soooo responsive & easy to work with!

    • Jen

      I love your low profile ring! Can it stack with a wedding ring?

      • Kater

        Thank you! I love it too!
        Because of how low-profile it is, a wedding band won’t stack right up against it, so there will be a little bit of a gap. At first I was kind of anti-gap, but after mulling it over for awhile, I think it’s really visually interesting (esp with a relatively plain ring) and I’m totally into it!

        She did a blog post where she compares wedding band stacking with both her low-profile solitaire and her higher-profile solitaire that shows the difference well:

  • We went with a white sapphire. It’s gorgeous, looks traditional, and was significantly less expensive than other options. Not only was I happy to save money, but I am so relieved to not have to worry about something accidentally happening to it or me losing it! (Am I the only one who would feel nervous with an expensive rock on my finger?)

    • itsaprocess

      I did this too! We were lucky enough to have one of our good friends make our engagement rings (he wears one too) and I was able to work with her to source a beautiful white lab-grown sapphire. I feel good about the choice from an ethics POV and we saved SO much money. Plus it’s gorgeous and pretty hard-wearing! I looked into moissanite, but I found that it was more expensive and very colorful in a way I didn’t really like. I think this is the “fire” but it just seemed too flashy for me. Sapphire was the perfect find for me.

      Last random note, I also looked into ethically sourced colored diamonds. They used to be exclusively used in industrial work, but the inclusions can be beautiful and they can be much more affordable than clear diamonds. Example:

      • Sarah

        Mine’s a lab-made colored diamond (perfect for me as a chemist. The stone came with spectra! It’s blue because there are boron impurities in the crystal lattice!) I like that it’s a little nontraditional and, as Another Kate mentioned below, it gets me out of the Ring Olympics. If anyone’s looking for a source of lab-made diamonds, d.nea ( was great to work with

    • Kirstin

      Me too! I looked at variety of stones, but was very excited about the fact that it still looked a bit traditional in the setting, but that it was more affordable and ethically sourced. We also found an awesome vendor on Etsy: Her work is beautiful – I am waiting anxiously to get my ring as we speak!

  • Another Kate

    I have a peachy colored sapphire ring that I love. It does have a diamond halo and diamonds in the band though, so it looks sufficiently “engagement ringy” enough that I never get any negative comments. It’s perfect for me because its a little different, but still really traditional. I have to admit that it’s nice to never have to play ring Olympics with any of my girlfriends because my ring is clearly very different. My best friend just got engaged with a beautiful 2.5 carat solitaire, and I was grateful I didn’t have a much smaller diamond to compare it to. No diamond is better than a small diamond, for me, which sounds a little strange, I guess. But I highly recommend anyone consider a sapphire. They’re almost as durable, and they come in a ton of gorgeous colors. I’m still a little wistful that I didn’t pick the amazing smoky purple one that I saw while we were shopping.

    • C

      I was thisclose to getting a sapphire engagement ring. My fiance and I ordered a few samples from The Natural Sapphire Co online and were at a jewelry store trying to place them in settings so I could see how they’d look on my finger when this gorgeous, vintage-style diamond cluster ring caught my eye…and the rest is history.

      But I love sapphires; it’s my birthstone and I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I couldn’t love the ring I have more, but when I see a beautiful sapphire I still drool. The peachy colors are gorgeous, though I was looking at some beautiful yellow ones as well.

    • Daisy6564

      I just commented below that I went with a sapphire too, although I chose the standard blue color. I agree about not wanting to compete in the diamond Olympics.

      I knew that I didn’t want a diamond for ethical reasons (unless it was antique). So I also decided that if I wasn’t going with a diamond then I didn’t want anything that looked like a diamond either. I did not want to look like I was playing a game that I wasn’t playing.

      Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds can be nearly as expensive (sometimes more) than diamonds. They are not necessarily a money saver. Most people don’t have a frame of reference for their cost though, unlike diamonds, so it is harder to tie the size of a sapphire ring to an assumed income bracket.

      FYI on buying sapphires: at least for blue, the darker the color, the higher the value. That is like the sapphire equivalent to looking for the clearest diamond.

    • Clur

      Purple sapphire here :) We went with an independent jeweller (supporting local business yeah!) who got me a whole selection of gorgeous stones to choose from, and did me a nice simple design in palladium. I have childlike fingers so anything too fussy would just look wrong!
      Very difficult to take a picture of because it changes colours in the light – from pale, lilacy to bright purple and then a deep redder/pinky hue – but that’s also what I love about it!

  • Rachael

    I have a ruby ring that I inherited from my grandmother. She wore it as a cocktail ring but Husband designed a new setting for its new life on my finger. I get compliments on it all the time! Occasionally I’ll get snark about how it’s not a “real” engagement ring (I never know what that means. It’s not like I have a philosophical experiment on my finger). But the snark doesn’t really bother me anymore. It must be really exhausting to care that much about other people’s jewelry.

    • H

      Love. “It’s not like I have a philosophical experiment on my finger.”

      If somebody said that shit to me, I think I’d say something like, “OMG, it’s a hologram? How can you tell?”

      • Your hologram comment genuinely made me laugh out loud. I think the other people in my house must think I’m nuts.

    • PAW

      It must be really exhausting to care that much about other people’s jewelry.

      Please tell me I’m allowed to say that to someone at some point. Oh, that would be so beautiful…!

    • Cheryl

      I think I would just laugh if someone said that to me. It’s not real? Am I imagining it then?

      I hate everything about the diamond industry and just don’t want to support it it any way. It’s really astonishing the brainwashing that DeBeers has accomplished in this country, convincing people that a diamond solitaire is the only “real” engagement ring. It doesn’t make any sense.

    • Daisy6564

      I have a blue sapphire. So far everyone, especially my super old-fashioned grandmas, love it.

      My mom gave me trouble when I first told her I was not going to get a diamond because it was “not really an engagement ring.” To which I countered that diamonds as engagement rings is a 20th century, North American, tradition spurred on by DeBeers and the diamond industry. I also pointed out that JFK gave Jackie an emerald and Prince William gave Kate his mother’s sapphire. She rolled her eyes at the time but since I have gotten it she loves it.

      I can’t imagine someone giving someone else crap about their engagement ring. I don’t know how I would react if someone told me my beautiful ring was not a real engagement ring but it would not be pretty.

    • Paranoid Libra

      I have a Paraiba Tourmaline which is a sea green color. I have never had anyone tell me it’s not a real engagement ring. I have never gotten any snark about it to my face. Who knows what others have said after the fact, but I don’t care. It’s pretty and it’s mine :)

      • Marcie

        Me too!! I love it and my memories of going to pick it out with my husband are wonderful – especially since neither of us had any clue about how to buy jewelry. Yaay tourmaline!

  • Brenda

    Vintage sapphire Art Deco ring:

    I later discovered that my husband’s grandmother’s engagement ring is almost exactly the same. She was given it in the 1930s. One of my best friends has her husband’s grandmother’s ring which is of a similar style but much larger. It must have been a popular style!

    • that is freaking beautiful!!

  • I have a pretty cornflower blue sapphire engagement ring. I had no say whatsoever in the design (it was a total surprise) but my fiance was very thoughtful in choosing it. I’m kinda meh when it comes to diamonds (no strong feelings either way) and I think my fiance knew that. He said he chose the sapphire mainly because it is the birthstone for September and our anniversary is in September (we’re getting married on our 5-year dating anni). Blue is also his favorite color so it was an easy decision for him. There are a few small diamonds on either side because, according to him, “an engagement ring should have diamonds” but I love that it’s a unique that has meaning to us. He got the ring from Brilliant Earth and it came with tons of info on where the stones came from, the recycled precious metals used, and all the environmental care they take in mining their gems. Environmental & human rights issues in the jewelry industry are important to me so I appreciate the thought he put into not only the design of the ring but also where it came from.

    • We went the sapphire route too. We were both born in September (2 days and 2 years apart!) so it feels like it represents both of us. It’s kind of cool to have the added significance!

  • Audrey

    We ended up with a ring with a star sapphire because I found them at one point as a diamond alternative and absolutely adored them. They can be kind of pricy, although the man made ones are definitely still gorgeous at a much more reasonable point (honestly I’m not sure if mine is lab made or not, the price was a bit low…)

    Between that and using sterling silver we could afford a custom made ring, which was really worth it since I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted it to look like and the jeweler could then make it based on the stone we picked out.

    A picture showing the star:

    • Dawn

      Can I ask who designed your ring? That is gorgeous!

  • Megs

    Here’s mine (blue topaz and diamond accents):

    My husband and I conferred a bit on it– he had me rank a variety of ring types in our budget according to my preference. I ranked the diamond center stoned ones at the bottom. I’m pretty neutral on diamonds in general, although I feel strongly about ethically sourced ones. The diamonds in the band on this one are from Canada and are so much more expensive than the giant center topaz!

    I do love me some sparkle, and my peasant hands like the goodly size of the stone– daintier rings seem to get lost on my fingers. I get a ton of compliments on it and after wearing it for two and a half years, still love it! Non diamond engagement rings for the win :)

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Oooh, that blue color is stunning!

  • Amy

    We went with Moissanite as well – and it’s going to be my wedding ring – we’re both wearing claddagh’s as engagement rings. McFarland Design’s is making both rings – can’t wait!

  • Amy

    We used McFarland Designs too – I went with alexandrite because it’s my birthstone. I love that she uses recycled metals and lab created stones.

  • What I wanted was something like this, but in yellow gold:

    but fiance was’t feeling it. Part of me was all “but it goes on my finger!” but I respected his aesthetic input. I wanted something with nothing that would stick up and make me fidget with it. In the end, we had a ring designed based on an antique wedding ring with tiny diamonds set into the band, using greenish-blue sapphires instead. It isn’t the ring of my original hopes, but it is a good ring and I love it because it is from him. And I don’t fidget with it (much). We also got me a plain gold chain, to wear around my neck and to hold the ring when I need to have it off, like for rock climbing, so I don’t damage or lose it.

  • veronica
    • Brenda

      Not specifically about the one you’ve linked to, but wow, the turquoise rings on there are gorgeous! I love turquoise but so much of it looks like it came from a souvenir stand in New Mexico. Which is fine, but it’s hard to find turquoise jewellery that looks modern. I love these!

    • Lena

      Wow, love all their stuff!

  • Kate

    My ring is a round sapphire solitaire, very bright blue, in a trellis setting. Looks almost exactly like this, except it’s a palladium setting, not platinum:

    Along with my wedding band (which does have a row of very small diamonds), it’s the only jewelry I wear. I still love to just look at it, every single day, after about 4 years now.

  • rachel b

    Here’s mine!

    We went to look at rings and stones and I fell in love with the teal sapphire. Then we designed the setting together (I really wanted the brushed finish). I could not love it more.

    • Ooh, that teal color and the brushed finish are both so striking. It must look gorgeous on you!

  • ART

    I have a moissanite (clear diamond alternative) and LOVE. IT. It is so damn sparkly. It’s in a filigree setting from – they will do any of their settings with any of a bunch of gemstones. They were wonderful to work with. At first I was locking myself out of the house and other clumsy things because my ring was so distracting. I only look at it about 97 times a day now, PROGRESS!

  • Lisa

    Hello ombre eternity band. You are the ring of my dreams. I know what I’m asking for for an anniversary gift. We just ordered our wedding bands from Bario-Neal (because they are awesome). We both got plain gold bands (mine has a slight contour) because it was important to my FH to follow the Jewish tradition of using plain gold bands with no stones.

    My engagement ring is a vintage ring (1930s) with pave diamonds and emeralds on either side of the center diamond. I didn’t like the style and blingy-ness of many modern rings and I knew I wanted the stones to be set fairly flat so they wouldn’t catch on things. I found my ring online and couldn’t stop thinking about so I told my FH that I wanted that ring, when he was ready. Buying vintage was also a way to dodge blood diamond issues.

    • Lena

      I really love that ombre band and I also love the idea of an acrostic ring, but we don’t really have the budget for that (and I’m not sure what I’d “write” yet!). Maybe one day.

  • Amber

    Also Moissanite. This is my ring, but in white gold and we bought a moissanite stone and sent it to her.

    My ring is bezel with no light coming in except the top and it is sparkly y’all.

    These are some designs I’ve squirreled away on my Etsy favorites list:

    McFarlanddesigns and oneGarnetGirl have lots of great moissanite (and other stone) designs.

  • mek

    Another happy Moissanite ring here! I wonder if you were making a conscious decision to stay away from “fake diamond”, but I am really and specifically pleased with my Moissanite and mouth off about it to almost everyone who compliments my ring. It came from a METEOR! And a LABORATORY! And it is really rainbow-y in all kinds of light. (And very durable, which was a big consideration for me…)

    Also, telling jewelers that we wanted a Moissanite turned out to be a really useful way of weeding out people we didn’t want to work with…anyone who told us we would regret “not getting the real thing” we skipped on. Our jeweler took us in stride, and even told us to skip the ‘enhancements’, since in her opinion they wouldn’t make a difference in the kind of ring (yellow gold) we were getting.

    • ART

      Yeah! SCIENCE!

    • Amber

      I love the meteor aspect too. Pretty awesome.

      The woman who made our ring was a bit apprehensive about us wanting moissanite, becasue I guess when it was originally created it was yellow or green, but I knew modern stones weren’t like that and she was really happy when she saw the stone we sent her and I think she’s started using more moissanite in her designs now.

  • Katelyn

    My soon-to-be-ordered ring! (Sapphire was just placed on the setting prongs, so please pretend it’s not crooked)

    We purchased a loose natural sapphire from a dealer who specialized in sapphires after being disappointed with the stones stores could offer. It will be set in a pretty standard engagement ring setting, but I love the hybrid modern/art deco look.

  • Melanie

    I also have to speak up! I have a blue topaz engagement ring that my fiance bought on Etsy that I adore.
    I definitely recommend the jeweler who made it, he specializes in gemstone engagement rings!

    • Ooh, that’s super pretty!

    • Megs

      I posted above, but that’s who made my ring too! It’s awesome and I (and my husband) agree that he was super easy to work with!

  • I LOVE my Jen Burral nested topaz engagement ring and hammered band set from Turtle Love.

  • Bridget

    We are anti diamond for ethical reasons and the solution we liked best was Zultanite. It is a color changing stone depending on ambient light. It can range from rose pink to canary yellow to olive green. It is mined only one place in the world so the conditions under which it is obtained can be carefully protected.

    It is soft though, but we planned that I would only wear it on special occasions post wedding anyway.

    • Lena

      I have an alexandrite ring that does that! It goes from shades of purple-green to purple-purple and I love it. I’m going to have to investigate this…

  • Also that diamond shape knuckle ring is RAD.


    Loved mine! (until the dog ate it)

  • A piece of beach-glass is the primary stone in my ring… something that’s survived hundreds of years of tumbling and come out the other side smooth polished and even more beautiful :)

    Plus we live on a sailboat — it had to be nautical somehow! There’s a picture of it here:

    • Also — have any of you had people make funny comments about your rings?

      I was on a bus and a stranger came up and said, “that’s a nice ring. what’s the stone?”. When I told him it was beach glass, he laughed a little and said “that must have saved your husband a lot of money!”

      Although that wasn’t why we chose this ring, I laughed and agreed with him. Non-diamond rings ARE cheaper — and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Just wondered what other people’s experiences were? :)

    • ART

      woah, love it!

    • I love your ring; it’s gorgeous! I’ve only had two people ask to see my ring, and that was in the interim after I had proposed to my fiancee and given her a ring but she hadn’t given me mine yet. I’m kind of surprised more people haven’t asked about it, to be honest.

      • Iz

        I have hardly had anyone comment on or ask to see my engagement ring in a year and half of wearing it. I think it’s beautiful, but in Germany where I live people don’t traditionally wear them, so I have put it down to that…

  • Jules

    No one has suggested wood yet? My partner and I were hemming and hawing about what to get, and for many reasons we went with handmade, beautiful rings from Chicago —
    Mine is beautiful, and just feels so right (I have the padauk wood), and my husband’s looks like onyx (he has the bogwood ring). Gus has such a beautiful way of describing the reasons he loves making his rings, we are both so happy to have gone with them…the impermanence of them is partly what resonates so well with us.

    • Maria

      We also liked the wood symbolism… and had wood-inlay rings made by Johan Rust (jewelrybyjohan) who we found via Etsy. We didn’t want to blow a lot of money on rings that weren’t really “us”, I really wanted something that was a token of our plan to get married, and turns out my boyfriend did too. We agreed we wanted matching rings, and once we found bands with wood inlays, we thought they would be perfect. We had Johan design these sterling silver bands with a redwood inlay that were similar to existing designs on his site, and have worn them as “engagement” rings and will wear them as our wedding bands as well.

  • Breck

    Ok, this would have been a better question for the post on buying vintage rings, but I any advice would be appreciated :).

    I found a vintage ring on Etsy that I absolutely adore, but something about our conversations with the seller are a little off. He’s been somewhat slow to respond, and the messages are kind of terse. We asked him about the appraisal, and all he said was that the ring was appraised for $XX ($XX being twice as much as what he’s selling it for).

    Is this strange? Should we be asking more questions? The dude and I don’t really know where to go from here. It’s a big purchase, so we don’t want to just DO IT without feeling like we’ve made a good decision/crossed all our T’s.

    • Rachelle

      Just ask him to email you the appraisal. If it actually appraised for as much as he said he should have no problem showing you. If there’s something shady going on, he won’t.

      • Breck

        I messaged him two days ago asking for it. No response so far…

        SO ANNOYING.

  • Jenna

    Maddie, I am also incredibly, incurably klutzy–in fact, it’s become a bit of a joke in our family that I am why we can’t have nice things. :) That said, I have an antique, very high-set emerald ring (a family heirloom) that I wore daily for years, and it is no worse for having been banged around by me all that time. Jewelers are always surprised at what good condition it’s in considering its age, the frequency with which it was worn, and how hard I am on things. So I say, get yourself that emerald!!! Just make sure the setting is nice and tight. ;)

    • Sara

      I have an emerald center stone too. I’m all kinds of paranoid about it, but it’s just SO perfect for me that I do my best to be careful and hope.

    • Daisy6564

      Its not about the setting, its about creating scratches in the surface of the stone by nicking the face against other surfaces and wearing down the luster over time.

      Diamonds are among the hardest material on earth, a 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. They cut other things, so most other things can’t cut them. Glass has a hardness of about 5.5. Cubic zurconia is an 8. An emerald has a hardness of about 7.5. Meaning anything harder than that, like diamonds, titanium, tungsten, etc. will mark up an emerald.

      That said, I’m not a huge fan of diamonds. I went with a sapphire, which, along with rubies, are corundum minerals and a 9 in hardness. A diamond would scratch my sapphire but most other minerals could not.

      I agree that Maddie should get herself an emerald some day if she wants one. For someone who intends to wear their engagement ring every day though, an emerald will soon look worn and damaged. You could even run the risk of cracking it.

  • Daisy6564

    Sorry to tell you Maddie, but I think I have your dream ring (almost). I too decided at a young age that I did not want a traditional engagement ring. As I got older, and more socially conscious, I knew that I wanted to avoid newly mined materials.

    I ended up with an antique, platinum, art deco style ring passed down from a relative who too the original stone out. The man and I had a sapphire set in it. I too initially wanted an emerald and was dissuaded when I learned how soft they are. Rubies and sapphires are hard enough for daily wear though!

  • I have a morganite set in rose gold and I LOVE it. It’s my dream ring and I couldn’t be happier and my fiance couldn’t be happier with how much cheaper morganite is than a diamond.

  • LMN

    I ended up getting a white sapphire set in palladium. I had originally wanted aquamarine, but the jeweler advised going with a stronger stone for the type of setting it was in. I absolutely love it though–it’s a very clean-lined solitaire so a little mod, but still pretty classic looking. Go Etsy :)

  • Sarah

    Yay for non-diamond rings! Although, like a few other posters, mine is a white sapphire, that “looks” like a diamond, and so I’m correcting people all the time. I’m proud that it’s a sapphire, and sometimes wish I went with a colored one to make it more obvious.

    Initially, I really wanted a vintage ring, art deco styled, with either a sapphire or a diamond, but the ones that caught my eye were expensive. At least for us. My fiance at the time was in graduate school, and anything much over $1,000 was too much. Even the small diamond rings were above that. And I was against any mainstream jeweler with sketchily sourced diamonds. I LOVE BRILLIANT EARTH, and we live in the bay area, so my fiance started there. Too expensive though. Ultimately, since I was also really into sapphires, we found a great deal on etsy for a gorgeous ring (it looks even better in person!), and it was well under a grand. No high end antique store mark-up. Score. I LOVE IT. It does have small diamonds in the halo, but the sapphire is the real beauty. People are always shocked when they find out it isn’t a diamond, and I’m proud to be a little different, to have found a great budget solution, and to avoid the whole awful diamond industry, while at the same time having a ring that is ‘engagement enough’ (whatever that means) to let folks know I’ve committed myself to someone. Win all around.

    Oh, here’s the ring:

    • As a fellow white sapphire, most people assume I’m wearing a diamond as well. My ring also looks very traditional (solitaire stone in a simple band) so it causes no questions to arise. Sometimes this irks me (Look how unique I’m being! Let me tell you about why we chose a sapphire!) but I think I’ve gotten over it. It’s begun to feel like something we share, just the two of us!

  • SJ

    I have a few silver dress rings by a Bulgarian jeweller called Beldiamo. They only make silver jewelry, relatively inexpensive but it’s lovely stuff and would work for couples who want a token but not to spend a fortune. It hits all of my “slightly quirky but still fairly classic” buttons. They sell on ebay and do 2 main “styles” of jewellry – handmade, often oxidised silver and silver with gem stones – often semi precious stones or “natural” (and hence lower grade) sapphires etc.

    Links –

    and some examples of rings –
    Handmade silver –
    Gemstone –

    I hope that’s not too many links – you can seriously loose hours browsing their store and they are lovely items

  • Sara

    My fiance bought me a beautiful emerald cut white sapphire. It is the perfect ring!!!!!

  • #1 is my Fav too! If I ever loose my ring, Im getting this as it’s replacement!

  • I window-shop Etsy for rings I never buy like it’s my job. A few recent finds and perennial favorites:

    This romantic no-stone set which my inner 11-year-old adores

    This badassery

    A few different versions of the same basic idea

    Any Baratheons in the house?

    The tiniest little opal stacking rings in silver, gold, or OH WAIT, what, you want a whole cluster of pearls and opals on your finger? Etsy will do that.

    This lovely elfin viney brambly thing (and the coordinating Herkimer diamond and stacking versions, whaaaattt? Be still my heart!)

    And this motherflipping amazingness which actually belongs to an APW Wedding Grad … which grad, though, I am sad to say I totally forgot in my paroxysms of joy over the ring, so if it’s yours, hi! You have great taste!

    Honorable mention: the Dior “oui” ring which I guess at this point is cliché but I choose to believe is classic (and of which remarkably similar versions can also be found on Etsy, if one were so inclined).


    Neither my fiancee nor I have this ring, but it is epic, and I did give my fiancee a pair of “tiny sweeties” earrings with white topaz in them:

  • Gabe

    When my husband and I got engaged, we had a hard time figuring it out because we wanted something masculine, classy, and not too wedding-ring-like. We ended up going for this ring, because my husband grew up in the Southwest and loves silver/turquoise inlay:
    But with different stones.
    my ring goes lapis-sugilite-opal-sugilite-lapis…
    and his replaces the lapis with spiderweb turquoise.

    So our rings are not identical, but they’re similar. We love them so much that we’re even putting off getting wedding rings until we have more money and find something we like even better.

  • Dawn

    The boy did well with mine. It’s a ring made in Santa Domingo in Arizona (New Mexico?). It’s silver, with a mixed band of spiderweb turquoise, plain turquoise, white turquoise, manmade opal, and jet. He forgot at the time that turquoise is my birth stone and opal is his. My wedding band is going to have a similar these. It’s dark koa wood with a band of turquoise pieces edged by blackwood. A wonderful couple in British Columbia makes wooden rings by hand. Our rings are displayed in the blog. Metal just didn’t feel right as a wedding band.

  • Aubry

    I love my sapphire ring!

    I am not a diamond fan, and i fell in love with white sapphires. They look “diamond-y” but with an accurate price point. I also love that mine is in steel, a much more practical metal than soft gold that I would destroy. I work with my hands, and needed something low profile, and hearty. I also love tension settings!

  • Wow.. These rings are really stunning! Very different.. Im sure some of our Hens at have beautiful rings too!

  • Claire

    Here’s mine. It’s a titanium tension set ring that my husband designed and machined, with a lab created padparascha sapphire as the center stone. Sapphire becacause that’s my birthstone and I adamantly did not want a diamond. Lab-created because my engineer husband and I thought that was cool and, let’s be honest, it was cheaper. And pinkish because I fell in love with the unique color despite telling the jeweler that I wasn’t interested in looking at those as “I’m not really a pink kinda’ girl”. Well, turns out I am.

  • Kristen

    I wish I hadn’t missed this discussion but since I only want to show off my gorgeous aquamarine ring, I guess its for the best. I decided I wanted an aquamarine ring shortly after I started dating my husband. I fell in love with this ring:

    Unfortunately because I wanted a Santa Maria aquamarine, we weren’t able to find a cushion cut like I wanted, but i think my stone suits my skinny fingers well. I replaced all the diamonds in the original with engraving and I am seriously in love with it. It’s a large stone so I’ve knocked it about and I now wear it only on special occasions just to keep it in pristine condition.

    • Catherine McK

      So pretty!!

  • Rachel

    Totally late to this party but I’m currently in love with these gold Lulu Frost rings:

  • D

    Aaaah you guys. My Secret Months-Long Gmail Thread To Myself Full Of Ring Ideas In The Event I Need To Give Any Guidance is, like, double the length now. Thank all of you so much. <3 APW.

    • Monica

      HA just shifted my own secret months long gmail thread to myself full of ring ideas over to Evernote, that’s how long and unwiedly it was getting. So glad to hear I have company.

  • Sabrina

    I love my white sapphire ring with a twig band. Kristin Coffin is on etsy, and she’s fantastic:

  • Heather

    Maddie you go back to that jeweler and call BS on them. I’m a jeweler and emeralds are pretty darn durable. The only reason they get a bad rap for being “delicate” is because the natural ones are highly included, meaning that they have inner weak points that could give to a really well-placed whack against a door frame and be darn expensive to replace. If you wanted to buy a lab-grown emerald with no inclusions there is no way you’d crack it by way of daily activity unless you ran over it with your car, and even then it might survive. Though the metal wouldn’t! Ok there’s another thing I don’t get, my commercial counterparts are so “concerned” about the fragility of stones but high karat gold is like butter and no one’s warning our fiance’s against that!
    Anyway, the ONLY reason jewelers are scared of emeralds is that #1 they’re SUPER rare by comparison to other gems in natural form and only getting moreso, meaning a jeweler does not want to have to offer replacements. And #2 the inclusions make them hard to reset and mistakes can’t be hidden. A lady wearing her dream natural emerald ring is bound to notice if they swap an accidentally chipped stone for a lab-grown. Not so the case with diamonds or other eye-clean stones.
    In closing: when I worked for Zales, if someone melted Susie Q’s engagement ring they would just scrap the raw material and grab the same model off the shelf…I no longer work there for that and many other ethical reasons.

  • Maria

    We didn’t want to blow a lot of money on rings that weren’t really “us”, I really wanted something that was a token of our plan to get married, and turns out my boyfriend did too. We agreed we wanted matching rings, and once we found bands with wood inlays, we thought they would be perfect. We had Johan Rust (jewelrybyjohan on Etsy) design these sterling silver bands with a redwood inlay that were similar to existing designs on his site, and have worn them as “engagement” rings and will wear them as our wedding bands as well. I love our rings.

  • ThisLittleRedCat

    Another one excited about non-diamond engagement rings! I never wanted a diamond -for many reasons including ethics and my own love of emeralds. My engagement ring is an emerald cut (lab created) emerald with in a bezel setting with a very deeply hammered texture created through wax casting. I get compliments on it all the time- often from random strangers on the bus and from women sporting big blingy diamonds. I love love love it. As in, I’ve been married for two years and I still sometimes get distracted looking at it and how lovely it is. My husband has a matching ring in white gold with a wider band and a smaller stone. It was important to him that we find matching rings and important to me to have an emerald (my mom has one and they are so pretty).

    We ended up going with a lab emerald because I didn’t want a very expensive ring and because emeralds come with their own ethical issues. I am so incredible happy with the stone I got and recommend checking out its creators:

    This is my husband’s ring (though his has a green stone and white gold). Finding a men’s engagement ring was incredibly difficult and this was a great find. My ring was a custom job based on his design.

    • metatwaddle

      Geolite! Oh man, their stuff looks so neat and the prices are awesome, but I’ve never bought a stone from them because they’re so small and I couldn’t find a lot of reviews, so thanks for posting this. I want to get one of their emeralds now.

  • Supriya

    I love my Elizabeth Ryle sapphire ring from the Clay Pot in Brooklyn, NY:

    Symbolic of all things beautiful and exotic, this 22K gold ring features a decorative bezel accented with tiny gold granules. Distinctively handcrafted, this ring showcases Elizabeth Ryle’s incredible metalsmithing skills. The grooved band measures 3mm in width. Currently featuring a .97ct lab-grown Padparascha sapphire. Available to order with an alternate center diamond, ruby, and sapphire. Only available in 22K yellow gold. Please contact the Clay Pot for all special orders and pricing. The price for the .97ct oval lab created padparascha sapphire is $235.
    Style #doublegranule/dblshank

    Price reflects style as shown. Please contact The Clay Pot for ordering, sizing, and price information. – See more at:

  • Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it wise. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  • Maybe this is cheating a little, but I love love my rough diamond engagement ring from Specimental on Etsy. Most people think it’s opal or pearl at first glance anyway…

  • I wanted a ring that would be different and unique. My fiance wanted to design a custom ring for me (so sweet!), and between him and the jeweller, they came up with this: All I had to do was decide on the stone. I eventually decided on a colour change sapphire because they are super awesome–the stone is purple indoors and blue outdoors! I love my ring so much I’m having trouble sparing affection for my nearly-get-to-wear-all-the-time wedding ring!

  • MDBethann

    My DH/then-fiance likes white gold and I think diamonds on white gold are rather cold/pale looking, so when we went looking for ideas together, I said something either with a sapphire or emerald as the main stone (blue & green are my favorite colors); small diamond chips around it were fine. It was shortly after the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge became engaged, so sapphire rings were easy to find – my lovely ring is a sapphire with 2 small clusters of diamond chips on either side of it and 4 diamond chips down each side of the band. It’s profile is low enough that it doesn’t get caught in things so I can wear it every day, it’s not heavy or ostentatious, and it has a warm, lovely sparkle to it. It didn’t break the bank either.

  • Nicole

    Another voice to add to the conversation. I still love diamonds, but…

  • Nicola

    I follow this Toronto-based designer Anouk Jewelry on facebook, who makes nature and water-inspired jewellery.

    This is one of my favourite wedding/engagement sets where the engagement stone is actually a green sapphire instead of a traditional diamond:

    As far as I know, she can make any of her designs in coloured stones!
    and here’s a matching set without stones at all:

  • Erin

    If ethical and financial reasons are what is pushing you away from a diamond, my Fiancé and I found moissiante. It originally found in a meteorite and then now is created in a lab. It has a higher index of refraction than a diamond meaning it will reflect more light internally increasing the sparkle that it has. I would suggest though going and looking at a moissiante in person or look at various youtube videos of them because they flash rainbows not the white sparkles like a diamond. Personally I love the rainbow sparkles. People notice my ring more and ask me about it and I have a great time telling them about my ring and how we chose it. Also when picking out a moissiante you buy based on the diameter of the stone not the weight. Carat is based off a diamonds weight. A round moissiante with the same diameter of a diamond will only be .88 carat with reference to a diamond. I have a 6.5mm moissiante which would be the diameter of a 1 carat diamond. My Fiancé only spent 700 on my e-ring and it is the best quality moissiante out there! I truly feel this was the best decision for us. There is absolutely no way it could be a blood diamond and it was the best option financially for us (poor college kids).

    • Erin

      Oops! Spelled it wrong. Its moissanite!

  • Engagement Rings

    Stoneless rings are an awesome ethical option! There are tons of alternative engagement ring options, including stone-free and unusual stones, like turquoise and opal at For non-vegans, there are even leather engagement rings!

  • metatwaddle

    Any fans of lab sapphires? Here is the kind that I have (in 9mm). This lab has stopped producing sapphires for now, but there are a few left. My setting was purchased secondhand from, but it’s basically this setting in platinum.

    We got a local jeweler to resize the ring and set the stone in it. The finished product looks like this… sorry for the bad picture! It really is lovely: deep rich purpley-blue with sparkles everywhere. The claw prongs are pointy and delicate and perfectly symmetrical – they might actually be my favorite part.

  • Erin Elizabeth

    When my fiance started talking engagement rings with me, he was very blunt about the fact that he wanted me to have something that I wanted. I was nervous about this question and hemmed and hawed for a while but we finally decided to talk honestly. True story: I have NEVER wanted a diamond. Or something with a price tag that could be put towards a new house or car or a lot of wine. My birthstone is garnet and I have always been fascinated with garnet stones and not-diamond stones in general. He took these ideas into consideration and we never spoke of the rings again. Mostly. In his words, he spent six months searching for something that would work… and he found this stunning ring. The trees etched on the sides feed our J.R.R Tolkien love, the garnet stone has deep meanings for both of us, it was in a fantastic price range (though I still put it on the expensive side…), AND it supports crafty Etsy stores. Now comes the fun part: topping this with a band that embodies and represents him. :)

  • Number one is simply amazing :)

  • Kelly

    White sapphire. Second in strength to a diamond, looks like a diamond, but is not a diamond. It is my fiance’s birthstone (regular blue sapphire, I wanted the diamond look but not a diamond). My stone is huge and beautifully faceted, and… only cost $120. Check.and.mate!

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