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Jun 03, 2015

Trend to Watch: Birthstones in Engagement Rings

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LISA


Alexandrite, the June birthstone,
in a mokume engagement ring
Think your birthstone should be relegated to earrings or a pendant? Think again. More couples are opting to use these stones in their engagement rings -- and not just to accent the diamond. In fact, birthstones are becoming the new center stone of choice for some.

A couple’s reasons for eschewing diamonds are as varied as the birthstone they use. Some women want a ring that’s as unique as they are, while others are vehemently against any possibility of wearing a so-called blood diamond. (You can read more about ethically mined stones here.) Then there’s the matter of price: Some birthstones are a fraction of the cost of a diamond, meaning you can get a much larger stone for much less money.

That said, some stones are better suited for the job than others. Though we hold the engagement ring in high regard, let’s be honest: It’s a piece of jewelry we wear every day, on a part of our body that sees the most action. We bang it on the counter, cover it with hair spray or moisturizer, and shower and sleep with it. So it’s important you choose a stone that’s hard enough to take a beating.
 

Your Birthstone Color in a Different Stone?


Tanzanite, December's birthstone,
in a mokume engagement ring
The gold standard for an engagement ring, of course, is a diamond, which has the ultimate hardness of 10. These sparkling beauties come in all sorts of shades at a variety of price points, including:
  But if you want a colored stone that’s easier on the wallet, consider a sapphire. With a hardness of 9, it’s fairly durable, though you’ll probably see some signs of wear over the years. When customers bring in a vintage sapphire ring, for example, there’s usually some chipping -- often on facet junctions. But nine times out of 10, those can be polished out. Another plus? Sapphires come in a rainbow of colors, so you can choose the exact shade you want. (One caveat: If you’re mixing and matching colored stones, aim for hues that compliment each other.)
 

Sapphires come in many colors!

Is Your Birthstone Up To the Task?


The fact is, not every birthstone should be placed front and center of an engagement ring. You’ll want to avoid anything softer than an 8 on the hardness scale, including tourmaline, amethyst and tanzanite, unless you just can't live without it, and you're willing to take the extra special care necessary. Also skip opals, pearls and natural emeralds, which can damage easily.

Whatever stone you do end up choosing, work with your jeweler to ensure the best cut. You want to try to get as much light out of it as possible, and an excellent cut will help give you that desirable sparkle. To keep up the brilliance, plan on cleaning your colored stone more often than you would a diamond. As soon as you notice yours looking dull and lifeless, clean it with ultrasonic cleaner or jewelry cleaning kit (or just soap, water and a toothbrush if you have an emerald).

And to help prevent chips and dings, take off your ring when doing chores, lifting weights, washing hands or showering, and even before you go to bed at night. Believe it or not, eight hours of rubbing against sheets can even damage your stone over time.

This may sound like a lot of upkeep, but this isn’t any old ring, after all. It’s your engagement ring. It’s like an unwitting participant in your marriage, one that most of us don’t want to change drastically over time. And with a little bit of care and the right stone, you shouldn’t have to. 
 
Want to find out more?  Wondering if your birthstone would work?  Contact us, and we'll be happy to help!
 
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