Gemstone engagement rings are having quite a moment, and have been growing in popularity for several years now. Maybe it was the Duchess of Cambridge’s sapphire engagement ring– which was once Princess Diana’s – or maybe it was Princess Eugenie’s coral-colored padparadscha sapphire or Eva Longoria’s ruby engagement rings that first piqued the current interest in gemstone engagement rings, but celebrity influence aside there is no doubt that gemstones engagement rings are things of great beauty.
Types of Gemstone Engagement Ring
When discussing gemstone engagement rings there are a lot to choose from, but some are more popular and prized than others:
The emerald, with its deep green coloring, has actually been known under many different names across the globe over the centuries, but the name we know it by is derived from the Greek smargados, which means green gem.
The mineral that ‘makes’ an emerald is called beryl, but it gets its beautiful green hue from the chromium it also contains. Every emerald has its own unique chemical makeup and in fact expert gemologists can actually pinpoint where the gem was mined from its chemical signature.
In terms of meaning, something that is very significant to many women when making a gemstone engagement ring choice the emerald is generally associated with unity, compassion and unconditional love. The latter was perhaps demonstrated by Richard Burton, as he famously gifted his on and off again love Elizabeth Taylor a huge collection of emeralds – a necklace containing 17 emeralds, earrings, a ring and a bracelet with a further 12 emeralds, all valued at over $100 .
One of the most ‘famous’ gemstone engagement rings of the 20th AND 21st centuries is the diamond surrounded sapphire first worn by Princess Diana and now sported by Kate Middleton. The sapphire is traditionally a deep blue – although white sapphires do exist and there is that stunning padparadscha sapphire we mentioned earlier – and has in fact been the most popular non-diamond engagement ring for over a century.
The sapphire is primarily comprised the mineral corundum, but the presence of trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium can lead it to develop as a pink, yellow, purple or orange gem. It is the deep blue sapphire that is most prized as a gemstone engagement ring though. In addition to Diana/Kate’s famous ring Mary Kate Olsen, Victoria Beckham and Elizabeth Hurley have all opted for sapphire engagement rings in the past.
Traditionally a sapphire engagement ring is said to represent loyalty, trust and truth. It is also traditionally a symbol of wisdom and yes, royalty, even before Diana choose it.
Oddly enough the ruby and the sapphire have a very similar chemical makeup which can cause some confusion. What were once termed lighter red rubies are now referred to as pink sapphires, so these days when shopping a higher end jeweler for a ruby gemstone engagement ring you will usually be presented only with the traditional deep red gemstone.
The ruby engagement ring is usually considered to be a very bold choice as the gem itself is extremely striking. It is perhaps no surprise that both of the exuberant, and occasionally controversial Simpson sisters – Jessica and Ashley – both chose very unique diamond and ruby engagement rings, and, remembering that her spouse has actually, over the course of their marriage, gifted her with no less than thirteen different engagement rings, Victoria Beckham has sported one as well.
The ruby is said to represent good fortune, pure love, and loyalty, but in some ancient writings it is also referred to as an ‘aphrodisiac’ stone that “brings vigor into your life”!