Diamonds have had the lock on engagement rings for centuries, but when it come weddings these days, more couples look for ways to be different than the same. As a result, modern engagement rings aren’t necessarily all diamonds all the time, and, increasingly, they’re not diamonds at all. Who says only diamonds symbolize commitment? In fact, until diamonds became more plentiful in the mid-nineteenth century, it was still very common for colored stones—or no ring at all—to symbolize betrothment. Today, plenty of celebrities have revived that trend, saying that colored stones do the job just as well, just as beautifully, and with a lot more personality (and, in many cases, a lot more expensively).
If it’s rubies you like, check out Jessica Simpson’s engagement ring; it features her birthstone set in gold with two diamonds. Gold is also the choice for Halle Berry, whose four-carat emerald (that reportedly contains Phoenician codes that tell her love story) is set in the hand-forged precious metal. American Idol stars Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson both sport canary yellow diamond engagement rings; Clarkson’s is emerald cut and surrounded by diamonds, while Underwood’s is a five-carat stunner, round-cut and surrounded by seven carats of accent diamonds.
How much are these alternatives worth? Two million for actress Blake Lively’s 12-carat oval pink diamond set in rose gold (another choice that bucks the trend!). Mariah Carey’s square-cut pink diamond is a whopping 17 carats rumored to be worth a half million more than Lively’s.
Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s celebrated her engagement with Princess Diana’s ring, a 12-carat sapphire valued at a half a million if it belonged to you or me, but how much is it worth because of its famous provenance? Actress Elizabeth Hurley wears a nine-carat sapphire. You probably won’t see options like this when you shop for jewelry in South Florida, but surely you can find an affordable alternative.
In 1795, Empress Josephine was said to have accepted a diamond-and-sapphire ring from Napoleon. It might be a stretch to say she started a trend, but when you see the collection of “alternate” engagement rings we have at National Pawn and Jewelry in Fort Lauderdale, it’s hard to deny it’s a trend now.