Best Colored Gemstones for Engagement Rings


Break free from the traditional when you choose a colored stone for your engagement ring in lieu of the classic diamond. However, before you choose your gemstone based on aesthetics only, there are a few considerations to weigh, including which gemstones are better suited for engagement rings depending on several factors including gemstone hardness, risk of becoming cloudy, and overall clarity and appearance. There are many options available for a colored engagement ring to suit every different style, in many dazzling shades of the color spectrum.

Colored Diamonds

Stay with the diamond tradition, but put your own twist on it by choosing a colored diamond. Diamonds rank high as the top gemstone for engagement rings due to their gorgeous clarity and shimmering color. Diamonds are also the hardest gemstone, with a 10 rating on the hardness scale. Their refractive index is 2.417, and they are easy to wear with no special instructions or care required. Roughly 1 in 10,000 diamonds exhibits natural color, and diamonds with the most intense colors are highly prized and more costly. Some colored diamonds to consider when you are designing your engagement ring include bold canary yellow diamonds, sparkling pink diamonds, dark, eye-catching black diamonds, and champagne colored diamonds. Pink diamonds are the most costly, and some of the most beautiful.

Canary Yellow Engagement Ring
A canary yellow diamond is a refreshing alternative to a traditional diamond stone.

Sapphire

Sapphires are the colored gemstones of royalty, which is easy to see when you look at Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, which used to belong to Princess Diana. That is not the only famous sapphire engagement ring; Penelope Cruz and Elizabeth Hurley also received sapphire engagement rings. If blue is not your color, you are in luck, because sapphires come in other glittering shades, including red, green, yellow, and purple. Sapphires are one of the hardest gemstones, making them the perfect gem for a durable engagement ring setting. They also have a highly intense luminescence, and a refractive index of 1.757-1.779. Sapphires are not heat sensitive, and their durability and hardness make them an excellent choice for an engagement ring.

Sapphire Gemstone Ring
A gorgeous, deep blue sapphire is the perfect choice for a nontraditional engagement ring.

Emerald

It is said that the emerald was Cleopatra’s gemstone of choice, so emulate the Egyptian queen when you choose a gorgeous green gemstone for your engagement ring. Emeralds range in shades from light green to deep, dark green, and even a green color with an aqua tint. Emeralds also come in red, but these are rare. Because of their stunning color, emeralds make beautiful engagement rings. Their refractive index is 1.57 to 1.59, and they are not heat sensitive. Some emeralds do include fractures, so take care to avoid damaging the stone if possible. It’s rare to find a perfect emerald since virtually all emeralds have flaws. They do make beautiful rings, but be careful to take care of your emerald, and for the best results, purchase a well-cut stone, because emeralds are brittle which means inclusions are common, but it is possible to find a stone without fissures. A well-oiled emerald will maintain the stone’s appearance and fill in any cracks or inclusions visible to the eye.

Emerald Gemstone Ring
A gorgeous green emerald sparkles among smaller diamonds.

Ruby

A ruby makes a sizzling statement when set in an engagement ring. Rubies make great engagement ring stones because they are one of the hardest gemstones, with a 9 rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Rubies have a refractive index of 1.757-1.779, and without cleavage, the rings are a flawless ring option. As long as the ruby doesn’t have too many inclusions, it’s durable and very wearable for all types of jewelry. Rubies rarely have inclusions or fissures, which makes them a brilliant, flawless choice for engagement rings. The durable gemstones are also beautiful, and since red is the color of love, they are a natural choice for an engagement ring. A high-quality ruby has a deep crimson color, and the stones are not inexpensive, but the resulting rings are undeniably one-of-a-kind and amazing, especially when the ruby is the centerpiece among diamonds.

Ruby Gemstone Ring
Rubies are the color of love and passion, making them a perfect choice for an engagement ring.

Amethyst

The lovely lavender color of the amethyst makes an unusual engagement ring. A pretty and popular diamond alternative, the amethyst is a durable stone made of quartz, which makes it a good, solid option for an engagement ring setting. The semiprecious amethyst is February’s birthstone, and has a hardness rating of 7. The amethyst has a refractive index of 1.544-1.553, and has no cleavage. Colors vary from light, almost translucent, colorless purple to gemstones saturated with color, and heated amethysts often change color upon treatment, usually to a deeper, richer shade. Light and dark stones are both prized for their beauty and make stunning rings and other types of jewelry.

Amethyst Gemstone Ring
Ranging from light lilac to bold purple, the amethyst makes a unique engagement ring.

Tourmaline

A green stone that is the perfect alternative to the emerald, the tourmaline makes a bold choice for an engagement ring. The dark green stone comes in other colors, including pink. Each stone is different, which makes them a unique choice for your ring. They are complex stones with intense, vivid colors, and sometimes when the light hits them, you can see several different shades in the stone. The beautiful, unique stones have a hardness of 7, which makes them great gemstones for jewelry settings and a popular choice for non-traditional engagement rings. Tourmalines have a refractive index of 1.603-1.655, and though they are slightly heat sensitive, they are still quite wearable and have a vitreous luster and may show different colors when they hit the light. The gemstones are popular due to their wide array of color choices.

Pink Tourmaline Gemstone
Choose a pink tourmaline for a completely different engagement ring.

Citrine 

The citrine is becoming more popular when it comes to engagement ring gemstones, and it is easy to see why. The yellow stones range from a light, translucent shade to a golden yellow or even a light, champagne brown color. The citrine is a type of quartz stone, and with a hardness rating of 7, it’s almost impervious to flaws and scratches, making it a sturdy stone for an engagement ring or other types of jewelry settings. With no cleavage, the citrines are heavy, almost flawless, and naturally a warm, sunny shade of yellow or brown. The citrine has a refractive index of 1.544-1.553, and it’s one of the most wearable gemstones available, and a great choice for jewelry. The more intensely colored stones are generally more expensive and beloved, and the less inclusions the stone has, the more beautiful.

Yellow Citrine Gemstone
The warm, golden glow of the citrine makes a stunning ring setting.

Garnet

You may think of red stones when you think of garnets, but garnets come in other colors, too, including green, yellow, brown, and purple. However, the signature deep red of traditional garnets has a beautiful, almost vintage look that stands out when the stones are set in a vintage ring setting. With a 7 to 7.5 on the hardness scale, the gemstones make good rings, and they have a high refractive index, which means that no matter which way you turn the gem, you are greeted with brilliant sparkles and dimension. Whether they are cushion cut, heart shaped, or round, garnets make unforgettable, high-quality colored engagement rings. January’s birthstone has no cleavage, and the isometric stones come in many types, including the rare and stunning color changing garnets.

Garnet Gemstone Ring
Garnets make interesting engagement rings with a vintage vibe.

Aquamarine

The dreamy, light blue shade of the aquamarine makes for a breathtakingly beautiful engagement ring. A good alternative to a diamond engagement ring, the aquamarine looks stunning when surrounded by diamonds, especially when it is cut in a round setting. A relative of the emerald, the aquamarine is part of the beryl family. With a 7.5 to 8 hardness rating, the aquamarine resists scratches and has a high amount of shine to it, making it a sturdy stone for any ring setting. The aquamarine has a refractive index of 1.567-1.590, and the stone may have few indistinct flaws. One of the best choices for a ring due to its excellent wearability, the aquamarine comes in some gorgeous cuts, including the rare and prized cat’s eye cut. Deeper blue shades may be more costly, but even the clearest blue aquamarines are prized for their oceanlike beauty.

Aquamarine Gemstone Ring
The flawless brilliance of the aquamarine makes it a breathtaking stone for engagement rings.

Opal

Looking for a completely different type of engagement ring? Opt for an opal. The shimmering stones seem to include all the colors of the rainbow, and each stone is different. Your opal ring will never look like anyone else’s, and whenever the light hits your opal, you will see a rainbow of different colors. Most opals come from Australia, and the stones are cut to best reflect all of the colors inside. Though the opal is only a 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, they will stay beautiful if they are worn often and receive air and humidity to avoid the opals drying out. Opals have no cleavage, which makes them a good choice for a ring, and the pearly stones have a refractive index of 1.44-1.47. They are delicate, so wear them gently and avoid extreme temperature changes when wearing your opal. The silicates in the opal are what creates the rich colors and textures of the stone. It may not be many jewelers’ first choice for a ring, but if properly set and taken care of, it’s a lovely choice. Surrounded by diamonds, they make irresistible engagement rings that are never short on compliments.

Opal Gemstone Ring
The spectrum of colors in the opal makes it a unique and stunning choice for a ring.