The Problem with Engagement Rings
When I was a little girl, as many of you can probably relate, I often fantasized about what my wedding would be like. As I gotten older, this desire to plan out my wedding way before it’ll actually happened only intensified. I would binge on shows like Say Yes to the Dress, I would save photos of pretty wedding dresses, I even had (okay, have…) a wedding blog where I saved pictures of themes and ideas. More recently I’ve been tagging my boyfriend in engagement ring photos on Instagram. But this is no way hinting I want to get married (I’m only 22 and I’m NO WHERE near ready at all), he just knows it’s something I’ve been obsessively planning since forever and he goes along with it (Ignoring my crazy vibes? He's so sweet). So with that being said, there’s one aspect of getting married that’s been really irking me as of late. The diamond. But don’t get me wrong I think a diamond engagement ring is beautiful - it’s traditional, luxurious and everything I pictured to go along in my perfect wedding. But more recently, I’ve been looking into the world of engagement rings and I find myself gravitating towards other gemstone alternatives. If you already have a diamond engagement ring this is in no way trying to put it down because like i said, I absolutely love the idea of it. However, I do want to shed some light onto this subject since there is a dark side to the world of diamonds.
Did you know that the idea of proposing with a diamond ring to symbolize your eternal devotion is a fairly modern idea? The ‘tradition’ itself has only been around for less than 100 years, but skyrocketed with marketing and campaigns like De Beers A Diamond is Forever commercial (click here to view their commercial). So to those that are adamant about going about everything traditionally… you may want to rethink what is actually traditional and is it worth it.
CONS OF CHOOSING DIAMOND
I suppose this won't be an issue if money isn’t tight for some couples, but personally the biggest issue for me is the price point. I know some could say it doesn't concern us since we’re not the ones purchasing it, but it really does because that’s money that could help start our life together as a married couple. If money's going to be an issue, consider how you'd be starting your married life with debt. Me, being extremely picky about what I want, could easily cost my man upwards of $50k for something I’d like, which at the end of the day, would only be a ring.
But why is it so expensive? Because diamonds are found in different qualities. Diamonds are graded by the 4 C’s: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. So if you’re looking for, let’s say, a 2 Carat perfect round cut diamond, D colour, FL, you better be ready to fork out at least $70k +. Similarly if you want a 2 Carat decent round cut, K colour, and SI2, you’d be looking at about only $7K in comparison (but is still so damn expensive to me), which is a huge difference. Allow me to explain briefly. Cut: The way a diamond is cut can significantly determine the price of your diamond. Depending on it’s cut, the brilliance or “fire”, will be affected. This means the overall sparkle could either be intensified or dulled down. The chart below will give you a general idea of how light will refract from each shape, giving it the sparkle it has (or does not have).
Colour: To the naked eye, the colour of your diamond may not seem obvious, especially at first glance. Many would compromise this area of their diamond for a ‘better deal’. Diamonds come in a variety of colour starting from D (which is essentially colourless), to Z (yellow hue). And to be honest even up to L, I really don't see a big difference, but when compared side by side it’s quite something. Recently my father replaced my mother’s old diamond ring with a new diamond. The D coloured diamond in comparison made her old diamond appeared very yellow, something we never realized until it was placed side by side.
Clarity: The clarity of a diamond is something people often compromise as well because it’s not something extremely noticeable to the naked eye, perhaps even less noticeable than the colour. Diamonds are a natural part of this world so it’s expected to come with imperfections, and it’s extremely rare to come across a diamond that is flawless. The chart is as followed. FL = Flawless. This means there are no visible inclusion or blemishes when using 10x magnification. IF = Internally Flawless. This means there are no visible inclusion, only blemishes when using 10x magnification VVS1/VVS2 = Very Very Slightly Included. Again, invisible to the naked eye and is difficult to be seen through 10x magnification.
VS1/VS2 = Very Slightly Included. Inclusions are still not visible to the naked eye but can be seen through 10x magnification clearly. SI1/SI2 = Small Inclusion. At this stage the inclusion will be visible to the naked eye, but will still be difficult to see. I1/I2/I3 = included: The diamonds have inclusions that will be clearly visible.
Carat: Last but certainly not least, the size of your diamond. You can imagine the larger the diamond the more expensive it is because a larger size means higher rarity. With all factors included, you can probably guess why a 2 carat diamond could different so significantly in price point depending on what area was compromised. With that being said, a diamond can pretty much be the end of you depending on the quality you’re hoping to get. So if you’re looking for a friendlier option for your wallet, you might want to reconsider the gem you use for your centre stone.
Conflict Diamonds/Blood Diamonds. If you are someone who is passionate about owning a gemstone that is ethnical, you may have some trouble with this one. This is a very real problem for places like Sierra Leone (yes the movie was based on a very serious and real issue) and the Congo as well. People and children especially are being exploited and forced to worked under extremely dangerous conditions. In addition to the abuses of human rights, diamond mining had been known to also affect the environment in severely damaging ways causing deforestation, contamination of water and land, and in extreme cases, the collapse of an entire ecosystem.
Marketing Scheme Did you know that there are numerous gemstones (*cough* sapphire, ruby and emerald) that are actually more rare than the diamond itself. Touching base with De Beers again, this company had create the illusion that diamonds were more rare than they actually are. By restricting the supply of diamonds, they were able to raise the market price by a fuck load. Their monopolization of the diamond industry in the past had left a permanent mark on how we view and justify the value of diamonds today. At the end of the day, the idea of a diamond engagement ring was initially created to exploit you of your money through cleverly selling the romantic idea of devotion and love in attachment to their diamonds. But like I said, I don't want to offend those that have a diamond ring because I know they ultimately made it what it is and it truly is their symbol of love, and that's completely okay too. It's just with the cost, the ethnical issue behind it, and their misleading marketing - I just have a really big problem with it. And I'm sure others do too.
The point of this blog post was to provide a few alternative to diamonds, but I got really carried away haha. It’s nice to be informed especially if you plan to have a say in your engagement ring in the future, or if you’re a male reader, if you’d like some insight on the history of diamonds, and why you might decide to make the switch.
So without delay, here are my 2 personal picks (after rummaging the internet and studying every possible type of stone out there for weeks on ends).
I guess this might be a good time to put a disclaimer out there and state that this is a non sponsored post. I am just a crazy wedding obsessed lady that neeeeeds to share my love for all things bridal haha. And trust me I get really into it.
This is by far my favourite option and something I've constantly compared and researched intensely. Moissainite was discovered over 100 years ago while examining samples of rock found in a meteor crater. So you could say they're out of this planet. Of course Moissanite these days are synthetically grown in labs which is what makes it easier on your wallet. Some would say it's nearly identical to a diamond, but it should really be recognized as a gem in it's own right that happens to resemble a diamond in my opinion. Compared to diamonds, Moissanite shows more brilliance and fire since their refractive rate is much higher (2.6 vs. diamonds which stand at 2.4). This means the rock gives off much more sparkle. Here is a photo comparison (Moissanite Left, Diamond Right)
The Moissanite stands at a 9.25 in the Moh Scale compared to diamond's 10 - which is incredibly similar.
Since it's discovery, it went through a few trial and phases before it achieved its perfect form - The Forever One Moissanite. You can find Moissanite in three different forms, the earlier forms showing tints of yellow-green hues, the latter looking essentially colourless. The Classic Moissanite: Colour ranged from J if you're looking for a round cut, and K L or M for a fancy cut. The Forever Brilliant: Colour ranges from G-J. The Forever One: D, E and F
Here's the kicker. Remember how a 2 Carat perfect round cut, D colour, Flawless diamond cost upwards of $70K? For the exact specifications (which is essentially a Forever One Moissanite), you're looking at $2000-5000 at most. The 2 carat Forever One ring below can be found on Skin.ny website for only $3735. You can actually check the exact listing page here. Isn't that freakin crazy?!
With that being said Moissanite is not the only diamond look alike in the market. If you're hoping to get the same quality as the sought after diamond, you can also look into another stone called the Amora Gem. It's fairly similar in price point with the Moissanite, but the gem itself has a very obvious difference in terms of internal pattern. If you have time try looking into comparing the three.
Another gem I fell in love with is the Moonstone. This looks nothing like the traditional diamond ring, but it's beautiful in it's own way. Something to consider if June is a particularly special month as it is the June birthstone. In comparison, they only stand at a 6 in the Moh scale so over time scratches will inevitably appear. However, with the proper care (removing it when you wash the dishes, when you work out etc.), this is still a very suitable option and very possible to take care of if you've fallen in love with it's beautiful colours like myself. This stone is most comparable to the more popular Opal, except instead of opaque yellow green hues, the moonstone takes on more of a smoky blue teal tone. For comparison, the stone only has a refractive index of 1.5, so it's not the type of stone to sparkle and make an immediate statement, but there is charm in what it has to offer. In ancient Rome, the moonstones was believed to be created from the light of the moon. For those interested in crystals and their healing properties, the moonstone is also associated with femininity, enhancing fertility. This stone naturally come in different forms and colours, the the most popular appearing to be the Rainbow and Blue moonstone. It's important to note that with moonstones, its inevitably to have a perfect stone without inclusions, so if this is going to be a problem, I wouldn't recommend it for you. Personally I think the inclusions and difference in each stone is what makes it so unique and personal.
In terms of price point, this stone significantly differs depending on the quality. It's not nearly as rare, so it could be quite commonly found for as little as $20! However, a superior moonstone of a decent size and fire is quite rare to acquire, so those that reach such standards could even go as high as $2000+. The one ring I've been particularly fond of belongs to a small etsy seller by the brand Michellia Design. This gorgeous 1 carat faceted moonstone with amazing fire is only $1100 Canadian (which is around $820 USD converted). Again you can see her listing page here.
I know two alternative to diamond seems like an incredibly short list. And that's fine, I completely agree that there are so many beautiful gemstones out there that deserve the recognition it deserves. But at the same time I didn't want to share information that I'm not sure about just to create a longer list. The Moissanite and Moonstone has been something I looked into for the last two months (almost everyday at one point), and I feel like I'm incredibly knowledgeable about them so I wanted to throw my own opinions out there. For your reference on other gem stones that you can look into as an alternative to diamonds, take a look at the list below!
Aquamarine Beautiful clear baby blue gemstone that sit around a 7.5 in the Moh scale. It is associated with good luck which can be quite beautiful to start a marriage with. Ruby Believe it or not some rubies can go for much higher than diamonds. Their colour and origin tends to determine their price. Emerald - Similar to Aquamarine in terms of hardness Blue Sapphire Princess Diana had a beautiful 12 carat Sapphire engagement ring. Fun fact she choose the ring from a catalogue that was accessible to anyone! Surprised she didn't want to customize her own ring. White Sapphire Commonly used to replace diamonds as they are similar in appearance and hardness (9, which is one below the diamond), however it has a much lower refractive index. Amethyst A beautiful deep purple gemstone commonly associated as a healing crystal. Pearl They sit very low in the Moh scale so beware they scratch very easily, however I've seen some beautifully designed pearl engagement rings that makes me go OH! Opal A beautiful alternative if you were thinking about the moonstone but prefer the green hue. Notably, this is the October birthstone. Sunstone I always thought it would be cute for the groom to have a small sunstone gem on his wedding band if the bride went with a moonstone engagement ring
I'm curious! What engagement stone do you have or what stone are you hoping to wear in the future? I'd love to know your own thoughts on the diamond industry! Wanderlustts
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