There seems to exist a trend of non-traditional engagement rings in the recent years. People who want to be creative and break with the tradition of diamond engagement rings have come up with numerous alternative solutions.
One of the most prevalent solutions are the birthstone engagement rings. The diamond in the engagement ring is replaced by a birthstone of the bride to be. However, even though it may sound ideal and thoughtful, more often than not, it is a bad idea. Engagement rings are traditionally topped by a diamond for a reason – it is hard enough to endure everything you can throw at it. Other stones may not be.
In order to determine how hard or resistant a mineral is, gemologists use the so-called Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This handy scale tells you how easy it is to scratch or damage a mineral with a harder material. The bottom of the scale at 1 is talcum, which is the softest mineral we know. At the top of the scale, with the value of 10 is the diamond.
When it comes to their use in engagement rings, minerals need to score at least 7.5 on this scale to be considered hard enough. Surprisingly, not many precious stones actually fit this requirement. Even though they look fairly similar and they might seem like they are just color variations of one and the same thing, the truth is far from it.
Toughness of the Stone
However, the Mohs scale is not the only thing you need to consider when considering whether a stone is suitable for engagement rings. Toughness is defined as the ability of a gem to resist chipping and breaking on impact.
A good example of the importance of considering toughness is the emerald. This beautiful green gem is rated as 7.5 or 8 on the Mohs scale. That would place it firmly in the acceptable zone for engagement rings. However, the toughness of an emerald is actually quite poor. Emeralds tend to be full of cavities and other imperfections. This makes them highly prone to chipping, especially in certain directions.
Chemical and Environmental Resistance
Finally, you should also consider how resistant your stone will be to the environmental factors like the humidity, temperature or even the sunlight. Gems with organic origins, such as amber and pearls are very susceptible to damage by sunlight, whereas some other gems like amethyst and topaz can actually fade from constant direct exposure to sunlight.
The most damaging factor is the heat. The vast majority of gemstones can be seriously damaged by frequent and drastic changes in temperature, so softer and less tough gems are reasonably expected to crack in those scenarios. However, even diamonds are not impervious to this factor, especially those diamonds with poorer clarity. Those diamonds have various impurities which can compromise the structural integrity of the gemstone.
Are There Engagement Rings Valid Options?
There are several gemstones which are a suitable replacement for a diamond in engagement rings. Corundum is one such stone. If you haven’t heard of this stone before, perhaps you know it by one of its other names – ruby and sapphire. The only difference between these two is the color. Ruby is red, whereas any other color is considered a sapphire, although it is most commonly associated with blue.
Most engagement ring experts still recommend that you opt for a traditional diamond engagement ring. These are durable, beautiful and come in a variety of hues and colors. However, ultimately, you will decide which choice is best for you.
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To contact Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Ring Store
1851 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110, USA