January 2019 Newsletter: Colored Gemstones for Engagement Rings

It was not so long ago that diamond was considered de rigeur for engagement rings.

But these days many couples contemplating marriage are considering alternatives. The reasons for change are many, including difficult economic times, the bad publicity surrounding blood diamonds, and the perceived lack of individuality of diamonds. Many consumers have come to understand that diamonds are not rare and that the prices are kept artifically high by the cartel that controls the supply and distribution of diamonds.

Colored gemstones present an attractive alternative to diamonds for engagement rings because of the large range of colors and the many different styles, sizes and price points. Celebrities have also helped make colored stone engagement rings a fashion trend. The most famous case was the blue sapphire and diamond ring that Prince Charles gave to Lady Diana Spencer upon their engagement in 1981. The same ring was used by Prince William for his engagement to Kate Middleton in 2011. Prince Andrew, the younger brother of Prince Charles, also gave his fiancee Sarah Ferguson an engagement ring with a colored gemstone in 1986 -- a pigeon's blood ruby.

Blue Sapphire and Diamond Ring Set
Blue Sapphire and Diamond Ring Set
in 18k White Gold
AJS Gems design

Thus far the jewelry industry has not been very enthusiastic about marketing colored gems for engagement rings. Retail jewelers are knowledgeable about diamonds, but less familiar with colored gems. Undoubtedly the diamond industry would prefer to maintain the status quo. So many couples who want a colored gemstone engagement ring turn to specialized colored stone dealers.

Not every type of colored gemstone is suitable for an engagement ring which is worn every day. The top choices, based on hardness and durability, are ruby and sapphire. Other suitable choices include spinel, tsavorite and spessartite garnet, aquamarine, morganite, imperial topaz and alexandrite. Some popular stones such as tanzanite are not really hard enough to be worn every day.

Top grade colored gemstones can be found in a wide range of cuts and sizes, and can be set in designs to suit every budget. We would be happy to assist you in selecting a fine gemstone from our collection and creating a custom setting just for you.

See our Gemstone Jewelry Gallery for Ring Setting Ideas



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature fine gemstones suitable for engagement rings, including several custom rings we've created. Click on any photo to view the details for the gem.


2.14 ct Blue Sapphire Ring
A lovely 2.14 ct Ceylon Sapphire (8.30 x 6.80 mm) set in a custom 18k white gold ring. This fine sapphire is set off by 60 white diamonds with a total carat weight of 0.67 cts. This would make a beautiful engagement ring at less than the cost of an unset 1 carat diamond.

1.04 ct Burma Ruby

Burma Ruby, the rarest and most valuable of all colored gems, makes a classic engagement ring. This 1.04 ct gem is the brilliant pure red known in the trade as "pigeon's blood." Certified by GemResearch Swisslab (GRS).
4.06 ct Mandarin Spessartite Garnet from Nigeria
4.06 ct Mandarin Spessartite Garnet from Nigeria  [SOLD]

A fine Spessartite Garnet in the ideal mandarin orange color. This beautiful clean gem is full of life, with wonderful brilliance and sparkle. This elegant oval has been precision cut with sharp facets and polished to perfection. This is a superb example of the finest Spessartite from a Nigerian deposit that has now been exhausted. Guaranteed natural and untreated.


4.69 ct Morganite from Brazil

Morganite has become very popular for engagement rings. This 4.69 ct beauty is fine gem Morganite from Brazil in the rare pink color. Very clean and fashioned in a portuguese cut to bring out the full brilliance of this excellent material. At about 12 x 10 mm, a perfect size for an elegant ring. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

3.14 ct Mahenge Spinel from Tanzania

An exceptional neon pink-red Spinel from Mahenge, Tanzania. Very rare over 3 carats, this gorgeous 3.14 ct cushion displays the neon glow which is characteristic of these unusual Spinels. Certified by GemResearch Swisslab (GRS) as natural untreated Spinel from Tanzania, with the color graded as "pinkish-red." This extraordinary gem would make a stunning engagement ring, at about the cost of an ordinary 2 carat diamond.

See the video

2.37 ct Tsavorite Garnet Ring in 950 Platinum

2.37 ct Tsavorite Garnet in 950 Platinum Ring  [SOLD]

A very fine 2.37 ct Tsavorite Garnet set in a platinum ring with amethysts and diamonds. The Tsavorite is an exceptional gem with a bright open color and is completely loupe clean. The custom platinum ring features 2 octagon amethysts (total weight 0.52 cts) and 42 fine diamonds (total weight 0.46 cts).


News from AJS and the Gems World

Happy New Year 2019!

All the best for the new year to you and your family from all the staff at AJS Gems. Thanks for making 2018 another very successful year for us, and we look forward to working with you on your future gem projects.


New Year Closeouts

We've added hundreds of new gems to our Closeout section. Take advantage of bargain prices on high quality natural gems from the AJS collection. We have single stones, lots and carvings in a huge variety of colors and sizes. A great way to get started with collecting and jewelry-making!

See all our Closeout Gems



Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

Just out of curiousity, what's the heaviest gemstone? Is it diamond? NS, Canada

I think by "heavy" you mean dense -- where a particular gem material has a higher weight compared to another gem of similar size. Scientifically, the density of a gem material is a number that represents mass per unit volume (expressed as grams per cubic centimeter).

In the jewelry trade, precious metals are the densest materials. Pure gold is  extremely dense, with a rating of 19.3. The density of 18k gold is less, in the range of 14.7 to 16.9, depending on the alloy. Platinum is the densest metal used in jewelry, with a density of 20.1 for 950 platinum. Silver, by contrast is only 10.5.

There are no gemstones which are as dense as precious metals. The densest gem materials are some rare collector varieties such as cinnabar (density of 8.2). The densest gem you'll find in our collection is cuprite (6.15). The densest gems commonly used in jewelry are natural zircon (4.73), spessartite garnet (4.18), and ruby and sapphire (4.03). Diamond has a density around 3.53. The least dense gems include opal (1.88-2.50) and amber (1.05-1.09).



All the best in gems,

May, Arnold, Rung & Ron