Engagement ring stones: a comprehensive guide on their meaning and symbols

Choosing the perfect engagement ring is a journey that goes beyond the physical attributes of the ring. It's not simply selecting the shiniest object in the shop, but about finding a piece that weaves into your love story.

Engagement ring stones: a comprehensive guide on their meaning and symbols

Though diamonds have long been synonymous with engagement rings, many are opting for alternative gemstones. Jewellery is designed and chosen with sentimentalism and nostalgia in mind, and we've divorced the era of impulse buying and chasing trends. Enter precious stones and laboratory-grown diamonds. This newfound love for jewellery with meaning reflects a yearning for good old sentimentalism.  

Let's redefine the notion of an engagement ring, focusing on what it is and why it matters to you and your beloved. In this guide, we'll look at all a range of alternative gemstones you can choose from, with advice on how to match your precious stone with different styles, cuts and metals. Read on for more.


Understanding the different gemstones


Engagement rings come in a stunning array of colours, each with its own personality and significance. Red gemstones, like rubies, showcase passion and courage, while blue sapphires represent wisdom and loyalty. Yellow diamonds bring sunny hues that symbolise joy and clarity, and lush green emeralds signify rebirth and love. Pink gemstones, such as sapphires and morganite, embody compassion and romance.

Choosing a gemstone based on its characteristics and meanings will help you find an engagement ring that encompasses the qualities you adore in your partner and seek in your marriage.



Diamond colours and their characteristics


Diamonds are the ultimate symbol of love and commitment, making them the most popular choice for engagement rings. Their brilliance and timeless beauty captivate hearts, but their variety stands out. Each type of diamond, from classic white to vibrant coloured, carries unique meanings, ensuring a perfect diamond for every love story. Below we’ve listed the many varieties of diamonds and their symbolic meanings.


  • White Diamonds: Classic and timeless, symbolising purity and eternal love.
  • Yellow Diamonds: Warm and bright, representing joy and prosperity.
  • Pink Diamonds: Soft and romantic, symbolising love and creativity.
  • Blue Diamonds: Regal and serene, associated with peace and fidelity.
  • Green Diamonds: Bold and refreshing, symbolising growth and harmony.
  • Orange Diamonds: Vibrant and harmonious, representing energy and enthusiasm.
  • Black Diamonds: Mysterious and sophisticated, symbolising strength and authority.


Image source: Diamonds Buzz



Lab-Grown Diamonds


Like mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are made of carbon atoms. They are just as unique, varying in colour, clarity, and cut. They also exhibit the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle as natural diamonds. Not only are lab-grown diamonds environmentally friendly, but they also offer an affordable option without compromising on beauty and durability. You can learn more by reading our blog on lab-grown diamonds to see if they’re right for you.


Popular and precious coloured gemstones


Exploring beyond traditional diamonds opens a world of vibrant and meaningful gemstones.

Below we cover some of the most popular and precious-coloured gemstones.



with its serene blue-green hue, Aquamarine has long symbolised tranquillity and harmony. It's the perfect way to showcase your partners calmness and depth.


Renowned for its rich blue colour, sapphire represents wisdom and loyalty. Available in various colours, sapphires are a versatile and timeless engagement ring stone.


Citrine's warm vibrance will bring a sunny disposition to any ring. Its gold tone represents feelings of joy and clarity.


Green emeralds symbolise rebirth, love, and fertility. Their lush, deep tone add a touch of nature's elegance to your engagement ring.

Rose Quartz 

Rose quartz is a romantic emblem of your love story. The soft pink embodies love, compassion and peace.


Ruby inspires strong emotions, passion and courage. Its bold hue has made it a favourite for those who have always dared to be different.


Topaz comes in a variety of colours, with blue being the most desired. It represents calm and communication, making it a meaningful choice.


Image source: The Diamond Store


Alternative gemstones


For those seeking something truly unique, consider these alternative gemstones.


Almandine Garnet 

Deep red almandine garnet symbolises strength and protection, offering a rich and intense vibrance to your engagement jewellery.


Moonstone's ethereal glow represents intuition and new beginnings. It's perfect for those who love a mystical touch.


Morganite's gentle pink hues denote divine love and compassion, offering a delicate and romantic option.


Opal's kaleidoscopic colours symbolise creativity and inspiration. Each opal is unique, making it a distinctive choice.


Peridot's vibrant green symbolises growth and renewal. It's a refreshing choice for an engagement ring.

Pink Sapphire 

Pink sapphire offers the same brilliance as its blue counterpart but with a romantic twist, symbolising love and compassion.

Pink Tourmaline 

With its deep pink hues, pink tourmaline represents love and emotional healing, making it a heartfelt choice.


Also known as green amethyst, prasiolite symbolises fertility and prosperity, along with an enviable green hue.


Tanzanite's deep blue with a hint of violet represents transformation and spiritual awakening, making it a striking choice.


Engagement ring shapes – choosing the right cut


Choosing the perfect cut for your engagement ring stone is essential for highlighting its brilliance and enhancing its overall appearance. Each cut has its own unique characteristics and special meanings, making this decision a key part of creating a ring that truly reflects your love story.


Image source: Interweave


Round cut

The round cut is the most popular choice, known for its brilliant sparkle and timeless appeal. the cut is designed to represent everlasting love and is a firm favourite for those who appreciate classic elegance.

Oval cut

Oval cuts offer a unique blend of brilliance and elongation, making fingers appear longer and elegant. They also symbolise individuality and creativity in an individual.

Cushion cut

The cushion cut, with its rounded corners and large facets, has long been a popular choice for those who prefer vintage charm in their wedding jewellery. This cut also represents romance and elegance.

Marquise cut

Marquise cuts are elongated with pointed ends, defining opulence and grandeur.

Princess Cut

With their square shape, princess cuts offer a modern touch and symbolise strength and independence.

Emerald cut

The emerald cut's rectangular shape and step-cut facets create a sophisticated, elegant look remnant of the art deco period. It symbolises clarity and stability, perfect for those who appreciate refined beauty.


Choose a cut for your gemstone


When choosing a cut for your gemstone, it's important to consider the unique properties of each stone to maximise its beauty and impact. The cut not only affects the stone's brilliance and sparkle but also its colour and overall aesthetic. Here are some tips to help you select the best cut for various gemstones:


  • Sapphires and Emeralds: These stones often look stunning with step cuts such as emerald. Step cuts feature parallel facets that create a sophisticated, mirrored look, enhancing the stone's overall colour depth and clarity.
  • Aquamarine and Topaz: For these lighter-coloured stones, pear and marquise cuts can be particularly effective. The elongated shape of these cuts not only makes the stone appear larger but also enhances the stone’s light reflection, adding brilliance and depth.
  • Amethyst and Citrine: These vibrant stones benefit from cuts like the oval or pear, which can amplify their unique colours and sparkle. The elongated shapes help in reflecting more light, bringing out the full spectrum of colours within the stone.
  • Rubies: Rubies, with their vivid red colour, can be beautifully showcased with cushion or oval cuts. The cushion cut, with its rounded corners and larger facets, enhances the stone's colour and adds a vintage charm. Oval cuts, on the other hand, elongate the stone, making it appear larger and more striking.
  • Morganite and Rose Quartz: These romantic pink stones are often best highlighted with cuts like the cushion or round. These cuts enhance their soft colours and add to their delicate, feminine appeal.


Engagement ring styles, design and metals


Designing your engagement ring involves choosing a style that resonates with your taste and the story you wish to tell. You will choose a specific cut, setting and metal to compliment your stone choice. Let's walk through some of these choices.


Contemporary, classic, vintage and traditional


Engagement ring styles can be categorised into four eras: contemporary, classic, vintage, and traditional. Let's see each in more detail so you can narrow down the right choice for you or your partner.


  • Contemporary: Modern and innovative designs that break away from tradition.
  • Classic: Timeless designs that never go out of style, usually featuring modern minimalist designs in either platinum, silver or gold.
  • Vintage: Inspired by past eras, offering a nostalgic and romantic appeal.
  • Traditional: Will feature a prominent centre stone, often featuring solitaires and simple bands in traditional gold.


Choosing the overall design


Alongside the style, there are several settings to choose from to add to the overall look and structure of your ring:


  • Solitaire: A single stone setting, symbolising simplicity and elegance.
  • Pavé: Stones set closely together, adding extra sparkle and luxury.
  • Side Stones: Additional stones on the band, enhancing the central stone's brilliance.
  • Halo: A central stone surrounded by smaller stones, offering maximum sparkle.
  • Prong: A setting with minimal metal, allowing more light to pass through the stone.
  • Bezel: A metal rim that encircles the stone, providing a secure and modern look.


Image source: Eye for Gems


Match with the band metal


When choosing a metal, consider durability for everyday wear, the aesthetic you want, skin sensitivity, and maintenance requirements. Selecting the right metal ensures your ring remains a cherished symbol of love for years to come.


Here are some of the most popular and common metal choices to choose from:

  • Platinum: Durable and hypoallergenic, platinum is perfect for intricate designs. Its natural white sheen complements diamonds and coloured gemstones, providing a timeless look that doesn't fade.
  • Gold: Available in three colours:
    • Yellow Gold: Traditional and warm, it pairs well with vintage styles and warm-toned gemstones like rubies and Citrine's.
    • White Gold: Modern and sleek, complements diamonds and cool-toned gemstones like sapphires and emeralds.
    • Rose Gold: Romantic and contemporary, its pink hue pairs beautifully with pink gemstones like morganite and complements all skin tones.
  • Silver: Affordable and versatile, silver's bright finish enhances the brilliance of gemstones and suits various styles.

 Image Source: Tilia HK


How to determine the ring size


Finding the perfect ring size ensures your engagement ring fits comfortably and securely since no one wants a ring that's neither cutting off circulation nor slipping off from a gentle breeze. There are a few methods to determine the correct size:


  • At Home: You can measure your ring size using a ring sizer purchased online or from a jewellery store. Our previous blog post shows you how to measure your ring size at home. Alternatively, you can use a piece of string or a strip of paper. Wrap it around the base of your finger, mark where it overlaps, and measure the length with a ruler. Compare this measurement to a ring size chart to find your size.
  • Visit Our Shop: For the most accurate measurement, visit our store. Our expert jewellers can measure your finger using professional sizing tools to ensure the perfect fit. We recommend this route if you have concerns about getting the size exactly right, as our team can provide personalised advice.


Buying your engagement ring: final considerations


When buying an engagement ring, it's essential to consider various factors to ensure it aligns with your lifestyle, budget, and personal style. Here are some key points to keep in mind:


  • Lifestyle: Consider the wearer's daily activities. Stones like sapphires and rubies are highly durable and suitable for everyday wear, making them ideal for active lifestyles. Softer stones, such as opals, require more care and might be better suited for occasional wear or those with less hands-on routines.
  • Budget: Determine a budget you're comfortable with and explore options within that range. Beautiful stones are available at all price points, from traditional diamonds to more affordable alternatives like morganite or amethyst. You can read more on how much to spend on an engagement ring in our previous blog post.


Remember, the engagement ring is a symbol of your partner's love and commitment. Therefore, it's important that the ring reflects their personal style. Consider their style preferences, whether they lean towards classic, modern, vintage, or unique designs. This will guide you in selecting a ring that they will truly adore and cherish forever.


Understanding durability and hardness


Different gemstones have varying hardness and durability levels, affecting how well they stand up to daily wear. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a helpful guide:


  • High Durability: Diamonds (10 on the Mohs scale) and sapphires (9) are highly durable, making them perfect for everyday wear.
  • Moderate Durability: Rubies (9) and topaz (8) are also durable and suitable for daily wear.
  • Low Durability: Stones like opals (5.5-6.5) and pearls (2.5-4.5) are softer and require more careful handling and maintenance. They may be better suited for occasional wear or those who care greatly about their jewellery.


Economical factors: choosing a gemstone for a smaller budget.


If you're working with a smaller budget, consider gemstones that offer beauty and affordability:


  • Morganite and Amethyst: These stones provide stunning colour and elegance at a fraction of the cost of diamonds. Morganite, with its soft pink hues, and amethyst, with its rich purple tones, are excellent choices for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Restored Diamonds: Recycled or restored diamonds can be a more affordable option while still offering the timeless appeal of a diamond. These diamonds have been re-polished and repurposed, providing an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative.




Explore finance options to make your budget stretch further


If you have your heart set on a diamond or a more expensive gemstone, consider financing options to make the purchase more manageable. At Wallace Allan, we offer payment plans that allow you to spread the cost over several months or years, making it easier to afford the ring of your dreams without straining your budget. Simply select V12 at checkout to access our finance options.


Consider all the important factors when choosing a ring


There are key factors to remember when selecting an engagement ring. It all begins with the stone, metal, style, and setting. These aspects not only influence how the ring looks and what it represents but also play a role in your budget. It’s important to consider the overall design and focus on what’s most important to you and your partner. This well-rounded approach helps you craft a ring that beautifully symbolises your love while staying within your budget.


Ask for the advice of an expert


Choosing an engagement ring can be overwhelming. Our experts at Wallace Allan are here to help you find the perfect ring. Visit our shop for a free consultation and let us guide you through this special journey. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us online. We look forward to hearing from you.

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