My husband and I were engaged for all of four hours and there was no diamond involved. At the time, having a rock on my hand was the last thing on my mind, instead, I was focused on our apartment, on our life together and on our future. Our modest gold bands were more than enough symbolism for me.
As it turns out, we were ahead of the curve. Millennials are ditching the diamond and opting for “favorite” stones instead. These stones set the bride-to-be apart. They show that he really was paying attention, that he knows what she likes, and that love cannot be quantified by a hunk of pressed carbon. Instead, Millenials are opting for precious and semi-precious stone. The theory behind this switch is based on many factors including preference, trend, popularity, individuality, and let’s be real here the price. Not just price-tag, but also ecological and social prices. According to Richter and Phillips these six engagement stones are starting to replace the diamond:
- Morganite – always pastel, from orange-pink to raspberry-pink
- Aquamarine – from dark cool blue-green to pale cool blue-green
- Tourmaline – from champagne to brilliant green to hot pink
- Moissanite – from clear to black through warm greens and blues
- Sapphire – brilliant specimens in blue, pink and green
- Ruby – from barely blush pink to almost burgundy
Another alternative to the traditional cut-diamond engagement ring is a rough diamond or recycled diamond ring. Some Millenials still want a diamond, but not the traditional solitaire. They are opting for rough, or raw diamonds. Although these stones still require mining they do not go through the same cut and polish processes as traditional diamonds, so labor cost is reduced. Other diamond-seeking Millenials are opting for man-made diamonds to reduce the ethical price and price-tag of their ring. Others yet, take family diamonds, maybe great-great grandmother’s ring, and recycle the stones into new settings.
The first time I heard of ring and stone recycling was in 1999. My grandmother took her mother’s ring, her own engagement ring, and a third diamond solitaire to the jewelers. In exchange for the gold in the rings, the jeweler created an asymmetrical ring of beautiful platinum with a lovely 3-stone setting and, ta-da, my Grandmother had a brand new, recycled-stone ring.
The “traditional” engagement ring is changing. If you are thinking about popping the question, maybe a ring pop is the way to go, until you know exactly what your partner wants!
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