10 Diamond Alternatives for Engagement Ring in 2023

10 Diamond Alternatives for Engagement Ring in 2023 Cover Photo
9 min read24 May 2023

Are you planning on proposing? While it's customary to propose with a diamond ring, we're seeing fewer people choose a mined diamond ring. This article will look at ten alternatives to the traditional mined diamond engagement ring.

From stunning emerald green gemstones and gold rings to relatively uncommon, romantic red stones, the options for the ideal engagement ring have expanded dramatically.

Exceptional gemstones may very well dominate the engagement ring sector as engagement rings have increased in popularity over time.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds offer excellent value. They are less expensive than a mined diamond (30 - 40% difference) for the same quality and size.

A lab grown diamond is exactly the same as a mined diamond. The only difference is how they're made. One is grown sustainably above the ground in a lab, while mined diamonds are dug out of the ground with a significant cost to the Earth. They are physically, optically and atomically exactly the same as mined diamonds.

Lab grown diamonds have a very clear supply chain where you can see the process all the way to the manufacturer.

So, if you want a fancy coloured diamond or one with a large carat weight, consider buying a lab grown diamond. Learn more about lab grown diamonds here.

At Four Words, we hold ourselves to very high standards when it comes to planet and people. It is for this reason, we work with lab grown diamonds.

Recylced Diamonds

If you have your heart set on a mined diamond, recycled diamonds is an ethical and more sustainable alternative you can look into. If you are looking for this contact us. You can bring in your grandmother’s ring and we can polish the diamond and set it in a new ring.

Four Words Lab Grown Engagement Ring

1. Moissanites

Moissanites look very similar to diamonds but cost significantly less (around two times cheaper than a mined diamond). Their unique faceting pattern displays a slight rainbow sparkle, creating a shiny effect. The gems brilliance (sparkle) is the largest visual difference between them and diamonds.

Moissanite rings are stunning in solitaire designs or together with diamond accents. They are also number two on the Mohs scale at 9.5, coming second behind the diamond's hardness.

If you choose a moissanite make sure to pick a jeweller who can cut them properly, like Four Words. Many jewellers cut moissanites the same as a diamond, but this can cause them to appear hazy and look cheap.

Below is a recent piece we did for one of our clients. Learn more about moissanites here.

Four Words 3ct Moissanite

Coloured Moissanites

Moissanites also can come in different colours just like diamonds. Common colours include champagne, green, grey, yellow, blue and black.

Moissanites get their colour from trace elements such as Nitrogen, Sulphur and Boron — the same elements that give diamonds their colour too.

Four Words is the biggest supplier for custom Moissanites in New Zealand, with over 100 custom Moissanite engagement rings created in the last year.

2. Sapphires

Sapphires make a fantastic diamond alternative for engagement rings. They are one of the most durable natural stones. Its strength helps to withstand everyday wear and tear, along with its lustrous beauty and dazzling colours.

Sapphires can appear in many other colours:

  • Blue (Dark, Medium and Light)
  • Green
  • Teals
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • White

But the most popular engagement ring is a blue sapphire.

Like lab grown diamonds, you can also have lab grown gemstones (e.g. sapphires, emeralds or rubies). These are exactly the same as their mined equivalent but without the negative environmental and ethical impacts. The best part is they are significantly cheaper.

We also exclusively have access to teal and green coloured lab grown sapphires (which are traditionally difficult to create).

And in the case the lab variants do not match exact colour you are looking for, we can help source you a mined sapphire.

Below is a recent piece we created.

Four Words Client Sapphire

3. Aquamarines

Aquamarines are attractive, soft blue semi-precious gemstones. The gems are in the beryl family of minerals that includes emerald.

Aquamarines are more valuable due to their rarity and natural colouring. People love the gems for combining beautiful blue shades with brilliant clarity. The gems score 7.5-9 on the hardness scale, making them ideal for everyday-wear engagement rings.

Below is a recent piece we created, using lab grown aquamarine.

Four Words Client Aquamarine

4. Emeralds

Emeralds are rare gemstones that make beautiful choices for engagement rings. Emeralds have had the highest value through time, alongside rubies, diamonds, sapphires, and pearls.

Since they are royal gems, people believe that they can protect against evil and cure diseases. The gems are also a variety of beryl.

Like their mined counterparts, lab grown emeralds also have inclusions. At Four Words our lab grown emeralds can come in a variety of different shades, mimicking the exact same hues of Columbian and Zambian emeralds.

Below is a piece we created which features a 1 carat Pear shaped lab grown emerald with an accenting 0.5 carat lab grown diamond with a 14K gold band.

Four Words Emerald

5. Rubies

Rubies are among the four original gemstones (the others are emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds). Rubies are associated with passion and love – making them a strong focal point for your engagement ring.

Since we also associate the gems with royalty, the crimson red colour is excellent in vintage rings. We prize the brilliant stones more due to their colour and clarity over the overall sparkle.

The light going through them offers more shimmer than a reflective sparkle because they have a deep colour.

At Four Words we have crafted a number of stunning lab grown Ruby engagement rings. Ultimately it comes down to a matter of taste. Rubies traditionally are extremely popular as cocktail rings or as earrings.

If you would like to use a Ruby, natural or lab grown, in your engagement ring or custom piece of jewellery, let us know. Our team will help you design it anyway you want with our custom engagement ring and jewellery process.

Rubie Example

6. Alexandrites

Alexandrites are one of the most exciting gemstones right now. It is green in the sunlight and red in incandescent light. The most valuable alexandrites are those with the most dramatic change in colour. And because of their ability to change colour depending on the type of light, they are a popular choice for engagement and cocktail rings.

Below is a lab grown Alexandrite we have crafted.

Four Words Alexandrites Example

7. Spinel

Spinels are another gemstone that is growing in popularity. These gemstones traditionally were mistaken as Sapphires in the past. They rate very highly on the Mohs scale (8), make it a suitable gemstone to use in any piece of jewellery. You can expect it to last a lifetime.

Just like their mined counterparts, lab grown spinels come in a huge variety of colours such as:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Purples
  • Pinks
  • Reds
  • Orange
  • Grey
  • Black

Spinels are graded in a similar way to alexandrites. In general, high-quality spinels should have a strong and vivid color, good clarity and cut.

Below is a piece we created using lab grown storm grey spinel. We love the colour it gives to this unique design.

Grey Spinel

8. Lab Garnet (YAGs)

Lab Garnets, also known as YAGs (Yttrium Aluminum Garnets), are a remarkable alternative to natural garnets.

Sharing the same cubic crystal structure, Lab Garnets surpass their natural counterparts with a superior hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale (compared to the 6.5-7 of natural garnets).

This makes lab garnets a stunning, sparkly and durable addition to any piece of jewellery.

Not only do they come in a variety of fantastic colours (apricot pink, teal, green and yellow) – they're also not common, making them a unique statement piece.

We recently created a piece using an Apricot YAG. Photos to come soon.

Below is an example of a Three-Stone Twisted Pavé Band in 18K White Gold using a 2 CT elongated Cushion cut YAG (Green Tsvaorite colour) with two Round lab grown diamonds.

Green Tsvaorite Garnet

9. Morganite

Morganite is named after the American banker J.P. Morgan who helped popularise the gemstone in the 1900s. Morganites typically come in shades of pink, but can also be found in other colours such as yellows, greens and blues.

The colour of a morganite is determined by the amount of manganese found in the crystal structure.

Morganites are not as popular as an engagement ring centre stone because they are not as hard as other gemstones. They sit at around 7.5 on the Mohs scale — much lower than the likes of a diamond, moissanite and sapphire. They are however very popular as part of earrings, pendants and cocktail rings.

At Four Words, we can provide lab grown or natural morganites in your creation.


10. Amethyst

Archaeologists date amethyst jewellery as early as 2000 BC. We also associate the mystical stone with many legends.

The gems come in various colours ranging from deep purple to pale shades of soft lavender and sometimes even pink. The reddish-purple shade is the most expensive hue, though we love all amethyst shades.

The gem's clarity is exceptional, with a good quality amethyst having no visible inclusions. They are also available in many cuts and carat weights.

Four Words Amethsyts Example

Consider Mined Diamond Alternatives for Your Engagement Rings

We all have different reasons for going down the non-traditional path for an engagement ring. So, it is a fabulous idea to explore the various diamond alternatives.

Why limit yourself to one gem when there are many choices to pick? You can add more meaning to your engagement ring by being different.

At Four Words, we will help you design the perfect engagement ring. Unlike any other engagement ring brand in New Zealand, we primarily work with lab grown diamonds, moissanites and lab grown gemstones.

Get in touch with us now to get an amazing engagement ring.

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Diamond Illustration

Whether you’re just starting out or have done all your research, we are here to help.

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