To Diamond or Not to Diamond!
The tradition of engagement rings dates back centuries. In fact, according to the American Gem Society, women wore rings attached to a small key to show they were owned by their men. These Roman rings were often made of ivory, flint, bone, copper and iron. Many Roman women wore iron rings at home and gold rings in public. You can never have too many rings, right?
Gold bands have been found in Pompeii and in 850 A.D., Pope Nicholas I declared an engagement ring symbolized a mans intent to marry. The first known diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477.
Diamonds became the stone of choice in the mid-20th century. And why shouldn't it be the stone of choice? It's longevity and strength is perfect to symbolize a lifelong union.
Diamonds are beautiful and come in many colors. They are the hardest stone known to man and their sparkle and shine is like no other. However, all of that beauty comes with a hefty price tag.
That's why some brides are choosing other options and while the diamond seems to be the most traditional, the Victorians actually mixed diamonds with other gemstones and precious metals. So, brides choosing gemstones in their rings are actually making something old, new again.
**The Mohs scale of hardness indicates the strength of a stone. Anything above a 7 is usually safe for normal jewelry use. The Mohs scale is a bit misleading however. Understand that "hardness" indicates scratch resistance. So, in the world of gemology, a feather could technically be higher on the scale than crystal because crystal is easily scratched. Talc appears hard until you try to scratch it and learn you can scratch it with your fingernail, thus it's a 1 on the scale. A diamond is a 10 because, well, you can't scratch it, however, take a hammer to it and it will shatter. Remember the old cut a mirror trick? Glass is not as hard as a diamond, thus if it cuts the glass, it's harder.**
Some popular stones:
Sapphire/ruby: On the Mohr scale of hardness, sapphires and rubies comes in at a 9. They come in beautiful hues and can vary depending on the natural stone and the cut of the stone.
Emerald: The emerald is close with a hardness of 7.5-8. Emerald often have many inclusions which impact its overall strength. Emerald is a beautiful stone buy must be cared for as it can break and scratch somewhat easily.
Topaz: Topaz climbs to an 8 on the scale. We love topaz because there are so many color choices.
Quartz: This stone ranks a bit lower at a 7. Some common stones are actually quartz such as Amethyst, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Prasiolite, Smoky Quartz and Rutilated Quartz. Beautiful and a wonderful option as long as you understand its limitations.
With the options available today, a couple has the opportunity to make their purchase unique to them. There are beautiful options in every budget! Find a jeweler that understands diamonds and gemstones and can guide you in making your decision.