Five Reasons to Ditch the Traditional Engagement Ring

March 12, 2024

Photo by Hannah Tyrell

You’ve probably heard the saying “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, but as a jeweller, I have to disagree, and so do a growing number of jewellery lovers. The traditional solitaire diamond is falling out of fancy with many modern couples. This is especially true among those who value a more ethical approach or who don’t feel the need to play by others’ rules.

If this sounds like you, here’s why an untraditional engagement ring might be the right choice for you!

You’ll get more bling for your buck

We all know that diamonds are pricey. This means you may need to fork out more cash for the diamond you want, or compromise on the design of your dream ring so it fits into your budget. However, there are alternative gems to consider that give you a bigger stone for your money. Sapphires, for example, come in a range of colours including blues, pinks, oranges, yellows, whites and greens, and are a great choice as a diamond alternative. They are one of the hardest mined gems in the world (second only to diamonds) and are highly suitable for long-term wear. Other non-traditional stones to consider are moissanite (a durable, lab created gem with even more brilliance than a diamond), salt and pepper diamonds and spinel.

Your diamond could be dodgy

Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, Blood Diamond, shone a light on the ugly truth of “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds”, which are diamonds mined in areas controlled by rebel forces and sold to fund wars. Fortunately, we now have the Kimberley Process, which certifies rough diamonds as “conflict-free” (stones that do not finance insurgencies). However, the Kimberley Process doesn’t cover ethical mining and working conditions nor the use of child labour. It’s also possible for conflict diamonds to be smuggled into the legitimate supply chain, where they are then indistinguishable from diamonds from legitimate sources. If getting an ethically sourced gem is important to you, consider sapphires obtained via small-scale mining, sustainability-rated diamonds or diamonds that are traceable right to the source.

You can go bright and bold

Bespoke and original is the modern approach to jewellery design. Alternative couples are now looking for designs they’re not going to find in their local shopping centre. If you feel like you can’t find jewellery you like anywhere, you are the perfect candidate for a custom engagement ring that is tailored to your personality – quirks and all!

You can be even more romantic

An engagement ring is an opportunity to create a piece of jewellery that is intensely meaningful and symbolic. Trends fade. Your story as a couple doesn’t. So why not incorporate that story into an engagement ring that is customised to you? It could be a subtle symbol or birthstone that holds special significance. Or it could be something hidden so it’s your little secret as a couple. Whatever it is, it’ll turn your design into a ring so personalised, it couldn’t have been made for anyone else.

You can tailor it to your lifestyle

High settings and diamonds held in claws don’t suit everyone. Remember, you’ll wear this ring every day for the rest of your life. Personalise your ring by matching it to your lifestyle. Think about the clothes you wear and how you spend your time. If you’re outdoorsy or work with your hands, choose a low profile ring where the gem is protected. If you prefer bold colours, neutrals or – like Wednesday Addams – are allergic to colour, think about a design that feels cohesive with your wardrobe. After all, this is the one ring you might wear for the rest of your life.

About Fairina Cheng

Fairina Cheng is a Sydney-based jeweller who specialises in jewellery for rule breakers and story makers.