In 1886, Tiffany & Co. debuted their revolutionary Tiffany® Setting ring. A slim platinum ring set with a single diamond, this was the first design ever to elevate the stone from the band, enhancing its natural radiance by allowing light to enter and leave at every angle. Celebrated in film, art and literature, the Tiffany® Setting quickly became the most sought-after symbol of love; the face of the engagement ring as we know it.
When the DeBeers introduced their legendary slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ in 1947, it was finalised; a single diamond was synonymous with lifelong love and commitment.
But, over the past few years, it seems that couples have begun exploring a technicolour dreamworld beyond the age-old diamond standard, as coloured gemstone engagement rings have rocketed in popularity. How come?
The archaic ‘Three Months’ Salary Rule’ once suggested that one’s significant other should set aside the equivalent of three months’ pay and splurge it all on a diamond engagement ring. Luckily, with time, priorities have shifted. Lifespans have extended, accessible travel has brought the world closer to our doorsteps than ever before, house prices have skyrocketed, and in 2017 a record-breaking number of young people entered university education. It’s unsurprising that this myriad of new reasons to spend and save money has pushed diamond engagement rings down the order of importance.
The average engagement ring spend has decreased considerably, and that’s in part due to the affordability of coloured gemstones. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a diamond, why put yourself out? The great thing about coloured gemstones is that they can look utterly fabulous without anybody needing to know how much they cost.
According to Forbes, millennials prefer to do business with responsible brands who pride themselves on pro-social messages, sustainable manufacturing methods and ethical business standards. A decade ago, responsibly mined, conflict-free diamonds were considered niche. Even today they remain a pricier option that must be carefully hunted down. Unfortunately, not every jeweller is as transparent as Lebrusan Studio! With this ethical stigma still lingering around diamonds like a bad smell, for many, a traceable coloured gemstone is a sounder and more reassuring choice.
Not only can colourful engagement rings be kinder on the wallet and the conscience than a diamond, but offer far more scope for expression. Suddenly, you’re faced with an exciting world of possibilities, from birthstones to hues that reflect your loved one’s unique personality or compliment the clothes they like to wear. “It’s more personal, rather than the ego thing of showing everyone how big your diamond is,” Taylor & Hart founder Nikolay Piriankov told The Guardian.
But it’s not just couples on a budget who have been swept off their feet by the coloured gemstone trend; many celebs are opting for flamboyant pieces in shades of the rainbow, too. From Cressida Bonas’ flashy ruby number to Katy Perry’s raspberry-hued show-stopper, Heidi Klum’s deep, verdant emerald and Princess Eugenie’s peachy padparadascha sapphire, A-list inspiration is in no short supply.
Even Tiffany, the masters of monochrome elegance, have switched up their game with an eye-catching yellow diamond in their petite new Tiffany True collection.
Engagement rings are best set with hard-wearing stones that rank high on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, resilient enough to withstand daily wear and tear. Just below the mighty diamond, sapphires and rubies score an impressive 9, making them the ideal stones for a forever ring. After that, more affordable gemstones like spinel, topaz and alexandrite score an 8.
Sadly, emeralds score lower on the scale, making them susceptible to scratching or breaking and thus perhaps not best suited to an everyday piece.
Our Hera Collection
Do you and your partner in crime see rules as there to be broken? Would your loved one be wooed by a unique coloured sparkler that gets people talking and says a little something about them as an individual? Feast your eyes on the rainbow hues of our coloured gemstone collections, or get in touch today to learn more about our bespoke service.