1. Grey Spinel – we are head-over-heels for grey spinel. This sophisticated, mysterious beauty is captivating the alternative engagement ring market. Grey spinel comes in a range of different tones from silvery lilac-grey to deep warm charcoal and compliments all skin tones. It looks amazing set in rose gold which picks up on the warm tones or in white gold which enhances the cool violet tones. Choose either black or white diamonds to be set into the band or a combination of both if you are adventurous. Spinel is mostly more affordable than sapphire even though it’s a rarer stone. Like sapphire, it’s hard and durable enough for ring settings and can be worn every day. We have combined the winning combination of grey spinel, black diamonds and 18k rose gold in our bespoke engagement ring.
2. Morganite – is the pretty peachy pink gem in the beryl family. Its other relatives include aquamarine and emerald. We love morganite as it looks so sophisticated in rose gold with diamond accents. One of our favourite ring designs is Lumiere - this morganite cocktail ring is handmade in rose gold and accented with diamonds. The design truly floods the centre stone with rays of light, creating lots of sparkle. Morganite is super feminine and many fashion savvy women are selecting it as an alternative engagement ring stone. It comes in peach or pink tones in the pastel palette and owes its soft colour to the transition element manganese. Morganite is a gorgeous gemstone choice for summer as it looks great with whites and neutrals, as well as brighter colours.
3. Aquamarine – The star of the alternative engagement ring trend is undoubtedly aquamarine. This cool blue member of the beryl family is beloved by everyone and its pale ocean tones of blues through to blue greens suits all skin types. Our aquamarine, diamond and white gold Lumiere ring embraces the beauty of the centre stone set, a 2.4ct cushion cut aquamarine of the finest blue. The colour of aquamarine goes so well with most colours of your wardrobe and has a calming effect as you admire your ring sparkling on your hand.
4. Indicolite Tourmaline – tourmaline has dramatically increased in popularity in recently times and it’s not surprising as this family of gemstones truly is the rainbow family. The array of colours available is astonishing and indicolite, with its intense teal tones, is highly prized. Mostly these rare gems come in small sizes of around 1 carat, however occasionally a big beauty surfaces such as the majestic indicolite set into our Atlantic ring that weighs in at an impressive 6.67 carats! Set in 18ct white gold with diamonds, this ring is the epitome of elegance.
5. Parti Sapphire – If you like unusual gemstones with unique colours then parti sapphires will grab your attention. Most of us think of sapphires as beautiful royal blue stones, however they come in every colour of the rainbow including ruby (which is corundum coloured by chromium). Parti sapphires are even more unusual as they display distinct colour zoning and have bands or patches of yellow and blue and sometimes green. They are yet to be synthesised so you are guaranteed that a parti sapphire is natural. We have set one on these mysterious beauties into our Sofia engagement ring. It complements the side pear cut diamonds to perfection.
6. London Blue Topaz – topaz is a hard stone (8 on the Mohs scale) so is a great choice for effective ring settings. Blue topaz ranges from light blue to deep, almost inky blue, the most valuable of this spectrum, named London Blue. Topaz comes in big carat weights and our knock out Illuminaire ring features a majestic London Topaz weighing in at 20 carats! Even though topaz is gorgeous looking, it is also a more affordable gemstone so you can go for a big stone without breaking the budget.
7. Mookaite Jasper – Ornamental gems are all the rage in Europe. The ornamentals are interesting as they are opaque to translucent and have unique patterns and sheens that transparent gems don’t have. We have used the desert colours and undulating pattern of Australian Mookaite jasper to create our Dawn earrings in silver with gold vermeil and champagne diamonds. These spectacular earrings would make the perfect gift from Australia as an alternative to precious opal.
8. Pink Spinel – If you love dazzling electric pink then hot pink spinel is for you. Coloured by chromium, the same element which gives ruby its gorgeous red colour, pink spinel has an almost neon fascination. It goes with so many stones – super elegant with black onyx drops as in our Blush earrings or daring with green emerald in our Manhattan earrings. The best material hails from Mahenge, which is a limestone plateau in Tanzania, Africa. The hot pink material from this region has catapulted spinel back into public favour.
9. Rutilated Quartz – Hot at the Idar-Oberstein pavilion at the Tucson 2017 gem fair earlier this year was fascinating rutilated quartz. This type of quartz features clear rock crystal with myriads of strands of acicular (needle-like) inclusions of golden or copper coloured rutile. These shiny strands were once called “Venus Hair” and you can easily see why. A stunning carre square cut rutilated quartz is the star in our Viva ring in yellow gold to enhance the colour of the rutile. A truly unique gemstone!
10. Malaya Garnet – if you like soft dreamy rose pinks then Malaya garnet is for you. These gorgeous stones were once disregarded as rejects as gem prospectors were looking for purple-red Rhodolite garnets and were named Malaya, which means “Outcast” in Swahili. Fortunately, some gem dealer with vision saw that these pretty stones in orange pinks and rose pinks would become highly sought after. Garnets belong to the cubic crystal system as does diamond and possess a special sparkle all of their own. We have featured them in our show stopping Lily earrings with sapphires and 18ct rose gold.