Jewellers' Network

Choosing an engagement ring

An Engagement ring is probably the single most important piece of jewellery a woman could own.

It is therefore obvious that a lot of thought should go into selecting the right ring, not only because of the commitment that it symbolizes but also because it is the jewellery item that is worn the most.

Lately we have seen a move away from the traditional diamond engagement ring, with more and more people choosing a coloured gem as the centre stone in their special piece. There is nothing wrong with that, but we must keep in mind why diamond is such a successful stone choice in an engagement ring. Diamond is incredibly hard, so it does not scratch easily, tough, so it handles bumps and knocks well, and it is stable, so it does not react to light and chemicals.

If we choose to use another gem in its place, we should still take these durability factors into consideration.

Ideally we should not choose stones that are softer than 7 on Mohs’ hardness scale or stones that are rated poorly on toughness and are prone to chipping, fracturing or cleaving when knocked. If a client is insistent on using such a stone they should be made aware of these dangers and advised on how to set the gem in order to best protect it from damage. Stability is another factor to consider as some gems may be affected by light or chemicals, and porous gems may even be affected by water. This needs to be explained to any potential customer so that they might choose a more stable stone. If they are still insistent on using such a stone then they should be advised of the risk factors and told what to avoid and how to care for their ring in order to ensure the longevity of their special piece.

With so many people venturing away from the diamond engagement ring it is important for the jewellers and sales assistants to be well informed about what alternative stones are suitable for use in engagement rings and what durability concerns there are for other less suitable gems so that they can help guide customers to make the best choice of this most important piece.