It's with that idea in mind that I'm composing this post. As I was researching and shopping around for engagement rings, most of my information came from message boards and what few blogs I could come across with posts and pictures of non-traditional engagement rings. Seriously, non-stock ring imagery is very hard to come across and real photos are invaluable. I hope this post can be a resource to any ladies or gentlemen considering a non-traditional engagement ring stone--specifically an aquamarine.
But you probably want to at least see a picture first...
We opted for an oval cut pale aquamarine center stone flanked by two round diamonds. Honestly, I don't have the exact details on the stones because SO seems to have hidden the receipt and information somewhere.
Neither SO nor I are big diamond people, though he dislikes them to a greater extent. It's not so much the blood diamond issue that bothers us as much as the fact that the price isn't controlled by the market. And the more we read about the diamond's rise to fame (for lack of a better term), the more we felt like a puppets about to be attached to the strings of some persuasive marketing master. SO and I are so self-righteous and smug that the thought of climbing on that hamster wheel felt a bit degrading.
But I'm not here to get on some political high-horse. I do happen to like the way diamonds look and admire the rings and jewelry I see on my friends and co-workers. Buy what you like, you know? For us, though, a diamond just wasn't going to work.
Then the question followed: "If not a diamond, then what?"
I felt a little down and out after deciding against a diamond, because while I didn't want to go that route for the reasons stated above, I really do like diamond clarity and sparkle. We considered purchasing a lab-grown diamond from Gemesis or Apollo (because how cool, ethical and fairly-priced would that be?), but science still has a way to go before 1 carat colorless diamonds are lab-grown. The ring isn't everything, but it certainly is enough that you want to wear something you like. The only response I could give to other stones was an "Ehh..."
And then I found a picture of an aquamarine (which is actually a type of beryl). The pale blue varieties have a nice sparkle, and I really like that it's the sailor's lucky stone (according to tradition), as SO loves to sail. As soon as I saw the stone I made my choice.
The great thing about shopping for a non-traditional engagement ring stone is that there's much less pressure. You don't have all of the stress of trying on a stone you cannot afford and knowing that you'll have to settle for something else (or get the one you want and go into debt!), nor do you have all of the lame "a diamond is forever" B.S. being shoved down your throat like bad-tasting stale wedding cake and traditions left over from the 1980's.
But, yes, I did still end up with diamonds on my ring. The aquamarine on its own looked sad at best, and would have looked all kinds of crazy with any other stone pairing. We figured since the center stone was different, we could settle for the diamond accents.
And you know what? I love the ring :)
So if you're soon-to-be-engaged and wanting to go the non-diamond route, there are PLENTY of other options out there.
And if you're a diamond gal, ain't nothing wrong with that!