Your Guide to Coloured Gemstone Engagement Rings

Your Guide to Coloured Gemstone Engagement Rings

In our last extensive engagement ring guide we covered the basics and some of the essential questions we have received from customers about engagement rings. But we only scratched the surface of the reams of information there is about engagement rings. Here we have collected some related questions about coloured gemstone engagement rings that we frequently get asked, and have collated the answers into a complete guide. 

Do engagement rings have to be white?


Princess cut white diamond engagement ring

Weddings and engagement are often associated with the colour white, traditionally symbolising the moral purity and virginity of the bride, and in more modern times representing the purity of your love for one another. 

This association between the colour white and betrothal, combined with De Beer’s successful marketing that led men across the world to associate engagement rings with diamonds; means that many assume their engagement rings have to be white.  

However, there is no rule that says engagement rings have to have a white centre stone. Even if there was a tradition that stated engagement rings should be white, rules are made to be broken!

That leads us onto our next question. 

Can engagement rings have coloured stones?


Your engagement ring should symbolise your wholehearted feelings for your partner and is in many ways a representation of the relationship you have had with them. It should be a piece of jewellery that both you and your partner treasure and can enjoy for the rest of your lives together. That means rather than choosing a white stone for your engagement ring because you “have to”, choose the centre stone that speaks to you and your partner. 

If that means you want a coloured stone, then your engagement ring should have a coloured stone! 

There are plenty of engagement rings throughout history that have incorporated coloured gemstones. 

Sapphire engagement rings

Norman Parkinson / Princess Anne’s Sapphire engagement ring

Whilst the word Sapphire can be traced back to a variety of ancient words for “blue”, Sapphire gemstones actually come in a variety of colours. Both sapphire and ruby are forms of the mineral corundum, but sapphire comes in a rainbow of colours – almost all of them, except for red. This includes the famous pink sapphires, which are definitely rather surprising. When corundum is red, it is then classified as a ruby.

However, when it comes to Sapphire engagement rings, the first thing you will think of is the deep, dark indigo colour that we have seen in many royal engagement rings. Princess Diana’s world-famous sapphire engagement ring is probably the most well-known one; but Princess Anne was also proposed to with a stunning sapphire engagement ring, flanked by two sizable diamonds.

Ruby engagement rings

Although diamonds and coloured gemstones like sapphires have ruled the engagement ring world, there was a period in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries where the expectation was an engagement ring that paired diamonds with rubies. The diamond symbolised an eternal bond and the ruby represented the passion of your love.

For those who were wealthy enough to afford it, the ring with contrasting stones became a treasured commodity. 

When used in jewellery, ruby has been said to grant its wearer both protection and prosperity. Whereas in Ancient Burmese culture, where the stone was first discovered, the Ruby was reserved as the gemstone of the soldiers. In Hindu culture, it is prized above any other gemstone. This is partly because of the mythical stories behind the stone, where some argue that it is not a stone; but hardened fire with the power to set hearts aflame.

Ruby has continued to hold great meaning, even if it is no longer reserved for honourable warriors. Red as a colour is associated with passion and romance, and directly symbolises blood, life, death and love; and ruby is the colour red in its purest form. 

Whilst we no longer live in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, the combination of rubies and diamonds is still very popular when it comes to the engagement rings of the rich and famous. 

TCJ / Elizabeth Taylor’s ruby engagement ring and the rest of her betrothal jewellery collection

Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most famous Hollywood stars to have graced the silver screen, was famously gifted a set of diamond and ruby jewellery from Cartier by her husband Mike Todd for their betrothal. 

Vogue / Princess Margaret’s engagement ring

From cinematic royalty to British royalty, ruby and diamond engagement rings have a great royal pedigree. Princess Margaret had a wonderful engagement ring made from a trio of brilliantly cut rubies, which are flanked by dainty diamonds.

However, ruby engagement rings need not be the reserve of royalty alone, they are also a great option for anyone who wants to demonstrate the passion of their relationship with an engagement ring. 

Ruby centre stones for engagement rings come in a variety of shades, ranging from a deep, almost purplish red, to a pinkish red which looks closer to a pink sapphire than a traditional ruby. 

If you were looking for a deep red ruby engagement ring, with a classic and timeless finish, then this ruby and diamond halo engagement ring would be the piece for you.  

Ruby and diamond halo engagement ring

However, if you would prefer an engagement ring that is slightly less traditional; this cushion ruby and diamond engagement ring has a wonderful centre stone with a pinker shade of red.  

Cushion ruby and diamond engagement ring

If you wanted to add another element to the popular ruby and diamond combination; this ruby and diamond eternity engagement ring is set in gold and would make a wonderful heirloom.  

Ruby and diamond eternity engagement ring

Which gemstone is best for an engagement ring?


There is no such thing as the best gemstone for an engagement ring, it is all a matter of personal preference and what you are looking for in a coloured gemstone. 

But if you have a certain type of engagement ring in mind, then there are certain gemstones which work better with specific ring designs. 

If you like the air of grace and style that comes with a traditional solitaire engagement ring, a simple and elegant sapphire or coloured diamond might be preferable as a centre stone choice. 

In contrast to that, if you are set on having an eye-catching halo engagement ring, where the centre stone will be flanked by a “halo” of dainty diamonds; a bolder coloured gemstone would be a more suitable choice, such as a deep red ruby.

If you don’t want the distraction of a halo and want an oval engagement ring where the centre stone is unequivocally the star of the show; then a bright gemstone works best. This includes a polished yellow diamond or a distinctive emerald. 

Aside from ring style, another way in which you can work out what gemstone is “best” is by using your budget. The Knot, a premier wedding and engagement planning service, has calculated that the average ruby engagement ring costs between £2,000 to £9,000 per carat, in comparison to a diamond engagement ring that on average costs between £9,000 to £13,000 per carat. 

The “best gemstone” for your engagement ring depends on your preferences over size, intricacy, design and so on and so forth, within the limits of your budget. 

What is the meaning behind a blue engagement ring?


Tim Graham / Princess Dianna’s blue Sapphire engagement ring

There is no single meaning behind a blue engagement ring, but there are a number of blue gemstones which each have distinctive meanings and great symbolism if chosen as an engagement ring. 

The meaning behind a sapphire engagement ring

Ceylon sapphire and diamond halo engagement ring

As mentioned previously, whilst sapphires come in a variety of colours, the word is an ancient translation of the word blue. Sapphire engagement rings have a long and meaningful history. Thousands of years ago, sapphire talismans were treasured because of their association with medicinal and protective effects. The sapphire blue colour symbolised heaven in many ancient cultures. 

Slightly further along the course of history, sapphires came to represent honesty and wisdom. For this reason, sapphires were worn by mediaeval royalty and clergy who wanted to show their virtue through their jewellery choices. 

Sapphires have continued to be symbols of wisdom; but have also been imbued with ideas about romantic connection and sexual fidelity. Many people who choose a sapphire engagement ring want a physical representation of their connection and commitment to one another, and the gemstone does this very well. It's also the stone of communication, which is an essential part of any new marriage. 

If you believe in the Vedic astrological tradition, which traces itself back to India, and the power of gemstones to influence their wearer; sapphire is a strong gemstone to have as an engagement ring. Blue sapphires are supposed to encourage their wearer to remain moderate, balanced, and steadfast in their actions and beliefs. These powers should aid a couple in building a peaceful life and sustaining a successful marriage.

Whilst sapphires are the most regal blue gemstone, and the one imbued with the most meaning, there are plenty of other blue gemstones that have been fashioned into engagement rings. 

The meaning behind an aquamarine engagement ring

Aquamarine and diamond halo engagement ring

Aquamarine, also known by the name blue beryl, is a vivid blue gemstone that is associated with the tropical ocean. 

The gemstone shares the power of communication with sapphire but is also supposed to grant its wearer courage and help you express your love for your partner in a bold manner through both your words and actions.

The meaning behind a blue topaz engagement ring

Gary Yost / A blue topaz engagement ring

Blue topaz is seen as a symbol of peace and tranquillity, loyalty and in turn eternal love. A blue topaz engagement ring is supposed to serve as a reminder to be at peace with yourself and always stay true to your character, and that if you do so your unique spark will always keep your partner intrigued and committed to you. 

The meaning behind a tanzanite engagement ring

Tanzanite engagement ring

Tanzanite is a rich blue gemstone that has only been found in a single mine in Tanzania, hence the name. The stunning blue stone is regarded as the "stone of magic" in Africa, due to its mystical iridescence. When worn as an engagement ring, Tanzanite is supposed to welcome adventure and a sense of wonder into your partnership together, hopefully meaning your life together will be a real-life fairy-tale.

Is it acceptable to choose an emerald as the centre stone for an engagement ring?


An emerald centre stone is a heartfelt and exciting choice for an engagement ring; but there are reasons why some would question the choice, that have led diamonds and other coloured gemstones to historically dominate the engagement ring market. 

Whilst a natural emerald is a beautiful gemstone, which comes with a distinctive texture and inclusions, providing it with lots of character and making it an alluring choice for an engagement ring; its physical characteristics does mean that there are some small risks that come with the gemstone. 

An emerald ranks 7.5 on the Mohs scale (the scale we use to measure the hardness, and in turn the durability, of a stone). In comparison, it is softer than a typical sapphire; which ranks at 9; and is leagues below diamonds, which ranks at 10. This isn’t to say an emerald will fall apart, it is still a comparatively hard gemstone; it just means that an emerald engagement ring could falter under everyday wear and tear if it isn’t of a high enough quality, is placed within a bad setting or not taken care of properly. 

To remove this prospect from occurring, there are some things you should keep in mind when looking for an emerald engagement ring. You should look for an emerald centre stone with few inclusions. Whilst inclusions can look incredible, and provide the gemstone with a unique appearance, they also contribute to the fragility of the stone. This would be fine for a showpiece item of jewellery, but the idea of an engagement ring is that you wear it every day and that it lasts a lifetime. 

If you were to create a bespoke emerald engagement ring with us and our design team, we can consider bezel setting the gem. This would provide the emerald centre stone with greater protection and decrease the risk of damage to your engagement ring.

Now that we have covered some of the pitfalls with emerald engagement rings and how to avoid them, we can explore the beauty of choosing an emerald engagement ring. 

Emeralds are among the most treasured green gemstones that we have. Green is a colour that holds significant power and meaning within society. It is a shorthand for money or finance, environmental concerns, and is the universal symbol for GO! 

However more romantically, it is also a colour that is inextricably linked to revitalization and rebirth. The time when you propose to one another and commit your life to each other should be a chance for revitalisation as you enter into a new stage of your relationship, so an emerald ring is a brilliant way to mark that occasion. 

Aside from simply standing in for the colour green, emeralds have been held in high esteem throughout history due to their supposed powers. Aristotle, the great ancient Greek philosopher, always kept an emerald on his person. He and others believed that emeralds would increase your value within a room of people, help you when you are speaking during business, and provide you with a path to victory over your trials and tribulations. They also believed that the stone could quite literally aid the litigation of a legal case, and help people conquer problems with their eyesight. 

We can’t promise that they will help you win a legal battle or fix your longsightedness, but we certainly can say that when treated properly, emeralds make brilliant centre stones for engagement rings. 

Jackie Kennedy, the First Lady Of The United States and wife of John F Kennedy, wore an intricately designed emerald and diamond engagement ring. 

Daily Mail / Jackie Kennedy’s (First Lady Of The United States) engagement ring

If Jackie Kennedy can choose an emerald centre stone for her engagement ring, you certainly can!

Art Deco inspired designs like hers might not appeal to you, but there are plenty of more traditional emerald engagement rings you could choose. 

Cabochon Colombian emerald engagement ring

This Cabochon Colombian emerald engagement ring features a brilliantly finished centre stone and simple gold band, allowing the beauty of the stone to really stand out. 

Flowering emerald and diamond engagement ring

Or if you think your partner would prefer a daintier design, this flowering emerald and diamond engagement ring is also available. The brilliant emerald centre stone is flanked by diamonds which provide a flower like effect, which really helps highlight the wonderful emerald when the sparkling diamonds catch the light. Its timeless design means that it would make a lovely heirloom that could be passed down and treasured by many generations. 



Hopefully this guide has thoroughly explained the world of coloured gemstones to you and clarified any questions you may have had about them in relation to engagement rings. 

If this article has got your creative juices flowing, and you are considering creating an engagement ring from a coloured gemstone; then there are ways you can do this with us!

Creating a bespoke engagement ring

If you are interested in formulating a bespoke engagement ring that is handmade by our specialist team at London DE; you will have the freedom to choose any metal for the band, as well as any of the colourful gemstones we have just discussed for the ring’s centre stone. There are so many different combinations, which can then also be set and engraved in any way you wish.  Click here to find out more.  

The process behind your bespoke engagement ring

How it Works. Designing Bespoke Jewellery at London DE Hatton Garden, London.

The process of creating your bespoke engagement ring begins by you sharing your ideas and inspiration with our best-in-class designers. This will help them understand the story behind the engagement ring you would like to create. 

Once you have agreed upon your bespoke design, London DE will send through your initial designs as a CAD image (Computer Aided Design) via email, along with the colourful gemstone that you have selected; as well as a no-obligation full price estimate if you were to go ahead with the process. Bespoke engagement rings typically start from £2,495; but the estimate will take into consideration all your various choices. 

You have the freedom to arrange as many follow up consultations with Tobias, our engagement ring expert, until the engagement ring is designed exactly as you would want it. Once you are ready to proceed, we will then take a deposit and your item will be lovingly crafted in our Hatton Garden studio and delivered to your door. 

This bespoke process typically takes around 4 weeks from consultation to delivery, but it can be quicker or take longer depending on the design and creation process.

The extra benefits that come with creating a bespoke engagement ring

Aside from owning a completely unique heirloom, there are plenty of other benefits that come with creating a bespoke engagement ring. One of the biggest of those is the unparalleled aftercare that you and your ring will receive. This includes a lifetime guarantee for the ring, free resizing, and polishing as a ‘thank you’ for creating your bespoke jewellery with us. 

Furthermore, London DE’s lifetime care comes with complimentary engagement ring cleaning.

Arrange a consultation

If you are seriously interested in creating a bespoke engagement ring; you can easily arrange a free consultation with London DE, either in person at our Hatton Garden location or over Zoom, where you can start your journey towards the perfect engagement ring. 

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