White diamond solitaires have only been the “traditional” engagement ring stone since De Beers marketed them as “a diamond is forever” in the mid 20th century. Yet, we love to encourage the bending of traditions to create wedding memories that are truly “you”. So today, Sydney based gemmologist Gabrielle Grew of Grew & Co shares her insights into the stones and jewellery trends couples should embrace instead of white diamonds for their engagement rings in 2019 and beyond.

Teal Sapphires

Some of the most iconic engagement rings of all time – including Napoleon and Princess Diana’s – have featured sapphires – not diamonds. But if that classic pure inky blue isn’t for you, consider teal sapphires from the “parti” sapphire family.

Parti sapphires are composed of three colours: blues greens and yellow and it’s the combination of those three colours which can form teal. Every stone is unique – it’s like you’re getting three gemstones in one! Grew & Co’s are sourced from Far North Queensland from a 5th generation family.

Apricot Diamonds

Typically, apricot diamonds would have been labelled as “Champagne” or “Cognac” fancy-coloured, which you can find ranging from warm honey/orangey hues right down to deep chocolates. Here you’re looking for pastel, peachy versions; the colour coming from the mineral content in the stone.

Apricot diamonds are less sterile-looking than white diamonds and their innate warmth can be much more complementary to many skin tones. Plus, you’ll find larger stones for two or three times less in cost, still possessing the same scintillation and sparkle. Grew & Co’s fancy colours are local too! They’re certified Australian sourced from Argyle and Ellendale.

Salt and Pepper Diamonds

Salt and pepper diamonds range from light stones with a few spots, to mostly grey, to a full “salt and pepper” appearance with lots of tiny black inclusions that are incorporated naturally during the formation of the stone. They look like glitter has been sprinkled throughout the stone!

Gabrielle likes to set these stones in a gold-plate which makes them even more luminous and highlights the contrast between the light and dark aspects. Suited to contemporary brides and grooms, salt and pepper stones are now becoming more celebrated for their character and individuality.

They are also rare to find in Australia as dealers have overlooked them, instead favouring the purity of white diamonds (this also ensures they are relatively inexpensive). It’s like wearing a little galaxy on your finger.

Ethical Rings

While you may have to compromise on size to find a truly conflict-free white diamond, Gabrielle suggests ethically sourced coloured gemstones are easier to come by in larger sizes. Whichever route you choose, do look for certified stones so that you can see the line of origin; Australian or Candian stones are safe options.

Don’t forget antique rings are worth looking into (thankfully Art Deco is always in) and to also consider which metal you’ll use. On the one hand, something like platinum is rare so its extraction impact may be higher but on the other, it has high longevity so is unlikely to need replacing. The best thing is to reuse metals. Perhaps asking your jeweller to refashion an outdated family heirloom suits you best?

Whether it has a coloured diamond or a perfectly imperfect stone or has no diamond at all, the number one thing to look for in an engagement ring is that it reflects both your lifestyle and taste as a couple.

After all, nobody else needs to wear it!

Ms Zebra Says: I truly love coloured gem stones. They offer both individuality and personality. If you’re after something a little different from a diamond, these are some wonderful options!

About Ms Fleur De Lys: Aside from being Ms Polka’s Editorial Assistant, Ms Fleur de Lys is also Polka Dot Bride’s Melbourne correspondent so you’ll see her running all over town finding wedding inspiration. As both a lifestyle journalist and cocktail aficionado, Fleur appreciates the power of words whipped up as deftly as a good martini.