If you are the kind of millennial that deals with life one tab at a time, good for you. If you subscribe to a single podcast that you can listen to while walking to your only job in the same pair of shoes, right on. If the default settings of the world work for you, why change them? That said, most of us have been togglers since we were toddlers. It’s like our devices have devices. Even when we find the one person that lets us purge our plethora of dating apps, we know that when it comes to the ring, there are plenty of options. And we want to explore them all. Here are eight diamond ring alternatives.
Diamonds aren’t the only gemstones. They just tend to be the gemstones with the least color and the largest price tags. So it’s no wonder that affordable gemstone engagement rings are on the rise. The story of the ring and the source of the material is more important than ever to today’s ring shoppers. The fact they are willing to do some extra digging in terms of research means less digging in actual diamond mines.
Couples want the ring to be durable, but with improved technology and lifetime guarantees, that’s often on the table no matter what. So it can be more important to go for a unique style than a certain stone. And the transparency of the origin story is often as important as the clarity of the particular mineral.
- Rings Made from Environmentally Friendly Materials
Rather than relying on mined diamonds that strip the earth of resources under suspicious circumstances, millennials look for rings that are renewable or replicable. That means repurposing wood and metal into wedding bands. Ideally the trees that supplied that wood can be replanted and the metal can be recycled. Diamond mines cause tremendous amounts of deforestation and river pollution, so millennials prefer man-made stones to diamonds ripped out of the natural environment.
- Matching Sets Rings
Millennial couples aren’t just thinking about a ring’s history when they are shopping for it together. Yeah, shopping for engagement rings and wedding jewelry as a couple is definitely more and more of a thing, but they are also contemplating how to incorporate the ring into their joint future. That means signing engagement rings up as active members of a matching set. Silicone and high-performance metal alloys are increasingly popular choices when it comes to syncing up interchangeable sets for shared adventures.
- Morganite Rings
Millennial pink has blushed across wedding cutlery and wedding bands, so it was only a matter of time before it made its way into the gemstone itself. With a color scheme sparkling with yellow and rose gold, morganite rings are like if our favorite wedding metals caught on fire and lit the gem from within. No wonder millennials love it.
- Tanzanite Rings
When Pantone nominated Very Peri to be the color of 2022, you know people who traded in Tourmaline were thrilled. Blue has been a boon for jewelry since King Tut’s mask was inlaid with lapus lazuli, but tourmaline crystalizes a modern approach in blue violet.
- Pears and Ovals
Pear cut engagement rings are having a huge year. Ovals are sitting pretty as well. Both cuts offer a tantalizing amount of surface area and an attractive slimming effect. That seems custom-fit for the perspective of engagement selfies, doesn’t it? With a diamond ring, the focus is often on capturing stray light. When colored gemstones like morganite, tanzanite or ethically guaranteed sapphires are cut into pear or oval shapes, the goal is to capture stray glances and never let them go.
Why settle for one color when you can shimmer with several? The sheen of an opal allows a riot of color. Opals also have a vintage throwback look — like this might be an heirloom from the roaring twenties, but because the band itself is made of strong hypoallergenic materials, it really might be the kind of thing that lasts a hundred years.
Pearls offer a similar iridescent beauty. As long as they fall into the sustainable or simulated category, there’s no blemish on the pearly glow warming up proposals right now. Even if a pearl engagement ring doesn’t end up being a good fit, plenty of couples are also remembering pearls make good accessories for men as well as women.
- Halos and Band Settings
If there are diamonds, they are usually smaller, ethically sourced or man-made. And they are often relegated to the supporting role in a halo style ring. Or they line the band of the wedding ring in a channel or pavésetting. That way, the primary stone still casts the mantle of its unique personality and accessible affordability over the ring, but it mixes in just a little bit of that diamond sparkle for effect.
So what’s the ideal diamond ring alternative for millennials? Is it an oval opal in a halo setting on a responsibly sourced, high-performance band that is part of a matching set? That’s unquestionably a possibility, but one of the most attractive features of these diamond ring alternatives is the endless opportunity for customization. So there isn’t one ideal. Just a staggering array of options.
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