The Romans were known to use sapphires in their engagement rings, and in more recent times coloured gemstones searches on fashion platform Lyst have increased by 10 percent each year.

Since famous figures like Kate Middleton and Anna Kournikova have taken to wearing coloured gemstones in their engagement rings (sapphire and pink diamond respectively) the traditional colourless diamond has perhaps lost some of its sparkle in favour of fancier gems.

In this article, we’ll ask what is it about colourful gemstones that’s attracting more and more modern women (or their husbands-to-be) when choosing an engagement ring. We’ll also explore some of the most popular alternatives to white diamonds, discuss their properties, and what makes them each beautiful and unique in their own way.

Reasons for Choosing a Coloured Engagement ring

A statement of individuality

Besides the celebrity factor making coloured stones fashionable, they are also a sign of individual choice. Every woman is different, and rather than following the crowd, many women these days prefer to express their personality and individual taste with their choice of wedding gem.  

Though a diamond ring has always been popular, the opportunity to acquire something special and unique to celebrate the high point of a couple’s love and devotion has a strong appeal. Many independent jewellers even offer custom design services to ensure an engagement ring commemorates a partnership unlike any other. A colourful stone can be the centrepiece of such a ring. 


Secondly, it’s well known that diamond rings are a significant investment. Although the notorious “one month’s salary rule” is a known 1930s marketing ploy by De Beers, the monetary value of an engagement ring rightly represents its symbolic importance in the lives of both wearer and would-be groom.

However, it’s not always possible for a young millennial couple to afford the kind of jewellery their parents’ generation might have coveted. Coloured engagement rings can represent a more attainable option for many couples, whilst maintaining the artistry and beauty of a special piece of high end or luxury jewellery.

Coloured Diamonds – more than meets the eye

When we think of a diamond most of us conjure an image of a flawless, cleanly cut, round sparkling gem, refracting all the colours of the rainbow from its exquisite colourless facets. And while this is true of some of the finest (and rarest) diamonds, it’s not representative of every stone in this category.

A diamond is a formation of carbon atoms, arranged in a tight lattice by heat and pressure as to create an incredibly strong crystalline structure. It is the hardest material on earth, scoring a 10 on the Mohs scale, meaning it can only be scratched or polished by another diamond. This is what makes them so durable.

Most diamonds were formed 3 billion years ago in the Earth’s crust and those that are mined today were forced towards the surface by volcanic surges of magma. As rare as it is to find any, coloured tinted diamonds can be even less common. 

Colour in diamonds is one of the notable “Four C’s” which determine a stone’s worth. It can be caused by a variety of means, usually a displacement or deformation of the lattice of carbon atoms caused by the inclusion of other elements such as boron, hydrogen, nitrogen or nickel.

The rarest blue, green, pink, and orange, violet or red diamonds can fetch hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds.

On a more modest scale, the most common coloured diamonds used in jewellery are brown, grey, black and yellow. These can have a beauty and character, unlike any other gemstone. Each is different, depending on the exact colouring, the consistency of the hue throughout the stone, and the remaining three Cs (carat, clarity and cut).

Lab-Grown Coloured Diamonds

Many buyers are concerned with the origins and potential ecological and moral implications of natural mined diamonds. An increasing market for ethical, man-made diamonds grown by scientists in laboratories can include specially designed coloured stones.

These are crafted through a process which mimics the heat and pressure of the natural diamond formation, with the deliberate addition of the chemicals that cause colourful imperfections. Such gems, made in a strictly controlled environment can be a much more affordable option for those seeking the assurance of a conflict-free engagement ring, whether in a particular tone or colourless.

A yellow and white diamond trilogy engagement ring set in platinum band

An engagement ring featuring a coloured diamond can have a unique, otherworldly beauty that a normal white diamond lacks. It’s a perfect combination of the traditional stone with an unconventional twist. But it’s not the only colourful character in town when it comes to engagement rocks. 

Other Coloured Gemstones


Emerald is one of the most commonly searched terms online when combined with engagement rings. Rubies and sapphires have also seen a recent increase in popularity. There are many other precious stones used in luxury jewellery that can make an eye-catching centrepiece for an engagement ring besides the classic diamond.

Synonymous with green for millennia, an emerald is a beryl stone whose colour is derived from impurities of chromium and vanadium. An emerald’s mesmeric hue has enchanted folklore of many cultures for generations. It’s one of the “big four” precious stones besides diamond, ruby and sapphire. 


Ruby is an intensely red corundum mineral and the most valuable of coloured stones. Traditionally the stone for a 40th wedding anniversary, it also makes for a startling, bold choice for an engagement ring.


Kate Middleton’s famous ring (pictured), which once belonged to Princess Diana, sports an impressive sapphire. Although they can come in a variety of colours, a traditional blue sapphire is another corundum mineral which is increasingly sought after by brides-to-be.

Other Precious Gems

There are other coloured stones which are somewhat more affordable, but no less beautiful, including:

Red Spinel

A rare and undervalued red gem. These are closely related to rubies.

Tsavorite Garnet

The pure green variety of garnet only found in the Tsavo region of Kenya, this gem is hard and durable, with a high refractive index.


A subtle, clear beryl crystal with a delicate pink tone, morganite looks perfect in a silver or platinum band.


Common and versatile, tourmaline is the most colourful crystal on the planet


There’s something special about a purple gemstone. This crystalline quartz comes in shades from pale lilac to violet.

Diamonds accentuate coloured gemstones

It’s also worth remembering that you’re not confined to one colour or one stone when it comes to an engagement ring. Diamonds come in pink, blue, yellow and many other colours which can express the taste and personality of the wearer.

Furthermore, diamonds can surround or sit next to a coloured gemstone to beautifully complement and accentuate its beauty. Some of the most stunning engagement rings combine diamonds with other precious stones. Examples of multi-gem engagement rings in our range as some of the most exquisite.

Rely on a trusted independent jeweller

Diamond or otherwise, there’s a seemingly endless range of options when it comes to adding some colour to this once-in-a-lifetime purchase. An independent jeweller with years of experience will be able to talk you through your choices and advise them on a stone that will best represent the attributes you’re seeking.

Custom-made engagement rings

Whatever colour gemstone a bride-to-be chooses, a custom-made ring is a unique work of art as well as a symbol of love and commitment. Jacobs can specially design a ring with a dazzling stone (or stones) to match the particular qualities and discerning tastes of the woman wearing it.

We have a tried and tested process for making bespoke engagement rings. Many of our customers are interested in transforming or remoulding an existing piece of jewellery to create something brand new whilst maintaining sentimental value. We can take your recycled gemstones or precious metals and turn them into a jewel tailored to your specific needs.

Our skilled team of jewellery designers and goldsmiths are experts at advising which coloured gemstones work with what metals and settings. After a free consultation, we make accurate drawings or computer-aided designs, and even create models of your chosen piece before the final makeup, following your sign-off.

Speak to one of our team today to discuss design and pricing options. 


Diamonds are almost always the gemstone of choice for a proposing suitor and his would-be fiancée. But for this rare, one-off purchase, something different in the form of a coloured gemstone might be the special element to celebrate a unique union.

The increasing popularity of coloured gemstones means a bride can express her personality without compromising on elegance, authenticity or value. At Jacobs, we have one of the finest ranges of coloured stones in the Reading and wider Berkshire area, hand-picked to adorn your perfect engagement ring.

We hope this article has given you a good idea of the options for a unique piece of jewellery on your special occasion. If you want to find out more feel free to speak to one of our highly knowledgable jewellers who can advise you further. Give us a call on 0118 959 0790 or email for a consultation.