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by Suzanne Sachs  5 min read



Diamonds may be the most popular and familiar option for engagement rings, but gemstone engagement rings actually have a much longer, fascinating history of representing love, romance, and commitment.


In this guide, we will explain the following:

  • About gemstone rings
  • Gemstone ring history
  • Emerald
  • Opal
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Victorian era
  • Choosing a gemstone ring


Any gemstone can be a lovely, meaningful choice for an engagement ring. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, aquamarines, citrines, pearls, and more can all be stunning center stones in an engagement ring, whether they are set as solitaires or are part of more elaborate rings. Diamond accents may be used with gemstone engagement rings, or coordinating gemstones can create an even more colorful and unique engagement ring design.


Couples may choose a gemstone ring for many reasons. Depending on the overall ring design and stone quality, a gemstone ring can be much more affordable than a similar diamond engagement ring. The symbolism of a gemstone engagement ring may also capture a couple’s relationship more thoroughly, or a colored stone may simply be a matter of personal style preference and fashionable flair. Whatever the reason, choosing a gemstone engagement ring gives a bride-to-be a beautiful connection to the wonderful and rich history of gemstone rings.




Many couples don’t realize that gemstones have traditionally been much more popular than diamonds for engagement rings throughout much of history. Different gems are more widely available and accessible than diamonds, as well as more affordable and easier to work to create stunning cuts and shapes. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that diamond engagement rings began to be more popular – before then, gemstone rings were much more prominent in jewelry fashion, including engagement rings. Different gemstones have been popular as engagement rings throughout the ages, including…




Representing beauty, love, fidelity, and healing energies, the rich green of an emerald has been an ideal engagement ring since ancient Persian, Egyptian, and Roman cultures. Emeralds have also been favored by royalty, including Cleopatra of Egypt and the Russian Imperial family.



The multi-hued glitter and shimmer of an opal symbolizes love, passion, confidence, and creativity. These gems were favored to represent engagements and romantic commitments for ancient Romans, as well as nomadic Bedouin cultures in the Middle East.




The rich, lustrous red of a ruby is intimately connected with passion, and also represents vibrancy and balance. This gemstone has long been popular as an engagement ring in Asian cultures, and became popular in western Europe during the 1600s and 1700s. Rubies were also very popular engagement rings in the 1940s, making them even more popular as vintage engagement rings today.



Symbolizing innocence, honesty, and strength, the elegance of a sapphire engagement ring is unmatched. This gemstone was popular in both Greek and Roman cultures, as well as during the Victorian and Edwardian eras when colored gems were particularly favored.



 VICTORIAN ERA (1835 -1900)

The Victorian era in particular, saw many gemstone engagement rings – emeralds, spinels, peridots, amethysts, topazes, and other colored gems made beautiful centerpieces and accents in these romantic rings. Gemstone engagement rings and cocktail rings have also been popular with royalty and celebrities, giving these colorful designs even more acclaim. Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring was a rich emerald, while Jessica Simpson sported a brilliant ruby engagement ring. Sapphire engagement rings have been especially popular with royalty, gracing the fingers of Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, and Princess Eugenie, and that sophisticated appeal will continue for many years to come.



Today, gemstone rings can offer couples much more personalization and extra meaning than even the most sparkling diamond. The layers of meaning and shades of beauty in gemstone rings can highlight a couple’s unique story and the bride-to-be’s personality, showing off individual flair as well as a couple’s connection. When flanked with diamonds for extra sparkle and accents, a gemstone engagement ring can be the glorious beginning of a couple’s personal history, adding another chapter to the rich and romantic history of gemstone engagement rings.


No matter which era is your favorite, these time-honored rings have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations.


Antique diamond rings are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and design. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of gemstone engagement rings today.


Suzanne has always believed vintage rings can change lives. She's been in the jewelry industry for over 35 years, working with vintage jewelers, diamond dealers, diamond cutters, and gemologists. Suzanne started Artdecodiamonds in 2000 and understood the demand for vintage rings throughout the world. She ultimately started VintageDiamondRing.com in 2014, and understands each vintage ring is a reflection of you – your history, your relationships, your style, your elegance and is honored to have the opportunity to help you showcase your flair in a unique and exquisite way.


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