|Small Twig ring with a 19.99 carat aquamarine available in 18k yellow, white, or rose gold and platinum by K. Brunini Jewels|
Thanks to the De Beers “A Diamond is Forever” campaign, white diamonds matched with white metals have been the standard for engagement rings for more than 60 years in the United States. However, it wasn’t always that way, particularly among the rich, royal and famous when tying the knot.
|Likoma ring in 18k white gold with a 4.18-carat pear-shaped pink tourmaline enhanced with grey, white and golden natural pearls and diamonds by Mellerio dits Meller|
In 1796, a 26-year-old up-and-coming soldier named Napoleon Bonaparte presented his wife to be, Joséphine, with a sapphire and diamond engagement ring. The stones, each weighing 1 carat and mounted in gold, rest side by side facing opposite directions. Osenat auction house in Paris sold the ring in March 2013 for more than $1 million.
|Majestic emerald-cut intense honey citrine and diamond ring by Alexandra Mor|
When John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, he did it with a gold Van Cleef & Arpels ring with a 2.88-carat diamond and 2.84-carat emerald enhanced with baguette diamonds, which were later replaced with round and marquis cut diamonds.
|6.39-carat pear-shaped yellow sapphire ring by Robert Procop|
Perhaps the most famous colored gem engagement ring is the 18k white gold ring centered with a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by diamonds that Prince William presented to Kate Middleton in 2010 when he proposed marriage. The ring is a family heirloom, belonging to his late mother Princess Diana who received it as her engagement ring.
|Eloise ring featuring three-stone paraiba by Erica Courtney|
There are a number of modern day celebrity couples choosing colored gems for engagement rings. Among them:
* Singer and actress Jessica Simpson, who received a gold engagement ring from guitarist Eric Johnson in 2010 centered with an oversized ruby flanked by two diamonds on either side. The ring was designed by Neil Lane, who is known for his work with celebrities.
|Platinum Stack Rings composed of the five individual rings shown, designed by Barbara Heinrich to collect, mix and match with your favorite colored gem and wear as an engagement ring, a wedding band, as a group right-hand ring, or individually|
* Academy Award winner Halle Berry received a hand-forged gold ring flashing a 4-carat emerald in a one-of-a-kind setting. Designed by French jeweler, Robert Mazio, the square cut emerald is flanked by two smaller diamonds on each side of the ring. The ring reportedly has symbols and codes that only the wearer could see and tells the story of the love between Berry and her one-time husband Olivier Martinez. Unfortunately, the story didn’t end well for the couple.
|18k white gold ring with an aquamarine center stone surrounded by diamonds by Pasquale Bruni|
* Australian cricket player Shane Warne proposed to actress Elizabeth Hurley with a 9-carat square-cut sapphire flanked by two trillion-cut white diamonds.
|The Valentina 18k yellow gold ring by Anabel Higgins with an 18.74-carat rubellite surrounded by diamonds|
There have been attempts by gem dealers, designers and jewelry retailers to bring the appeal of colored gems to bridal jewelry in the U.S., but consumers never took to it. When Kate Middleton, (now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) was married with the Ceylon sapphire, Sri Lankan gem dealers were anticipating a rush to buy similar gems for proposals, but even royal star power couldn’t sway the masses.
|18k rose gold Tourmaline Ring by Lucifer vir Honestus|
However, in the luxury segment of the jewelry market, jewelers are willing to cater to those who want something different and unique. For example, earlier this year jewelry artist, Katey Brunini, unveiled a complete line of bridal jewels (engagement rings and wedding bands) featuring a variety of colored gems, including ruby, sapphire, emeralds and Beryl in hues that run from pastel to bold. The pieces include classic looks and organic, rough-textured shapes, described as “twigs” and “vertebrae.”
|Rose gold ring with a 6.23-carat emerald and diamonds by Vhernier|
Venerable Parisian high jeweler, Mellerio dits Meller, recently released a collection of high jewelry cocktails ring, the “Private Collection,” that also could be used as engagement rings. They are designed by Laure-Isabelle Mellerio, the wife of M. Laurent Mellerio, the 14th Mellerio to head the family owned jeweler since 1613.
|Platinum ring with 2.11-carat blue oval sapphire solitaire set in a diamond filigree mounting by Alishan|
Using colored gems is a way to create a ring that more fully describes the story of your marriage.
|Blue Topaz and diamond “Sea Leaf” ring by Miseno|
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|“Dearest” enamel stack ring by Alison Lou|