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Alternative rings gain popularity

METRO — Engagement rings are often sizable investments. Money magazine reports the average engagement ring costs around $5,800. An engagement ring symbolizes the start of a lifelong commitment and may even set the tone for a couple’s wedding day.

Jewelry styles are personal, and grooms-to-be should carefully research their significant others’ preferences in terms of precious metals, colors and gemstones. Even though tradition holds that a diamond gemstone is classic for engagement rings, these precious stones are not the only options. In fact, before World War II, just 10 percent of proposals involved diamond engagement rings. That number jumped to 80 percent by 1990. However, many modern couples now lean toward other offerings not only for the uniqueness they provide, but also for the potential cost savings.

Those seeking something unique can embrace these engagement ring options.

Couples have many beautiful alternatives to diamonds that they can explore when shopping for engagement rings.

Amethyst

This vibrant, lavender-hued stone can be breathtaking when cut the correct way. Purple shades have long been associated with royalty, making an amethyst fitting for such an occasion as special as an engagement. Because amethysts, which are less expensive than diamonds, are a seven on the Mohs scale for gemstone hardness, they can be very durable.

Knot rings

These rings do not have a center stone. Rather, they’re designed to be a tied knot or infinity symbol. These rings can be particularly sentimental as they represent true, unbroken love.

Opal

Gemstones, like flowers, have been assigned certain meanings. Tying the engagement ring to one of them can infuse more symbolism into the relationship. Opal, for example, represents love, passion, creativity, spontaneity and inspiration. Those traits seem tailor-made for surprise proposals.

Sapphire

While sapphire stones often are blue, they can also be yellow, green, pink and white. Sapphires are the third hardest mineral. A white sapphire can be the perfect diamond replacement.

Garnet or ruby

Red is the definitive color of love. A Valentine’s Day proposal can be made even more special by presenting an engagement ring with a red gemstone.

Moissanite

The jewelry source Brilliant Earth says moissanite is a gemstone first discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan in a meteorite that fell to earth. It is remarkably similar to a diamond in appearance and strength. Moissanite also has heightened brilliance, with a refractive index higher than that of a diamond.

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