When you think of an engagement ring, you probably think of a big, sparkly diamond.
Or, if you’re more budget-conscious, you ponder on the possibility of buying a Poundland ring, for – you guessed it – £1.
For some, the ubiquity of diamond engagement rings has made those massive rocks feel a tad overdone. A new trend is perfect for those bored of diamonds being the go-to option: birthstone engagement rings.
According to Etsy’s 2019 trend report, birthstone engagement rings are due to be the next big thing in weddings.
As a February baby, I’m here for it (who doesn’t love amethyst?).
The trend is an easy way to make an engagement ring feel more personal, it steers you away from getting the same ring as every other bride, and it’s likely to be a chunk cheaper than trying to buy the biggest diamond you can.
Etsy’s trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson said: ‘One emerging trend in non-diamond engagement rings is incorporating birthstones. On Etsy, we’ve seen 34K searches for ‘birthstone engagement rings’ in the last three months, and I predict the trend will continue to grow.
‘2019 is going to be all about putting a twist on traditional styles.
‘For generations, the diamond has been the ultimate stone for proposing, but today’s bride isn’t tied to the norm — she wants to express her personal style and choose a ring that reflects her personality — which is why in the new year, other gemstones will become go-to staples for engagement rings.’
Before you go charging off to update your wedding Pinterest or search for a colourful gem for your partner, you should probably get to know the birthstone for each month. So, which one is yours?
What’s your birthstone?
- January: Garnet
- February: Amethyst
- March: Aquamarine
- April: Diamond
- May: Emerald
- June: Pearl
- July: Ruby
- August: Peridot
- September: Sapphire
- October: Opal
- November: Topaz
- December: Turquoise
Some caveats on that list, though.
A few months have multiple birthstones, and sadly there’s no official governing body to say which one is the correct birthstone for that month (the list above has the most popular rulings).
December, for example, lists turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite as its birthstones, while along with pearl June has alexandrite.
There’s good news there if you look for it – December and June babies have multiple options to choose from.
Those with April birthdays, however, will have to make do with boring old diamonds. How sad.
There’s something else to consider before you go all out on the birthstone trend: the Moh’s hardness scale.
Diamonds aren’t just used for engagement rings because they’re pretty, but because the stone is hard, tough, and thus resistent to scratches or other damage. It scores a 10 on the Moh’s hardness scale, the official measure for how easily you can scratch a gem with a harder substance.
The general consensus is that a score of 7.5 or above makes a stone suitable for an engagement ring, as you want something that will stand up for daily wear.
Unfortunately, some birthstones don’t meet that mark.
Garnet, amethyst, and peridot are all between a 6.5-7.5, meaning they’re not ideal but will work as engagement rings as long as you’re gently with them.
Ruby (nine), sapphire (eight), and aquamarine (eight), and topaz (eight) are good choices.
Apologies to those with a birthday in June, as pearls are absolutely not suited for engagement rings, with a hardness score of just 2.5. The same goes for October kids, as opals have a score of six.
Our advice? Don’t get too stuck on birthstones. You don’t have to go for an emerald if you don’t like green but happen to have been born in May.
Instead, let this trend open up the world of possibilities. Just as you’re not tied to your birthstone, you don’t have to be tied to a diamond when it comes to an engagement ring. You don’t even have to have a stone at all, if you’re not keen. Have whatever you like – it’s your ring.