Which gemstone ring is best?

Which gemstone ring is best? - Seiko Inlaid Emerald Ring
Seiko Inlaid Emerald Ring (npleafage.com)

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Rings symbolize love and meaning. A sparkling gemstone ring elevates those sentiments beautifully. But how to choose the perfect ring gem for your budget and lifestyle? As a jewelry designer, I often get asked this question. There’s so much to consider – durability, style, personal taste, ethical sourcing and more. In this extensive guide, we’ll cover how to select the ultimate gemstone and metal for rings based on:

Budget
Lifestyle factors
Gemstone properties
Styles and settings
Symbolism
Ethical sourcing
I’ll go through classic and trending gemstone options. You’ll understand quality hallmarks from our gemological institute as well. By the end, you’ll feel equipped to find your dream sustainability-sourced ring while avoiding overhyped gems and poor settings.

How Much Should You Spend on a Gemstone Ring?

As you narrow options, set a budget that aligns with your financial means and comfort level. High quality doesn’t necessarily require maxing out a credit card. Beautiful rings suit any budget – it just takes savvier sourcing and stone selection. Splurging on size and hype doesn’t automatically mean “better.” An expert cut smaller gem often surpasses a mediocre cut 2 carat rock in brilliance, fire and sparkle. But no need to sacrifice size if your budget allows!

Here are typical price ranges for fine gemstone rings:

Lower Cost Rings:
Sterling silver rings with gemstones like citrine or amethyst can run $100-$500. Simple garnet rings cost $200 to $1,000 typically. Modest sized (under 2 carat) high quality diamonds or colored gems in gold settings start around $1,000, ranging up to $5,000 or more.

Mid-Range Rings:
In the $5,000 to $15,000 range, you’ll find gorgeous emerald rings at 5 carats, 3 to 4 carat ruby rings, large diamonds over 3 carats, and substantial multi-gem cocktail rings. Artists and designers pieces shine here as well.

High End Rings:
Burmese pigeon blood ruby rings, enormous diamonds rings like Elizabeth Taylor’s, important sapphires, and precious gem suites frequently trade hands starting in the mid-five figure range, with celebrity and auction pieces crossing into millions.

Gemstone Properties – Color, Clarity, Cut Quality

Understanding how jewelers grade each factor will empower your shopping. For color, evaluation labs consider tone/saturation on scales from faint to vivid. Clarity means assessing microscopic mineral, feather or cavity imperfections inside the stone called inclusions. They rank from internally flawless (rare, expensive) down to included. Beautiful gems shine even with some inclusions though, unless centered or very dark

For cut quality, ideal proportions refract maximum light. Diamonds focus on the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, carat weight) while colored gems weigh color ahead of other factors. Certain gemstone types like emeralds and opals actually have different quality scales. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed the global grading standards used industry-wide today. Responsible sellers disclose any treatments too like heating or radiation to enhance appearance – ask if unsure.

Here’s an overview of the most popular ring gems, properties, quality factors and price ranges:

Diamond Rings
Hardness: 10 Mohs (Hardest gem)
Significant Quality Factors:
Cut, Carat, Color, Clarity

Prices:
$500 to $150,000+ depending on 4Cs
(Cost grows exponentially with size and quality combo)

Pros: Timeless classic, visually stunning, durable forever gemstone. High re-sale value.

Cons: Maximum budget required for world class size and quality. Lack ethical sourcing standards in historical supply chains.

Lab Grown Diamond Rings
Hardness: 10 Mohs
Physical and optical qualities identical to earth mined diamonds. Distinguished by place of origin in a lab, not mine.

Prices:
30-50% less than equivalent natural diamonds

Pros: Ethical option, visually and physically matches mining diamonds, affordable big sizes in fine quality grades.

Cons: Resale value lower than mined diamonds currently but increasing steadily.

Sapphire Rings
Hardness: 9 Mohs
Significant Quality Factors: Vivid saturation preferred to pale tones. Blue most prized but all colors outside red classified as sapphires.

Prices: Burmese blue 5+ carats – $30,000+. Montana blue sapphires $500 to $5,000 range.

Pros: Durable, classic beauty in spectrum of colors, high end ROI over time.

Cons: Most natural sapphires under 5 carats well below $5K, resale value varies by supply availability.

Ruby Rings
Hardness: 9 Mohs
Significant Quality Factors:
Vivid red saturation is key.

Prices:
Jewel quality Burmese pigeon blood ruby over 5 carats exceeds $50,000+. Glorious colored smaller gems available under $30K.

Pros: Prized red only comes from chromium. Among most valuable colored gemstones. Durable for everyday wear.

Cons: Inclusion-free barrels almost impossible to find over 5 carats. Synthetics and treatments prevalent – confirm certification.

Emerald Rings
Hardness: 7.5 to 8 Mohs (Softer stone)
Key Factors: Vivid green color, fewer visible inclusions

Prices: Colombian 2 carats, AAA clarity – $10K to $30k. South African and Zambian emerald prices can compete.

Pros: Lush vivid green tones. Classic amongst royalty and vintage estates.

Cons: Significant inclusions. Softer gem makes it less durable for daily wear.

Aquamarine Rings
Hardness: 7.5 to 8 Mohs
Key Factors:
Vivid blue, moderate inclusions acceptable

Prices:
1 to 5 carats $500 to $5K
Larger blue aquas over 10 carats exceed $10K+

Pros: Gorgeous blue tones. Durable enough for regular wear.March birthstone.

Cons: Greenish aquamarine far less valuable. Smaller gems not rare, limiting resale upside.

Moissanite Rings
Hardness: 9.5 Mohs
Visual qualities and brilliance rivals diamond. Distinct scientific properties differentiate it. A naturally occurring mineral first found in a meteor crater!

Prices Run 30-50% Less Than Equivalent Diamonds

Pros: Affordable, almost as brilliant as diamond, durable forever gem

Cons: Limited brand recognition and resale value to date but improving as sustainable option

Morganite Rings
Hardness: 7.5 to 8 Mohs
Key Factors:
Vivid pink/peach/salmon color saturation

Prices:
1 Carat gems around $500, 5 carats $5K+

Pros: Stunning pink tones in durable setting for regular wear. Generally well supplied.

Cons: Lesser known so smaller market. Resale value depends on maintaining saturation overtime.

Gemstone Ring Styles and Settings

Choosing settings means considering metal types and designs. Mixing metals (yellow, white and rose gold bands with platinum tops) make interesting combos too. Half-bezel or halo settings add dimension by encircling center stones creatively. Three-stone rings meaningfully incorporate your beloved’s birthstone or represent past, present, future. Bar channel settings create the illusion of bigger stones side by side.

Get inspired browsing designer catalogs, Pinterest boards and Instagram gem posts – then dream up your own ideal vision! If working with an in-person jeweler, bring sample photos from which to discuss and refine the look. Share your lifestyle and purpose for meaningful suggestions suiting your daily activities. Trying on different shapes and stone sizes makes all the difference as well. You want a showstopper that also feels comfortable long term.

Metals: Hallmarks of enduring metals include platinum, 18K gold and quality sterling silver. Platinum shines bright white naturally. Fourteen or 18K gold mixes long term gold resilience (pure gold being 24K) with just enough harder metals strengthening structure integrity. Gold color varies from bright yellow (14K) to rose pink (18K). Silver makes a lovely setting for gems on budget. Rhodium plating adds a polished white luster.

Settings: Prongs should have enough metal strength to safely secure stones but not interfere with light refraction. Pay attention to potential snag points in filigree shapes if wearing constantly. Bezel settings provide greatest protection by surrounding gems completely, but can visually shrink smaller stones. Etched ring bands, braided textures, cut outs, split shanks and curved shaping lend detail. Hidden halos underneath center stones add depth without eating up finger coverage.

Symbolism of Gemstone Rings

Gems carry personal symbolism too. Traditional birthstones date back epochs – here are (modern and ancient month options):
January (Garnet, Emerald)
February (Amethyst, Bloodstone)
March (Aquamarine, Emerald or Bloodstone)
April (Diamond)
May (Emerald)
June (Pearl, Moonstone, Alexandrite)
July (Ruby)
August (Peridot, Sardonyx or Spinel)
September (Sapphire)
October (Opal, Tourmaline)
November (Topaz, Citrine)
December (Tanzanite, Zircon, Turquoise)

Wear your own birthstone or that of loved ones being honored in jewelry to infuse nostalgic meaning. Gemstones also symbolize attributes like wisdom, intuition, eternal bonds, confidence, tranquility, strength, luck and passion. Select centers and accents that communicate deeper significance. Custom designing using birthdays, anniversaries, first initials can make it extra special.

Ethical and Sustainable Gemstone Rings

From diamonds to emeralds, traceability and transparency around mining, cutting and setting gemstones proves challenging but improving through conscientious brands, blockchain and grievance channels. Responsible sourcing labels like the UN Guiding Principles, RJC Chain of Custody communicate higher standards around environmental, social and governance factors.

Canadian Ice takes a novel approach via technology enabled sourcing and data rich supply chains. Their GIA certified diamonds reveal actual source origins – unusually rare transparency. Mined Ruby promises the same for rubies. Alternatives like 100% recycled metals, lab diamonds and USA mined stones sidestep conventional supply chains as well. Purchasing antique estate rings recycles beautiful old gems in contemporary resetting styles too. Ask brands where and how they select gems to determine social and environmental responsibility ratings. Shop small designers focused on handmade craft and community benefitting cuts as well.

Selecting a gorgeous gemstone ring means weighing factors like budget parameters, daily lifestyle, ring style meanings and sustainable sourcing preferences. Rather than stress about finding some elusive “perfect” center stone, focus on what symbolizes happiness and fulfillment for you or your beloved. Connect with specialty jewelers who handpick fine gems ethically, craft settings artfully and communicate sourcing transparently. Unique smaller sapphires, Montana blue diamonds or vibrant green garnets radiate beauty too. Prioritize quality cutting to maximize brilliance over size in setting types that capture personalities beautifully. Most importantly, let your ring shine daily as a reminder of life’s meaningful bonds and cherished moments. You’ll spark joy whenever the gems catch your eye. Here’s to a lifetime of light!

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