Coloured Gem Alternatives

Gem alternatives at Brett's Jewellers

Coloured Gem Alternatives

There are a few outstanding gems that come to mind when looking at alternative gemstones to a diamonds, especially for an engagement ring. While any gemstone can be used in an engagement ring or heirloom creation it is always best to first look at the harder gems such as Corundum – Sapphire and Ruby – and then move down the line of hardness at Beryl – Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite – and then consider other lesser known gems such as Spinel, Tourmaline and Garnets.

A few things to consider

A few things to consider when looking for an alternative to diamonds is, as mentioned earlier, the hardness. As diamonds are a 10 on Moh’s scale of hardness they are the perfect gem for an heirloom or forever piece because normal day activities won’t damage them. Keeping in mind that they are not impervious to damage they’re still the best option. Availability and price, as well as how brittle the material is, all need to be taken into account when considering an alternative gemstone.

MOH's Scale from Bretts Jewellers
Moh’s scale of hardness showing non linear increases in hardness. Diamond being about 100x harder than sapphire

The alternatives

The next best option would be either Sapphire or Ruby, which are a 9 on Moh’s scale. Sapphire and Rubies are closely related and come from the same mineral Corundum but that’s another conversation. Basically, ruby is the red version of corundum and anything that isn’t red is considered sapphire. Now sapphires come in a wide variety of colours including pinks, purples, blue, greens, yellows and oranges as well as colourless! They are the ideal choice when looking for an alternative to diamond. You have a broad range of colours to choose from as well as the material being widely available – more so in particular colours.

Moving down the line of hardness into the wear with care alternatives would be the Beryl family of gems. The beryl family includes Emerald, Morganite, Heliodor and Aquamarine all of which are fantastic options giving the wearing a range of beautiful colours but due to their slightly softer and sometimes brittle nature, they need to be worn with care. They are an 8-8.5 on Moh’s hardness scale.

Finally, there are what I would consider the lesser known gems such as Spinel, tourmaline and garnet. These three family of gems come in a fantastic array of colours and all sit in the area around 8 in hardness so once again while they are an awesome alternative to diamond they definitely needs to be worn with care.


The above is just an outline of gemstones for you to consider and there are other options all of which come with their own pros and cons however to keep it short and sweet looks for harder gems such as sapphire and ruby or take care when you’re opting for a softer gem.

 For a more detailed and in-depth conversation about what I think are great alternatives get in touch with me and the team at Brett’s Jewellers or via Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for reading


Brett - Owner and Master Jeweller at Bretts Jewellers

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