Choosing and Caring for Your Alternative Stone Engagement Rings | Albuquerque Wedding Photographer

Diamonds are a girls best friend. But not EVERY girls best friends. We so get that there is people out there who wouldn't mind forgoing the traditional diamond engagement ring. In fact, my ring isn't a diamond, so I am here for it! SO we thought we'd put together a list of some of the alternative stone rings our brides have worn, along with gorgeous photos and some tips to help you pick out your alternative stone!

Tips for all alternative stones:

- Pick out your stone from a local gem store. Many states has rock and mineral stores for collectors who also sell gems for jewelry. This way you can pick the exact stone you want instead of just getting whatever is in stock at the jewelry store. This is also much more cost effective.

- Always clean your stone in warm soapy water. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean it. Most alternative stones are too soft for professional cleaners in jewelry stores. They use an ultrasonic cleaner or steamers that are too rough on your stone.

- Take your jobs and environment into consideration while choosing your stone. Some stones are less suitable for more physical labor jobs, others aren't great for painters.

- Do your research! Look up pros, cons, and tips for maintaining your stone before selecting it. If you chose to purchase your stone from a local business, they will usually be knowledgeable to help you decide what might be best, and even give recommendations you haven't thought of.


One of our first ever alternative stones was Julie's Aquamarine beauty! Its soft blue is subtle enough that it won't stand out too much, but will have people lingering just a while longer. If you're not too sure about a colored stone, aquamarine is perfect! Higher up on the Mohs scale (The hardness of a stone) it's durable and very scratch resistant. But if you want to keep it shiny and clear, wash it it warm soapy water with a soft toothbrush every once and a while.

this beautiful ring was a gift from Brandon to Maura on their wedding day. Maura obviously LOVES blue so it was the perfect something blue for her to wear down the aisle.


Sara's Morganite and rose gold is still one of our favorites! The timeless pink color and elegant cut keep it on our list of favorites, diamond or not. Morganites are probably the most popular choice for alternatives stones, and it's obvious to see why! However, since it is a more porous stone, it does take a little more work to maintain. Wash your stone regularly, and make sure you take it off while applying hand lotion!


Available in almost every color you can imagine, tourmaline is jumping up in popularity. A beryl stone like Morganite, many of the qualities are the same! Make sure you follow the same cleaning rules, and avoid wearing it while using oils, and keep lotions and creams away from it!


Topaz comes in many colors and interesting shades (look up Mystic and mercury mist Topaz) and is also a very durable stone! Trista's is a stunning sky blue color, but you can get your favorite color instead! As an alternative stones it should be cleaned, but not as often as some other stones need it! While purchasing, ask your jeweler about the white gold rhodium plating, they may recommend your stone be placed in a yellow or rose gold ring. Topaz is also very subjective to sharp hard blows, so make sure to take it off during any labor!


Some go even less traditional and skip the gem idea all together! We loved Emily's super unique turquoise ring! As a New Mexican native living on the east coat, she wanted something to remind her of home. Although they're a softer stone, the lack of a specific 'cut' makes it easier to wear! Make sure your stone is mounted with 4-8 prongs to keep it safe. Please keep in mind that turquoise is one of the largest stones to be faked, so the dye coloring will fade over time. Makes sure to ask if it is turquoise of dyed howlite. Unlike gems, it can dissolve in certain acids. SO make sure to take if off if you're cleaning tile, toilets, or a pool! Any harsh chemicals can dissolve it over time. (And we mean 10+ years, but it can lose shine in that time.)


My personal favorite is opals. My engagement ring was an opal that my husband had me pick it out myself. One of the great things about opals is that every stone is different! You can grab one that has more of a pink hue, blue hue, or any color! However, as one of the softest stones, opal is VERY very fragile. I'm sad to say that my opal shattered one day while grocery shopping. So take into consideration your job and your environment while considering an opal, and if you love it like I do, take your ring off for things like dishes, showers, yard work and anything that could be rough on your hands. Should you chose opal, my biggest recommendation is to buy your stone locally first. 90% of opals in jewelry stores are lab created, and are not as pretty as authentic opals.

Sapphires/ Ruby:

The hardest stone on the Mohs Scale is diamond. After that is sapphire and Ruby. Sapphires come in many shapes sizes and colors, and are usually very affordable! After breaking my precious opal, I opted for a sapphire. We picked out a blueish/green one called a Montana Sapphire. The best part about sapphires and rubies is that you can clean it in soapy water, but it can also be placed in a ultrasonic steam cleaner at a jewelers store.

Colored Diamonds:

Some people have decided that they want a diamond because of their work, active life, or simply because it's important to their fiancé and they love the tradition. If you're going with a diamond, but still loved colored stones, there are options for you! Diamonds also come in many colors, vivid or softer hues. We also recommend you pick your stone first if you can. This way you can make sure that you're getting the saturation you want! Our only recommendation is avoiding chocolate diamonds; these are diamonds that are dyed to cover imperfections and usually aren't worth what you're paying. You can also consider lab grown colored diamonds. If the fact that is isn't a 'pre' diamond doesn't bother you, this is a more cost effective and environmentally friendly option!

No matter what you decide on, remember that it is YOUR ring and that it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks! If your heart is set on a diamond, thats 100% ok! If your heart is set on not having a diamond. that is 100% ok too!

Your ring is a symbol of your love and commitment to one another, and as long as you remember that, any ring is the perfect ring!