It’s the moment you’ve dreamed about since you were a little girl: The guy of your dreams is down on one knee asking that magic question, “Will you marry me?” And while your heart is doing back flips and your eyes are welling up with tears, you can’t help but sneak a peek at the ring out of the corner of your eye. Of course you’ll love the ring no matter what, but it’ll be so much more fun showing it off to the girls if it’s fabulous.
An engagement ring is not only a symbol of your commitment — it’s a statement of your personal style. After all, your jewelry is going to become a permanent fixture in your wardrobe and should be something you feel comfortable wearing — whether it’s a vintage piece that recalls memories of romance from another era, or an ethnic-inspired piece that makes a statement of culture. Remember, any ring can be an engagement ring. You don’t have to be married to the gold band with solitaire diamond if that’s not your thing. I’ve rounded up engagement rings in some out-of-the-ordinary shapes, sizes and materials including aquamarine, black diamonds and wood (yes, wood). You might want to have your best friend casually forward this on to your guy just in case.
Natural, raw, unfinished — does it describe you or the ring? This conflict-free diamond has a barely blushing champagne tinge and is clasped in a bezel setting. The Gloss has a list of beautiful rings with uncut diamonds.
Bamboo has long been revered as a symbol of luck, which makes it ideal for a wedding ring. The contrasting dark Hawaiian Koa and light bamboo in this band serve as an elegant alternative to a metal ring. (Pricing available on request, Touch Wood Rings)
Blue Topaz is a beautiful and low-cost alternative to the traditional diamond stone. Wonderful handmade rings, particularly out of Southeast Asia are made with the electric blue mineral. Novica has a wide selection of rings featuring Topaz.
While cubic zirconia is often considered the poor relation to a diamond, plenty of reasonably priced new and vintage handmade rings have been made with the synthetic material. If you want a beautiful ring but don't want to pay diamond prices, Etsy has a wide variety of handmade cubic zirconia rings. Be mindful that not all of the rings on the marketplace are hand-crafted, so shop carefully.
The Santa Fe-based shop Reflective Jewelry designs all of it wares by hand and uses fair trade stones and minerals. In addition to diamond rings, they also offer several pieces with sapphires, aquamarines and rubies. See Reflective Jewelry's engagement ring section for more.
Given Arbor Jewelers' name, it isn't surprising that many of the company's handmade designs include earthy and tree-inspired etchings. Plenty of the engagement rings have stones and minerals, but they are typically integrated into the design rather than the primary element. Arbor Jewelers also has plenty of matching rings for couples.
For jewelry fans who want a luxury handmade ring, Artfully Elegant sells pieces from several top-tier designers. Expect to pay into the four figures for these refined and distinctive pieces made from white, rose and yellow gold.
Keeping with the space theme, this ring features a uniquely shaped diamond that “orbits” above a dainty yellow gold band. If you aren’t into diamonds, a pearl would make a graceful alternative. (Pricing available upon request, Krikawa)
A modern interpretation of the traditional engagement ring, the Sputnik’s name comes from its cosmic-inspired design. Ten silver arms set with green chameleon diamonds stylishly rotate around the main attraction — a 1.5 ct. colored diamond. (Pricing available upon request, Krikawa)