Who needs diamonds? Have a diamondless engagement instead

You’ve already learned about the ethical problems that come with diamonds. You’ve decided you don’t want a stone on your finger that will remind you of the lives it cost to make it. (Who wants to feel depressed and guilty when they think about their upcoming nuptials?) But how do you find a ring that ditches the guilt–and keeps the sparkle?


Moissanite’s popularity as a diamond substitute has soared ever since the sparkly material was discovered in a meteorite in 1893. (In fact, the rocks were mistaken for diamonds for over a decade before the difference was even known.)

Even though modern-day moissanite rings are created in laboratories for affordability’s sake, it’s still romantic to know that your engagement jewel “came from the heavens.”

The main reason moissanite has attracted such an avid following is that it carries none of the stigma of “blood diamonds.”

Because it is created in a lab, it doesn’t present a danger to the environment and doesn’t support corrupt mining practices in third world countries. In short, moissanite is a guilt-free diamond. It also shows off a beautiful sparkle. To top it all off, moissanite is less expensive than diamond, so you can apply your savings to a spectacular wedding ceremony!

Cubic Zirconia

Nowadays, cubic zirconia isn’t just costume jewelry. Advanced chemical coatings such as “diamond-like carbon” give the stone a hard, lustrous finish just like a diamond. A coating can also downplay excess sparkle, which appeals to women who want a convincing “diamond look” and don’t mind giving up a little pizzazz in the process.

Cubic zirconia gets a bad reputation for being a diamond wannabe. Its lower price gives the unfair impression that the stone is somehow less capable of representing true love than a diamond. Take a moment to consider that impression.

Diamonds, after all, are still newcomers to the engagement scene. They didn’t represent any kind of love until the De Beers company hit the world hard with an aggressive 1930s ad campaign. Similar to the way celebrity endorsements have helped create a whirlwind of popularity around early viral concepts from cigarettes to Scientology, diamonds found themselves presented in the limelight as the only way to show true love. 

If you love the idea of a diamond-style engagement ring, go for a cubic zirconia. You can keep it subtle and your friends will never know it’s not a diamond. Or, embrace the affordability of cubic zirconia, and spring for a gigantic ring that proclaims your engagement to the world.

The best thing about a ring that doesn’t cost three months’ salary is that it frees up a lot more money for a lavish wedding–or a long, relaxing honeymoon. It’s hard to pretend that creating special memories with each other is somehow less genuine than spending the same money on a specific type of stone. 

Completely Unique Rings

There are plenty of diamond lookalikes out there if you want the De Beers look. But you’re not still dependent on 1930s advertising, are you? Show off your independence by choosing an engagement ring that appeals to you. Throw away the idea of what an engagement ring “should” look like and consider your actual taste in jewelry. 

What’s your favorite color? Do you want your and your sweetie’s birthstones entwined in one ring? Maybe you don’t want sparkle at all, and think intricate, woven metal would look better on your finger. Whatever your style, from jade to onyx, don’t buy into someone else’s idea of what’s right for your relationship. Wear the ring that seems the most special to you.

Lab-Created Diamonds

If you’re stuck on diamonds and nothing but diamonds will do, you still have alternatives to the type of diamond that causes trouble. Lab-created diamonds are, in fact, diamonds. They are exactly the same even down to a microscopic level. The difference comes in the method of their creation. Diamonds formed in a lab were not mined from the earth, and do not depend on corruption or violence in order to reach your hand. 

As well as ethical advantages, lab-created diamonds also have a few aesthetic advantages over mined diamonds. Since every aspect of their creation occurs in a controlled environment, you can have real diamonds in colors that are nearly impossible to find in nature. They can also be created large and flawless; in fact, lab-created diamonds are often so perfect they fool the eye. You can request that a few flaws be included just for appearances’ sake.

Celebrate Your Engagement; Not Someone Else’s

Remember, it’s your engagement–yours and your sweetheart’s alone. No one else can tell you what your engagement ring should look like. Choose a ring that looks as beautiful and feels as comfortable as your own relationship.

Whether it looks like a diamond ring out of a magazine or it’s a carved wooden ring with sentimental value, the true worth of an engagement ring lies in its meaning to both of you.

Regardless of the price or appearance, an engagement ring is as perfect as the love that lies behind it.