Everything You Need To Know About Non-Traditional Bridal Jewelry

Written By Allie Perry April 24, 2024

What’s a non-traditional engagement ring?

Typically, a traditional engagement ring features one or more diamonds in a ring made of gold or platinum. This can be anything from a classic solitaire featuring one stone set alone in ring, or a diamond with a halo surround set in a ring with pave diamonds all around. The designs are endless, but the common thread is the use of a diamond as the main stone.

A non-traditional engagement ring uses pretty much anything else! 

If you don’t like the look of diamonds or you’re concerned about the possibility of getting a diamond that wasn’t ethically sourced, then a non-traditional engagement ring is the perfect solution!

I think the most important thing about an engagement ring is that it makes you happy!  You definitely don’t have to go with the flow when it comes to bridal jewelry- you can wear whatever you’d like. There are some important factors that will affect the longevity of your engagement ring, though- make sure you understand them so you can make the decision that’s right for you.

What should I consider when choosing an engagement stone that’s not a diamond?

Durability: When selecting an engagement ring that will be worn every day, consider the hardness of the stone. Diamonds are rated a 10 on the Mohs scale, sapphires and rubies a 9, and emeralds around 7.5 to 8. The Mohs scale doesn’t grade stones in even steps, so this doesn’t mean that diamonds are just a little bit harder than emeralds. For example- talc is a 1 on the Mohs scale, but we all know diamonds are more than ten times harder than talc!

Not all stones will be good for everyday wear, so if you want to wear your engagement ring every day without having to worry about constant maintenance, take time to do careful research and talk to your jeweler about what stone will work for you and your lifestyle. If you’re more active with your hands, you’ll be better off in the long run if you opt for a more durable stone.

Budget: Generally, alternative gemstones can be more budget-friendly than diamonds. This means you can frequently get a larger, more impactful stone or a more intricate setting with the same budget. You should also remember that some colored stones will cost as much as or more than a diamond, depending on size and quality. If budget is your largest concern, make sure you understand what size and quality you can afford in your favorite colored stone.

Style and Personal Meaning: This question is usually the easiest answer- what stone do you like best? You can choose a stone with personal significance, your birthstone, or your favorite color. If your favorite stone isn’t rated well for everyday wear, ask your jeweler about alternatives that may have a similar look.

Care and Maintenance: Some stones require more care than others. Emeralds, for example, are prone to scratching and need to be treated with care, while sapphires are more resilient and easier to maintain. If you’re only planning on wearing your engagement ring for special occasions, this may be less of a concern for you.

What are my options for a non-traditional wedding band?

Usually, wedding bands are considered non-traditional when they aren’t made of precious metals. Metals like tungsten, titanium, and stainless steel have become very popular in recent years for their durability and lower price tag, but they have their own sets of pros and cons.  If you’d like to learn more, check out this article I wrote about choosing the perfect metal for your jewelry.

What are the pros and cons of non-traditional bridal jewelry?


  • Uniqueness: Non-traditional stones can set your jewelry apart, and show off your personal style and values.
  • Cost-Effective: Many gemstones are significantly less expensive than diamonds, leaving more of your budget to be spent on the mounting itself- or saved in your pocket!
  • Ethical and Sustainable Options: Many stones are available in synthetic forms which reduce environmental impact and avoid issues related to mining.


  • Durability Concerns: Not all gemstones are ideal for everyday wear, which can limit you options for engagement rings that won’t need a ton of regular maintenance.
  • Recognition: Some people may see a stone other than a diamond and not realize you’re wearing an engagement ring.
  • Perception: Some people may have traditional views on what bridal jewelry should be and might perceive non-diamond options as less prestigious or valuable.

What if I still like the look of diamonds, but want something less traditional?

If you want the look of a diamond but not the price tag, ecological impact, or ethical concerns, a lab-grown diamond may be your best option. Click here to read the article I wrote about lab-grown diamonds.

No matter what rings you decide on for your bridal jewelry, the most important thing is YOU. What do you and your fiancé want? What will you be comfortable wearing? What will make you happiest?  These are the questions you should answer to find the right rings for you!

And if you’re ready to add some new jewelry to your own collection, click here to see what I have available for sale!



Allie is the owner and goldsmith behind Allie Perry Designs.

Learn more about her here, or connect with her on Instagram!

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