A Guide to the Most Popular Gemstone Colors for 2024

Right-hand ring or engagement ring, we've got you.
colored gemstone engagement rings
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Naomi Rougeau
by
Naomi Rougeau
Naomi Rougeau
Naomi Rougeau
Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor
  • Naomi writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in fashion, jewelry, and beauty.
  • She brings over a decade of experience as a writer, editor, and creative consultant.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Naomi was the senior fashion features editor at ELLE Magazine, where she also oversaw the publication's living and travel sections.
Updated Feb 29, 2024

At The Knot, we spend a good amount of time talking about diamonds, and for very good reason. That said, there's an entire world of gemstone colors available and we're not just talking about birthstones. Thanks to prevailing engagement ring trends, to-be-weds are embracing the colored stones like never before, whether with celebrity-inspired toi et mois styles or vibrant designs that display the full ROYGBIV spectrum. If I've gleaned anything from The Knot's 2023 Jewelry and Engagement Study, it's that now is the time to rethink any notion you may have about what an engagement ring should be.

If you're reading this, I imagine you're already thinking about a wedding. Likely, you're looking to infuse your wedding looks and ceremony will all manner of personal details. "Most people immediately think of a diamond as the center stone of an engagement ring because that's what they have always known or seen," explains jeweler Stephanie Gottlieb, noting that your engagement ring design is a good opportunity to show off your favorite hues. "Mixing color into your jewelry wardrobe is the perfect way to express your personality and add a pop of fun." So, why wouldn't you spring for a unique ring (no shade to diamond solitaires)? I know, it can be overwhelming, which is why I consulted a few gemological experts, in addition to my own editorial crystal ball.

Meet Our Experts

  • Master jeweler Donna Distefano got her start as the senior goldsmith for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A champion of natural diamonds, her work boasts a celebrity fanbase that includes Johnny Depp and Debbie Harry.
  • Stephanie Gottlieb is known for her eponymous line of fine jewelry that features modern twists on classic designs. At once playful and timeless, Gottlieb believes that jewelry should be worn and loved and boasts a diamond degree from GIA.
  • Marrow Fine founder Jillian Sassone specializes in "unique designs for those drawn into the unordinary." With a large portion of her business devoted to custom jewelry, Sassone has first-hand insight into consumer habits and emerging trends.

In this article:

The 14 Top Gemstone Colors to Know in 2024

"A colored gemstone engagement ring is a one-of-a-kind look that not many other people have as opposed to, say, a round brilliant diamond solitaire," says Jillian Sassone, founder of Marrow Fine. Disclaimer: there isn't a thing wrong with the aforementioned solitaire. It remains the most popular engagement ring style according to The Knot's 2023 Jewelry and Engagement Study. If a vibrant choice feels like too much of a commitment, Sassone suggests adding a stack ring for an optional flourish and less of a financial commitment. Here, we give you the 411—from historical meaning to current pricing—to get you started.

Garnet

garnet engagement ring ideas
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Garnets are generally known to be red gemstones. It's a silicate mineral, and it has a glass-like luster.

Colors: Although the name translates to "dark red," garnets can be found in a variety of gemstone colors, ranging from dark red to blue.

Meaning: It's said that the name for garnets was inspired by the rich red hue of the pomegranate.

Birthstone month: January

Anniversary: Garnet is a traditional gift for the second wedding anniversary.

Durability: Garnets tend to fall between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, so proceed with caution when it comes to this jewelry variety. If you opt for a garnet engagement ring, make sure it has a strong, protective setting that sits lower on your hand, like a bezel or a halo.

Cost: Garnets of average quality range from $500-$600 per carat.

Amethyst

amethyst engagement ring ideas
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Next on our list of different colored gemstones is amethyst, which is a purple variety of quartz. According to The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study, 3% of precious gem engagement rings are amethyst.

Colors: Amethyst gem colors are available in a variety of purple hues, from light lilac to deep purple, or sometimes even red, blue, or green.

Meaning: The name "amethyst" comes from Ancient Greek, and it's loosely derived from the word "intoxicate." According to folklore, wearing amethyst gems and drinking from amethyst cups could protect from intoxication.

Birthstone month: February

Anniversary: 6th wedding anniversary.

Durability: Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it a safe choice for an alternative engagement ring gemstone.

Cost: A stone of average size and quality may run $20-50 per carat.

Aquamarine

aquamarine engagement ring ideas
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If you have a hunch that aquamarine gemstones have a greenish-blue hue, you're correct. As a variety of the gem beryl, this gemstone color has a clear connection to water and the ocean—and now, Meghan Markle, who frequently rocks a nearly 50-carat emerald-cut aquamarine ring that belonged to Princess Diana.

Colors: Aquamarine gems come in a range of blue-green hues, from very light blue to pale green. This gem can also be color-treated to have a dark blue appearance.

Meaning: Given its light, playful color, aquamarine is associated as a symbol of youth and happiness. Aquamarine was also known as the "mermaid's stone," as early sailors believed the gem was blessed by Neptune to provide fortune and protection. Some even carved the likeness of Neptune into aquamarine gems and wore them as necklaces during journeys at sea for safety.

Birthstone month: March

Anniversary: 19th anniversary

Durability: Aquamarine falls between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it a suitable choice for a gemstone engagement ring.

Cost: The average cost for good quality aquamarine ranges from $130 to $400 per carat

Diamond

diamond engagement ring ideas
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Whether it's Blake Lively's pink diamond stunner or J. Lo's 30-carat canary yellow diamond ring (from her previous marriage) there are plenty of celebrity reminders that there's so much more to diamonds than the colorless "ideal" that is so often presented.

Colors: While the normal color range of diamonds spans from colorless to pale yellow, rarer specimens can include blue, green, pink, and red.

Meaning: Diamonds symbolize love, strength, commitment, and purity, due in large part to their long association with marriage proposals.

Birthstone month: April

Anniversary: 10th anniversary

Durability: The hardest known substance on the planet, diamonds have a Mohs hardness rating of 10.

Cost: The average cost of a flawless 1-carat diamond is just over $4,000 and, well, the sky's the limit. Lab-grown diamonds clock in at about 25% of that number.

Emerald

emerald engagement ring ideas
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As one of the most beloved alternative engagement ring gems, vibrant emeralds are a timeless crowd-pleaser, as evidenced by our survey: Emeralds make up 5% of precious gem engagement rings. "Emeralds are very popular with our clients, and have been for a while," says Sassone. It's a variety of beryl, and because it's so renowned it's considered the standard for green gemstones.

Colors: Emeralds are most closely associated with a vibrant green color, though they can be found in varieties that range from yellow-green to blue-green.

Meaning: Throughout history, this precious stone has been a symbol of truth and love. They're also known for offering healing powers and protection.

Birthstone month: May

Anniversary: 20th anniversary

Durability: Emeralds are ranked 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale; however, because this gemstone often has inclusions visible to the naked eye, this makes them more prone to daily wear and tear. If you're thinking of buying an emerald engagement ring, you'll want to be sure the design has a supportive, low setting to avoid chips or scratches.

Cost: Emeralds range between $200 to $9,000 per carat depending on the color, clarity, and cut of the stone and whether it is natural or lab-grown.

Pearl

pearl engagement ring ideas
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While you may not associate pearls with engagement rings, actress Emma Stone set a trend in motion when she revealed her dainty white pearl and diamond Catbird ring to the world.

Colors: Pearls truly span the entire color spectrum, from white to jet black.

Meaning: Historically, pearls have been used as a symbol of love and good fortune though exact meaning varies with color and variety. You can learn more about that here.

Birthstone month: June

Anniversary: 12th anniversary

Durability: Pearls rank 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which is why you generally see them in necklace and earring form. But don't let that deter you from your dream ring; you'll just want to be sure to practice proper engagement ring care.

Cost: Freshwater pearls can run in the tens of dollars while large, high-quality South Sea pearls can easily reach six figures.

Ruby

ruby engagement ring ideas
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Even if most of these gemstone colors are new to you, you'll probably be able to identify a ruby. This deep, blood-red gemstone is a jewelry staple. As a variety of the mineral corundum, it's a great diamond alternative—it makes up 2% of precious gem engagement rings, according to our data, and both Victoria Beckham and Eva Longoria received large rubies from their now husbands.

Colors: The word "ruby" is from the Latin word "ruber," which translates to red. It's for this reason that rubies are found in the red color spectrum, from dark pink to deep purple.

Meaning: Ruby red is the color of love, so this precious stone is understood to represent purity and passion.

Birthstone month: July

Anniversary: 15th anniversary

Durability: Rubies are given a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them almost as hard as diamonds, and thus very suitable for engagement rings.

Cost: Rubies can run as little as one dollar to $100,000+ per carat.

Sapphire

sapphire engagement ring ideas
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As one of the most well-known precious gemstones, sapphire is a beloved choice for an alternative engagement ring—partially because of its history in pop culture. Royal wearers like Princess Diana and Kate Middleton made blue sapphires mainstream. Our study indicates that it accounts for 17% of precious gem center stones, making it the second-most popular choice (behind moissanite at 28%). of But although it's most often associated as a blue gemstone, sapphires are much more diverse than that.

Colors: Sapphires belong to the corundum family, and they come in just about every gemstone color, including pink, orange, yellow, purple, and black. They even come in colorless or white gemstones, making them an alternative to a traditional diamond. Different varieties also have various finishes, like a star sapphire—this form includes intersecting needle-like inclusions in a star pattern on the face of the stone. Based on our data, 4% of precious gem center stones are white sapphire, while 2% are pink sapphire and an additional 2% are ice blue sapphire.

Meaning: Unsurprisingly, sapphire is associated with royalty. It's believed to attract abundance and gifts while repelling negative energy.

Birthstone month: September

Anniversary: 23rd anniversary

Durability: Sapphire is relatively hard—it's a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it very comparable to the strength of a diamond. "For alternative engagement rings, we typically recommend sapphire because it's a great, sturdy alternative to diamond, ranking right below it on the Mohs hardness scale," Sassone says.

Cost: Sapphires can range from as little as $25 per carat to six figures per carat depending on size and quality.

Opal

oral engagement ring ideas
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There's something inherently captivating about this celestial stone, which accounts for 6% of precious gem engagement rings. When it comes to jewelry, most opal gems are cut and polished to create a cabochon, which is a gem that's completely smoothed and polished without internal facets.

Colors: Opals come in many different colors. While the most common styles have a milky, multicolor blue-gray finish, they can also come in almost any shade, from yellow, brown, gray, or onyx. So, if you're looking for jewelry that undergoes color change, you might love opal given its ability to appear in different shades through various angles and lighting.

Meaning: In the Middle Ages, opals were believed to bring good luck to the wearer because they could include every shade of the color spectrum.

Birthstone month: October

Anniversary: 14th anniversary

Durability: Opals fall between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which is an important consideration to keep in mind when looking for an engagement ring. Because it's a softer gemstone, look for a ring with a protective setting and avoid wearing it for activities that heavily involve your hands.

Cost: The most valuable Opal, Black Opal, ranges from $50 per carat to $10,000 per carat.

Topaz

yellow topaz engagement ring ideas
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Known for its earthy, brownish tint, topaz is a silicate mineral. Blue topaz makes up 2% of precious gem center stones.

Colors: Although common topaz is colorless, it also comes in a natural pale yellow hue. Topaz can also be treated to come in shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. A special variation—known as imperial topaz—comes in a fiery, golden-red color.

Meaning: Topaz has long been associated with fiery energy and is thought to represent love, passion, and purpose.

Birthstone month: November

Anniversary: 4th anniversary

Durability: Topaz has an 8 rating on the Mohs hardness scale, making it suitable for daily wear.

Cost: Blue topaz can be had for as little as $8 per carat while brown topaz can fetch prices in excess of $1000 per carat.

Tanzanite

tanzanite engagement ring ideas
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Only found in Tanzania near Mount Kilimanjaro, tanzanite is a blue and purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It makes up 1% of alternative gem center stones, according to our study.

Colors: Not to be confused with sapphire, tanzanite also comes in a deep blue hue. Beyond this, the rare gemstone can also be found in shades of purple and red.

Meaning: While its true meanings vary, tanzanite gems—which are rarer than diamonds—are believed to represent new beginnings and prosperity. The gem was formally brought to the jewelry market by Tiffany & Co. in 1968.

Birthstone month: December

Anniversary: 24th anniversary

Durability: Tanzanite is rated 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Since it's a softer gem, look for tanzanite engagement rings with low, protective settings.

Cost: Tanzanite ranges between $100 and $800 per carat.

Alexandrite

alexandrite engagement ring ideas
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Alexandrite is a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Because it was discovered in a Russian mountain range, it was named after Czar Alexander II, the heir to the throne at the time. Tastemaker, Moda Operandi founder, and Russian history buff Lauren Santo Domingo is known to sport an alexandrite ring.

Colors: Alexandrite's characteristic blue-green to red color change makes it a desirable gemstone, with plenty of options for your jewelry. Its color can range from deep purple to dark blue with green tints.

Meaning: Alexandrite is the gemstone of luck and prosperity. It also represents the balance between the physical and spiritual realms and can bring you into the balance of who you are.

Birthstone month: Month

Anniversary: 55th anniversary

Durability: Alexandrite is an 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which is a system used to classify a gem's resistance to scratching. When it comes to gemstone jewelry, a stone with a higher number is generally safer for use as it'll be less prone to scratches or chips. Generally speaking, experts recommend opting for a colored gemstone with a rate of 7 or higher for engagement rings.

Cost: There are almost no standard prices for alexandrite, with prices ranging from $15,000 per carat for an average quality stone to about $70,000 for larger stones or higher quality.

Morganite

morganite engagement ring idea
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Pink lovers (see Blake Lively) will have a soft spot for morganite engagement rings thanks to their warm, rosy hue. As the rarest beryl variety, it's the most expensive—but it's also a trendy alternative engagement ring center stone because it's still generally more budget-friendly than a diamond. Our survey data found that 6% of precious gem engagement rings are morganite.

Colors: Morganite gems come in a range of light, peachy-pink tones.

Meaning: Although morganite is sometimes referred to as a "pink emerald" because of its natural beauty, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) states that this term is misleading since it has a different composition from an emerald gem. The stone, which is named after financier J.P. Morgan, is believed to be a symbol of divine love.

Durability: Morganite falls between 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, which means it's durable enough for daily wear.

Cost: In general, morganite costs around $100 to $300 per carat.

Moissanite

Moissanite or Diamond?
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Composed of silicon carbide and often billed as a diamond alternative, moissanite has risen alongside lab-grown diamonds as a more budget (and some might argue environmentally) friendly option, particularly for couples seeking larger stones.

Colors: While most consumers seek out moissanite as an alternative to a clear diamond, the stone is also available in unique shades of grey and teal.

Meaning: Moissanite represents a strong, unbreakable bond between you and your significant other.

Durability: Surprisingly, moissanite is nearly as hard as a diamond and clocks in at 9.25 on the Mohs scale.

Cost: Retail pricing for moissanite averages $300-400 per carat.

TL;DR on the Mohs Hardness Scale

Unlike earrings or necklaces, wedding and engagement rings are subject to a particular amount of wear and tear given their placement on your ring finger. If you're shopping for a ring, you're going to want to consider your lifestyle so that you can choose the most robust ring for you. That's where the Mohs Hardness Scale comes in. Developed by German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812, it measures the hardness of stones on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the hardest. So if you're, say, a drummer, and want to avoid chips and scratches, you're going to want to either remove your ring during certain activities or opt for a harder stone. Softer stones also work better in settings that offer more coverage in terms of the number of prongs and more protective bezel settings.

FAQs About Colored Gemstones

Do colored stones cost less than clear stones?

It's easy to assume white/clear diamonds outprice other colored stones, and it certainly happens. But given the sheer number of variables, it's not quite so cut and dry. Donna Distefano, who frequently works with colored gemstones, was happy to weigh in on the subject with an anecdote:

"My quick answer to that is that colored stones are more expensive, but that's because my definition of a colored gemstone is a genuine, natural colored gemstone. Within that definition, you have very fine, rare, natural-colored gemstones, and then just amazing natural-colored gemstones that aren't as rare," she says. We have a ring called the Sabrina ring in my collection, and it's a natural, no-heat pink spinel, so it's one of a kind, and it's a cushion cut. I put it into one of the Resplendent settings so it's surrounded with diamonds and other pink spinels, and that's much more valuable than a diamond of its size."

Are there unlucky gem colors for engagement rings?

For ages, opals were the one gemstone to heed with caution, with some myths saying that opals were bad luck to wear on your wedding day. Fortunately, that superstition has waned and you can find plenty of stunning opal engagement rings on the market today.

Additional reporting by Sarah Hanlon.

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