Rubies, Sapphires, & Emeralds: Atypical Engagement Rings

Apr 07, 2011

There’s been a lot of buzz these days concerning the royal engagement, not the least of which is about Kate Middleton’s stunner of a sapphire engagement ring. It’s not uncommon for those of the royal family to pick engagement rings that do not have a diamond as a center stone and these days there are numerous reasons for not choosing a diamond, whether its cost, disputes over diamond mining, or it just isn’t your thing. Fortunately there’s a plethora of exciting options for an engagement ring. The three major tried and true alternatives to diamonds are rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.


The ruby has long been a symbol of strength and passion and have a long history of being considered an amorous and romantic gemstone due to its deep red hue, though the color can vary from a dark red to a pale pink. Rubies are known as the “king of precious stones” according to their Sanskrit name. Because of its color, rubies were used medicinally to cure blood diseases and indigestion. Burmese warriors also used rubies inserted under the skin as a means of protection from injury during battle.

The largest known quality ruby sits on the crown of Charles IV of Luxembourg, the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor. This ruby is 250 carats and sits in the middle of the crown.

Famous Couples with Ruby Engagement Rings:
Fergie, Duchess of York from Prince Andrew Patti Hansen from Keith Richards
Jessica Simpson from Eric Johnson Princess Margaret from Antony Armstrong-Jones

Sapphires represent romantic love, truth, and commitment. Sapphires became the symbol of fidelity during the 12th century when crusaders presented their wives with sapphire rings before they left for battle. The color of a sapphire was said to fade if the woman was unfaithful to her absent husband.

Legend says that Helen of Troy possessed a large star sapphire that was rumored to be the source of her allure. In Christianity, sapphires represent heaven and eternal salvation and thus this gemstone was frequently used to top crowns or scepters. Charlemagne had an amulet that contained a piece of the true cross sandwiched between two sapphires.

Famous Couples with Ruby Engagement Rings:

Green was the color of Venus, goddess of love and beauty, in ancient Rome. Emeralds were considered to be one of the stones most valued by the Egyptians and what is believed to be the oldest mine for emeralds has been named Cleopatra’s Mines. Turks also favored these green gemstones and the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul has exhibits displaying items decorated with emeralds.

Recently, the pear-shaped emerald tiara belonging to Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck in the 1900’s was announced to be going up for auction. The tiara boasts eleven pear-shaped Colombian emeralds, over 500 carats, that are believed to have belonged to Empress Eugenie before they were turned into a tiara.

Famous Couples with Ruby Engagement Rings:

– Jackie Kennedy from John Kennedy
– Wallis Simpson from King Edward VIII

Established in 1912, King Jewelers has proudly styled jewelry and timepiece aficionados from around the world. A pioneer among independent couture jewelers, King Jewelers has built an outstanding reputation steeped in quality, value and first-class customer service. King Jewelers offers bridal consultations for brides and grooms with the expert advice of its in-house bridal stylists and diamond specialists. King Jewelers offers brides and grooms a first-class experience, conveniently offering wholesale diamonds, custom designs for engagement rings and wedding bands, luxury designer bridal jewelry, watches for him, bridal party gifts, and gift registration, as well as engravings, appraisals, and expert jewelry cleaning. With two store locations in Aventura, FL and Nashville, TN, King Jewelers has won numerous awards as the Southeast’s top jewelry store and diamond wholesaler. King Jewelers is the luxury destination in Miami and Nashville for fine jewelry, diamonds, and Swiss timepieces. King Jewelers is Nashville diamonds and engagement rings wholesale store which specializes in bridal custom designs. King Jewelers is a member of the Jewelers of America, American Watch Guild, and the American Society of Appraisers. King Jewelers has GIA Certified Gemologists and offers expert jewelry and watch repairs. For additional information, please visit


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