Not all birthstones are durable enough for daily wear, so speak to an expert to avoid making a costly mistake, recommends Rachael Taylor.  

Birthstones from January-December.

The birthstones: garnet, amethyst, aquamarine, diamond, emerald, pearl, ruby, peridot, sapphire, opal, citrine, topaz.

Selecting an engagement ring can be tough. You want it to be a future heirloom that she will treasure, and also a design that reflects her personality. So for a ring that she will really connect with, why not propose with a birthstone engagement ring?


Janet Deleuse Designer Sapphire Ring

Non-diamond engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular, and unless your betrothed’s birthday falls in April – the month that claims diamond as its birthstone – this method allows you to introduce some colour. A dreamily azure aquamarine for March, a classic blue sapphire for September or a vivid blue topaz for December, perhaps.

Read on for inspiration for your birthstone engagement ring or scroll down for our quick guide to which gemstones you should avoid if you will be wearing your ring every day.

Multiple gemstone to choose from?

If your bride-to-be was born in one of the months with competing stones, you may have to choose between birthstones. December has four, with tanzanite, blue zircon, blue topaz and turquoise all competing for the hand of those born in the final month of the year. However, tanzanite, turquoise and zircon are not hardy enough to withstand daily wear - an important consideration if you want her engagement ring to last a lifetime.

 Janet Deleuse Designer Ruby Ring

Get to know the Moh's Hardness Scale

While the colourful world of gems offers many exciting possibilities, there is one important factor to consider when buying a birthstone engagement ring. Diamonds – the stone most commonly set in engagement rings – are chosen for their hardness and durability, but other birthstones are not so tough. Should your beloved be born in May or October, their birthstone would be an emerald or opal, gemstones that are fragile.

Janet Deleuse Designer Sapphire Ring

June boasts two unusual birthstone choices, pearl and alexandrite, but pearls are easily damaged and are not recommended for an engagement ring. To avoid making a costly mistake, a chat with an expert jeweller will help you determine whether the birthstone will fit with your budget and her lifestyle.

The Mohs Hardness Scale, which is used to measures the durability of a gem, will tell you immediately whether a birthstone is suitable for an engagement ring. As a rule of thumb, anything above 7.5 is good. Conversely, anything below that, including emeralds (7.5), opals (5.5-6.5), tanzanites (6.5-7), turquoise (5-6), and pearls (2.5), should be avoided.

  Vintage Jade Ring

“A lot of people are going in that direction,” says Florence, who has created engagement rings set with sapphires and alexandrite for women with these birthstones. “Everyone feels attracted to their birthstone, and jewellery represents who we are, so birthstones are the perfect point to begin.”

At-a-glance guide to birthstone engagement rings

The Moh's Hardness Scale measures the durability of a gemstone on a scale of 1-10. Top of the list is a diamond, one of the hardest substances on earth, which scores 10 out of 10. At the bottom is the fragile pearl at 2.5. Easily scratchable, pearls are not recommended for an engagement ring.

Janet Deleuse Designer Pearl and Turquoise Ring

If you are considering a birthstone for your engagement ring, first check out whether it is resilient enough to withstand everyday wear. If a gem scores less than 7.5 on the Moh's Hardness Scale, we recommend finding an alternative stone.

Birthstone: Garnet
6.5-7.5 on the Moh's Hardness Scale - not recommended for an engagement ring.
Birthstone: Amethyst
7.0 on the Moh's Hardness Scale - not recommended for an engagement ring.

Birthstone: Aquamarine
7.5-8.0 on the Moh's Hardness Scale - not the most robust of gems, but worth considering for an engagement ring.

Birthstone: Diamond
10 on the Moh's Hardness Scale - top of the list.

Birthstone: Emerald
7.5-8.0 on the Moh's Hardness Scale, but emeralds normally have inclusions - minute cavities trapped inside the gem - which make them much more fragile than the Moh's Scale suggests. Avoid for an engagement ring.

Birthstones: Pearl, Moonstone and Alexandrite
At 2.5 on the Moh's Scale, pearls are a definite no-no, as are moonstones, which score 6.0-6-5. Alexandrites score a more solid 8.5, so if you are a June baby, this is the only birthstone engagement ring we would recommend.

Birthstone: Ruby
9.0 on the Moh's Scale - perfectly suited to an engagement ring.

Birthstones: Peridot, Sardonyx and Spinel
Avoid peridot and sardonyx - a type of onyx - which both score 7.0 on the Moh's scale. Spinel is a more resilient 8.0 and therefore suitable for an engagement ring.

Birthstone: Sapphire
9.0 on the Moh's Scale - perfectly suited to an engagement ring.

Birthstones: Opal and Tourmaline
At 5.5-6.5 on the Moh's Scale, opals are easily scratchable, while tourmalines (7.0-7.5) don't make the grade either. Avoid both for a birthstone engagement ring.

Birthstones: Citrine and Topaz
7.0 and 8.0 respectively on the Moh's Hardness Scale, opt for a topaz birthstone engagement ring if you are born in November.

Birthstones: Tanzanite, Blue zircon, Turquoise and Blue topaz
December babies are spoilt for choice with their birthstones, but only one - blue topaz, which scores 8.0 on the Moh's Scale - is robust enough to consider for an engagement ring. Blue zircon (7.5) is debatable, but steer clear of tanzanite (6.5-7.0) and turquoise (5.0-6.0).

16 September 2016 | by Rachael Taylor Link to Jewellry Editor 

Images added by Janet Deleuse    

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