Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. We can’t argue that. But you know what’s equally breathtaking? Pearls. Hear us out: These elegant stones may not be your first thought when it comes to engagement rings, but pearl jewelry is trending for a reason: it’s beautiful! Below are the 30 best engagement rings that give diamonds a run for their money (at a fraction of the price…).
The 30 Best Pearl Engagement Rings That Give Diamonds a Run for Their Money
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What does a pearl engagement ring represent?
When you think of pearls, maybe they’re as something you clutch when something salacious happens. But, according to jeweler, Ritani, pearls also represent loyalty, integrity, generosity and purity—qualities that are key to any union. Engagement Ring History also reports that in medieval Europe, pearls were dubbed “the stone of sincerity” and were a popular choice for engagement rings up until diamonds permeated the zeitgeist in the 19th century.
What are the different types of pearls?
Natural pearls are rare, therefore expensive. But because there’s a demand for the little suckers, people are able to make cultured pearls which are considered just as real, but don’t grow without human interference. Unless your jewelry says otherwise, assume that any type of pearl you purchase is cultured, the pros at Gem Society state. There are five types of pearls you may encounter:
1. Freshwater Pearls: Historically, freshwater pearls could be found all over the world, says Gem Society. However, today they are mass produced in China and are on the affordable end of the spectrum for those who looking for a great deal. Freshwater pearls come in a variety of colors—white, cream, yellow, orange, pink and purple—but not black. Any black freshwater pearl you encounter has been dyed.
2. Saltwater pearls: These pearls are produced by oysters in the sea. Generally, only one saltwater pearl is found per shell, making them rare and, naturally, more desirable. Saltwater pearls have a superior luster and glossier appearance than freshwater pearls.
3. Akoya pearls: When you visualize a standard pearl necklace, odds are that what’s in your mind’s eye is a string of Akoya pearls. These types of saltwater pearls are mostly grown in the cooler waters around Japan and China, and they have the highest luster among all others. Their incomparable roundness and mirror-like shine make them highly appealing. Akoya pearls are known to have white, cream, yellow, pink or blue body colors with pink, silver, or green overtones, says Gem Society.
4. Tahitian Pearls: As you may have guessed, Tahitian pearls are commonly found in Tahiti, as well as other French Polynesian islands. Also a type of saltwater pearls, they’re the only kind that naturally occur in black but can also sprout in gray, brown, blue, green and purple hues.
5. South Sea Pearls: With the largest range in size, south sea pearls are the most expensive type of pearls. These saltwater pearls are cultivated in the warmer waters off the coast of Australia and the Philippines and come in white, cream, silver, yellow and orangey-yellow variations. Pricey as they may be, south seas pearls have a less brilliant luster than their counterparts. Their appearance has more of a satin look compared to the mirror-like shine of Akoya pearls, for instance.
The 30 Best Pearl Engagement Rings
- Why We Love It: Soft glam, romantic vibe, intricate details
Created by renowned jeweler Yoshinobu Kataoka, this delicate engagement ring is a true masterpiece. The lustrous pearl is surrounded by Kataoka’s signature snowflake motif which brings an air of romance to any finger.
- Why We Love It: Natural pearl, architectural shape, classic setting
Made with 18K yellow gold, this elegant ring features a luminous white natural pearl flanked at each side by pavé white diamonds, so you get a bit of the classic setting while adding a distinctive touch with the pearl.
- Why We Love It: Classic glam, beautiful rose gold, pave details
Nothing brings a touch of glam quite like rose gold. Pair that with a matching enchanting pearl and you have a band that’s sure to stun your family members. Factor in the luminous pavé diamonds and you’ll be fiancé of the year, with people raving about your exquisite taste.
- Why We Love It: Chocolate diamonds, stunning finish, honey gold
If, on the other hand, you’re all about the bells and whistles, we suggest this not-so-subtle stunner by Le Vian. Brimming with round cut and chocolate diamonds, this 1/3 carat beaut is sure to catch people’s eyes from a mile away. Thanks to the 14K honey gold and overall royal aesthetic, this is a ring that’ll look unlike most.
- Why We Love It: Classic design, vintage-inspired, 10K gold
We can see this exquisite vintage-inspired pearl and diamond ring living in the family for generations without ever going out of style. Made with warm 10K gold, this ring’s freshwater pearl is wrapped in an ornate frame adorned with shimmering diamonds.
- Why We Love It: Freshwater pearls, 14K rose gold, sparkling diamond detailing
Designed in 14K rose gold, the ring comes with a string of freshwater cultured pearls set amid a split shank. An array of sparkling diamonds encrusted on both shanks elevate this dazzling band, making it an elegant and super wearable choice.
- Why We Love It: Edgy look, antique gold, designer ring
If Halloween is the glue to you and your boo’s relationship, then this unconventional duet is the way to go. Balance the tough masculine energy of the skull with the feminine vibe of the dainty pearl. This antique gold-finished ring is the epitome of opposites attract.
- Why We Love It: Toi et moi design, citrine stone, unique look
In case you haven’t heard, toi et moi rings have the girlies (and their fiancés) in a chokehold, and while most people won’t be able to afford the gazillions of dollars celebs spent on their intendeds, this nearly $2,000 option might be manageable. Made with 18K gold, this ring puts yet another twist to the trend by adding a pear-cut citrine stone to accompany the cultured pearl.
- Why We Love It: Drama, freshwater pearl, rubies
This sparkler showcases a freshwater cultured pearl set in exquisite 10K rose gold. With a bezel set, bright rubies and sparkling round diamonds on each side, this ring makes a statement.
- Why We Love It: Textured setting, silver and gold mix, freshwater pearl
Put a little twist—literally—to the standard setting with this rope textured ring from Zales. Simple and elegant as you would want any engagement ring to be, but with a little bit of masculine edge. The ring mixes both gold and silver, showing that when done well, both metals can co-exist beautifully.
- Why We Love It: Akoya pearl, solid gold
Get your beau a custom art deco-inspired timeless ring courtesy of Tiny Light Jewelry. You can get this ring in a 14K or 18K solid gold setting (pictured above) or you can switch things up and opt for platinum, rose or white gold.
- Why We Love It: Eye-catching stone, toi et moi setting, lab-created diamonds
Similar to Ariana Grande’s custom band, this ring gives ethereal vibes. Doesn’t that Swiss Blue topaz stone remind you of crystal-clear waters? Maybe just don’t where this one in the pool on your honeymoon.
- Why We Love It: Understated floral pattern, milgrain detailing, classic shape
The petal frame on this engagement ring is composed of polished beading and intricate milgrain (“tiny dots” design at the edge of the face) detailing completes this enamoring choice.
- Why We Love It: Diamond halo, white gold setting, Akoya pearl
Nestled amid a glittering diamond halo, the Akoya cultured pearl looks right at home in this 14K white gold setting. Add in the two diamond accents on either side and you have a luminous ring for the love of your life.
- Why We Love It: Freshwater pearl, diamond-lined halo, 10K gold
Set in a warm 10K gold, this dreamy style showcases a lustrous cultured freshwater pearl wrapped in a shimmering diamond-lined halo. An open twist shank ties the piece together.
- Why We Love It: Teardrop setting, lab-created sapphires, classic band
A freshwater pearl sitting in a teardrop-shaped setting. Doesn’t that sound poetic? Bring on the romance with this delicate beaut that also features sparkling white lab-created sapphires along the band for some extra pizzaz.
- Why We Love It: Art-deco inspired, masculine design, ruby and diamond accents
For the person who wants something totally different, this statement ring has a bezel-set pearl surrounded in a hexagonal double halo of lab-created ruby and diamond accents. It’s basically an heirloom in the making.
- Why We Love It: Chevron-shaped band, delicate design, rose gold
Talk about unconventional shapes: This chevron-shaped band is guaranteed to be a jaw-dropper—and we haven’t even gotten to the ribbon of sparkling diamonds yet.
- Why We Love It: Vintage-inspired, white diamonds, intricate detailing
What makes this artful piece truly breathtaking isn’t just the lustrous pearl in the middle, but also the intricately etched details on the band. White diamonds accent the lateral teardrops, while abstract engravings flow down the shank, for a vintage-inspired look.
- Why We Love It: Three stones, Akoya pearl, blue sapphire
Symbolize your eternal bond with this beautiful three stone ring designed in 14k yellow gold. The beautiful Akoya cultured pearl sits pretty between two beaming blue sapphires while the pavé-set round diamond decorate the shank and bring the extra glam.
- Why We Love It: Freshwater pearl, elegant vibe, multiple pearls
This understated ring packs a mighty punch. Though it’s dainty and delicate, the way the cultured pearls and diamonds are scattered adds a whimsical twist to a timeless piece of jewelry.
- Why We Love It: Tahitian pearl, white diamonds, eye-catching emeralds
Taking the floral design to the next level is this dazzler that incorporates a pristine Tahitian pearl contrasted by a cluster of white diamonds and an assortment of dancing emeralds.
- Why We Love It: Yellow gold, classic look, black enamel detailing
Super blingy, but not at all gawdy, this band consists of 14K yellow gold, black enamel and an elegant, cultured pearl accented by a halo of pavé white diamonds. How can anyone say no to this stunner?
- Why We Love It: Openwork heart design, timeless setting, sterling silver
Nothing says, “You have my heart forever,” like an elegant openwork heart design. The pearl at the center brings the elegance while the accompanying diamonds bring the bling.
- Why We Love It: Understated, lab-created sapphires, environmentally-friendly
This Kay Jewelers ring keeps simple and classic—but we can still imagine someone showing it off in their engagement photos. The sterling silver band is embellished with shimmering, lab-created white sapphires making it both chic and environmentally-friendly.
- Why We Love It: Yellow gold, round diamonds, freshwater pearl
If you want your darling pearl to stand out but don’t want it to be the only stone making that ring finger bling, then opt for this pick courtesy of Kay Jewelers. It features a freshwater cultured pearl complemented by warm 10K yellow gold, plus the band also has a center row of bezel-set round diamonds.
- Why We Love It: Freshwater pearl, sculpted shank, white diamonds
This unique style features a cultured freshwater pearl centered on a sculpted laurel-style shank adorned with shimmering diamonds. No better way of saying, “Will you be mine forever?”