Don’t Want a Diamond? Here Are 4 Stones That Actually Hold Up (and 3 That Don’t)

Diamonds are forever—but they’re not for everyone. Still, if you’d prefer to go the non-traditional route, you’ll want a hard-wearing stone that stands up to a lifetime of wear. Using the Mohs scale, a ranking of mineral hardness from one to ten, we picked four sturdy, scratch-resistant—and stunning—alternatives that can stand the test of time, plus three stones you might want to think twice about.

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salt and pepper diamond 3
Courtesy of Alexis Russell

‘imperfect’ Alternative Diamonds

Mohs rating: 10

Reminder: Diamonds come in many different forms beyond traditional white sparklers. Trend-forward? How about a moody salt-and pepper diamond, or maybe a sepia-toned rough-cut gem. Très distingué.

Get the look: Alexis Russell ($4,395)


Mohs rating: 9.5

OK, so this increasingly popular option looks an awful lot like diamonds—but we felt it was worth mentioning them since they’re so much cheaper. While they’re produced in a laboratory, these stones are actually a rare, naturally occurring compound called carborundum—and it’s nearly impossible to tell them from the real thing without a trained eye.

Get the look: Bihls ($350)


Mohs rating: 9

Sapphires are easily the most classic diamond alternative. (Just ask Kate Middleton.) But PSA: They don’t have to be cobalt! Petal pink, coral and even white make chic and contemporary choices.

Get the look: Eidelprecious ($4,200)


Mohs rating: 9

Haven’t you heard? Rosy engagement stones are having a moment. If you fancy yourself a true romantic, consider this durable crimson gemstone, perhaps in a haute Victorian-inspired floral design.

Get the look: Ken & Dana Design (from $2,350)


Mohs rating: 7.5

We know, we swoon for these regal green stones, too. But since they’re susceptible to scratches and discoloration, you’d be better off leaving them to your earrings or a special occasion cocktail ring.

Get the look: Capuccine (from $5,600)

non diamond engagement rings 5
Courtesy of Lamore Design


Mohs rating: 7.5

This increasingly trendy stone is a strain of beryl: a mineral found in aquamarine. While we’re thoroughly obsessed with the peachy-pink color, it’s sadly a risky engagement ring choice, due to its moderate softness and susceptibility to damage.

Get the look: Lamore Design ($898)


Mohs rating: 7

These precious stones are dramatic and gorgeous. But they’re also susceptible to chipping, breaking and damage from heat or chemicals. Again, a better choice for jewels that don’t take such a beating.

Grace Beuley Hunt

Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.
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