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