The where, why and hows of choosing a coloured stone for your wedding ring
The rocky road less travelled
Tradition is great and all but there's been an upswing in wedding trends that see an increasing number of brides going for custom options instead of over-the-counter when it comes to the rock on their finger. After all, the whole 'I-do-with-a-diamond-on-top' was originally a clever marketing ploy by jewellers back during the turn of the century to well... make more money (ahh, the business of romance. And yes, we're all suckers). But once you disregard the norm where only diamond solitaires are fit for weddings, the sky's the limit on how you want to mint your vows.
Suffice to say, going for a completely customised ring with a unique stone requires a fair bit of homework and it's not a service the usual big names in fine jewellery typically provide. First, you need to hook yourself up with a GIA-certified gemologist to source said rock — local jeweller Kristine Wong is our pick — then comes discussions and sketches to suss out the design of your dream wedding ring, followed by prototype fittings and tweaks before the final piece is ready. It certainly takes a lot longer than just walking into a store and picking a ring from a display case but the end result is well-worth the time, money and effort because your ring isn't just a one-of-a-kind, it tells your love story the way you want it to.
So if you fall into the category of non-cookie cutter brides, we present a guide to the 10 most sought-after coloured gemstones making their way onto the wedding scene.
Possibly the winner for trendiest gemstone of 2017, this half-pink and half-orange sapphire has been in high demand lately due to its striking colour combination. Mined from Sri Lanka, its name directly translates to 'lotus flower' in Sinhalese, as its pinkish-orange glow resembles a lotus blossom in bloom.
What it means: Padparadschas represent joy, vital energy and foresight, paving the way for a marriage that encourages positive changes and trust in each other.
Popular cuts: Cushion, Princess, Octagon (FYI: Due to the scarcity of padparadscha, its cut may be shaped to conserve as much material as possible so your stone may be uniquely asymmetrical)
Unless you're a walking encyclopedia, it's a not widely advertised fact that emeralds are actually the green variety of the mineral beryl. Its colour comes from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium, and natural emeralds always have a little garden of fine inclusions.
What it means: One of the most auspicious gemstones for a wedding ring, emeralds symbolise a happy and successful marriage.
Popular cuts: Cushion, Round, Emerald, Princess
Otherwise known as lemon quartz, this is a vivid gemstone that corners the colour spectrum from yellow to yellow brown and orange to dark orange brown. Though they can be mistaken for topazes, its pale yellow hue is much rarer. They're also highly regarded by spiritualists to be lucky charms with cleansing energy.
What it means: Symbolising happiness and prosperity, it encourages you to live life to the fullest and to pour your heart and soul into the marriage. Fun fact: It is the anniversary stone for the 4th and 19th years of marriage.
Popular cuts: Trillion, Radiant, Round, Baguette
4. BLUE SAPPHIRE
Yes, this is the rock that headlined Princess Diana's wedding and it's the same one Kate Middleton wears today. Besides being favoured by royalty, blue sapphires go way back with one of the most famous stones being the Star of India. It's the largest blue sapphire in world at 563 carats and is two billion years old.
What it means: You'll always be honest and loyal to each other. Essential traits for happily ever after, wouldn't you say?
Popular cuts: Oval, Asscher, Pear
Perhaps the most diverse rock on the list, tourmalines come in almost every colour under the sun and are graded accordingly to its clarity, although certain varieties such as rubellites and paraibas are rarer than most, the former prized for its rich scarlet hue and the latter an electric blue-green shade.
What it means: Tourmalines — the deep pink variety, most of all — carry the virtue of unconditional love and friendship, and serves as a constant reminder to always trust in the power of love.
Popular cuts: Oval, Emerald, Radiant
Despite what your six-year-old niece staunchly believes, they don't come from the moon. It's as earthly as you can get, chemically identified as sodium potassium aluminium silicate. At first glance, moonstones may look pure white but a subtle blue rainbow flashes across the surface with every movement. Moonstones were wildly popular during the Art Nouveau period, and are thus often associated with vintage jewellery.
What it means: Moonstones signify that your love will last a lifetime and will be a guiding force throughout life's many changes.
Popular cuts: Oval, Round, Marquise
Probably a gemstone that sounds unfamiliar to most ears, prasiolite is the green variety of quartz (not to be confused with green amethyst, by the way, as they are completely different minerals). It's a very rare naturally occurring stone, and since 1950 almost all of it comes from a small mine in Brazil. Natural prasiolite is a gorgeous, light translucent green.
What it means: Prasiolites stand for the hope that true love does exist, and that you've found it in each other.
Popular cuts: Cushion, Princess, Emerald
While it's technically not classified as a gem as it's a mineral-like substance that does not crystallise, opals are fiery rainbows encapsulated in hard stone. Its internal structure makes it diffract light and depending on the conditions in which it formed, an opal can take on many colours, resulting in its signature, out-of-this-world shimmery iridescence. Fact: Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.
What it means: Opals have long been associated with desire and passion, love and loyalty.
Popular cuts: Cabochon (it's pretty much the only cut that retains as much of its fire as possible)
Derived from the mineral corundum, rubies are one of the traditional cardinal gems and have always been prized for its deep scarlet hue although pinker varieties also exist. Colour isn't the only factor in determining its quality, however, as cut and clarity also affects its value. The most valuable shade is called pigeon blood and the world's most expensive red rock is the Sunrise Ruby.
What it means: The most precious form of corundum, red rubies are the ultimate symbol of passionate love.
Popular cuts: Oval, Emerald, Octagon
10. CHAMPAGNE DIAMOND
We never said diamonds are completely off the list. Instead of the usual white solitaires though, go for its coloured cousins to give your wedding ring that twist. But not the increasingly mainstream yellow or pink varieties either. We're talking champagne, the new It diamond with its pretty golden brown sparkle.
What it means: Champagne diamonds represent a commitment to always find reasons to celebrate together and be each other's biggest supporter.
Popular cuts: Round, Pear, Oval, Princess (basically cuts that work for white diamonds too)
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