There has been a lot more interest in using other gemstones for engagement rings because of the rising cost of diamonds and the issue of conflict diamonds. Every gemstone has a grading on the Mohs scale which tells us how hard it is and therefore how susceptible it is to scratching.

Rubies, sapphires and aquamarines

The best gemstones in terms of durability are rubies, sapphires and aquamarines. Both rubies and sapphires are ranked 9 on the Mohs scale. Aquamarines are a 7.5 to 8 and do tend to show scratches but their colouring is unique which makes them very popular. They’re not quite as hard as Topaz but, unlike Topaz, they are usually natural and untreated. They are also more expensive.

Emeralds, pearls and opals

Opals, at 5.5 to 6, are soft and have a tendency to chip so they require a very secure setting. Emeralds are a 7.5 to 8 so they are relatively durable and resistant to scratching, but by their nature they are full of inclusions and cavities which make them more susceptible to cracking and chipping. Pearls, at 2.5 to 4.5, are extremely soft. One small imperfection on the outside layer of the pearl can cause the entire coating to detach and become damaged. Pearls are often glued into place which makes them very susceptible to falling out and becoming lost.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a gemstone for your engagement ring, but if you have your heart set on emeralds, pearls or opals, make sure your ring is not submerged in liquid for any length of time as this will weaken the setting.