Who Says Your Engagement Ring Has To Be A Diamond?

Vintage Ad | Diamond Engagement Rings

Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring Ad


Have you ever wondered why colourless diamonds dominate engagement ring design? You can thank the late Frances Gerety. Or blame her, depending on your point of view. Ms Gerety was a Philadelphia-based advertising copywriter who worked on the DeBeers account exclusively from 1943 to 1970. DeBeers basically had a monopoly on the world’s diamond mines at the time and was desperately trying revive the allure of diamonds after sales plummeted during World War II. Gerety’s place in history was guaranteed when she came up with the now iconic “A Diamond is Forever” tagline. Diamonds, formerly only available to the wealthy, were now in demand as the engagement stone for regular people like you and me.

A significant advantage diamonds have over some coloured stones is that they literally go with everything. But, for couples that like to tweak convention on the nose, there is a world of choice beyond diamonds. Let’s have a look at some colourful gemstones that are, in my opinion, equally as beautiful, sparkly and versatile as diamonds. The colouring in each is subtle and won’t clash with your wardrobe or the season. (Emeralds and rubies are beautiful stones, but I can’t look at them and not think of Christmas.)


Cool, sophisticated aquamarines always bring to mind the timeless elegance of Grace Kelly. Perhaps it’s her association with the Mediterranean seaside. Perhaps it’s this dress. Whatever the reason, I think that, if I were to do it all over again, I’d choose aquamarine for my engagement ring.

Aquamarine Ring | Linda Pendwarden | Toronto Jewellers

The Aquamarine Christie Ring
Linda Penwarden Jewellers | Toronto



Morganite seems to be having a moment. Suddenly they are popping up everywhere. A pale pink Morganite is subtle and beautiful, but not so girly that you’ll feel silly wearing it when you’re 75 years old.

Morganite Engagement Ring | Pear Cut | Coloured Gemstones

Ring by SamnSue | etsy.com


Yellow Sapphire

More affordable than yellow diamonds yet nearly as durable (they rate just below diamonds on the Mohs scale), the yellow sapphire will sparkle like sunshine on your finger every day of the year.



I could go on and on. The colour range in many popular gemstones, such as diamonds and sapphires, is broader than many of us realise. The world of gemstones is vast. Colourless, timeless diamonds are beautiful, but they aren’t the only gemstone that can say “forever” to your beloved.

Diamonds Post Script:  In 1999, two weeks before Ms Gerety died at the age of 83, Advertising Age named “A Diamond is Forever” the slogan of the century. Ironically Ms Gerety never married. Learn more about the story of how DeBeers literally created the diamond engagement ring industry in this 2011 episode of CBC Radio’s The Age of Persuasion. (If you’re in a hurry, the segment on the DeBeers story starts about the 4:30 mark.)


Leave a Reply