I love the durability of diamonds, as well as the scintillation and fire. I’m sentimental and want to wear my rings all the time.
I also love coloured gemstones and chose a Ceylon sapphire in a diamond halo for my first engagement ring. My second husband has a preference for diamond solitaires, and since my mum had given me her three stone diamond and sapphire ring a few years previously and my ring from my first marriage had been sapphire too, a diamond only ring was a good choice.
I wear my mum’s ring almost every day but I do remove it more than I remove my diamond solitaire. The diamonds in this heirloom ring are around 100 years old and they are immaculate even though mum gardened in this ring without gloves! The sapphire, which ranks very close to moissanite in the MOHs index has had to have scratches polished out and the edges of the facets have blunted a little over the years. We think the sapphire dates from the 1940s or 1950s, when the ring was first set.
Gemstones have fascinated many different cultures over the millennia and been highly valued. They are extraordinary things to occur in nature. The age and formation of diamonds and other gemstones adds to their allure.
I think people overdo the “diamonds aren’t rare” thing. Industrial grade diamond is common and cheap, but only a tiny proportion of rough diamond is gem quality, and a tiny proportion of that is capable of being cut to high performance stones, so GIA Excellent or AGS 000 diamonds are very rare, exponentially so as you go up in carat size. Diamond producers may still attempt to maintain prices through controlling supply to a degree for all I know, but De Beers lost its monopoly many years ago. I think it even lost its position as the largest producer a couple of years or so ago.
I’m sure diamond alternatives will continue to increase their market share as they now offer fantastic performance for the price and some (moissanite) offer good durability, although diamond is still more than 3 times harder.
My favourite alternative on looks alone is well-cut CZ, it’s just a shame the durability is dismal.
I hope we see a return to more coloured gemstones in engagement rings (UK Bee here), I adore diamonds but I do love to see a lovely sapphire, emerald or pigeon’s blood ruby and I’m a bit bored of the ubiquity of diamond or colourless stone solitaires or halos among the under 35s. In my mum’s time, coloured gemstone with diamond engagement rings were the norm. The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex have all diamond engagement rings, but the Duchess of York, Princess Anne and Princess Diana all had coloured gemstone rings.