Nontraditional Engagement Rings: 5 Fresh Ideas

by Haley Anhut
Posted March 26, 2020

Last updated on June 6, 2022

When it comes to finding the perfect engagement ring, tradition should always give way to personal preference. Here, we explore 5 unique, non-traditional engagement rings that could be right for you.

An engagement ring is a unique representation of the connection between two people who are committed to starting a new life together. And just as no two relationships are identical, many couples prefer that the design of their ring be as unique as their love. Sometimes, this means finding a classic design or emulating a current trend that really speaks to them.

And sometimes, it means entering uncharted waters and going with something completely new.

Just as traditional weddings are becoming less and less common, non-traditional engagement rings (and, by extension, alternative wedding rings) are becoming increasingly popular. So, if you’re interested in a ring you haven’t already seen on a thousand different fingers, consider taking the path less traveled, with these 5 non-traditional engagement ring ideas.

Use a Lab-Grown Diamond

Loose lab-grown diamonds
Loose lab-grown diamonds.

One of the many perks to choosing an alternative engagement ring is that it puts you more firmly in control of every aspect of the piece. That means, among other things, that you’ll be able to select a stone that you can be proud to wear, that is ethically sourced and completely conflict-free. Lab-grown diamonds give you all of the positives that you would want in a diamond, with none of the worries.

Lab diamonds are physically, chemically, and structurally identical to mined diamonds. These are actual diamonds, not moissanite, cubic zirconia, or any other diamond simulant. In fact, the only major differences between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are that, unlike mined diamonds, lab diamonds are totally eco-friendly, and have essentially zero chance of being used to finance conflict throughout the world. They’re just one way to feel good about the diamond engagement rings you buy!

Another plus to purchasing lab-grown diamonds for your engagement ring is that they are competitively priced and can cost anywhere from 20-40% less than mined diamonds. What does that mean for you? It means that, for the same price you’d pay for a mined diamond of comparable quality, you can purchase a larger sized or better quality lab-grown diamond. Think about how much glitzier of a diamond ring you can buy! With lab-created diamonds, you can enjoy a guilt-free, 100%-real diamond engagement ring, and all without breaking the bank.

Go Rose Gold

Rose Gold Really Pops
Rose gold makes any ring unique!

The band is an under-appreciated part of the ring; it just doesn’t get as much praise and attention as the ring’s diamond. But that doesn’t mean it can’t catch people’s eye and provoke an “I love your ring! Where did you get it?” 

Non-traditional engagement rings (and unconventional wedding rings) allow you to add your own style and flair to the band, and not just the diamond setting. White gold and yellow gold (both available from Clean Origin in 14K and 18K), and platinum will always go down as the timeless, classic choices when it comes to the band. Classic is lovely, but it may not get your diamond ring all the attention it deserves. A little something extra can go a long way! That said, rose gold is a unique, alternative engagement-ring or wedding-ring solution that can set you apart from the traditionalists — as well as leave your finger looking stylish and ahead of the trends.

Rose gold is an alloy, much like white gold and yellow gold, that is durable and affordable for jewelers. It does not tack on any extra price compared to other gold alloys, but rose gold has a lovely pink hue that earned it its name. Rose gold’s color is a similar tone to Millennial Pink and can add some lovely blush tones to your diamond ring. The color, while at first seeming to be a trend, just is not going away! Now rose gold is even popular in men’s traditional diamond rings.

Go with a Unique Diamond Shape

unique diamond shapes
A non-traditional cut will make your ring stand out.

Classic diamond engagement rings are centered around the magnificent and breathtaking diamond. But, while round diamonds, princess diamonds, and emerald diamonds are among the most commonly used in engagement rings, they’re certainly not your only options for your center stone. After all, diamonds come in a variety of shapes. Here are a few that are trending in the world of alternative engagement rings:  

Marquise-Cut Diamonds

Strikingly oblong and undeniably eye-catching, marquise diamonds are football-shaped gemstones that feature 58 facets. Their elliptical contour makes them appear larger than most other diamonds of the same carat weight, so they’ll be a wonderful flash of the diamond as a center stone. Additionally, marquise diamonds have a lengthening effect, making the fingers they’re worn on seem longer and thinner. And, because marquise diamonds use the brilliant cut, their shine is almost unmatched, making them perfect for couples who want non-traditional engagement rings that really bring out the brilliance. 

Asscher-Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

Stunning Asscher-cut engagement ring
Stunning Asscher-cut engagement ring

If you enjoy the vintage glamor of the art-deco style, then consider an Asscher diamond. Square-shaped and angular, Asscher diamonds are designed for exceptional shine — in fact, they’ve been called the jewelry equivalent of a hallway lined with mirrors. Your center stone can be something people see flash from far away with an Asscher diamond. And, thanks to newer cutting techniques, modern Asscher diamonds have 74 facets. That means increased brilliance, for an alternative engagement ring solution that’s sure to dazzle.

One Way to Say ‘I Love You’ with a Diamond Ring: Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Few shapes say ‘love’ and ‘romance’ quite as clearly as a heart. So why not include it in your engagement ring? Heart-shaped diamonds are basically pear diamonds that feature a rounded cleft — creating a unique heart shape. Heart diamonds are some of the most modern options, while also being rare enough that your ring will be more likely to stand out from the crowd. And, they look great as a solitaire center stone stone, so don’t feel like you have to jazz them up with a bunch of other diamonds. Of course, we dare to dream about someone having a heart shaped diamond center stone with some heart shaped side stones as well!

Make the Setting Your Own

Custom engagement rings
Design the ring of your dreams

Everyone is unique and has their own story to tell, and alternative engagement ring settings can help tell those stories. The setting can symbolize something meaningful in one’s life. Of course, you can always go with the classic prong setting that is timeless and simple. Or you can use your setting to highlight things such as your beloved’s favorite flower. Maybe a setting in the shape of a crown could provide a daily reminder of just how special your loved one is. Whatever the case may be, non-traditional engagement rings (and non-traditional wedding rings) give you the chance to create a personalized setting that’s all your own.

Think Outside the Box

non-traditional engagemnet ring options
An engagement ring is about its meaning to you.

There’s a lot to be said for tradition. But there’s also something exciting about coloring outside the lines. Here are a couple of non-traditional engagement ring options for those who want engagement jewelry that pushes the boundaries.

No-stone engagement rings

There’s no denying that diamonds are the archetypal stone for engagement rings. But what about those who aren’t interested in including a gemstone at all? Much like many traditional wedding bands, stoneless engagement rings are classy, understated, and timeless. And if you’re worried that leaving out the diamond will mean settling for something plain, you should know that many no-stone bands feature intricate detailing, braiding, and engraving. 

Other jewelry options

Wear an emerald-cut diamond pendant

Rings are the most obvious piece of jewelry to represent the marriage union, but they’re not the only option available. For those who work with their hands (and for those who just aren’t interested in rings), consider other diamond jewelry. Necklaces, for example, have the advantage of being wearable at nearly all times. And, unlike rings that remain on the hand, diamond pendants rest close to the heart — romantic symbolism at its finest. Other non-ring solutions include bracelets or even earrings, so discuss your options with your partner and find a piece that fits their unique needs and style.

An engagement ring is a special representation of the connection between two people. However, with that special representation comes leeway and personalization to make the ring as personal as possible. From choosing a lab-grown diamond to going with an outside-the-box setting, there are nearly infinite ways to show your commitment. After all, every love is unique and personal… just like your ring should be.

Is a Non-Diamond Engagement Ring a Good Choice?

While we have seen an increase in non-diamond engagement ring options, we hesitate to push them. Non-diamond engagement rings feature unique risks and needs because some semi-precious stones like emerald are not stable enough to be long-lasting. An opal ring for example may have a high price tag and have a short life span when exposed to water, lotion, hand oils, and other daily dirt. Fragile stones beware, but if you are willing to research scratch-resistant stones or spend lots of time thinking about the Mohs scale, it may get you a unique style.

sapphire engagemnet rings
Go bold with a pop of color!

We do offer some lab-grown sapphire rings because we believe them to be the best alternative to a diamond side stone, while still maintaining the longevity of your ring. Our Regal Collection, designed to mimic family jewels and the gems of royalty, is bound to have a ring that matches your unique style without resorting to synthetic options or stones of lower durability. Get sapphire stones that match the beauty of your diamond ring, and add to the inspired design of your symbol of eternal love!