Alternative Engagement Ring 101: Types of Non-Traditional Diamonds

Now that you’ve got a handle on the technical differences and pros/cons of the two different types of non-traditional diamond Cuts, and you've learned how to pick the perfect diamond, we’re going to give you a run-down of the main non-traditional Diamonds you have to choose from:

Rustic Diamond Halo Ring in Earthy Organic Design by Katie Poterala


Rustic Diamonds are typically opaque, and almost always Rose Cut.  These Diamonds come in a wide variety of colors, including Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, Gray, Icy White, and the most fun – mixed!   We think the best specimen often have a fun identifying streak of one color darting through another… or have an Ombre effect from one color to another.  These Diamonds look like stones – because they are.  You never know what you’re going to get with a Rustic Diamond, because they’re as natural as they come.  These stones are all about uniqueness, natural beauty, and inclusions.  The best way to pick a Rustic Diamond is to see them in person. 
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A word of caution: All Rustic Diamonds are included.  It’s very difficult to tell what inclusions may cause damage when setting when buying online.  Not all Rustic Diamonds are created equal, so we recommend having a jeweler help you select a pretty and durable one. 

Salt and Pepper Rose Cut and Brilliant Diamonds Side by Side Comparison

Salt + Pepper Diamonds
 are available as Brilliant Cuts and as Rose Cuts.  They are more unique and have more character than a traditional sparkly white stone.  They are selected from rough that is primarily white, and feature black spots (technically - inclusions) throughout.  They're typically 50% or more white, and 50% or less black.  No two stones are ever the same, and they exhibit some sparkle, but it's a more unique look -- not as 'in your face' blingy.  These complement designs that feature non-traditional engagement rings because they don't overpower an alternative diamond or stone in the way bright whites sometimes can.    These diamonds are not opaque, but are not perfectly clear either.  Sometimes ‘pepper’ can appear as dots, bubbles, or as streaks, or as a mix.   No two are ever the same, and it’s a pleasure to look at these in person.  For the same reasons as above, we recommend working with a Jeweler to select a durable and beautiful Diamond for your future heirloom.    

champagne diamond


Champagne Diamonds are also available as Brilliant and Rose Cuts, although they are clearer and more sparkly than Rustic or Salt + Pepper Diamonds.  They are traditionally clear (inclusion-free) and sparkly like a traditional Diamond, but not as bright and white.  These stones are selected for their pretty natural champagne hue, which complements a wide range of traditional and non-traditional engagement rings or stacks.  Champagne diamonds are graded in the same way that a traditional white diamond is, and we typically like to source champagne diamonds in the SI1 range or better for maximum beauty and sparkle.  
*Note: A whole range of ‘brown diamonds’ exist – we just think this is the prettiest and most popular color.  Other browns may be darker (‘Chocolate’) or lighter (‘Top Light Brown’).    

Stephanie Ellis Black Diamond Kite Ring

Black Diamonds are just that -- black.  These are diamonds that have been treated to turn a jet black color.  These diamonds are especially bold and less brilliant than other diamond choices because of their opaque nature.  They have sparkle from their surface facets, similar to a Rose Cut, but do not illuminate from within.  They are a fun alternative look, and can add exciting contrast and an unexpected touch of flair to traditional designs or stacks.  Black Diamonds are available as both Brilliant Cuts and Rose Cuts.

Yellow and Gray Diamonds

Colored Diamonds (such as the Yellow and Gray pictured above) are available as Lab Grown, Naturally earthed, and Naturally earthed and treated.  Lab grown shades are primarily transparent, sparkly, traditional faceted cuts, that will be graded like a traditional Diamond.  Naturally earthed colors (non-treated) can be found as both classic graded brilliant cuts, awarded for their clarity, or also as opaque, rustic Rose Cuts.  Colored Diamonds of traditional clarity are quite rare, and are hence much higher prized than the more available, included Rose Cuts.  Specific colors may vary a tremendous amount in price depending on their rarity, with Reds, Blues, Purples, and Purple-Grays being some of the most hard to find and hence, expensive.
Alternatively, and more affordably, Diamonds can also be treated to produce a wide array of colors.  Irradiated and/or high pressure, high temperature treatments can turn brown and yellow diamonds into fancy colors.  Possible colors that can be coaxed out include green, yellow, blue, purple, red, and pink.

 Celebrity Color:  Yellow or Canary Diamonds are one of the most popular fancy colors, having been rocked by a number of famous women including J-Lo, Iggy Azalea, Kelly Clarkson, Heidi Klum, Nicki Minaj, and Carrie Underwood.  


*Note: Lab Grown Diamonds are lab created stones that are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds, with all the same fire, brilliance and luster.  They're more economical than a traditional diamond, but just as pretty and durable.  



Whatever Diamond you’re interested in, that’s your choice.  We do have two more things we hope you’ll consider when designing the ring of her dreams:   sourcing a conflict-free Diamond and utilizing recycled precious metals.  Check out the links below for more information. 

Why choose Conflict-Free Diamonds? (stay tuned -- post coming soon!)
How do we know we’re sourcing conflict free stones? 
(stay tuned -- post coming soon!)
Why choose Recycled Gold?
(stay tuned -- post coming soon!)

Interested in a colored stone or using your heirloom gold + diamonds? Contact us for pricing info.