9 Breathtaking Diamondless Engagement Rings

When a friend of mine recently got engaged, the first thing his fiancée said was "Holy %$%(# I'm getting married!" and the second thing she said was "Why would you get me a diamond?!" Oops. Fast forward three weeks and he would be back at the jewelry stores, shopping for an engagement ring without diamonds — she gave a hearty yes on spending the rest of her life with him, but a big fat NO on wearing the elaborate French-cut ring. On the plus side, it definitely saved him some cash. Once he got the tradition of engagement out of his head, he could really focus on what ring would truly capture the unique qualities of his future wife (with a little help from yours truly of course.)

I've never thought that a diamond could be my best friend; it's not really that I have anything against the stone, but I will say that I was turned off at the amount of blood diamonds that were sold throughout the world. According to the US Treasury, blood diamonds (or war diamonds) are bought and sold while within war-torn countries and give profit to insurgency, essentially funding war and, in some areas, genocide. While we continue to strive towards cruelty-free diamonds and have made some progress with steeper penalties and stricter regulations, some folks have chosen to go diamond-free all-together, believing that if there is no demand for diamonds then there will be no supply.

Whether you have taken a political stance on the diamond industry or you just have never been a fan of the white gem, you can rest assured that diamonds aren't a requirement for a pretty engagement ring. In fact, any ring hand-picked in the matter of true love can (and should) be used as an engagement ring. Case in point: These nine rings by various artists that make for beautiful engagement rings for the slightly alternative.

1. Twisted Infinity, Semi Eternity Ruby Ring

Ruby Ring, $1,139, Amazon

This piece by Allurez makes for a beautiful engagement ring by symbolizing forever with rubies.

2. Edwardian Style, Amethyst Engagement Ring

Amethyst Ring, $349, Etsy

This vintage engagement ring kind of looks like a massive diamond, but it's actually a gorgeous amethyst.

3. Opal Cluster Vintage Engagement Ring

Opal Ring, $329, Etsy

This beautiful opal ring is one of my favorites, and not just for an engagement ring.

4. Cast Sparrow Claws And Moonstone In Sterling Silver

Moonstone Ring, $160, Bloodmilk

Since we're talking about unconventional engagement rings, Bloodmilk's selection is perfect for anyone with a slightly spookier sensibility.

5. Luna Ring in 14 Carat Gold Plated Bronze

Luna Ring, $150, Lady Grey Jewlery

Here's another favorite that doesn't scream "I just got engaged!" to strangers on the subway at night. This beautiful Mother of Pearl ring is available from Brooklyn-based jewelers, Lady Grey.

6. Ruby White Gold Ring

Ruby White Gold Ring, $1290, Etsy

This ruby and oval marquis ring is a great alternative for diamonds. Classy and beautiful, plus it's made with 14kt white gold.

7. Handmade Skeleton And Blue Topaz Ring

Skeleton Blue Topaz Ring, $200, Etsy

This skeleton may seem creepy to some, but if you are saying "I do" for eternity, it's pretty fitting that two hands would being surrounding a breathtaking blue topaz stone.

8. Berry Pink Rose Cut Sapphire

Pink Rose Cut Sapphire, $1440, Etsy

If you are looking for some delicate, unique engagement rings sans diamonds, then the Etsy shop SundayOwl is a great place to start.

9. Petra Swirl Engagement Ring

Petra Swirl Ring, $495, Artisian Wedding Rings

This engagement ring by Paulina Ramirez is not just green in color; it's made through sustainable methods and reclaimed gold. Sweet.

Image: Jonas Strandell/Flickr; SundayOwl; Courtesy Brands