Maria Lizunova on Gemstones Vs. Diamonds

Words by Anastasia Monaghan
August 16, 2019

Diamonds are forever, but what about rubies, sapphires an emeralds? If current trends are anything to go by, we reckon gemstones are giving diamonds a run for their money in the engagement ring game. To get the inside scoop, we caught up with Sydney Jewellery Designer Maria Lizunova of Lizunova Fine Jewels to find out more about the noticeable shift in popularity from diamond engagement rings to precious gemstones.

While Lizunova says diamonds are still a classic choice, many brides-to-be are opting for gemstones such as sapphires and rubies as a form of self expression. She has also noticed trilogy engagement rings are making a contemporary comeback, incorporating different shaped gemstones for a unique effect.

As for Lizunova’s favourite gemstones to work with, she’s pretty partial to parti and and teal sapphires. Because every stone is unique, she insists these beauties won’t be a passing trend. Salt and pepper diamonds are also a fave and have the highest score on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they are extremely durable, not to mention gorgeous.

Read on for the full interview with the talented Sydney jeweller, as well as a peek at her stunning new collection…

unique parti sapphire engagement ring

unique sapphire engagement rings

Has there been a noticeable shift away from using diamonds as the centre stone in engagement rings? If so, why do you think that might be?

Diamond is still the classic, traditional choice that most people think of when they think of an engagement ring, but coloured gemstones offer unparalleled scope for personal expression. Unique gemstones, such as teal and parti sapphires, which might display two or three colours in one stone, eg blue and green, or blue and yellow, are a particular favourite. There has been an increase in awareness of alternatives to the diamond, in no small part due to contemporary jewellery designers using coloured gemstones in their engagement ring designs.

What are some popular alternatives to diamonds?

Parti and teal sapphires are hot right now! They are such beautiful, unique gemstones, and I don’t think it’s just a trend that will pass. Sapphires of any colour are great in engagement rings, as they are 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, as are rubies, and pretty durable. Spinels, which also come in a wide array of colour, from the mysterious grey to teals, blues, pinks and lilacs, are hard and durable enough for every day wear. Champagne, cognac and salt and pepper diamonds are all great, with the highest score on the Mohs hardness scale. Morganite and aquamarine are also beautiful choices.

unique sapphire engagement rings grey spinel engagement ring salt and pepper diamond engagement ring

What is your favourite gemstone to work with?

Parti sapphires are wonderful, as each stone is unique – I’m quite obsessed with these!

What are some popular styles and cuts for non-diamond engagement ring?

It’s very individual of course, which is the advantage of creating a bespoke ring. The last couple of years have seen a revival of the the traditional trilogy, or three-stone ring design. A contemporary take on that design, with an oval or a cushion cut centre stone and kite shaped, trapezoid, tapered baguette or cadillac cut diamonds is beautiful and timeless. Round and rectangular gems, in emerald or baguette cut, are popular with lovers of geometric shapes, either on their own in solitaire style rings, or paired with diamonds.

Where do you source your gemstones?

We have established relationships with ethical artisan gem cutters and trusted traders, who source unique, hand picked gems here in Australia as well as worldwide.

unique parti sapphire engagement ring unique parti sapphire engagement ring teal spinel unique engagement ring


Rings Lizunova Fine Jewels |

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