For many couples considering engagement, a diamond ring is the preferred choice for a ring. It was the preferred choice for Archduke Maximilian of Austria who presented a diamond ring to Mary of Burgandy in 1477, and the diamond wedding ring was first introduced. But there are some who prefer something different or unique. Fortunately, there are a range of choices for those who would like to break with tradition and choose something other than a diamond engagement ring.

The most important aspect for choosing a ring is the symbolism it represents. Rings have long represented a bond between two people. Its shape symbolizes the love and commitment meant to last a lifetime. Rings worn on the left ring finger are associated with the direct connection to the heart, which is why it has become the traditional finger for wedding rings. However, a ring doesn't necessarily have to be a diamond to represent those sentiments. Take for instance the Royal Family. Sapphire engagement rings were chosen for the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne and Princess Diana. Meanwhile, Princess Sarah Ferguson received a ruby. What means most to a young woman receiving a ring is the thoughtfulness and caring behind it. A ring should represent the appropriate symbolism for a particular couple.

There are many colored gemstones, for example, that have historical associations to love. Red, the warmest color, has long been associated with love. Red symbolizes vitality and confidence - the heart and passion. Red reflects courage and ability to take action without fear of reprisal - a truly good choice for a man who is confident of his lover's response. The ruby is a red member of the corundum family of minerals. Corundum of any color 0- blue, pink, yellow - is called a sapphire. Rubies may have a purplish undertone and are rated at 9 on the Moh's scale. Diamonds are rated at 10 while turquoise is only a 5 or 6.

Who could forget the spectacular engagement ring that Princess Diana chose for herself? The oval blue sapphire weighed an astounding 18 carats surrounded by 14 small diamonds. It was purchased for the hefty price of $65,000. At the time, the rich blue sapphire became an elegant symbol of the couple's commitment. Blue gemstones, symbolizing spirituality and purity, are also available at less expensive prices in the form of blue spinel, iolite and blue tourmaline.

Symbolizing faithfulness and continuity, green gemstones include not only the emerald, but green garnet or green tourmaline. The emerald is the most valuable type of beryl mineral. Ancients prized it as the symbol of love, rebirth and eternal youth. Some believe that emeralds have healing powers.

A classic alternative, pearl engagement rings represent a timeless choice for couples. When most people think of pearls, they think of a creamy white, luminescent coloring. However, pearls come in a variety of colors, including gold, cream, black, blue, pink and green. Many pearls actually have a main color with a second shade as an overtone or highlight. A white body with pink hues is one of the most expensive and popular pearl colors. It is not unusual to see a natural pearl in an antique or heirloom piece.

The woman who strives to express her own distinctive personality may be a good candidate for an optional engagement ring discussed here.

This type of woman is also one who appreciates the language of jewelry. One of the guiding principles for wearing jewelry is choosing pieces that convey the unique personality of the wearer. Pandora Jewelry's charm bracelets and complementing jewelry capture the imagination of women who want to create their own style. Each item in the Pandora collection is a handmade Danish design in 14K gold and sterling silver.

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