Diamond in the rough

By Rachael Taylor

If you like your diamonds like your men, and you fiancé is not exactly the suited and booted type, then a rough diamond might be just the unique engagement ring the two of you are looking for. 

Be inspired by more unique engagement rings

“I was never much of a sparkly girl myself,” says Beth Cyr, a designer-maker in Athens, Georgia, who specialises in jewellery made from recycled precious materials. “Although I have grown to appreciate the beauty of a clean and faceted stone, I really love rough stones.” 

Cyr, whose designs include grey raw diamonds submerged in hammered gold bands, is one of a number of jewellers eschewing traditional cut and polished diamonds in favour of alternative engagement rings set with rough stones. 

Read more about the trend for fine jewellery featuring raw gemstones

“Uncut diamonds always appeal to the less traditional bride – a woman who loves the symbolism of a diamond but wants something a little rougher and more organic to complement her unique style,” says Olivia Ewing, who studied design in Paris before setting up a jewellery workshop in Brooklyn, New York.  “Guys often say to me that they really want to get their girlfriend a diamond but just can’t see her wearing something sparkly, which makes her the perfect candidate for an uncut stone.” 

As rough diamonds are not faceted or polished, their shapes are irregular, and as such fit well with organic, handmade ring designs. New York jeweller Todd Reed, whose tagline is raw elegance, has some fantastic examples. 

View more rough diamond engagement rings

Often rough diamond engagement rings have a little help from polished stones. Oregon’s Chinchar Maloney has set an internally flawless, K-colour octahedron-shaped rough diamond – the shape deemed the best to work with by diamond cutters, making it even more special to be left untouched –within a squared bezel studded with round brilliants. 

Seattle’s Point No Point Studio also plays on this theme with an engagement ring that has a 1ct rough diamond at its centre, looped by a halo of uniformly faceted gems.“The inspiration for the halo setting is the contrast between cut stones and diamonds in their most raw form,” says Point No Point designer and founder Julie Stark. “It’s like the ring is telling its own origin story.” 

Browse a selection of dark diamond engagement rings

Stark speaks of rough diamonds as being magical, and that’s a description reiterated by international jewellery house De Beers. While explaining the inspiration behind its Talisman rough diamond jewellery collection, which was extended this year, De Beers refers to the ancient past when rough diamonds were used by royalty to bring good luck and prosperity.

If De Beers’ tales of talismanic powers are true, rough diamond engagement rings may offer so much more than a break with marital convention.    

View the De Beers Talisman rough diamond jewellery collection

  • Bario Neal custom textured three stone ring with rough diamonds

    Custom textured three stone ring with rough diamonds from Bario Neal.

  • Melissa Joy Manning rough diamond ring

    Rough diamond ring from Melissa Joy Manning.

  • Diamond Octahedron ring in 14ct gold set with a rough diamond and polished diamond shoulders by Anouk Jewelry

    Diamond Octahedron ring in 14ct gold set with a rough diamond and polished diamond shoulders by Anouk Jewelry.

  • Olivia Ewing rough diamond and polished black diamond engagement ring

    This engagement ring by Olivia Ewing sets a rough diamond in between two polished black diamonds.

  • Rough diamond engagement rings on the bench at Point No Point Studio

    Rough diamond engagement rings on the bench at Point No Point Studio.

  • Ruth Tomlinson raw diamond engagement ring

    Raw diamond engagement ring by Ruth Tomlinson.

  • Sands of Time ring by Beth Cyr with a rough grey diamond

    Sands of Time ring by Beth Cyr with a rough grey diamond set in a hammered recycled yellow gold band.

  • Sarah Perlis rough diamond trio engagement ring

    Sarah Perlis rough diamond trio engagement ring.

  • Talisman yellow gold solitaire ring by De Beers

    Talisman rough and polished diamond ring in yellow gold

    De Beers

    £ 2,100

  • Todd Reed gold rough diamond ring

    3.65ct rough diamond engagement ring

    Todd Reed

    $ 5,500

  • Chinchar Maloney uncut internally flawless K coloured-octahedron diamond ring

    This ring by Chinchar Maloney sets an uncut internally flawless K-coloured octahedron diamond inside a bezel of round brilliants.