Diamond rings werent always the traditional stones for engagement or wedding rings. For example, in the Victorian era birthstones were often used as the gem of choice. Neither have diamonds always been prized as the supreme gemstone. During Cleopatras reign she purportedly dissolved a pearl from one of her famous earrings in a vinegar cocktail then drank it to win a bet from Marc Antony. Extremely rare at the time, pearls were considered the most valuable of gems so Cleopatras action was quite shocking and bold.
Cultured pearls entered the jewelry market in the early 1900s making pearls and fine jewelry using them affordable for more people and less dangerous to obtain. Cultured pearls are naturally formed in mollusks; they just get an initial boost from man. Another example of a naturally occurring element that can be created with a little help from man is moissanite. Moissanite is extremely rare and found only in meteors or in upper mantle rocks. In nature the particles are too small for use in jewelry but by using a patented process, gems created in a lab make fine jewelry possible.
People have adorned themselves with jewelry almost from the beginning of history. Choosing a gem and design to express your feelings for your loved ones is a personal choice and one that is no longer constricted by social norms. The freedom of choice is an additional path to displaying your unique and treasured bonds.