How to Choose a Gemstone Ring

First and foremost, when choosing a colored gemstone ring, consider your personal preferences as opposed to current fashion trends. Are you enchanted by the soft glow of white agate and moonstone, or are you drawn to the dark hues of black pearl and onyx? 

Once you’ve narrowed your color preferences, there are a few features you should keep in mind when making your choice. First, consider the style of the ring you’re looking for: will it be a right hand ring, worn frequently and subjected to daily wear and tear? Or, will it be a cocktail ring, worn occasionally for evening outings and special events? The gemstones in everyday rings should be more durable than those in cocktail rings so as to ensure their lasting beauty. A gemstone’s durability is determined by three factors: its hardness, its toughness, and its stability.

Hardness refers to a gemstone’s ability to resist scratches. Toughness is its ability to withstand an impact without cracking or chipping; and stability is its ability to withstand exposure to extreme temperatures and certain chemicals, including household cleaners and chlorine.

More durable gemstones have a hardness rating of at least 7 on the Mohs scale and good to excellent toughness. More durable gemstones include: Agate, Alexandrite, Morganite, and Onyx.

More delicate gemstones rate below a 7 on the Mohs scale and have poor to fair toughness. Generally, these gemstones require special care when wearing and cleaning. More delicate gemstones include: Moonstone, Opal, Pearl, and Turquoise. 

If you love the look of a more delicate gemstone, there’s no need to shy away from purchasing it. Simply choose a cocktail ring that showcases your preferred stone, and wear it with care on special occasions. 

Here are several unique gemstone rings from Girls' Guide to Glitz's fabulous affiliates for your consideration: 

$85.89 (on sale)

Carolyn Pollack Sterling Silver Mixed Metal White Agate Ring

This Carolyn Pollack agate ring in sterling silver is a beautiful option for those who are drawn to romantic settings and white gemstones. Agate’s rich history spans over 3,000 years. It was first used by the ancient Egyptians, who featured this member of the quartz species in amulets and talismans. Agate is a more durable gemstone, with a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5-7 and good toughness. Agate jewelry should only be cleaned with warm, soapy water, and should not be subjected to steam or ultrasonic cleaning.

From $499.00

This Tahitian pearl is set in a 14k gold scrolled mounting, adorned with sparkling diamonds. Imported from the pearl lagoons of Tahiti, this elegant pearl ring boasts an 8mm natural pearl with exceptional luster. Natural pearls are organic gems, composed primarily of concentric layers of nacre. Because pearls are organic gems, they are more delicate than inorganic, mineral gems. For detailed information on how to care for pearl jewelry, see this article on Pearl Care.


This turquoise cabochon by American West sits high in a modern sterling silver setting. One of the most ancient gemstones, turquoise has been cherished by cultures throughout the world since 5500 BC. In the Tibetan culture, it is believed that turquoise protects the wearer from evil, and ensures good health and fortune. Turquoise is also prized in the American southwest, where Native Americans use it in jewelry and amulets.

In general, turquoise is a more delicate gem; however, this gemstone has been "stabilized" to make it more durable. This is a common treatment that adds binders to the stone to give it more strength. Turquoise jewelry should only be cleaned with warm, soapy water, and should not be subjected to steam or ultrasonic cleaning.


925 Oxidized Sterling Silver Natural Moonstone Gemstone Oval Rope Edge Vintage Band Ring 6, 7, 8, 9

This striking moonstone ring features oxidized detailing and a bezel setting. Legend has it that moonstone is made of solidified moonbeams, and brings good luck to the wearer. Moonstone is a "phenomenal gem," which means it exhibits unique optical effects. Moonstone's optical effect is known as adularescence, which is evident when light shines on the surface of the stone, which causes a soft cloud of color to appear to float across the stone.

Moonstone is a more delicate gem that should be cleaned with warm, soapy water. Moonstone jewelry should never be steam cleaned or subjected to ultrasonic cleaning. 


7/8 ct Onyx Flower Cocktail Ring with Diamonds in Sterling Silver

Since the days of the Greeks and Romans, onyx has been a popular stone for carved designs, and this chalcedony variety was frequently fashioned into cameos. With a hardness rating of 6.5-7 and good toughness, this onxy ring is a lovely choice for everyday wear. The sterling silver setting complements the gem’s dark tone, and the bright diamond accents add extra sparkle. 

Ultrasonic and steam cleaning are usually safe for onyx jewelry; however, warm, soapy water is always the safest option.

Girls' Guide to Glitz is an affiliate.

GGZ Editor

With a passion for fine jewelry and 15 years of traditional and online editorial experience, the Girls Guide to Glitz Editor searches the four corners of the web (and the four corners of the Girls Guide jewelry box) to bring you articles, reviews, and information explaining the features and benefits of a wide variety of fine jewelry.