A simple gold band topped with a diamond solitaire is not the inevitable engagement ring that it once was. While these traditional rings are still very popular, many couples are branching out into unique and unusual engagement ring options that better express their aesthetic preferences or their feelings about each other. If you're thinking of buying an engagement ring for your loved one sometime soon, take a look at some out-of-the-box options that may appeal to you.

Skip the Diamond

There's no rule that says that an engagement ring must always contain a diamond. Not everybody likes diamonds – some people prefer a colored stone, for example. What's more, diamonds are among the most expensive gems, so you may be able to opt for a larger stone or a more impressive setting if you opt for a less-pricy gem.

You may consider opting for the wearer's birthstone instead of a diamond – for example, if your loved one was born in May, they may like an emerald engagement ring. Another option is to choose a stone based on its meaning. Blue pearls, for example, stand for finding love, and white pearls stand for new beginnings. A ring that incorporates one or both of these pearls may be a good choice for an engagement ring.

Unique Designs

Another option is to include a symbol in the setting of the ring. For example, you might have yours and your loved one's initials included in the ring design, perhaps entwining them with each other.

Or you might choose a symbol like the moon. Crescent moons in jewelry have long stood for new beginnings, and full moons are sometimes associated with attributes like purity, wisdom, and femininity. Depending on what type of meaning you're looking for, a moon ring from a company like Moonglow Jewelry, set with either a diamond or your preferred gem, could make a very appropriate engagement ring. The most important thing when choosing a symbolic design is that it has meaning to you and your loved one.

No Stone

One more option is to skip the stone entirely. You've probably seen a Claddagh ring at some point. This is a traditional Irish ring that depicts two hands holding a heart that's topped with a crown. These rings may be made of gold, silver, or some other metal, but they often have no stone at all. They symbolize loyalty and love.

Another example is a True Lover's Knot ring, which is a depiction of a difficult-to-untie sailing knot that symbolizes an unbreakable bond. Like the Claddagh ring, the focus of the ring is the knot design, which doesn't require any stone. Whether you use one of these designs or design your own ring, it's important to remember that a stone isn't always necessary for an engagement ring.

When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, don't rule out something beautiful just because it's not traditional. Instead, make your engagement ring as unique as your relationship.