Prince Charles gave Diana a sapphire. The tradition of diamond giving
is probably a DeBeers marketing gimmick…
That said, many women may feel let down (regardless of the source of
the tradition) if they don’t receive a diamond. Their friends too can
often be less than understanding, and absolutely do not underestimate
the ability of peer pressure to get a bride to be down. This is her
big special moment, and if she has to spend any energy defending the
choice of ring, then things are going in the wrong direction.
I would really caution on this approach. If he does go down that
road, I would make sure that it’s super nice (go with quality over
I just finished making an engagement ring for a friend of mine. The
classic and simple thing to me is a solitare with six prongs. If you
have the choice, use 22kt gold with a nice sapphire (deep blue, with
a touch of violet). The colors will be very complimentary and the
extra cost will not be that much.
It all depends on his budget.
Here’s Diana’s ring, BTW.