If you are looking to get your girlfriend a piece of jewelry for your anniversary, but are on a bit of a budget and are looking for alternatives to diamonds, then rest assured that you have lots of options. While you might only know about emeralds and rubies, there are many other gemstones that are not put a big dent in your bank account. So, here are a few different options to consider.
Almandine is a type of garnet that is visually very similar to rubies. It is mined in Sri Lanka (which is one reason people have come to refer to almandine as "Ceylon rubies"). It has a dull red color, but when it is polished and cut, it looks quite striking and is a gorgeous stone. The red color really shines and it becomes a brilliant stone.
If your girlfriend loves the color red, and you think she would like a deep red jewel, then you should consider this gemstone. You will find it on dangly style earnings, as well as accenting designer necklaces.
Turquoise is a bit more popular, so you might be familiar with it. Unlike almandine, it does not have the transparent, glass-like texture of that stone. It's a light blue stone that is popular in Native American jewelry. So, if your girlfriend has Native American ancestry, or is just interested in Native American culture, then it's a cool pick. Turquoise stones tend to be polished, but not always cut in a deliberate pattern. You will often find that designers incorporate natural shaped turquoise stones into necklaces (as pendants) or even adorn silver earnings with the beautiful stones.
Tigers eye is a stunning, and cool gemstone. It has a rich, dark, golden orangish color and beautiful visual pattern known as chatoyancy (this translates to "cat's eye" and refers to the visual similarity to the color variation found in the pupil of a cat.) It is a really beautiful stone that can work in rings, necklaces, or earnings. If your girlfriend likes golden orange, sunset colors, then this is perfect. It has a "solid" look, similar to turquoise, not the clear look of gemstones such as diamonds, almandines, or emeralds.
If your girlfriend is really into blue, but you don't have the money for a sapphire, then look into kyanite. This gemstone has a very beautiful, bright blue color and when it is cut and polished it resembles a stunning sapphire. You can find beautiful, sophisticated earrings and pendants featuring cut and polished kyanite.