Engagement Ring Styles: A Ring to Call Your Own
There are thousands of engagement ring styles to fit every personality, budget and lifestyle. It is an ancient symbol of love and faithfulness, marking the start of an important journey together. They range from traditional diamond engagement rings to more unique engagement rings, inexpensive engagement rings to very expensive ones. There is no end to engagement ring styles!
What Goes Around…
The earliest rings used as a token of love are traced back to ancient Greece, where antique engagement rings depicted symbols of Greek gods.
The earliest example of a ring conveying a message of love is a silver ring with a gold inscription that translates “Beloved Simmia”.
By the second century A.D., it was popular to exchange a ring to pledge engagement to marriage. These rings were originally made of iron, set without a gem. Those who could afford gold would do so.
By the 19th century, engagement rings had become quite customary and some of them featured precious or semiprecious gemstones; wealthy men were using diamonds.
The Victorian Era spans over seven decades and engagement ring styles from this period vary greatly, though often identified by their deep sentiment and symbolism. Victorian engagement rings are often engraved with messages of love and are accented with hearts, ivy, clasped hands and flowers.
In the shadow of the Victorian era emerged the Edwardian period, with engagement rings embellished with filigree and diamonds.
From the “old” period, emerged Art Nouveau, new art, that is characterized by ornamental designs and flowing lines. In Vogue’s May 1918 issue, the engagement ring is mentioned as being important not just for its symbolic value, but as an heirloom.
Styles changed again in the Art Deco period, with geometric lines and abstract designs that often had a dramatic use of color. Each period that followed borrowed from one before. Engagement ring styles are never totally unique, they seem to always be inspired by a previous era. That’s way vintage engagement rings have a market all of their own.
Modern engagement ring styles borrow heavily from antique engagement rings. Today, rings with pave set diamonds and milgrain edging are all the rage. They evoke the Edwardian style where rings were light and airy, encrusted with diamonds and accented with fine details like milgrain and filigree.
Princess cut engagement rings often seem to follow the style of Art Deco engagement rings, with sharp geometric designs. Engraving is another popular embellishment that has been used since the very first engagement ring.
Modern day reproductions of antique engagement rings are also a very good options, conveying the antique look without the hefty price tag.
The Diamond Solitaire
None of the other engagement ring styles can be as traditional and elegant as the diamond solitaire. This classic style, made popular by Tiffany & Co., is truly timeless, loved by one generation after another.
The diamond solitaire is traditionally set with a single round diamond. Nevertheless, many couples have updated this look with other diamond shapes such as princess cut, Marquise cut or Asscher cut, bringing their own unique twist to the age old style.
The engagement ring settings for diamond solitaires can be made of gold or platinum or a combination of the two where the ring is made of gold and the setting of platinum or white gold prongs, enhancing the diamond size and color.
Other solitaire engagement ring styles include:
Bezel set: The diamond is surrounded in metal.
Flush set: The diamond is embedded in the metal.
Tension set: The diamond appears to be suspended in air, held in place by the force of the metal on either side.
Although solitaire engagement rings are typically set with a diamond, they can work beautifully with any single gemstone.
The More the Merrier
The diamond solitaire is nice, but it can be a little too discreet for some. For those who love bling, there is a never ending selection of engagement ring styles that feature multiple diamonds.
The three stone diamond rings: Made popular in the early 20th century by DeBeers, with their “Past, Present, Future” campaign. The three diamonds represent the couples past, present and future together. This style, like is an instant classic, both dramatic and understated and perfect for everyday wear.
Pave diamond engagement rings: Another popular type of design that features more than one diamond. A pave ring can be set with hundreds of tiny diamonds that together make for a big look. In a pave setting, diamonds are secured by microscopic beads of metal. Pave rings are often edged with milgrain, to continue the subtle beaded detail.
Invisible settings: Similar to pave settings in that they contain dozens of tiny diamonds. However, invisible set diamond rings are usually escorted by princess cut diamonds or diamond baguettes. The straight lines of these cuts, make the diamonds seemingly float on top of the ring, hiding the fact that they are actually secured by metal from beneath the stones.
Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds, Oh My!
If you prefer colored gemstones to diamonds, there is a rainbow of engagement ring styles for you.
When Prince Charles became engaged to Princess Diana, women all over the world rushed out to get their copy of the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that would become known as the Princess Diana ring. Now worn by Kate Middleton, a new generation of women is swooning over the royal blue beauty.
Sapphires make an excellent selection for an engagement ring as they are a hard and durable gemstone, second only to diamonds. Rubies are also popular with their deep red color as a reminder of love and passion. Keith Richards gave Patti Hansen a unique ring set with a blood red ruby surrounded by a gold ring of intertwining vines.
Emerald engagement ring styles are very unique. Emeralds aren’t the most durable gemstone, so take special care when wearing an emerald ring. Any gemstone can be set in an engagement ring. Just like flowers, gemstones have their own secret language.
For example, an aquamarine is said to have the power to a soothing influence on relationships, especially married couples, making it ideal for an engagement ring. Another gemstone, zircon, once used as a diamond simulation is a natural gemstone that is the oldest material on earth – over 4.4 billions years old.
Hold the Bling, Please
Be it by choice or by budget, some couples forgo the diamonds and gemstones and stick with all metal engagement ring styles. Just because the ring doesn’t have diamonds or gemstones, doesn’t mean it’s boring – or cheap.
An all metal engagement ring can be a simple silver, gold or platinum band or it can be accented with engraving, enamel, or made in a unique shape or design.
All metal rings are often made or hand selected to be uniquely symbolic. They are not restricted to the traditional round shape or metals. Creative designers have pushed the limits with alternative metals such as titanium, palladium, silver and stainless steel, forged into triangular, square or even more unique shapes.
Cartier popularized the eternity band, made of three interlocking rings, often made of tri-colored gold. Introduced in the early 1920‘s, this symbolic ring has been given to hundreds of brides to be with the promise of marriage everlasting.
Most brides want their engagement ring and wedding band to fit together perfectly so they can be worn as a set. So, it is important that you make a selection that already has a matching wedding band or has the potential to fit flush with a wedding band.
Most designers create matching sets for a flawless duo. If your engagement ring does not have a matching wedding band, you can look for a jeweler to custom make a wedding band to match your engagement ring and fit alongside it perfectly.
Many engagement rings also have matching gents bands for a truly perfect his and hers set.
Eco-Friendly Lab Grown Diamonds
The future of jewelry is already here! Many new engagement ring styles are being set with manmade diamonds. These are natural diamonds with the same chemical and optical properties of a mined diamond. The difference is that man made, or cultured diamonds, are grown in a laboratory.
Only the most sophisticated gemological laboratories are able to determine the origin of a diamond. Lab created diamonds are not the same as Moissanite engagement rings or Cubic Zirconia engagement rings. These are synthetic gems, also grown in laboratories, but do not share any optical, chemical or physical properties with a diamond.
Man-made diamonds are being marketed as environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Mined diamonds often come from parts of the world that have been torn apart by poverty and violent crime.
Though there are laws in place to prevent so called “blood diamonds”, it is impossible to know the true price of some diamonds. In addition, diamond mining pits are enormous and scar the landscape.
Currently, the number of cultured diamonds used on the jewelry industry is small. However, as they gain popularity and more couples become aware of the consequences of mined diamonds, designers are introducing more and more choices.
Who Are You Wearing?
She’s sure to feel like she is walking on the red carpet everyday with one of the thousands of designer engagement ring styles available online and in stores. The most popular designers include Tacori, Hearts on Fire, Jeff Cooper and Simon G. Each designer has their own signature look.
If you love lots of sparkle, Tacori engagement rings are perfect for you. These beautiful designs in 18kt white gold or platinum feature lots of tiny, precision cut diamonds that give off a big look.
Hearts on Fire also delivers lots of sparkle and flash with their diamonds that are cut to perfect proportions.
For those who can afford the often large price tag, Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring styles are sure to make her swoon. Engagement rings by these larger than life designers can only be bought new in their boutiques scattered across the United States and around the world.
If you are looking for a good deal and don’t mind a pre-owned ring, jewelry by practically every designer can be found online at sites like eBay and Amazon.
Celebrity Inspired Engagement Ring Styles
Engagement rings of the stars always inspire jewelry designers to create look a likes. Celebrity jewelry get lots of attention and is always splashed across the pages of Star, People and In Style magazines. Girls dream of having these famous designs which are often over the top with a price tag to break the bank.
One of the most famous and memorable celeb engagement rings is the stunning pink diamond that Ben Affleck gave to J.Lo. Though the couple never made it down the aisle, the 1.2 million dollar ring is still the envy of Hollywood.
Kim Kardashian received a finger breaking 20.5 carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring from hubby Kris Humphries. Rapper, Jay-Z created lots of noise over the 5 million dollar, 18 carat flawless rock he gave to Beyonce.
Almost all celebrity engagement ring styles have one thing in common: they are BIG and expensive. But jewelry designers are quick to create scaled down, wallet friendly versions of these beautiful rings.
Think Outside the Box
After a while, engagement ring styles can all start to look the same. Unique engagement rings can take careful planning and searching, but they are out there.
Cultural designs are not only unique, but meaningful. Take the claddagh, for example. This traditional Celtic engagement rings features two hands clasping a heart, usually topped with a crown. The symbolism behind this design is: love (heart), friendship (hands) and loyalty (crown).
Gimmel rings are one of the earliest examples of an engagement ring. These are interlocking rings that fit together with a message hidden on the inside.
Puzzle rings originated in Turkey. It is said that a Turkish nobleman had a jeweler create a special ring that would fall apart if removed so he could be certain his wife was faithful.
Perhaps the most unique engagement ring styles are custom made. Creating a custom engagement ring involves working one-on-one with a jewelry designer or jeweler. That is often made easier by the use of computer aided design and manufacturing software called CAD/CAM.
Custom made rings are truly unique and one-of-a-kind, ensuring that nobody will have the same ring as your sweetheart. After all, not many ladies want to wear the same ring as their best friend.
So Many Choices – So Few Fingers
With so many engagement ring styles out there, the hard part is picking just one! An engagement ring is the start of a long and exciting journey and may be passed down for generations to come.
When looking for engagement ring styles, it is important to consider your bride-to-be’s taste, personality and hobbies or occupation. Look for one that she’ll feel comfortable wearing every day and is happy to show off, and you are sure to get that long awaited YES!