Unique Engagement Rings – When Unusual Or Weird Means Fabulous?
I knew my just HAD to stand out among other unique engagement rings, so I planned to be 100% involved in its creation.
At our local jeweler shop, the good man arranged a rich black velvet drape over the well lit display case. He then produced a large drawstring bag, from which he dramatically spilled a STREAM of finely cut diamonds of all shapes and sizes.
It was spectacular! As my eyes grew larger, my mouth dropped open!
Unique Engagement Rings That Go Beyond Individuality
My friend and neighbor, Mr. Jeweler, spent some time with us, discussing some of the options available. Right away he suggested using a jewelry designer experienced in crafting unique engagement rings to help style mine.
When I finished stammering out my reasons for not doing so – too expensive, not really a “fancy” type of woman that employed designers, and so on – he let me know that typically a jewelry designer will charge around $125 to $150 per hour.
That can add up really fast! Determined to do whatever it took to fashion a “ring for the ages”, I began my education on the internet the minute we got home.
Hours later, tired but happy, I reviewed my copious notes on all engagement ring styles I could lay my eyes on. Quickly I saw that though I had gathered much information, I had only skimmed the surface of a rich and fascinating topic.
What I needed was a way to get the information I required, including everything I could find about gems, metals, bands and all the other components, in a way I could use when defining this once in a lifetime piece of jewelry.
Ready, Set, Go!
In my view, you have two avenues you could pursue. Your choice should be governed by your budget and time constraints.
Time Consuming But Cheap:
By gathering information from your trusted sources BEFORE contacting a designer, you can minimize the time spent on basic issues, maximizing the amount of time actually used on the creative process.
The result? Less money spent for the services, and a bigger investment of your own time. That translates to cheap engagement rings that are still unique and beautiful.
If you are on a budget but still want to have a nice ring, this is the way to go!
Expensive But Easy:
Begin the journey with a designer as your guide and artist for one of the most unique engagement rings in the world.
A designer will provide insight on different styles of unique engagement rings as well as technical matters, such as the strength of materials, which setting are able to hold each gem stone in place, and how to blend everything that are important to you into a stunning piece.
Of course, since you are spending more time with the designer, the cost of the consulting will be higher, but the time spent on the whole process will be much less demanding.
Aged Beauty, Historical Inspiration
Estate and antique engagement rings, infused with history and an air of mystery, are very alluring, although often overpriced for those that don’t know where to look.
Victorian pieces, Edwardian styles, Art Deco designs, all of these lovely historical artifacts are unique by their very nature, and to have one as the symbol of your commitment to the future is both a delight, and an honor.
Another option is to combine the most attractive aspects of the vintage engagement rings with today’s greater strength in metals and innovations in gemstone faceting to produce a ring that will stand the test of time!
As both my fiancé and I have roots in European nations, we considered a large range of unique engagement rings influenced by different cultures as well. Here are some of our findings:
Puzzle rings: Composed of 4 to 12 interlocking bands that, when properly arranged, create a smooth interwoven ring. The concept was that if a party removed it to cheat on the partner, they would be unable to reconnect it properly, warning the betrothed of the infidelity.
Gimmel rings: With Gimmel rings, each of the engaged couple wore one band of a 2 bands ring. When the pair wed, the bands were rejoined, usually remaining with the woman.
Celtic Engagement Rings: These unique engagement rings set themselves apart by frequently using several different hued stones. Rubies, emeralds, sometimes colored diamonds are set in a filigreed band. The precious stones can REALLY make the price skyrocket, so be warned before you fall in love.
Mokume Gane: Not European, but Japanese, the term translates to mean ‘wood grain metal”. It is an ancient Japanese technique of forging precious metals into distinctive swirling patterns, and layering different metals atop one another to create that swirling effect.
Acronym rings: Not precisely cultural, acronym rings are a Victorian era style where the first letter of each of the types of stones set into the piece spell out a sentiment. One example is the “Dearest Ring”. Using:
Unusual Engagement Rings: I ADORE that there is an actual category of unique engagement rings that is named like this! As the name implies, these items are off the beaten track and a MUST SEE if you are looking for unique engagement rings that stands out.
The most commonly purchased diamond cut for engagement rings is the Brilliant Cut, which commands a full 75% of the market, followed by Princess Cut engagement rings, in second place. Created in 1919, it employs 58 facets in a round cut to release as much fire and brilliance as possible.
In the jewelry industry, anything other than a round brilliant cut is referred to as a “Fancy Cut”.
Our designer taught us a lot about “faceting” stones, how the number of cuts, the direction of them, and the overall treatment of the stone as an individual gave each and every gem its own life.
Here are some of the most unusual styles of cuts that have made their way into gemstone history for very good reasons:
|Emerald cut engagement ring: This is an Art Deco shape, earning the name in the 1920’s. The emerald cut is a rectangle, or elongated square shape. Used primarily on emeralds, the large flat table and lean sharp cuts are made to highlight a stone’s clarity so you should be aware that the diamond you purchase with this cut can’t have any flaws in this department!|
|Cushion Cut / Antique Cushion: Incredibly popular for over 100 years, during the 19th century. This combination of an oval and a square has recently become all the rage among those wanting the most unique engagement rings they can have. It has a square shape with rounded corners, and is frequently surrounded by other, smaller stones.|
|Pear Shaped / Teardrop: Also known as a raindrop or pendeloque, it is considered to be the closest to a naturally occurring shape. Feminine, it employs both a pointed end, and a round one. There are few wedding bands that can nest comfortably under a Pear shaped diamond, so it is not usually employed in a bridal set.|
|Marquise: This shape is very flattering to a finger. It employs the faceting similar to a brilliant cut, but in an elongated, pointed at each end shape. The stone can be set either vertically, as worn by actress Victoria Beckham, or horizontally as worn by actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.|
|Asscher and Royal Asscher: Stunning and brilliant, a square shape that was developed by the Asscher family early in the 1900. Similar to an Emerald Cut, the Asscher cut is created using 58 facets. The Royal Asscher has a very high crown and 74 facets.|
|Heart: Louis XIV had heart shaped diamonds in his collection! The obvious message of this cut is love and devotion. The Heart Cut is frequently used with colored diamonds and gems.|
|Trillian: Believe it or not, this shape, which is basically a triangle, traces its origins back to the 14th Century! The name was coined in the 1970’s. It´s made of a triangle with soft corners, between 44 and 50 facets, and its brilliance/fire can be modified by the depth of the stone. If used as an accompanying stone, the Trillian cut can be made with a shallower depth, toning down the fire of the stone and preventing it from stealing the thunder of the centerpiece.|
Whew! I hope you guys are still with me! I know there are many features to consider when fashioning unique engagement rings, and I’ll bet by now you understand why I recommend working with a designer!
Setting The Mood
To use an allegory, the setting is the method of display for your gem to the world. If your hand is the pillow on which your stone sits, then the setting is the presenter. Here is a selection of the most curious ones:
|Tension setting: This modern technique gives the appearance of the gem being suspended in thin air. This setting is mainly used with diamonds, since the gem must be extra hard to support the pressure. The result can be quite dramatic and modern, which is perfect for women with a lot of attitude!|
|Channel setting: This setting creates a flow of gems set into two sided, long recess, just like a train’s rail. It is best suited to stones with straight sides, it can be employed with a larger center piece accented by smaller, or different type stones, or as in an eternity ring, similarly sized stones placed end to end.|
|Invisible setting: This technique was developed in France over two centuries ago, and creates the appearance of a larger gem with several smaller ones and no metal between them. The gems are placed into grooves in a metal frame beneath the surface of the band, hidden from view. The downside is the cost to repair due to the multi level arrangement.|
|Flush Setting: Subtle and very protective of your gem, they are used most often with larger gems. Most if not all of the depth of the stone is encased within the setting, and as a downside, this can really affect the stones ability to reflect light. This setting is used more often as a way to add accent stones.|
|Bezel setting: Vintage, another good choice for active lifestyles. It surrounds the gem with a “collar” of metal, the more modern versions employing 2 collars with 2 stones. A very protective setting. The only problem with this setting is that less light goes through the stone, which may result in less sparkle overall.|
|Trellis Setting: As lovely as Art Nouveau styles get, this setting securely holds the diamond with four interlaced prongs. It is often referred to as a “prong setting variant”. Elegant and easy to wear, unique engagement rings using this setting allows the wearer to showcase the center stone with a full blast of light going through it.|
|Cluster Setting: Used to create shapes using multiple small stones. Designers of the world have created all kinds of unique engagement rings with amazing shapes, including hearts, flowers and abstract forms. Since it requires multiple gems to be used, this setting is very expensive, although beautiful and unique.|
|Tapered Setting: Also known as the Cathedral Setting, this elegant setting tapers upwards from each side of the center diamond. A tapered setting offers good protection for your diamond as well as an unusual look. It works best with square shaped gems, but a skilled jeweler can set a round diamond with it as well.|
|Illusion Setting: Another method to give the impression of a larger stone. The secret lies on a mirror like plate that embraces the gem, blending seamlessly around it. The plate can be smooth or irregular, depending on the effect the jeweler wanted to give to the engagement ring. Notice how the small diamond blends with the metal on the picture.|
Three Stone Setting: Unusual, old time style that features 3 stones, said to represent “yesterday, today, and tomorrow”. In addition to using 3 stones of the same cut, consider using a Brilliant Round centerpiece, flanked by Pear shaped accent stones.
Varied Settings: You mix one type with another, like a “Flat Edge Channel Setting”, for instance. A perfect setting for the creation of unique engagement rings.
Selecting the right engagement ring setting can be complicated, as you will want your stone(s) to be accented in the most effective and attractive way. One of my personal favorites is the three stone setting.
Romance And The Stone
REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT CONFINED TO USING ONE KIND OF STONE. Pairing different gems, even using 3 separate types will create a lovely, unique, and historical piece. Unique engagement rings using more than one center piece can often stand out in every setting.
With that said, here is a list of stunning and unusual stones commonly used on unique engagement rings:
Pink, Green and Blue Diamonds: Breathtaking, lovely, and as durable as the Mother Earth can produce, they come in many more shades and color variations than you can think of. The word “diamond” comes from the ancient Greek for unbreakable. Colored diamonds are present in some of the most unique engagement rings; they are very rare, and also very expensive.
Amethyst: Deep purple – called “Papal Purple” by some, after the Roman Catholic’s religious leader – that shade has been considered very powerful and spiritual throughout history. Amethysts come in shades ranging from a delicate mauve, to deep purple. A few, very rare Green Amethysts have been discovered in Zimbabwe and Arizona, and they are very unique indeed. Used as centerpiece in very few unique engagement rings, these beauties glamorize the wearer, even if she is wearing denims and a t-shirt!
Sapphires: In historical times, there were some who considered the sky to be an enormous sapphire into which the Earth was embedded. Such a romantic notion! Rich, deep blue, that when faceted properly is stunning, the most popular are the deepest of blues. Some of the most unique engagement rings ever crafted, including the one worn by popular and modern new English Royal, Princess Kate, feature this stunning gift of the Mother Earth.
Rubies: From pink to blood red, these stones have been used for centuries by Monarchs all over the world. Attention grabbing, they are used as solitaries, set in groups, used as center pieces, or as accent stones. In the world of unique engagement rings, rubies are often associated with power and vitality. On ancient times, they were used as talismans to keep danger away.
Emeralds: Another regal gift of the earth, the emerald ranges from a light, but forest tone green to the deepest of them. Symbolic of power, and abiding love, used as a centerpiece accented by diamonds is breathtaking.
While considering our various options among the unique engagement rings from historical times, we saw a large rectangular emerald, surrounded by smaller round diamonds that absolutely dominated all the attention in the room!
Citrines, Peridots, Aquamarines, Sunstones, Tanzanite, Garnets, Opals, Tourmalines… Oh! There are so many…
One of my absolute favorite stone is a Green Amethyst, and prior to embarking on my journey among unique engagement rings, I hadn’t even known it existed!
It´s worth noticing, however, that some of these options available for unique engagement rings can really make the cost skyrocket. You should consider an engagement ring insurance on those cases.
Stones Of Power
For centuries, people of all cultures have considered gem stones representative of spiritual, sometimes mystical power. Many of which favor the use of Birthstones in their jewelry, be it as the center piece, as accents, or equal partners (as in a ring featuring the birthstones of every family member, with stones of the same size and shape). Those stones are considered the most powerful for people born during the associated month of the year.
Also called “totems” in some far distant civilizations, following is a sampling of the meanings associated with Birthstones. With a little creativity, they can be used to create unique engagement rings with a nice personal touch.
So, What Have We Learned?
To sum up, I must say that doing our homework before working with a designer was the best thing we could have done. Armed with the basics, time spent with the designer was very productive.
In the end, I learned a lot about unique engagement rings and that helped me craft a piece of jewelry whose beauty and grace will truly stand the test of time.