Many women have quite a clear idea of what they want for an engagement ring long before the subject of marriage is raised between them and their partners. That being said, landing on a design for your dream ring can still feel overwhelming since there are so many gorgeous options out there.
Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to engagement rings. While many women want nothing more than a traditional diamond engagement ring, there are also plenty of others who simply don’t resonate with that traditional style. Fortunately, nowadays there is practically no limit to what you can do with your engagement ring design, and an increasing number of women are opting for one-of-a-kind, custom-made engagement rings.
If you’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to finding your own unique engagement ring, check out our guide below for inspiration!
Gemstone placement and settings play a significant role in influencing the style of a ring and can make it read more classic, vintage, modern, or eclectic. You can stick to the traditional placement of focal gemstones, or you can experiment with placing them off-center to create an asymmetrical look that comes across as more contemporary and uncommon.
To get you started with some ideas, here are a few of the most popular styles for engagement rings:
An ever-popular design, solitaire diamond engagement rings are always a classic choice. Their simple yet elegant design is ideal for showcasing diamonds and other gemstones in a wide variety of cuts and is practically guaranteed to never go out of style.
A halo setting takes the simple design of a solitaire ring to the next level by encircling the center stone with one or more continuous rows of diamonds, which enhances the brilliance and size of the focal gem. Some newer halo designs also incorporate eye-catching floral accents, fleur de lis patterns, stylized shields, and other intricate motifs that showcase the ring’s center stone.
Another timeless classic, three-stone engagement rings represent the couple’s past, present, and future. They feature a trio of gemstones set in a series and offer plenty of opportunities for customization. For example, choosing stones with special significance is a great way to add a personal touch to these rings.
East-west settings offer a unique way of orienting elongated gemstone shapes like oval, marquise, and emerald cuts. Instead of mounting the stone lengthwise so it runs parallel to the finger, east-west settings turn the stone so it lies left to right across the width of the band. This can make the stone appear larger and create a striking impression in even a simple ring design.
The new kid on the block when it comes to engagement ring designs, toi et moi settings comprise two center stones that are similar in size, but may feature different colors or shapes to represent both partners in a couple. The result is a ring that is both beautiful and unique.
An eternity ring is composed of a continuous row of diamonds or other gemstones encircling the band around the finger. All the stones are the same size and shape and are typically set closely together, allowing the least amount of metal to show through between the stones. An eternity band can be paired with any one of the styles mentioned above and is a great way to add sparkle to any ring.
Vintage engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular due to their rich histories and stunning designs. They are also frequently one-of-a-kind, making them an attractive option for anyone looking for a unique engagement ring. In addition, vintage rings are more sustainable than new rings, which is something environmentally-conscious couples may want to consider when shopping for an engagement ring.
If you love rings that tell a story or reflect some aspect of your personality, a themed engagement ring could be for you. Do you love styles that reference a certain period in history? Then explore vintage rings inspired by the Edwardian or Art Deco eras. If you see beauty in the fantastic, look at rings with a mythical or celestial theme. Or, if you’re a fairytale romantic, try finding a ring with floral motifs or other natural forms in its design.
Alternative gemstone engagement rings are slowly gaining in popularity as more women seek to express their unique aesthetic when it comes to their engagement ring design. They are also favored among celebrities and royals and are an excellent means of being intentional about your ring design if you choose to incorporate your birthstone or a color that has special significance to you.
In addition to the many different colored gemstones that are available on the market, the saturation or color value of these gems also varies considerably. In other words, you may want to consider the relative lightness or darkness of a gem since it can influence the mood of your engagement ring.
For example, darker gemstone rings exude opulence – think rich blue and red gemstones like sapphire and ruby – while rings with lighter-colored gems have a softness and subtlety that will appeal to those with an affinity for muted or pastel tones.
Whether you prefer a dark, luxe palette or softer shades, colored gemstones are an excellent way of personalizing your engagement ring.
Traditional engagement rings tend to have a uniform roundness, which you may want to veer away from if you’re in the market for something unique. This means steering clear of the conventional round-cut diamond and exploring different shapes for a center stone. Additionally, bear in mind that, if you choose to have accent gemstones, their placement does not have to rely on a central stone. Also, consider pairing gemstone cuts that aren’t typically seen together for a bold, avant-garde look.
Yellow gold has always been a classic choice for wedding and engagement rings, but nowadays the options are nearly endless when it comes to selecting a metal for your engagement ring. Explore unconventional metals like black sterling silver for a bold alternative look, or consider combining metals within one design to create a two-tone or three-tone ring. Also, bear in mind that certain metals pair better with certain gemstones than others. For example, the warm, pink tone of rose gold contrasts with the cool white of diamonds and also enhances the colors of pink and red gemstones like morganite, garnet, and ruby. Similarly, you may want to take your skin tone into account when selecting the materials for your engagement ring.
Engagement rings are typically designed with slimmer bands or shanks to accentuate the center stone, but you don’t have to go this route if it doesn’t resonate with your style. You can scale up or scale down your engagement ring band according to your personal preference and experiment with different styles, such as tapered, straight, curved, or split.
Of course, if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for when browsing pre-made engagement rings, you can always opt to design one yourself. That way, you can be sure that you will be getting a unique engagement ring since you will have control over all aspects of the custom design process.
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