Runway shows happen simultaneously during fashion week as various designers express their creativity. In one building, a set of models sashays in flowing, couture ball gowns, while the catwalk next door showcases avant-garde suiting. Just as fashion bustles with ingenuity, so does the world of wedding jewelry, as different engagement ring styles come into the limelight.
When you’re selecting a wedding ring, consider your budget and what shape will flatter your hand. Beyond that, you can choose from an array of ring types. Names classify a variety of attributes and styles. One piece can fall into a few different categories as you think about the stone, band, and design. From a traditional engagement ring to a cutting-edge wedding band, consult our engagement ring style guide as you choose a piece to wear every day.
Like the card game played alone, solo describes this style. Solitaire rings have a single stone intended to take center stage and grab all of the attention. However, the gemstones don’t have to be high-carat to qualify as a solitaire. Even a small diamond can be the focal point in these classic engagement rings.
Although there are two-stone rings, they aren’t nearly as popular as their trifecta-ed companions. A three-stone piece can feature a large, central gemstone flanked by two smaller gems. They can also be composed of numerous, equally-sized stones to create a statement piece. You also heighten the sparkle with this style, as multiple focal diamonds catch the light.
A one-carat diamond is quite different from a ring with four quarter-carat stones, although the total weight is equal. Single rocks are more costly than a gaggle of smaller gems comprising the same weight. Hence, the reason that cluster—also known as composite—rings are popular. At first glance, a group of diamonds can look just as large and sparkly as a single stone.
If you want to shy away from the diamond and instead find a unique engagement ring, that’s perfectly fine. Many couples opt for alternative stones to declare their love. Popular choices include sapphire, emerald, and pearl (which actually isn’t a gemstone at all). Considering unique engagement rings opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Jackie Kennedy’s piece was a unique hybrid style that featured an emerald alongside a diamond of equal size.
Some modern engagement rings forgo a stone in place of more detailed features, such as etching and uniquely cast gold. If you crave minimalism or like the look of a stoneless ring, go for it. After all, part of having different engagement ring styles is so that each couple can choose to express their taste.
Timeless is another word for these engagement rings. Styles can range from solitaire to lightly embellished, but the look of these pieces doesn’t fit into a particular period. Iconic women, such as Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle, are known for classic rings that transcend time.
There are quite a few vintage ring styles, and their unique look characterizes specific eras. The ‘40s saw the rise of intricately detailed filigree pieces. In contrast, the Art Deco engagement rings of the roaring ‘20s had more geometric lines. Whether they are genuine vintage or reproductions, this style tends to be unique and eye-catching.
Although the term fits a bit loosely, contemporary—also known as modern—engagement rings fit one of two descriptions. They can either be what is in vogue at the time or can have an artsy or mid-century modern feel. Either way, these pieces tend to feature less intricate, yet striking details. If you’re looking for a ring that supports current wedding ring trends, a contemporary piece may be right for you.
Just like the interior design trend, minimalist rings are understated, yet beautiful. Their graceful nature serves to enhance the fingers, instead of taking the attention away from the person. Minimalism doesn’t always equal inexpensive, yet one of the earmarks is their delicateness, while being high on design.
As the name indicates, a ring of smaller, diamonds with a pave setting—the halo— surrounds a central stone. These types of engagement rings are prevalent for proposals nowadays, and feature accent diamonds surrounding the main diamond or gemstone. The focal stone usually is round, yet pear and oval are other common shapes for this style.
The shank of the ring is often a solid band of metal. However, when it splits into two halves, it serves to highlight the featured gemstone. The split shank style is popular with solitaire diamond engagement rings and can also feature a row of pave stones.
Designers thrive on creativity, and sometimes a single diamond on a plain band can feel a bit blah. Accent stones on the sides of the gemstone or the band can serve to highlight the main attraction. Sometimes side stones are colored, with sapphires being the most popular application.
Rings are stationary, yet adding a swirl effect can give wispiness and movement to an otherwise industrial piece. With this design, the band forms an arc, hugging the gemstone around its sides to create an elegant effect.
Artists often get their cues from nature, and jewelry designers do the same. From delicately etched flowers to accent stones arranged like leaves, a diamond engagement ring with this design will have an earthy vibe. Besides foliage, these rings can also have features that mimic bark or vines for an ethereal flair.
Above all, look at types of engagement rings that express your style. You may decide on a diamond cluster or an emerald solitaire, split shank, swirl ring—there are endless possibilities. From the jeweler’s case to life’s runway, your love (and ring) will radiate as you plan your wedding day.