We started designing engagement rings fifteen years ago and we have enjoyed being the first step in a couple’s journey down the aisle. We are inspired by the collaboration on a symbol of love that will be worn for a lifetime. After more than 20,000 custom designed engagement rings we have noticed changing trends and I asked Danielle Miele of Gemgossip, Severine Ferrari of Engagement101, Julie Von Bargen of Von Bargen’s Jewelry and Amy Elliott of About.com to give us their opinions on today’s Bridal jewelry trends.
Josette: What styles were you looking for when you got engaged?
Gemgossip: I knew I wanted an antique engagement ring because antique jewelry is my passion and what I wear the most. It was just a matter of time finding the right ring for me. Luckily I didn’t have to do much searching on my own because at the time I worked at an antique jewelry store and antique rings walked through the door on a daily basis. That was how I found my ring!
Julie Von Bargen: I was young when I got engaged and my husband selected my ring without my input. I wasn’t really aware of bridal styles at the time.
Engagement101: Not engaged yet. I almost did when I was still going to France and I used to love a Mauboussin couture style that had an emerald cut sapphire as the center and cylinder-shaped diamond baguettes. They don’t make high jewelry anymore.
Josette: What would be your preferred style of engagement ring if you were shopping for one?
Engagement101: Low set, a ring that I can wear all the time without worrying about losing diamonds or being robbed in the subway. I am gravitating towards a lilac/light blue sapphire as a center but maybe I’ll change my mind . I think I am falling in love with East West settings for oval and marquise centers.
Amy Elliott: I love my eternally classic engagement ring – a gorgeous round brilliant set simply in yellow gold, but I am completely smitten with all of the antique and rose-cut diamonds readily available in estate engagement rings or featured in new settings for a mix of old and new. I love that the light they reflect is more subtle and glimmery than modern cuts and that you can see the facets more clearly. So those would be something I would consider if I were facing a choice today. I would still go with a yellow gold setting – to me, yellow gold is the most rich and romantic metal option out there.
Josette: What is the meaning of an alternative engagement ring?
Gemgossip: The meaning of an alternative engagement ring to me is a ring that you wear as a symbol of marriage/engagement that doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria of an engagement ring to the mainstream public. This being a diamond ring of typical style–like a solitaire, three-stone, two-stone, halo, etc. Alternative engagement rings include things like rough diamonds, black or grey diamonds, different gemstones, unique styles that look more like a right-hand ring than a wedding ring, etc.
Engagement101: It’s something that is either not looking at all like an engagement ring or that has elements that surprise you. Like a color gemstone as the center or a rough cut diamond. Or a setting that is not a halo or a solitaire.
Amy Elliott: I use this phrase a lot in the content I create for About.com – my sense of the term is a ring that completely diverges from the standard round brilliant diamond solitaire. This can be an engagement ring with a colored center stone – a sapphire, let’s say, or even something more exotic like morganite or a Paraiba tourmaline. I think “alternative” can also refer to the design of the ring – something that approximates more of a cocktail or dinner ring, or even a fashion ring that one buys for herself. The price point and quality are comparable to that of a traditional diamond engagement ring but the look doesn’t scream “bridal.” Rough diamonds and black diamonds have an anarchistic quality that takes the idea of “alternative” to a whole new level of rebel chic!
Josette: What are today’s most popular engagement rings?
Gemgossip: I think there are an equal number of people looking for both alternative styles and traditional styles. No matter how unique or different designs become, there will always be those searching for a classic solitaire diamond. But in general, I think antique engagement rings and vintage styles are definitely popular, as well as those that are handmade and use a variety of gemstones, not just a diamond.
Julie Von Bargen’s: There are so many possibilities and clients have the opportunity to see so many of them by means of the internet and social media. So in a store like ours that focuses on artisan jewelry and custom design, the most “popular” ring is just the idea of one that is unique and individualistic in style. This is different for each client. Each client comes in wanting a ring that is unique and special to them.
Engagement101: The stats will still show you the same traditional halo or solitaire with a growing interest in vintage style settings. The real submissions I am getting include a lot more color gemstones, event black diamonds. Centers or just accents. Lots of split or twist shanks , some pear and oval centers too.
Amy Elliott: I still hear that halos are trending; rose gold styles are increasing in popularity. I think estate engagement rings are having a moment in general and we’re also seeing a trend toward dainty and petite. I see a lot of marquise and pear shapes out in the market but I can’t say that these shapes are “catching on” with brides across the board. At the store level, classic, traditional styles are almost always going to be the most in demand, so it’s up to content creators and influencers expose readers/followers to fresh perspectives so that couples are at least are aware of the different possibilities before they come in and start shopping.
Josette: What are the new trends?
Gemgossip: Eco-friendly designers, “salt + pepper” diamonds, grey diamonds, brushed/matte finish, antique Art Deco and Victorian diamond cluster rings. Is the halo still trending? I can’t tell!
Julie Von Bargen’s: Stylistically, we are seeing an increase in classic solitaires, vintage inspired designs and definitely alternative bridal with natural color diamonds and more alternative style settings.
Enagegement101: The stackable journey is a big one since people take more time to get engaged.
Amy Elliott: A few that I’m tracking: gray diamonds, geometric cuts (like hexagons and kites), inverted diamonds and marquee stone cutters (e.g. cheese from Cowgirl Creamery meet exotic stones cut and polished by Top Notch Faceting et al.).
Thank you all for your insight on the latest engagement ring trends!