One of the challenges when choosing an engagement ring is what style do you go for?
And with so many different options available, it can be a little overwhelming, especially if you are buying one for your fiancée before the proposal, which is why I created this post as I wanted to help you on this step of the journey.
But I do want to give some advice before I get into the different styles, which is to think about the practicality of the ring you are going to buy.
This is because this ring is going to go through a lifetime of wear and tear, more so than any other piece of jewellery as engagement rings are very rarely taken off and this is why you want to think about more than just the aesthetics and consider:
- What does my partner do for a living? This is very important because if they have a very hands-on job, which is likely to result in the ring getting knocked about a fair bit, then you want to choose a style that is up to the job
- What hobbies do they have? Similar to their career are their hobbies and if they do anything that is very hands-on, then once again, you want something that is up to the job
So with that out of the way, let’s start looking at some engagement ring styles…
Most Popular Engagement Ring Styles
So let’s start with the most popular styles of engagement rings as these are the ones that you are likely to see the most when you start ring shopping:
1. The Solitaire
The Solitaire is the quintessential engagement ring and by far the most popular style as it is both timeless and elegant.
A solitaire engagement ring is a single stone, usually a Diamond set into a Gold or Platinum mount and one of the great things about the solitaire is that is works with pretty much every style of Diamond cut.
2. The Trilogy Ring
The second most popular style for engagement rings is the trilogy ring and there are a number of different options when it comes to the design of a trilogy rings, with the main ones being:
- Three stones of the same shape and size
- 1 larger centre stone, with two smaller outer stones, all the same shape
- 1 larger centre stone, with different shaped outer stones
One thing that is also popular with trilogy rings is to have a mix of stones, so you may decide to go with a Ruby or Sapphire centre stone, with Diamond outers or you could even go for three different stones (just make sure the stone is suitable for an engagement ring).
It is a style that really does offer many different options and it can also give more of a finger presence than a solitaire, even though you might go for smaller stones.
3. The Halo Ring
A very popular modern style if the Halo and this is where the centre stone is surrounded by a ring of small, usually round brilliant cut Diamonds.
This is a popular style for centre stones of all sizes but can add more of a finger presence for smaller centre stones along with giving the ring a bit more sparkle due to the additional Diamonds.
As with the trilogy ring style, this works well with Coloured Gemstones due to the contrast between the coloured centre stone and the white Diamond halo but it also works really well with a Diamond centre stone.
Other Styles of Engagement Rings
So those are the most popular styles of engagement ring but there are other styles that cater to people who want or need something that is a bit different to the norm.
The Cluster Ring
The Cluster Ring is a more traditional style of engagement ring and was the inspiration for the halo ring.
And you can definitely see some similarities between the two styles as they both have a large centre stone that is surrounded by a ring of small Diamonds, with the difference being the setting style for the Diamonds.
And while cluster rings are found with Diamonds as the centre stone, in many cases it is usually a larger coloured stone such as a Ruby or Sapphire and if this is a style that you feel would be perfect, you can have a new ring made or opt for a vintage one.
Two Stone Engagement Ring
For a long time, the two-stone engagement ring wasn’t a popular option but with celebrities such as Megan Fox and Emily Ratajkowski both having been proposed to with two-stone engagement rings in the past couple of years, they have become much more popular.
When it comes to design, there are many different ways to create a two-stone ring, such as the side-by-side option as pictured.
As with the trilogy ring, it is very easy to combine different gemstones and shapes in a two-stone ring, which can help make it a more personal choice but it may go out of style at some point as it isn’t a time-tested design like some of the other that I’ve talked about.
Gypsy Set Engagement Ring
An option worth considering for people who lead a very active lifestyle is a Gypsy or Flush set engagement ring and while it might not have the wow factor of some of the others, it does offer a lot of advantages.
This is because the stones are set into a band and you can opt for a single stone as is in the picture or you can set it with multiple stones set in the same style and because the stones are set into the band, there is less chance of the ring getting caught on things.
You can also have different styles of Diamonds set into a ring like this and can also opt for coloured gems such as Sapphires or Rubies.
I know, we are talking about engagement rings here but many eternity rings can also be used as engagement rings as they may be more suitable for people who have a more active lifestyle but would like a bit more sparkle than a Gypsy set ring would offer.
Eternity rings come in many different styles, with the two most popular being a channel set (like the one pictured) or pave set and they are usually set with Diamonds but you can also mix in some more durable coloured gems such as Rubies or Sapphires for bit of colour.
Additional Design Considerations
When choosing the design of your engagement ring, there is more than the overall style to think about as there are individual design elements that can be used with most of the styles mentioned above and I’m going to cover the main ones below.
An obvious design consideration is the metal/s that you are going to go for in your engagement ring, with some of this coming down to personal preference, budget and practicality but from just a design perspective, you can choose to go for:
- One Metal – this is where the whole ring is made out of a single metal such as Gold or Platinum
- Mixed Metals – many of the engagement ring designs mentioned above can be separated into two parts, which are the Shank or Ring Band and the Head or Setting and you can choose different metals for these elements, such as a Gold shank and a Platinum setting
It is best to speak to whoever you are buying your ring from as to the options that are available when it comes to metals.
2. Setting Style
The setting or head is the part of the engagement ring that holds the stone in place with the majority of ring styles (doesn’t apply to Gypsy or Eternity rings) and there are two main options:
The prong is the most popular style of setting for engagement rings as it allows for lots of light to be let into the stone, which can help Diamonds and colored gemstones look similar to the way they do when they are loose.
The number of claws that you will have on your ring will depend on the style of stone that you have gone for and with many stone shapes, such as rounds or ovals, 4 is the most popular option but for larger stones, I would recommend going for at least 6 and this helps to secure the stone better.
Tip – if you go for a claw setting on your engagement ring, make sure that you have the ring checked every couple of years to ensure that the claws are still tight and holding the stone securely as they can loosen over time and you don’t want to lose your stone!
The second option is to go for a bezel and while they aren’t as good for letting light into the stone, they are more secure than claw settings due to the stone being held in place by metal at all points and it does also give the stone a bit more protection and should definitely be considered if you are going for a softer stone.
A bezel setting may be more suitable for someone who has a more active lifestyle but still wants a more traditional style of engagement ring rather than a Gypsy or Eternity ring.
There are also variations of bezels, such as a half bezel, which can be a good compromise between a claw and full bezel and when done right, these can look amazing.
3. Diamonds in the Shoulders
Adding Diamonds to the shoulder of an engagement ring has become very popular and a great way to add some extra sparkle to your ring, now this isn’t applicable to every style of engagement ring that I have mentioned but definitely applies to the most popular styles and there are two main styles for adding these diamonds:
Pave Set Shoulders
The most popular way is to Pave Set Shoulders as this lets lots of light into the Diamonds and gives them more of a wow factor and when combined with a halo, makes for a very sparkly engagement ring.
And while this looks amazing, consideration does need to be taken when choosing to add this to your engagement ring as adding these additional diamonds does mean that metal is being removed from the ring, which means the ring will be weaker in these areas and it will be these areas that will be the first to bend should anything happen to the ring (you may also lose a Diamond or two).
Not trying to put you off having these extra Diamonds, just making you aware of the potential issues.
Channel Set Shoulders
The second option is to have Diamonds set into channels on the shoulder of your engagement ring and while they may not sparkle as much as pave set Diamonds, they will still add some extra sparkle to your ring but are a bit more durable due to less metal being removed from the ring.
You are also less likely to lose a stone should anything happen to your ring, such as it getting squashed due to more metal holding the stones in place.
4. Band Design
The final design consideration I’m going to talk about in the post is the band or shank design, specifically the two main styles of bands that are used on engagement rings, which are:
This is the traditional style of ring shank and what most people think about when they think of a ring and the style that most people will go for, the only drawback with this style of shank is that they can rotate on your finger and this can happen even when the ring is the right size.
Euro shanks don’t look at good when the ring isn’t on the finger but they do help to stop the ring from rotating on your finger, which many people are very thankful for but they do cost slightly more due to the additional metal.
Which one is best will depend on your circumstances and preferences.
Engagement Ring Styles to Avoid
I couldn’t create a post about engagement ring styles and not list some things that you should avoid as not all rings and styles are suitable for a ring that is going to be worn every day for the rest of the owners life, so what should you avoid?
1. Very Thin Bands/Shanks
There is a popular trend at the moment of engagement rings with very thin bands, I’m talking 1mm or thinner and while these look very nice and dainty, the simple fact is that these rings just won’t last and will soon get bent out of shape.
This is because precious metals that engagement rings are made from such as 18ct Gold or Platinum are pretty soft and malleable and it is always recommended that you go for a substantial shank of at least 1.6mm but preferably 1.8 or 2mm as this will have more strength and the ring will stand up much better to the wear and tear that an engagement ring goes through.
2. Tension Set Rings
Tension set rings look amazing when they are brand new and are something a little bit different to the norm as the only thing holding the stone in place is the tension of the metal.
And while this is awesome, at some point the metal will start to lose its tension and your stone might fall out and even get lost (yes, I’ve known this happen to people).
There are rings that look like they are tension set but have been designed in a way that there is metal underneath the stone to keep the two sides of the band attached.
3. Latest Trends
Engagement rings are worn for a lifetime and you want something that is going to stand the test of time, no matter what the current fashion trends are, which is why the round brilliant solitaire is still the most popular engagement ring.
It is for this reason that you want to avoid buying a ring that is currently the ‘in thing’ as a year or two down the line it will be out of fashion and in five or ten years, it could look quite dated, so don’t buy a ring style just because a celebrity has it (as celebrity engagements/marriages don’t generally last that long!).
Choosing the right style of engagement ring can be challenging, especially if you are buying it for your significant other but as long as you get a compromise between:
You won’t go far wrong and this is where choosing the right jeweller to work with to create the ring is very important as good jewellers will give you advice and guidance throughout the whole journey from your first contact to picking up your engagement ring.