A ring that will encircle your finger for decades to come is not something to take lightly. It is a weighty decision. And it used to be that a man only needed to know all he could about what makes a flawless diamond or the strongest setting. Nowadays, over half of soon-to-be engaged couples at least window-shop for rings together. And together, they find that there are more ways of expressing their promise and commitment. Some of the best trends are using gemstones in lieu of diamonds, surrounding stones with beautiful halos, mixing metals, going vintage, and enclosing hidden messages within the rings themselves in surprising ways.
**TIP: Before going to a jewelry store, research each of the headings on the internet and get acquainted with what is available.
1. Colored Gemstones
Diamonds have been the go-to gem for engagement rings since the 19th century, becoming nearly synonymous with forever after a clever American marketing plan aligned the promise of forever with the endurance of diamonds. However, more gemstones are making their way into engagement rings, and not just rubies and emeralds. If you see an engagement ring with an unusual stone, you should ask the wearer what it means, as many stones have meaning or are purported to have beneficial qualities such as attracting prosperity or tranquility, or are symbols of new beginnings or devotion. But with other gems, like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, you may be just looking at a startlingly beautiful engagement ring. It is a trend we don’t mind seeing more of.
**TIP: Check out the different colors of diamonds that are available.
A gemstone, albeit a diamond or sapphire, is stunning on its own, but when it is surrounded or encircled by another stone, the effect can be jaw dropping. The addition of smaller gems or intricate metal work is visually enriching.
When looking at vintage, what you may notice is rougher cuts, precious stones other than diamonds, and bolder designs. During different eras, maybe there were standards of beauty with fewer rules or trends, or maybe it was an absence of mass productions, marketing, and conformity. I could look at vintage rings all day long. Art Neuvo and Art Deco are very memorable and distinct due to the asymmetric and geometric shapes. Georgian has intricate metal work with butterflies and doves adorning the bands and settings. Edwardian rings are airy and are intricate. Victorian rings have a great variance in style. But what makes any vintage ring is how interesting it is. When was the last time you saw someone with a garnet and pearl engagement ring? Wouldn’t it be stunning!
4. Chic Cuts
Don’t get stuck thinking round. There are almost a dozen cuts of gemstones you should consider including pear, heart, princess, Lucida, square, emerald-cut, and cushion. The most eye-catching to me is the emerald-cut – it is a very powerful looking cut.
5. Surprising Side Views
A neglected aspect, the side view of a ring can be as intricate and stunning as the top view. This might be what caught my attention when looking at vintage rings because in some cases all views were considered. Not only can the light be let in under the diamond or another gem when it is lifted by intricate metalwork, the design can be meaningful.
6. Mixing Metals
All white gold or all platinum seemed to be what mattered in past decades, but there is a rise in mixed metal just like mixed gems. When considering a halo or side view, make sure to look at how a mix of metals might make the ring more interesting as well.
*TIP: Look at what other metals are available besides yellow gold, white gold, and platinum. There are dark metals that might take your breath away.
7. Hidden Meanings & Messages
There are rings that will hold notes within them, which to generations to come, might be endearing and spark a family heritage if the rings are passed down. There are also rings that have the ability to imprint a light design into your skin, like a heart. Rings of times past had small compartments to allow small keepsakes.
However you personalize your engagement ring, these endearments of personalization, secret or meant to share with future generations, can take a ring from beautiful to unforgettable to momentous.