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Unique Engagement Rings: Not your Typical Diamond

Lila Walter of Alexandria shares insights on the new styles of engagement rings.

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When you get engaged, everyone looks at your ring. For centuries in the United States, the diamond has been the gemstone of choice for this life-changing event. We have all heard of the famous jewelry stores, such as Tiffany’s and Cartier, where the happy couple would go to pick out a ring. Or, the groom would know exactly where to go to select the perfect stone to have a ring made as a surprise. This is an event in itself, which takes careful planning (time and budget). Lately, however, many are turning away from the traditional diamond solitaire and opting for an unusual ring. Europeans have been using many gemstones for engagement rings (e.g. Princess Diana’s engagement ring) since anyone can remember. So, why has it taken Americans so long to follow suit? With the new century came new ideas for traditional jewelry. Let’s take a new look at the new engagement rings for 21st century.

In looking at the construction of the ring, many start with the gemstone (size, clarity, price … etc.) Today, the diamond is being replaced with other gems such as sapphire, ruby and emerald. A new stone that has become popular is morganite. It is a peach-pink stone that forms in prismatic crystals. Lab-created stones are also popular with the black sapphire and garnet. Diamonds are still used in engagement rings, but they are accents or anchors. Or, colored diamonds are used to enhance the ring (e.g. Enchanted Disney Villains Maleficent ring). For men, onyx and tungsten have been top choices. The bands also have stones in them and come in different band widths. The next step is the setting. New settings have avant-garde shapes instead of the usual halo, pear, oval or emerald cuts. We are now seeing the cluster, dyad, stone claw, wave and triangle shapes, to name a few. The metal used in these rings varies as well. A person can choose a variation of gold (white, yellow or rose), silver or platinum.

Engagement rings have changed a great deal over the centuries. The plain, white diamond in a simple setting (although still beautiful) has given way to a colored gemstone in a unique setting, whether by arrangement or in the type of metal used. Celebrities are not the only ones creating distinctive engagement rings since many are now taking a creative approach to the design. It will be interesting to see how engagement rings will look in the next decade.

Originally published at on December 10, 2019.