While nothing says, “will you marry me”, like a diamond solitaire ring, trends reveal that it’s not about a single stone but rather a multi-diamond look and interesting ring design that matter most to couples today.
Among the leading trends in engagement rings are halo and cluster designs, fancy shape diamonds and use of mixed metals, and preference for floral and vintage motifs. Jeffrey Cohen, vice-president of sales, KGS Jewels, New York believes that greater involvement by the bride in the ring purchase has shifted the focus from the central diamond to the overall ring design.
“Millennials want diamonds, but they’re paying more attention to the mounting,” says Cohen, citing intricate details tucked away and visible only from the side of the ring. He reports that personalization is really the big trend, as couples want to tweak features like diamond shapes and sizes, and band details.
Halo settings have been popular for some time. While manufacturers and retailers have grown weary of the concept, it remains the top trend in engagement rings, with pressure on jewelers to create unique takes on the motif.
“Everyone is tired of the halo in the trade, but consumers still love it,” says Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota. “What’s different is the desire to make it more interesting like two tone, detailing of stones around the crown and edge, mixing of texture, and vintage and floral accents like flowers, petals, vines, and scrollwork.”
Rebecca Foerster for Leo Schachter, New York cites alternative halos mixing different shapes like a round center with cushion frame and diamond-encrusted twisted halos, creative use of negative space, and different color stones as ways of offering fresh takes on this style staple.
When it comes to the rings, trends continue for big diamond looks, says Nick Parekh for Laxmi Diamond in New York, who cites cluster styles almost as popular as halo, particularly groupings of various sized diamonds that break with the traditional single stone. “Customers want to show lots of diamonds, the more the better in their engagement and wedding rings.” Cohen notes that among larger retailers, cluster tops are No. 1 as opposed to single stone rings.
Two stone is popular, but more as a gift category than in bridal, but Cohen believes there’s room to grow this look in diamond engagement rings. “The challenge for retailers is to take two-stone out of gift giving and create more demand in bridal.”
Fancy & Mixed
While a round-cut diamond may be the most popular center stone, pear and marquise cut diamonds are making a comeback—described by wedding planning sites like The Knot as tapered cuts that instantly slim and elongate the finger.
Spence says she also sees more demand for oval and emerald cuts. Cohen says that fancy shapes afford couples a way to personalize their look, and also get more bang for the buck as they typically cost less than round brilliant.
Moreover, rose gold and two-tone looks are trending, cites Spence. In fact, The Knot cites a leading trend to mix different colors of gold—like a yellow gold halo gives a white gold engagement ring an of-the-moment upgrade. There also is demand for platinum settings in gold rings, or color gold prongs to match color stone centers like rose gold prongs with pink center stone in white gold ring.
Use of twists and texture are popular, too, on the shank of the engagement ring or added to the look with the wedding band. Parekh cites a big change in the wedding ring category, a shift away from traditional bridal sets. “Millennials do not want their rings to match exactly. It is not about the perfect fit, as they are wearing their rings alone or stacked in different ways.”
Stacking diamond bands in different metals and diamond shapes is preferred as another way to personalize your look. The trend to pile on as many bands as you want to represent milestones has really energized the wedding ring category.