Variety is the Spice of Life
The unconventional is conventional in the wedding ring category today. It used to be that trends changed very slowly in ring designs, but that is no longer the case. In recent seasons, brides have started showing an affinity for the avant-garde, choosing rings that incorporate unusual gemstone shapes and colors, unique settings and detail accents, and mixed metals in design.
Sure, a simple diamond solitaire ring and metal band will always be classic. But couples today are expressing their special love in very different ways. The trend is for the unexpected, a shift towards uniqueness and craftsmanship.
The online wedding hub, The Knot, called out top engagement ring trends in 2018, including the use of color stones like sapphire, morganite, and gray diamond; two- and three-stone style rings; east-west set stones; fancy shapes, especially pear, oval, marquise, and trillion; twisted and open double shank designs; nature and vintage inspired accents; and delicate settings. Stone cut, setting and quality rank as the top considerations when choosing the engagement ring.
Fancy shape heads continue to be interesting cites Rebecca Foerster, executive vice president of strategic planning and marketing, Leo Schachter Diamonds, New York. This includes not only fancy shape stones, but also fancy-shape halos. “The center stone could be round, but the overall look is a pear. The halo has morphed into something new. It is not just surrounding the diamond to amplify the diamond look; it is also transforming the look of the center stone.”
The concept of the halo is certainly evolving to extend how diamond or other gemstone accents frame a center stone. Cynthia Speight, marketing manager for IBGoodman Company in Newport, Kentucky cites Art Deco styles are definitely popular in ladies rings, with baguettes and square shapes flanking a cushion or emerald cut center for a geometric look.
The use of fancy shapes is popular in bands, too, with stacking a lasting trend. “Brides are mixing bands set with different shape diamonds,” says Foerster. Baguettes are especially popular with the younger generation, adds Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and senior merchandiser for the Fairfield, Ohio manufacturer, Quality Gold. She sees consumers, particularly Millennials, open to options, including lab-grown diamonds, moissanite, and color stones in their rings. She notes that bridal priced under $3,000 is the sweet spot.
Millennials still want engagement and wedding rings, but the focus is not necessarily on the diamond, but rather creating a unique design. A big part of Shah Luxury’s business today is custom-work, something that grew out of retail demand. Part of the customization trend is in interesting heads and details.
A high percentage of customers choose to modify their design in someway, including different metal color/combination, stone size and shape, color instead of diamond, and distinctive details like miligrain, reports Neil Shah of Shah Luxury, New York. Retailers realize that they must offer customers options or risk losing business.
Shah notes that new designs in the brand’s Carizza Collection reflect trends for simple, clean looks, interesting lines and contours, and larger center stones. While white gold and rose gold combinations are trending. Moreover, interesting setting styles in engagement rings and wedding bands, using small diamonds and pops of color like blue sapphire bring unexpected details to classic design.
Foerster sees the trend to stack bands a key part of the customization trend. And, the sky’s the limit on what can be done. There is a real freedom in how women are styling their wedding rings and also amassing rings for different reasons throughout their life like anniversaries, the birth of children, important birthdays. Bands have become great elements of storytelling in their life. She notes it’s not about matching either, with women mixing stones, shapes, metals and styles with abandon.
Speight reports that men like diamonds, too and handsome mixed-metal solitaire, three- and five-stone channel set, and statement diamond-cluster rings are among the popular styles.