Are you and your soon-to-be fiancé shopping for engagement rings and feel overwhelmed by all the choices? Or, are you simply dreaming of your future engagement and “window shopping” for the perfect ring to add to your mental image? Whichever scenario best fits, it’s always a good idea to be knowledgeable of the latest trends and to have the ability to make the most informed decision.
With so many ring styles available, narrowing your choices can be difficult. This article contains the most popular engagement ring styles to help you find the best ring for you. You will also discover the advantages and disadvantages to each design, as well as suggestions for matching the design to your personality, lifestyle and budget.
Before You Shop
Educate yourself and learn how to buy a diamond. Understand what the Four C’s (cut, clarity, color, carat weight) are and how to make them work for you. You also want to find a reputable dealer, regardless if you’re purchasing from a local jeweler or an online retailer. Buying a diamond engagement ring isn’t the time to be cheap. Instead, you want to find the best ring for a reasonable price. That doesn’t mean you can’t look for a deal or shop around looking at different promotional offers such as 6% Off Rings at ICE.com with code SRINGS6 + Free Shipping!
Popular Ring Styles
Round Brilliant Solitaire Prong Setting
This has been the most popular style of engagement ring for several years and will continue to be. It’s a classic and simple style that is meant to showcase the diamond using the best cut and setting possible.
Round diamonds are cut to bring out the most brilliance, fire and scintillation of the stone. A well-cut round diamond will sparkle and the light will dance across the stone. Such as this Monique Lhuillier ring from Blue Nile.
Advantages: If you want your diamond to be the focus of the ring, this is the ring for you. The prong setting keeps the diamond secure, while allowing the most light to hit the diamond from all angles. It will never go out of style and less metal means less money for the setting.
Disadvantages: The prongs are easily snagged and the stone will sit higher off your finger. If you live an active lifestyle or work with your hands, you may need to consider a different style. Since the diamond is what makes this ring, it’s best for stones that are at least .50 carat weight or more.
This ring is perfect for the woman with simple, classic style. Her clothing is perfectly tailored and she doesn’t have a hair out of place. She isn’t swayed by trends. She is drawn to timeless beauty.
Note: This style of ring has recently been marketed as a Presentation Setting. A basic diamond ring setting for a man to buy and use as a proposal ring. This allows him to be able to keep the proposal a complete surprise. After the woman says yes, the couple can return and allow the bride-to-be to choose the ring design of her choice.
Halo Design Rings
Halo rings continue to gain in popularity and are more than a passing trend. Single halo engagement rings have smaller stones encircling the center stone, creating a halo effect. The stones can be the same, such as all diamonds, or they can be different, such as Kate Middleton’s ring, which is an oval cut sapphire with a halo of white diamonds.
Types of Halo Rings
Single Halo: Princess cut diamond, single halo ring from Zales.
Double Halo: Cushion cut yellow sapphire, double halo ring from James Allen.
Swirl Halo: Chocolate and vanilla diamonds swirl around the center diamond in this ring from Jared.
Floating Halo: Pavè set floating halo ring from Blue Nile.
Advantages: Excellent way to add carat weight to a ring for those on a budget. The smaller (less expensive) stones also protect the larger (more expensive) center stone.
Disadvantages: If you have prongs holding the outer stones, you have the same difficulties mentioned above. Because the outer stones are smaller, you run a higher risk of losing one.
This ring is perfect for a modern woman who adds fashion trends to classic style. She enjoys glitz and glamour. She understands that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Engagement rings with an east-west or horizontal setting have become very popular. It’s simply taking an elongated cut stone, such as a marquise and setting it across your finger instead of up the length of the finger, such as this oval cut diamond in a pave setting from MDC Diamonds.
Advantages: A unique style for someone looking for a ring that’s different from all the rest. The setting allows the stone to sit closer to the finger, helping to keep it from being bumped on things.
Disadvantages: If you have short fingers, this setting will may them look shorter, whereas taking an elongated stone and mounting it vertically will make the fingers appear longer.
This ring is perfect for the woman who is confident and creative. She appreciates classic style, but likes to change it around to make it her own. She enjoys a large diamond, as long as it doesn’t get in her way.
Twisted Shank (Band)
Incorporating a twisted band to an engagement ring is an excellent way to bring your personal style into the design. Depending on the way the twist is done, it can either make the ring look more modern or antique. There are several variations of the twisted band.
Infinity Twist: Marquise cut, micro-pavè infinity twist ring from Blue Nile
Unity Knot: Rose cut diamond, with unity knot band from Diamond in the Rough
Multi Metals: Neil Lane, rose gold twisted with white gold with pave set diamonds and single halo encircling round center stone diamond from Jared.
Braided: White, yellow and rose gold braided with pave set diamonds from James Allen
Rope: Simple twisted rope design from Zoara
Advantages: A unique design that gives the look of a custom designed ring without the high price. Plus, it’s an excellent way to add beauty and dimension to your ring, especially if you can’t afford a large diamond for your center stone.
Disadvantages: If intricate details are added, you must be careful not to damage them.
This ring is perfect for a creative and artistic woman. She sees her ring as a piece of art and appreciates handcrafted or artisan items.
Art Deco Design
With everyone’s obsession with shows, such as Downton Abbey, it’s no surprise Art Deco rings are popular. Inspired by 1920’s fashion trends that embrace geometric shapes, bold edges and straight lines, an Art Deco designed ring is both vintage and chic, such as this princess cut ring from Kay jewelers.
Advantages: You can find gorgeous rings at places such as estate sales, vintage jewelry stores or, even better, an heirloom ring handed down through the family.
Disadvantages: Not a good ring for active women, or can be just worn for special occasions. Unless you plan to upgrade your ring at a later date, you run the risk of it being outdated, or out of style in a few years.
This ring is perfect for the lady who appreciates vintage designs. Her style is eclectic and she may feel like she was born in the wrong century. She longs for times when women acted like ladies and men acted like gentlemen.
Floral designs are always romantic, making them perfect for engagement rings. There are various ways to add this feature to your design. It can be as subtle or over the top as you like, such as this blossoming flower ring from Zoara; small accent flowers like this ring from Allurez; this antique daisy ring from James Allen; or add subtle floral details like this ring from Blue Nile.
Advantages: A unique design for an eternal romantic.
Disadvantages: Smaller accent stones have a greater risk of coming loose. Depending on the design, you may only be able to have the ring sized a couple of sizes in either direction.
This ring is perfect for the true romantic. Her style is feminine and she believes in love at first sight.
Advantages: A split shank can provide extra support for larger stones or settings. It will also provide more air to reach your finger, in case you have sensitive skin.
Disadvantages: Because of the design, you need to find a jeweler who is familiar with working with split shanks for any maintenance or repairs. You also need to get a ring as close to your size as possible, as resizing can be an issue.
This ring is perfect for the woman who appreciates delicate details. She is always perfectly accessorized, and impeccably dressed from her nail polish to her shoes.
Whether you choose a fancy colored diamond or a gemstone, adding color to your engagement ring is very popular. Ever since Ben Affleck gave Jennifer Lopez a huge pink diamond ring, people have been obsessed with colored diamonds. Then came along Kate Middleton with the royal, blue sapphire engagement ring, and diamonds took a back seat.
What most people don’t realize is that the use of diamonds in engagement rings has only been popular since around 1950. De Beer’s famous “Diamonds Are Forever” campaign sold the masses on connecting the emotion of love with diamonds. Before that, most rings were designed with other gemstones.
Advantages: Choosing a gemstone over a diamond will cost much less. Colored stones allow you to have a truly personalized and unique design.
Disadvantages: Truly natural fancy color diamonds are very rare, thus expensive. Many companies use enhancement treatments to make a fancy color diamond maintain its deep, rich hue. Be sure to educate yourself on diamond treatments before buying.
This ring is perfect for the woman who doesn’t bow to tradition and is never a shrinking violet. She needs a ring that represents her unique and fabulous style.
Three Stone Ring
A three stone ring has three diamonds or gemstones set horizontally with a larger stone placed in the middle. These stones symbolize your past, present and future together. The three stones are traditionally round or square in shape, but not elongated.
Advantages: Your ring will be worth more if you decide to upgrade later because larger diamonds have more value. If you decide to have the ring reset at a later time, you will also have more options available without having to add more to the ring.
Disadvantages: Because the stones are set horizontally, you can only resize up to two sizes either way.
This ring is perfect for the woman with classic style. She values tradition and symbolism. The engagement ring, for her, should symbolize your life together as a couple.
As the economy has dropped, people are looking for rings that have either been passed down through the family or purchased from an estate sale. Even if they choose to purchase a new ring, there’s just something classic and elegant about vintage style, such as this fancy colored diamond ring from James Allen, this yellow gold wedding set from Jared or this elegant white gold princess cut ring from Zales.
Advantages: Depending on the ring, this is a great option for those on a budget.
Disadvantages: If the ring is truly vintage, be sure to have it thoroughly inspected. Be sure all stones are secure and the metal is strong. Over time both can wear thin. The diamonds may not sparkle as much as a new diamond because cutting techniques have changed drastically over the years.
This ring is perfect for the woman with an eclectic style. She appreciates vintage design and items that are unique.
Rose or Yellow Gold
For quite a few years platinum was the main metal used for engagement rings, and is still quite popular. However, it is a metal best suited for white diamonds. With colored stones making a popular comeback, it only makes sense that complimentary metals would also return, such as yellow and rose gold.
Advantages: Excellent choice for fancy colored diamonds and gemstones.
Disadvantages: These metals aren’t as strong as platinum. If your ring has a large stone, consider using platinum, even if it’s just for the prongs.
This ring is perfect for the woman who has a unique style. Her wardrobe contains warm, earthy hues.
Choosing an engagement ring is an extremely personal decision. With so many different choices in designs, there’s no reason to not choose one that perfectly fits your personal style, activity level and budget. Just because you’ve made the decision to buy an engagement ring, doesn’t mean you need to rush through the purchasing process. You’ll be wearing this ring the rest of your life. Take the time to choose the best engagement ring for you.