The hardest part about hunting for an engagement ring is beginning the search process. For those who aren’t obsessively saving ring photos to their phones, how does one know what type of metal or diamond shape they want? If you and your significant other are thinking about making this first big step towards tying the knot, it will be helpful to know the top 2021 engagement ring trends before you decide on buying an actual ring. (For brides who are sure of the style they want, you might want to consider quickly perusing through this list just to make sure nothing else catches your eye.)
TZR tapped seven industry experts to help narrow down the most popular ring designs people are shopping for. “This year, we’ve seen a major rise in engagement rings that focus on traditional but modern styles,” says Mona Akhavi, CEO of sustainable fine jewelry brand VRAI. “Both bride and groom alike are looking for ways to make their perfect engagement ring be more sentimental, so they’re opting for unique bands and diamond shapes that touch on their personal style and values.”
Aside from modern styles, other trends that are in the mix for 2021 include people’s preferences for an antique diamond, which you’ll read about below, and surprise diamond details, like a hidden halo. At the end of the day, however, regardless of what is “in” at the moment, the most important quality about your engagement ring is that the piece should feel special, and unique, to you.
Now, without further ado, scroll on to discover the five engagement ring trends you should know.
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According to Catbird’s Creative Director Leigh Plessner, 14k and 18k gold pieces are the most sought-after look at the moment. Sorellina’s co-founder Nicole Carosella agrees, noting that bolder, gold-heavy designs tend to be more popular due to their functionality and durability.
“The majority of the rings that we have made in the past year have been in chunky 18k yellow gold settings,” she tells TZR. “Besides the center stone, we often use a lot of step-cut accent stones like baguettes, trapezoids, or shields. The gold settings mixed with the step cuts make a beautiful combination where art deco meets modern.”
Opt for a chunky ring style like the one from Chris Aire, below, or if you like daintier styles, look to Jennie Kwon for a more ring stack-friendly option.
Another style that saw an uptick in demand this year is the halo setting — a design where small stones circle a larger stone. “The Round-Center Princess Halo Ring, Signature Round Halo Ring, and Signature Emerald Halo Ring were [our] most popular engagement ring styles in 2021,” Verlas co-founder Nidhi S. Dangayach shares. “While solitaire rings have been a strong preference in engagement and anniversary rings, we find that customers are gravitating towards these designs to add grandeur to their ring at a great value for their purchase.”
According to jewelry designer Ashley Zhang, brides are currently seeking out antique diamonds for their rings. There are two types of antique diamond cuts: an old mine cut or an old European cut. The old mine cut describes round diamonds that were cut before 1890, which makes them extremely rare. Old European cuts, on the other hand, are slightly easier to find, so Zhang says customers often opt for them as the more viable option. (PSA: If you want an antique diamond engagement ring, look sooner rather than later.)
Non-Traditional Stones & Settings
Engagement rings with stones other than your classic diamonds is perfect for the non-traditional bride. “People want engagement rings that are not delicate and feel more original,” Carosella says. “We've also seen a heightened interest in emerald cuts, especially in a non-traditional stone such as a blue sapphire — a mix of modern and art deco,” notes Plessner.
Surprise Diamond Details
In addition to wearing unconventional stones, brides are also looking for small details that can add extra charm their bauble. According to Senior Vice President of Merchandising & Retail at Brilliant Earth Kathryn Money, hidden diamond halos, diamond-accented galleries, and other unique details have all been very much in demand this year. “This unique trend offering diamonds crafted beneath the ring’s center gemstone is intended to add extra sparkle and unique personalization to otherwise understated styles,” she tells TZR. “The hidden accents are often paired with solitaire styles and are timeless modern classics with a twist.”