Unlike most other pieces of jewellery, an engagement ring is something you will rarely take off. Once that sparkler is on your finger, you’ll be wearing it every day for years to come, so it’s vital that it fits in with your lifestyle and personality. While each person’s taste is individual, generally jewellers find that there are certain personality types that tend to be drawn to particular ring styles and diamond shapes.
Traditional brides who like to keep it simple with a classic, timeless look will find it hard to beat a stunning solitaire ring. The solitaire style comprises a single stone, often in a prong setting, and sometimes with smaller diamonds lining the band.
The most sought-after diamond shape for a solitaire – the round brilliant cut – is by far the most popular style of engagement ring worldwide, and one that has stood the test of time. The brilliant cut is designed for maximum sparkle, with each facet scientifically calculated to optimise the amount of light reflected.
For traditional with a vintage twist, try the elegant marquise and oval shapes. If you want some extra bling, opt for accent diamonds along the band in a pavé setting – the ideal complement to the traditional solitaire design. The sophisticated Asscher cut is also popular among brides who want a vintage-style engagement ring that will never go out of fashion.
Minimalists who prefer pared-back elegance with a modern slant often prefer the clean lines of the emerald or princess cut diamonds. The eye-catching rectangular emerald cut is one of the rarer diamond shapes and has a larger surface area than a round cut.
Another attractive option for fans of contemporary chic is the popular princess cut. This square diamond shape is one of the most brilliant diamond cuts, second only to the round brilliant cut.
In keeping with the sleek modern look, consider a channel setting for accent diamonds. This setting offers understated sparkle as the smaller stones are placed inside the band, filling a ‘channel’ within the precious metal.
Another option that would further streamline the look is to design an engagement ring that will also double as a wedding band, or choose a simple eternity style with small diamonds encircling the band.
The sky’s the limit for brides who wish to stand out from the crowd. With a custom-made ring in the gemstone, cut, setting and metal of your choice you can create a truly one of a kind piece.
Rare coloured diamonds such as grey, pink, yellow, champagne, blue, and even black diamonds are growing in popularity and are perfect for those who love a pop of colour. Other colourful gemstones such as sapphire, amethyst, citrine, emerald or topaz offer an affordable alternative to diamond.
A halo style can be the ideal accompaniment to a coloured gemstone, as the shimmering halo of diamonds perfectly sets off the main centre stone and can make it appear larger.
The pear shape is one of the least common diamond cuts, but no less beautiful. Shaped like a teardrop, this flattering cut can make the wearer’s fingers look longer. A heart-shaped stone is also a very distinctive choice for those in search of something a little bit different.
The radiant cut is another slightly more unusual cut, and it certainly lives up to its name. Similar in shape to an emerald cut, the radiant has greater brilliance due to its 70 light-reflecting facets.
The three stone setting is relatively uncommon compared to more popular settings like the solitaire and halo. It usually features a larger centre stone with a smaller stone on each side, or three identical stones of the same size. Adventurous brides can mix it up a bit by choosing different coloured gemstones, or by changing the formation of the three stones with a bespoke design.
Brides with an active lifestyle, or who work in professions such as healthcare or early education need an engagement ring that is designed to avoid snagging. Rings with a high setting are best avoided; instead, try a bezel setting. This type of setting holds the ring in place with a smooth ring of metal, which means it won’t catch on clothing or equipment. The channel setting for accent diamonds along the band is also perfect for this purpose.
If you think your engagement ring might be subject to a lot of wear and tear due to your lifestyle or occupation, consider choosing a ring made from platinum. This precious metal looks just like white gold, but it is stronger and more durable.
Over time, the plating in white gold dulls and develops a yellowish tinge; this type of metal needs to be re-polished and re-plated about once a year. Platinum, however, does not fade and is a very low maintenance metal.
Couples who are concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of the diamond mining industry can now choose sustainable alternatives that won’t compromise on style and sparkle.
Synthetic, or lab-grown diamonds are now widely available – and the good news is they are identical to mined diamonds in every way. Scientists ‘grow’ diamonds in a lab by recreating the same processes, such as extreme pressure and heat, that natural diamonds are exposed to in the earth.
Not only are these diamonds the most ethical option, but they will also get you more bang for your buck. Lab-grown diamonds are extremely cost effective because the producers can cut out the middle men and there are no mining costs.
The most brilliant gemstone in the world, the moissanite, is also grown synthetically in a lab. Natural moissanite comes from rare meteor fragments, but most commercially available moissanite is lab-grown.
Moissanite is a unique gemstone that has a higher brilliance than diamonds, and is almost as durable. Diamonds score the maximum 10 on the Mohs scale, which measures the hardness of gemstones, while moissanite comes in at 9.25. Visually, moissanites and diamonds are virtually identical, with moissanites providing just as much sparkle for a fraction of the price.