Wedding Trends: Engagement Rings
Six sparkly styles to suit today’s opulent affairs
Today’s bride-to-be, according to wedding trend analysts, wants a wedding experience that’s on-trend yet highly personalized, with a heightened degree of opulence. For instance, the rustic theme so popular in 2013 now eschews hay bales and mason jars for lace and tall floral centerpieces. Lavish details also appear in heavy beading, whether it be on wedding attire, table linens or cakes iced to resemble their sparkle and texture.

Engagement ring styles are equally as opulent. The halo setting, still extremely popular, now surrounds its center stone with not one but multiple borders of smaller, uniformly sized, round stones. A number of jewelry designers such as Michael Barin are creating this style of engagement ring. His Tri Halo ring, for instance, features three rows of micropavé-set round diamonds encircling a round brilliant-cut diamond center stone, set atop a platinum band set with the same. Other designers are putting a twist on the style, with Mercury Ring intertwining the double halos of its Crazy Halo Engagement Ring for a multidimensional effect. Sylvie Collection is changing things up further, augmenting the traditional halo with an additional border of differently sized round diamonds. Jason Dow’s award-winning platinum Empress ring is another fine example: Its 1-carat round diamond center stone is surrounded by multiple rows of diamonds that alternate in size.

Engagement ring bands are also being designed with added embellishment. The split-shank style, for instance, wraps the finger with a band (or shank) that splits into two as it curves around the finger and connects to the center stone, with each split dotted with diamonds, thus doubling the dazzling effect. Coast Diamond and Sylvie Collection offer literal interpretations, while Danhov reconnects the split ends into elegant loops around the center stone in its Abbraccio Split Shank Engagement Ring. Michael M. also offers his own take with a handcrafted diamond-set band that splits and then intertwines into the shoulders of a platinum and yellow gold U-shaped center-stone mount.

Another popular ring shank style is what’s being termed the “bypass.” Instead of the shank ends connecting to the center stone, they bypass, or go around, the center stone, hugging its top and bottom. The result is a dramatic showcase of the center stone, as if two hands are cradling something prized and precious. Gabriel & Co. offers a direct representation in its white gold Contemporary Bypass Engagement Ring, as does Steven Kretchmer with his platinum MQ ring highlighting a marquise-cut diamond. Claude Thibaudeau, meanwhile, creates a variation of the style, shaping the shank and single-prong setting of his platinum Le Tour Eiffel engagement ring on an angle to reproduce the lines of the famous French monument.

Each of these styles lends itself well to another emerging trend in engagement rings: an east-west orientation of the center stone, as opposed to the traditional north-south orientation. This means simply that shapes and cuts such as oval, emerald and marquise are flipped on their side. Standouts in this category include a platinum engagement ring from Uneek’s Signature Collection with a cushion-cut diamond center stone, a white gold engagement ring from Sylvie Collection with a marquise-shaped diamond center stone and Danhov’s Per Lei collection, which features center stones such as an emerald-cut yellow diamond and an oval-shaped blush topaz.

Speaking of color, it has certainly been legitimized in engagement rings today due to celebrity engagements such as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Olivia Palermo (yellow diamond), the Duchess of Cambridge and Penélope Cruz (blue sapphire), Halle Berry and Olivia Wilde (emerald), Jessica Simpson (ruby) and Jenny McCarthy (yellow sapphire). For 2014, blue, especially in deep shapes such as royal blue and navy, is considered one of the top wedding colors, according to wedding trend analysts. It also stands for purity, love and fidelity in the Old English rhyme “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in Your Shoe”—the basis for one of the most time-honored wedding traditions. This, of course, makes colored gemstones such as blue sapphire an obvious choice. Also hot for weddings this year: purple—particularly Pantone’s “Radiant Orchid”—a harmonious blend of purple, fuchsia and pink undertones—citrusy shades and coffee colors from warm tans to rich mochas. In colored stones, this translates to (among many) amethyst, citrine and colored diamonds from champagne to brown. Look to designers such as Coast Diamond for a variety of engagement ring styles featuring colored stones.

The perennial favorite floral motif is also on tap again this year. Florals are a mainstay for spring and bridal fashion, and this season is no exception, whether they’re rendered as South American embroideries or giant South Pacific hibiscus. Jewelry designers such as A. JAFFE are incorporating the theme with the Art Crafted Floral Engagement Ring Side Stones and Statement Diamond Petal Engagement Ring from the Season of Love Collection. Here, we have a ring of flowers and diamond-studded “petals” as the settings for the center stone, respectively. Harout R takes a different approach, crafting flowers on the shank of his Platinum Diamond Floral Design Shank Engagement Ring, as does Jeff Cooper with his Leah engagement ring that features a cherry blossom-inspired motif on the band along with a distinctive dovetail setting for the center stone.

Regardless of whichever style suits you, your engagement ring will be a glorious symbol of your love and commitment to each other and of your hopes and dreams for the future. No other single piece of jewelry will ever be as important or carry with it the same excitement and magic.
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