13 Diamond Ring Styles and Settings
You might be surprised to learn that the origin of the “traditional” wedding included a very nontraditional and unique diamond engagement ring. The “traditional” white bridal dress, multi-tiered cake, and procedure all come from Queen Victoria, who was such a big celebrity at the time that people have copied her since.
However, one thing we didn’t copy was her gold snake engagement ring—which had an emerald head and ruby eyes. This is a striking contrast from what we typically associate with traditional weddings—a solitaire diamond engagement ring.
Over the past century, different engagement ring styles have been most popular for certain years or decades. Some styles of engagement rings have come back and then faded out of popularity again.
Today, the most popular diamond ring styles are unique engagement rings that are personal and meaningful. Here’s our guide to the most current popular diamond ring styles and settings, designs, diamond shapes, band styles, colors, and more—with intriguing facts and buying tips.
The different styles of engagement rings have evolved over the years. They have shifted from ornate to minimalist, classic to unique, vintage to modern, etc—it’s all about creating new trends and innovating on old ones.
The main categories of a diamond engagement ring’s style are the following:
- Diamond ring band styles: The shape, thickness, and type of metal for the gold band.
- Diamond ring settings styles: The specific ways the rings secure the gemstones.
- Diamond ring cut styles: The different shapes and cuts of the diamonds.
- Diamond ring craftsmanship: The details in the form and embellishments of the engagement ring as a whole.
- Diamond ring gemstones: The types of accent diamonds, or colored gemstones featured in the ring.
Changing these different elements of a diamond engagement ring is what creates a new look, for a unique engagement ring that suits your style preferences. Fortunately, the newest engagement ring trends are all about personal style, making it easy to find a meaningful diamond ring while fitting in with the current trends. (If symbolism and significance of engagement rings interests you, check out our post on diamond engagement ring meanings.
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- Diamond Ring Styles
- Diamond Ring Setting Styles
- Diamond Ring Cut Styles
- Tips for Choosing an Engagement Ring
Diamond Ring Styles
When diamond engagement rings first reached mainstream popularity due to the DeBeers marketing campaign in 1947, the first popular engagement ring style was the solitaire diamond ring with baguette-cut diamonds on the sides, 1947.
In the early 2010s, cushion-cut diamonds in white gold bands became the most popular choice for diamond engagement rings. Currently, the most popular engagement ring styles for 2021 are much more diverse. We’ll get into the different diamond engagement ring styles below.
Vintage and Antique
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Vintage and antique diamond engagement rings are back in style and it’s no wonder why—some designs are so beautiful that they never go out of style.
Gorgeous vintage and antique rings are heirloom-quality, making them the perfect inheritance ring to pass on through generations. They are known for their striking designs and elegant touches.
There are a variety of antique-style diamond engagement rings that date back to different eras. Whatever antique style you choose, vintage engagement rings are alluring—they radiate charm and a slight mysteriousness.
For a retro-era style antique engagement ring, opt for simplicity and crisp designs that allow the diamonds to speak for themselves. You may wish to opt for an emerald-cut vintage diamond engagement ring with diamond accents, which is similar to Aretha Franklin’s chic and simple 1960s engagement ring.
Or, for the extravagance of 1980s engagement rings, opt for a cocktail-style vintage blue topaz engagement ring, which you can buy for only a little over $2000. These rings exude the charisma and brilliance of Princess Diana’s cluster engagement ring.
You can further customize your ring choice with a variety of diamond colors and qualities, including unique and chic champagne-colored stones or preppy pink diamonds.
Unique Engagement Rings
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Some of the most popular styles of engagement rings right now are unique diamond engagement rings. These real diamond engagement rings feature intriguing designs, gorgeous stones, and dazzling diamonds to reflect a bride’s beauty, as well as her unique style and personality.
The idea behind a unique engagement ring is all about self-expression. If you find the perfect unique diamond engagement ring, it will stand out from the crowd and become an accessory tailored to your individuality. These eye-catching, one-of-a-kind diamond ring designs are truly impressive and memorable, making them the perfect way to present your marriage to the world.
For the woman who’s not like the rest, a black diamond engagement ring is a great idea for unique engagement rings that are not like the rest. Though black diamonds are even rarer than white diamonds, they’re just too different for many people to consider, so they’re surprisingly much more affordable than white diamond rings.
If black diamonds aren’t your thing, another popular idea for a unique engagement ring is blue gemstone diamond engagement rings. Different types of blue gemstones for engagement rings are blue sapphire, blue topaz, or blue diamonds.
Each unique engagement ring is highly personalized, often including ornate and lavish design touches. Further design customization of diamond colors and ring qualities create the personable touch that makes the engagement ring unique to you.
Cheap Diamond Engagement Rings
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While the average cost of a diamond engagement ring is $5,500 in the United States, if you’re looking for cheap diamond engagement rings, there are many beautiful real diamond engagement rings for under $5,000 and under $1000—there are even diamond engagement rings under $200.
To save money on diamond engagement rings, consider black diamonds, halo settings, and cluster-style engagement rings. You can make your affordable engagement ring unique ring by mixing traditional white diamonds with fancy color diamonds
The best way to buy a good cheap diamond engagement ring is to purchase from a store that manufactures its own engagement rings. This cuts out the cost of the middleman—other retail stores have to add an additional charge to their jewelry because they buy their engagement rings from a manufacturer.
Diamond Ring Setting Styles
When looking at settings for engagement rings, you’ll find that there are many different styles of setting and mountings. When making a decision, you’ll want to consider lifestyle habits and working conditions, as well as your preferences for aesthetics. Here are the most popular diamond ring setting styles right now.
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This gorgeous setting style is one of the biggest engagement ring trends for 2021. In this style of ring setting, the center gemstone is surrounded by a "halo" of smaller diamonds that emphasize its sparkle and provide the optical effect of making the main diamond appear larger.
An instant modern classic, the halo-setting engagement ring is also more affordable. You can achieve the look of a large diamond engagement ring without the price of a 3-carat diamond.
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Just as how Jackie Kennedy popularized the emerald-cut diamond engagement ring in the 60s, Meghan Markle (one of our celebrity customers) really popularized the three-stone setting engagement ring. Harry custom-designed the three-stone ring himself, which features a three-carat cushion cut center diamond from Botswana, which is a meaningful place to the couple. Gwen Stefani’s engagement ring also features three stones.
A 3 diamond ring mount showcases a dazzling trio of balanced diamonds harmoniously. For a unique engagement ring, consider colored gemstones, such as a three-stone ruby diamond engagement ring. Cut shapes for the center stone can be round or fancy shaped, which are paired with side stones for maximal elegance.
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The solitaire setting features a single, stunning diamond. It became the most popular diamond ring setting after the advent of the Tiffany® Setting. Solitaire engagement rings showcase the beauty of a high-quality diamond, with maximum brilliance.
Because the light is able to easily strike a solitaire diamond, the round brilliant diamond (the most sparkly diamond shape) is the most popular stone for solitaire engagement rings. That said, you can opt for a unique solitaire diamond engagement ring by choosing unique diamond shape, such as a solitaire trillion cut diamond.
Diamond Ring Cut Styles
Throughout the years, the popularity of different cut shapes for diamonds has changed quite a bit. While the round cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape of all time, due to its brilliance, even unpopular diamond cuts have had their 15 minutes of fame. For example, the typically unpopular rose cut diamond has been getting more attention lately due to Lilly Collin’s engagement ring, featuring a pink diamond.
About 50% of couples choose the round brilliant shape in many diamond ring styles and cuts, but this has been changing in recent years. Here are some of the most popular diamond ring cut styles right now:
Round Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
Round brilliant diamonds have the optimum facets (58) for the highest sparkle. Even smaller diamonds look spectacular in the round shape—especially in a cluster style that mimics the look of higher-carat diamonds
Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
The princess cut features a square shape that offers almost as much brilliance as round diamonds. It’s more geometric than the cushion cut, creating sharp, eye-catching angles. Princess cut diamonds are cheaper than other cuts, and the shape looks great on minimalist and simple diamond engagement rings, as well as elaborate styles.
Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
Cushion cut diamonds have recently become one of the most popular shapes for engagement rings, due to their luxurious and unique appearance. Designed in the 1800s, this cut was the most sought-after for the time because it exemplified the newest diamond cutting technology. It’s a round shape with squared edges, and it looks phenomenal in antique and vintage style diamond engagement rings.
Oval Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
The most popular diamond shape for 2021, the oval shape diamond is not only stunning, but it’s one of the most durable diamond shapes for engagement rings. Oval diamonds were designed in the 1960s, to create a sophisticated shape that works well as a modern classic with a unique flair. Oval-cut diamonds are a good alternative to round diamonds since they’re cheaper, yet they still provide an elegant round shape with stunning brilliance and reflective qualities.
Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
The emerald shape is a refined shape that provides a timeless retro elegance to engagement rings. Diamonds that are emerald-cut will look bigger than diamonds of the same carat weight, and they are more affordable. They harken back to the Art Deco Era engagement ring styles of the 20s and 30s, as well as their return to popularity in the 60s. Today, you can opt for vintage emerald-cut diamond rings, or ones with a modern flair, such as a rose gold band.
Pear Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
Since pear-shaped diamonds recently became really popular, it might surprise you that the pear shape is quite an older style diamond shape; it was first created in the 15th century. It’s hard to find well-cut pear-shaped diamonds, so when you own one, it stands out. The shape is hard to ignore and makes the diamond even more eye-catching than some traditional shapes. You can also get away with a slightly lower-quality diamond in a pear shape because the shape can hide inclusions better than some other cuts.
Marquise Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
Although popular right now, the Marquise diamond shape traces its origins to the French court during the reign of Louis XV. According to legend, the shape of the diamond is said to be a tribute to the shape of Madame de Pompadour, his mistress. The Marquise cut diamond looks like an elongated oval diamond, but with points at either end. This makes it look larger than other stones of similar carat weight. It’s also called a navette diamond, after the French word for “little ship.” It’s identifiably a European-style engagement ring.
According to various fashion magazines, the hottest diamond shape trend in 2021 is large oval-shaped solitaire diamond set on a thin band—either pavé or plain. More buyers, including celebrities, are opting for simpler styles of diamond engagement rings. Shailene Woodley’s engagement ring follows this trend. A thin band makes a diamond look larger, so the minimalist look is still spectacular.
Tips for Choosing an Engagement Ring
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When choosing where to buy an engagement ring, keep in mind that market trends in jewelry shopping have changed quickly, and not all stores are keeping up with the new trends. More people are shopping online to find unique diamond engagement ring styles, to shop a greater selection of the latest styles.
When it comes to buying diamond engagement rings, most people still tend to buy from Bricks & Mortar stores—most of which buy their engagement ring from a large chain jeweler (i.e. Kay, Jared, Zales) and a slightly smaller percentage buying from a local or independent jeweler.
That said, it’s a good idea to avoid chain jewelry stores when buying a diamond engagement ring. Chain jewelry stores make a huge profit on engagement rings—their price is much higher than the quality of the diamond engagement ring warrants. Furthermore, their customer service has a very mixed background, which is why some people avoid buying from chain jewelers like the plague.
Here are the things to look for in a store when buying an engagement ring online:
- Look for a grading certificate on the diamonds you’re interested in, or ask for one if you can’t find it.
- Look at the seller’s reviews. There shouldn’t be 5-star reviews on every product—this is suspicious, especially if the seller has new products. There also shouldn’t be a lack of reviews whatsoever or reviews that are lumped together so that you can’t find a review for a specific product.
- Look if the seller sells natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, or synthetic diamonds. They should make a clear distinction between real diamonds vs diamond simulant engagement rings.
- Look for warranties and a return policy. The seller should be up-front with you and these policies should be listed on the website or in the store.
- Look for how long they’ve been in business or what their qualifications are.
- Check if they’re a manufacturer or if they only resell diamond rings. Some places offer both, and some only offer one or the other. Buying from a manufacturer is one of the best ways to save money on a diamond engagement ring.
Wherever you shop, make sure to establish communication with the seller. This is important because chances are, you’ll have questions about the engagement ring, and you’ll want to establish trust with the seller. In case you need to ask about the warranty, returns, or repairs, you’ll want to know you can reliably communicate with the seller in an open and friendly manner.
Here at ItsHot, we have over 20 years of professional service manufacturing jewelry. We offer custom diamond rings—as well as wholesale diamonds and engagement ring settings. We’re located in NYC, but we aim to provide an online shopping experience that’s just as good as our famous in-store experience.
We were recently awarded the 2020 WeddingCouple’s Choice Award, an accolade honoring the top wedding professionals for quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism reviewed by couples on WeddingWire. Establishing this trust with buyers is the most important thing to us. For the best deals on men's diamond rings, check out our website, and visit our Bridal Collection.
Founder of ItsHot.com
Denis Stepansky is a founder of ItsHot, a diamond jewelry and watches store based in NYC. He has been in the jewelry business for about 20 years and owns such high-end jewelry brands as Luccello and Luxurman. As a jewelry expert, he has citations on well-known magazines and newspapers like Insider and Daily Mail.
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