Once someone falls in love with ‘the one’, it doesn’t take too long to pop the big question either. Couples around the world search for the engagement ring which will signify their love but also their individuality, a ring that suits their unique style but also remains timeless like a natural diamond. The process of boiling down to the engagement ring is much like finding your partner…you need to feel it in the gut immediately.
The good news is, engagement rings have been the ultimate symbol of love for decades now and as a result, have adapted themselves with the changing times. An engagement ring that reflects your personal style and one that represents your love, all at the same time.
Evolution Through The Years
What we think of as a symbol of love today, was nothing more than a mark of ownership in ancient times. Not too romantic, right? The first time diamonds appeared on an engagement ring was as early as 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. According to the GIA, the ring featured long and narrow diamonds mounted in the shape of an ‘M’. Luckily, times have changed and the meaning behind an engagement ring has evolved drastically over the past few decades to symbolise a fresh take towards love and togetherness.
In the 1920s, engagement rings featuring the halo setting became quite popular in the wedding world, owing to the time’s fascination with geometric shapes and sharp lines. This also coincided with the height of the Art Deco period. The 1930s saw engagement rings featuring bands shaped like ribbons, with a single diamond as the centerpiece. The 1930s saw engagement rings featuring bands shaped like ribbons, with a single diamond as the centerpiece. Round cut diamonds rose in popularity in the 1940s. Many couples opted for the pear-shaped diamond engagement rings in the 1950s. The decade also saw larger diamonds and stackable bands in fashion. The 1960s saw the return of Art Deco with Asscher cut and emerald cut stones. The emerald cut diamonds continued to hold popularity in the 1970s. During this decade, brides also began to match their engagement rings to their wedding bands. Colourful diamonds and gemstones were huge in the 1980s. The 1990s saw a popularity in marquise cuts, also known as football cut. During this decade, rings became bolder and sharper too, courtesy to the rise of grunge culture in the decade. Cut to the 2000s, princess cut diamonds started dominating the trends, taking inspiration from the 60s. Lastly by the 2010s, cushion cut diamonds became the most popular choice for couples.
Celebrated jewellery designer, Pallavi Foley, has her own unique point of view when it comes to engagement ring styles: An engagement ring has a particular technical side to it, since it is a jewel that has to sustain the wear and tear of everyday life, yet needs to have a glamorous charm to it. So it must be sturdy-and-strong, stylish-yet-eternal, beautiful-yet-comfortable, personal-yet-adhering-to-symbolism.
Trends, Styles & Favourites
There are innumerable ways in which a diamond can be highlighted in terms of design styles and crafting techniques. Pallavi Foley lists down her top three favorite styles for a engagement ring below:
The Single Stone Solitaire Engagement Ring
The single stone, I would say, is a clever choice. I love how a single stone grabs the attention and with a large centre stone dominating the main character of the ring, the details of how to prop it up, its shank and setting details become very interesting to design. The design challenge is to achieve a dramatic look, with minimal metal, such that the focus goes directly to the diamond. The round brilliant cut might be considered a popular diamond as an option for a solitaire engagement ring, but other shapes of diamond look as beautiful if not more beautiful than the round.
A celebrity who flaunts this style of engagement ring and rightfully so is Anushka Sharma, which features beautiful dual gold bands studded with tiny diamonds and topped with a larger solitaire.
The Classic Three-Stone Engagement Ring
The three stone engagement ring setting style is a balanced and yet dynamic style. The proportion of the three stones to each other and to that of the centre stone can change the look of this style substantially. For me as a designer, this style allows me the flexibility to play with genres and the fancy shapes of diamonds. Round or a fancy shaped diamond usually makes the centre stones, and when paired with complementary side stones, the center stone gets uplifted and the interplay of shapes and sizes of diamonds makes it a visual treat, as many design styles have trellises, bridge accents and decorative/innovative styles.
A breathtaking example of this style is Deepika Padukone’s stunning engagement ring which features a cushion-cut diamond engagement ring.
The Single Stone Highlighted with Multiple Stones
This style can be called by various names – The Halo, Radiance or Aura setting, but it is essentially a setting with a large center stone that is highlighted by smaller diamonds set around it creating a magical aura of light.
This style can be used for medium to large size solitaires, as the centre stone surrounded by smaller stones creates an illusion of being greater in size. The centre stone’s power in other words, is enhanced by the contrast of many smaller stones all around it. Again there are so many ways of designing a ring with this style, so never be limited by terms, names or styles.
Cardi B’s oversized, pear-shaped eight-carat diamond in a halo setting is surrounded by smaller, tapered diamonds and is worthy of all the attention that it grabs. Examples of impeccable settings have been explored by celebrities across the globe.
Celebrity romances are plentiful but it’s always fascinating to see which style of an engagement ring they ultimately choose to forge their dreams of a happily ever after with. Meghan Markle’s three-stone diamond engagement ring with gems from Princess Diana’s private collection, weighs approximately 6 carats. Then there’s Priyanka Chopra’s 5 carat, cushion-cut diamond ring featuring baguette diamonds on either side.
Most recently, Ariana Grande’s oval diamond offset next to a lustrous pearl on a thin platinum band. Closer to home, Sonam Kapoor’s engagement ring was nothing short of extravagance either – a show-stopping pear cut solitaire diamond. While Kareena Kapoor flaunts her 5 carat platinum band diamond ring, even after 9 years of marriage.
Chances are you’ll find your special someone very rarely in your life, so it only makes sense to take your time with finding the ‘right one’ that sets your intentions in stone. Designing an engagement ring is an underrated process, it takes so many emotions, preferences, doubts, opinions and everything else in between into consideration yet it is turned into a beautiful piece of artwork which will eventually, subtly become an extension of your body, much like your love.