A natural diamond ring has remained the universal symbol of love and commitment across cultures for over a thousand years because of their indestructible nature, extreme rarity, and the fact that no two diamonds are alike, making them as unique as your love story. The miraculous journey diamonds go through to make their way to us is also the perfect metaphor for our relationships. Formed on average 1 to 3 billion years ago, the value of natural diamonds comes from their uniqueness and rarity as a billion-year-old gem.
Diamond rings today can also be fresh, stylish, dynamic and diverse in design, making it easier for you to choose and design a ring as unique as you. From modern minimalist to artisan-style to colorful and classic and everything in between, our ultimate guide to Engagement Ring Styles and Settings was created to make it easier for you to discover the diamond ring that best represents you.
Halo Set Diamond Rings
A halo engagement ring surrounds the central diamond with a swirl (or two) of smaller, pavé-set diamonds. A forever classic, the halo setting gives the illusion of a larger ring without requiring you to break the budget. It also provides the center stone with added protection against the knocks it is likely to receive throughout everyday wear. A further advantage of the halo setting is the extra sparkle that comes from the light dancing off the facets of all those smaller gemstones in addition to the central sparkler. Today, the halo setting is used to complement many different diamond shapes, from round and oval to fancy cuts.
Artisan-Style Diamond Rings
An artisan-style engagement ring appeals to those brides in search of a ring with an understated, perfectly imperfect beauty. Whether it be through the texturing of the metal or ancient, hand-applied techniques such as granulation or filigree, an artisan-style ring bears the marks of the prideful hands of the goldsmith who put their heart, soul and countless hours at the workbench into its crafting. The antithesis of machine-made technology, these rings celebrate the uniqueness of every naturally beautiful diamond; its perfect imperfections are particularly suited to those seeking a rough diamond or salt and pepper diamond engagement ring.
East-West Diamond Rings
If you are looking for an engagement ring that will subtly stand out from the rest, then an east-west setting could be your perfect match. The choice of supermodel Natalia Vodianova in her betrothal to LVMH’s Antoine Arnault, an east-west style features a stone set horizontally—as opposed to vertically—on the band. The setting, ideal for a pear-shaped, marquise or emerald-cut diamond, has directional appeal for the contemporary bride, and also a timeless elegance for a more traditional happy forever after.
Bridal Diamond Ring Set
Once you have the engagement ring, then you need to select a wedding band that works with it. Choose to get creative or make it easy with a bridal ring set where both rings fit together like a puzzle. With endless possibilities available, an integrated engagement and wedding ring set that fits together perfectly can work for the everything-in-its-place bride, who seeks seamless perfection on their wedding finger as much as they do on their big day. It can also work for those seeking added drama: a jacket-style surrounding a smaller center stone gives the illusion of grander scale and can also provide a striking contrast in terms of stone cut, color and overall silhouette.
Alternative Diamond Rings
The first rule of engagement rings: there are no rules. Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter diamond solitaire. The newest diamond rings come in wildly different settings that a purist might eschew as ‘cocktail rings,’ but the new generation is embracing as emblems of their own personal style. And why be boring? Animal shapes, multi-finger rings, mixed materials like diamonds with color-treated gold…anything goes for the unconventional bride.
Vintage Diamond Rings
Vintage engagement ring styles offer endless varieties for those seeking something with character and old-world charm. Whether you choose a delicate Edwardian ring with the soft, characterful sparkle of an old-cut diamond, or the charm of a Georgian fedé gimmel ring in which two bands lock together to form clasped hands in betrothal, there is a timeless, undeniably romantic appeal about a ring with a mysterious past. If you are keen on a vintage or antique engagement ring, it is worth doing your research to pick your preferred style and then to have your choice checked with a reputable jeweler to make sure all stones and settings are secure enough to withstand another lifetime of wear.
Gypsy Set Diamond Rings
One of the hottest ring styles is the gypsy setting where the diamond is set flush with the gold band, resulting in a look that is bold, solid and weighty. Any cut of diamond can be made into a gypsy setting: It enhances smaller diamonds with a rich gold setting and also gives larger stones a more subtle appearance since it’s set into the gold, rather than elevated. The gypsy setting portrays a cool seventies vibe, although it was originally a product of the Victorian era. Added bonus: typical prong settings can leave the diamond precariously open to mishaps, but gypsy settings protect the stone from a lifetime of wear.
Men's Diamond Rings
Why should women have all the fun? More men are choosing to swap the classic band for one with diamonds, and designers have risen to the occasion with modern rings featuring masculine sparkle. The best designs retain the thickness and weight of a men’s band and elevate them with the seriousness of a precious stone. A top choice is the signet ring, a perennial menswear favorite, which can be made more special with a diamond inset. A knife-edge band with linear baguettes can feel more architectural than glamorous, and black or brown diamonds offer an understated image.
Diamond Eternity Bands
The classic eternity ring features diamonds set neatly in a never-ending circle of gold, a symbol of eternal love. A traditional style that has been remixed and reinvented by today’s designers, over time the cut of the stones has evolved, linking together heart-shaped diamonds or stair-stepped baguettes. New styles feature wider bands set with a mosaic of diamonds or thread-thin bands with pavé diamonds. Once just a sidekick to the solitaire ring, the new eternity bands are strong enough to stand on their own.
Art Deco-Style Diamond Rings
As we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Art Deco movement, the style is more relevant than ever before. The flapper era brought us jewelry with cubist-inspired geometric lines, symmetrically clean designs and contrasting colors in a fresh mix of materials. It’s a primary source of inspiration today for designers who have built upon its strong framework, revising and perfecting it, and making it their own. The results are timeless designs, based in history but with all the innovation of today.
Fancy Colored Diamond Rings
If you love the color pink, blue or yellow, look for a fancy-colored diamond ring—just be sure to keep in mind that any intense colored diamond is going to be more expensive than a colorless stone. The bonus is that colored diamonds are collectible and have proven to be a good investment. To stay within budget, look for smaller fancy colored diamonds, which are dainty and understated, or less intense colored diamonds. In addition to the precious pastel colors, there are more affordable black-, brown- and champagne-colored diamonds, which range from medieval to modern-looking.
Rough and Salt and Pepper Diamond Rings
Diamonds in their natural form—rough, included and organic-looking—are a great alternative to the classic sparkler. These unique stones, with heavily included salt and pepper diamonds, are for both men and women who want to express their individuality with a more understated, earthy diamond ring that’s beauty shines through in its imperfections. The bonus: rough and included diamonds are typically more affordable than faceted stones so brides can get a larger rock for less. The newest rough diamond rings come in a range of styles, from delicate stones in hand-forged settings to big, organic-looking rocks in opaque shades of white, champagne, chocolate and black.
The Best Classic Diamond Rings
A classic solitaire, pear-shaped or emerald cut ring on a simple band or flanked by side stones is a forever favorite. When you consider that you will likely wear this ring for decades to come, it really makes sense to select something that will never grow old or tired. So even if you are tempted by the latest jewelry trends, make sure your engagement ring has lasting appeal and reflects your sense of style. There’s a reason the classic round diamond remains the top selling diamond for 50 years and counting.
Fancy Diamond Cut Rings
If you want a classic ring with a twist, a great option is to surround the central stone with fancy cut diamonds, such as hexagons, kite-shaped or shields. These unique diamond cuts create visual interest that can appear modern or even slightly edgy. As more brides look for unusual engagement ring styles, fancy cuts including heart-shaped or triangles are also being used as a central stone. This is a great option for showing your sense of individuality without going to extremes.
Modern Minimalist Diamond Rings
Simple, sleek diamond ring designs express a sense of relaxed, lived-in luxury. If your style leans modern, there are endless diamond ring choices, from understated designs to bold, graphic and streamlined. Here, the diamond is usually integrated into the design rather than the focal point. This unconventional direction is becoming more popular among brides who want diamond rings that suit their more casual lifestyle and modern sensibility.