Engagement rings are something every girl dreams about from a young age. Seeing those commercials where the woman gets a big sparkly diamond from her significant other in some grand romantic setting like a snazzy restaurant or outside in the snow. Over time we get familiar with the different types of engagement rings out there and swoon when our favorite celebrity couples get engaged and we get to see the enormous rock they’re carrying on their hand. The types of engagement rings we favor can say a lot about our style and personality. And like clothing, jewelry trends evolve over time giving us new styles of engagement rings to choose from. Here I’ve compiled a resourceful guide to the types of engagement rings out there to give you a little help in choosing (or helping your significant other choose) what kind of engagement ring is right for you!
Types of Engagement Rings
Round Engagement Rings (Diamond, Moissanite, Morganite etc...)
The modern standard for the classic engagement ring. Just a simple round shaped diamond atop a sterling silver or 14K gold band. It’s a classic look that’s sweet and feminine without being too flashy. Depending on the size of the diamond, it can have a very modest look or stand out with a bigger diamond without looking too brash. The band is traditionally average width or slender, for a more delicate look. These round engagement rings are perfect for someone with more simplistic taste and effortless style. Pairs nicely with a sleek link bracelet or a slender wrist cuff.
Oval Engagement Rings (Diamond, Sapphire, Opal, Jade etc...)
In ancient times, the oval was a symbol for rebirth, immortality and fertility (possibly due to its egg shape). The oval is a great alternative to the classic circular stone. The oval can sit beautifully as a diamond on a slim gold band on its own or be adorned with smaller circular diamonds around the stone and along the band for a more regal look. Sapphires are also a popular choice for the oval cut.
A more recent trend is opal engagement rings in oval form. It’s a modern alternative to the classic diamond, representing lasting love, faithfulness and confidence. It is also considered a lucky stone which paired with the oval shape can bring together the promise of new beginnings (the oval) and long lasting loyalty (the opal).
Princess Cut Engagement Rings (Diamond, Moissanite, Morganite etc...)
Within the last decade Princess cut engagement rings became all the rage. A princess cut diamond is a square shaped stone cut more intricately than normal to exude more sparkle and brilliance. The princess cut makes for a truly exquisite engagement ring. Princess cut engagement rings are stylized beautifully with a smaller square cut diamond on either side, small pear shaped diamonds, a crown of small circular diamonds or on its own. The Princess cut has since recently been updated to compliment the rose gold trend. A rose gold band with blush colored diamond and accents. Another alternative color is champagne, for a more hollywood kind of look. Princess cut diamonds are perfect for you if you love glitz, glamour, and trending styles. For this look, the bigger the better!
Vintage Engagement Rings (Art Deco, 1920-1930, Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds)
One of the most unique engagement ring style of days gone by has to be the Art Deco engagement ring. The Art Deco style is best described as everything you see in The Great Gatsby. Bold lines, symmetry, geometric shapes, gold (usually mixed with deep blues and greens) and lots and lots of fantail imagery. Art Deco was huge in its heyday and influenced everything from interior design, fashion and architecture...and yes, engagement rings! Art Deco engagement rings combined geometry, symmetry, color, and non traditional shapes. It introduced the concept of a longways cocktail style ring as opposed to the traditional band. A lengthier feminine appearance with more often than not in a rectangular or marquise shape encrusted with diamonds into a fantail pattern or something more geometric. The engagement rings that weren’t in the cocktail style were thicker and were accented with sharp lines, shapes and patterns. Usually a splash of color like an emerald green or a deep blue with a small stone in the center. Rings like this are for old souls and those who fantasize about the glamour of the olden days. If you’re a flapper at heart, Art Deco is the perfect style for you.
In the 50’s, the rectangular emerald cut became very popular amongst hollywood starlets (Elizabeth Taylor owned a 29.4 carat emerald cut Cartier engagement ring, gifted to her by her third husband Mike Todd) as engagement rings or as cocktail rings to make a flashy fashion statement. The emerald cut is still popular today! Just ask Amal Clooney or Beyonce! Emerald cut stones are crafted with vertical and horizontal lines and nothing more (not to be confused with an emerald shape). Their appearance is a much more clean cut, airy kind of brilliance unlike that of a Princess cut which reflects off the smallest light source. When the sun catches it just right, and emerald cut engagement ring can be blinding. The look boasts class, poise and maturity. This cut and shape has evolved over time from the classic cocktail ring look to its more commonplace appearance as a set of three stones. Of course, this cut doesn’t end at diamonds. Naturally, women trying to mimic the style of old Hollywood might sport an actual emerald on their finger with this cut. Those who wish to make a bolder statement may try a stunning sapphire. Emerald cut engagement rings exude sophistication. If that sounds like you, this must be your dream ring!
Pear Shaped Engagement Rings (Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire etc...)
Also known as the tear drop engagement ring (but it's nothing to cry over), the Pear shaped stone is arguably one of the prettiest engagement rings out there and has been making a lot of appearances lately in modern media (Ariana Grande pre- Pete Davidson split, Cardi B, and Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner just to name a few). Famously, Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor (husband number five and six as they were divorced twice) a 69.42 carat pear shape diamond that was so heavy she converted it into a necklace so she could continue to showcase the fabulous stone (Liz might appear again in this list since she’s had about 8 or so engagement rings and they’re all fabulous).
Pear shaped diamonds are one of the hardest to cut due to its unique shape. Half marquise cut and rounded. But when crafted just right these stones are radiant and breathtaking. A pear shaped engagement ring is commonly seen crowned with several smaller round diamonds around the pear shape and alongside the band. An alternative style is a pear shaped diamond with a chevron band. Alternative colors for this jewel are champagne (with a gold band), pink (or rose with a rose gold band) and canary yellow. Significantly one of the bigger bolder engagement ring styles to compliment your sparkling, fun personality.
Simple Engagement Rings (Diamonds, Gold, Silver, etc...)
Nothing flashy, just a simple band and a simple stone. Or maybe no stone at all? For those of you who don’t actually care for big sparkly gems, there are plenty of engagement bands for a more subtle look. Try a traditional gold band with several small diamonds for a delicate but elegant look. Perhaps a simple silver band with one very small stone of your choice, a square cut or maybe a modest circle. Swap out a diamond for a different stone, like opal, moonstone, ruby, garnet or sapphire. If you prefer no stone at all, try a gold knot band or Claddagh ring (Irish/Celtic silver rings with a heart in hands). After all, an engagement is a symbol of love and can be anything you want it to be!
Pearl Engagement Rings (Pearl, Diamonds, Gold, Silver, Platinum)
Traditional for necklaces and earrings, the pearl is actually not an engagement ring type you see very often. It’s no surprise as the diamond industry has been booming for centuries. The pearl symbolizes clarity, purity, innocence and perfection. Pearls in jewelry has been around for centuries, but became more popular in the states around 1928 when they became more accessible on the market. In the 30’s due to the Great Depression, fine jewelry wasn’t as easy to come by and costume jewelry was all the rage. In the 50’s, a simple pearl necklace was the weapon of choice by women everywhere.
(Of course, worth noting that Elizabeth Taylor (yes, again) owned a very infamous pearl necklace called “La Peregrina” which was originally owned by Queen Mary I. Richard Burton (husband number five and six) won it at auction for her for $37,000. It was later sold at auction post Taylor’s death for $11.8 million dollars!)
Pearl engagement rings vary from very simple and unassuming, to a bit more complex, such as being surrounded by soft white diamonds, or being the center piece to gold or silver petals encrusted with jewels. And of course, pearl engagement rings come in a variety of colors. Most commonly white but also pink, lilac, chocolate and on occasion black. Pearls are a very neutral center piece for an engagement ring so the band can be almost anything and look beautiful paired alongside it. If the ocean calls to you, a pearl may be the perfect centerpiece to your ring. Live out your mermaid fantasy with a pearl engagement ring!
Sapphire Engagement Rings (Sapphire, Gold, Yellow Gold, Silver etc...)
The sapphire has a lot of symbolism and history. It's the birth stone of September. Ancient kings wore sapphire talismans to protect themselves from harm. In the Middle Ages sapphire was believed to be a healer of poisons. Some historians believe the tablets which the ten commandments were written on were made of sapphire.
Sapphire, traditionally a stunning blue, has always been the gem stone of nobility even in modern times. The late Princess Diana of Wales had an iconic blue sapphire engagement ring with white diamonds surrounding it (now being worn by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge). A common mistake people make is thinking that a sapphire can only be blue and when white mistake it for a diamond. Sapphire can be many colors, some of the most popular include blue, lavender, pastel blue, pink, champagne, and variations of green.
A sapphire engagement ring can really make a statement when surrounded in gold or yellow gold. Since blue is traditionally the color of royalty, this is perfect for you if you take inspiration from iconic royal weddings like that of Megan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, or Grace Kelly Princess Consort of Monaco. If you know you're royalty at heart, a sapphire engagement ring is perfect for you!
See our article on gemstone meanings for more on sapphire!
Cushion Engagement Rings (Diamond, Moissanite, Morganite, Sapphire etc... )
The cushion cut engagement ring is very similar to that of a round solitaire or a square cut. It's a combination of both, with a rounded square shape like that of a pillow or a cushion hence the name. They offer a square center center point and have a softer more rounded cut, quite the opposite of the Princess cut which is more sharp and geometric. There are about three different versions of the cushion cut, the original being the "Miner's Cut" from the nineteenth century, the modified cushion offering more facets for a icy kind of sparkle, and the brilliant cushion which sparkles similarly to a round brilliant cut and has an elongated shape.
Cushion cut gems are very popular with a halo setting, more often than not adorned with smaller diamonds to compliment the center stone. This type of engagement ring is commonly seen with diamond, moissanite engagement rings (lab created diamond), morganite engagement rings (a peachy mineral stone from the Beryl family) and sapphires, just to name a few.
Famous cushion cut wearers include Priyanka Chopra and Kim Kardashian-West (Kim's 15K cushion style ring is worth 8 million dollars!). Cushion cuts are for the glamour girl at heart. Feel like celebrity when you rock one of these!
The great thing about engagement rings is that they can be any combination of colors, shapes, cuts and accents you can imagine! The type of engagement ring you choose (or that your partner chooses for you) can speak volumes and is a unique piece in your love story. Whatever ring you end up with, you're going to look fab! Now all there's left to do is plan the rest of the wedding! Good luck!
- August 14, 2019
- Kristen Kish