Perth-born, Sydney-based Olivia Bond spent years working in auction houses – from Sotheby’s in London to Shapiro in Sydney – before taking a job at Bulgari’s Castlereagh flagship. She set out on her own as a private jeweller and gemmologist in 2014. Here she rounds up the biggest engagement-ring trends you can see sparkling on the hands of brides-to-be, with styles to suit a range of budgets.
Despite being considered a purchase that will last a lifetime, like anything, engagement rings are not immune to trends. Here are four cuts on the rise for discerning buyers.
Two- and three-stone rings
You can thank model and actress Emily Ratajkowski for the two-stone ring style that dominates current trends. The internet was abuzz when she debuted her yellow-gold ring, which featured both a princess cut (a square or rectangular stone with four beveled sides) and a pear-shape diamond (shaped like a tear) set side by side. This design is not only beautiful but adds more sparkle without breaking the bank: two smaller stones will always be less expensive than one larger stone of the same quality, even if the total is the same carat weight. This is also true of three-stone rings, made popular by the classic but personal engagement ring Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle with. It involved a cushion-cut centre stone flanked on either side by a round-cut diamond belonging to the personal collection of his late mother, Princess Diana. Three-stone rings were hugely popular in 2018 and you can expect to see the trend continue.
Another emerging trend can be seen not so much in the stone itself, but in the way it is set. East-west settings – those where an elongated diamond (such as emerald cut, pear, marquise or oval) is set sideways (across the finger) rather than longways, as is the convention – are becoming increasingly popular. Ever since Emily Weiss, the founder of cosmetics company Glossier and beauty blog Into the Gloss, debuted her east-west marquise diamond ring in 2014, the trend has been slowly but steadily gaining momentum. It’s easy to see why – the setting is a modern take on the traditional engagement ring aesthetic and allows the bride to show some individuality, while still remaining classic. It’s also the perfect setting to choose if you have a tendency to be irresolute, as your stone can easily be reset in the future if you decide you would prefer the conventional setting, after all.
Coloured stones and diamonds
Ever since the Duchess of Cambridge debuted her much-talked-about deep-blue sapphire engagement ring back in 2010, coloured stones have been on the radar. Since then, they have steadily gained popularity due to their unique style, but also because they can be less expensive per carat than colourless diamonds, meaning you can have a more substantial coloured stone while the equivalently priced diamond would be smaller. Thanks to Princess Eugenie's incredible padparadscha sapphire ring (that has no doubt popped up on your feed due to the media coverage of her recent wedding), the trend does not look like it’s going to wane anytime soon. A word of warning though – it’s best to choose coloured stones that are hard (such as rubies and sapphires) rather than softer stones (such as from the quartz family or opals) if you want your engagement ring to last for your lifetime.
Elongated shapes: pear and oval
There was a time when just about everybody wanted the round, brilliant cut diamonds as their engagement ring shape of choice. There is good reason for this – these diamonds are painstakingly cut to 58 facets to reflect light and create maximum sparkle and brilliance. The shape has long been considered the epitome of elegance, ever since Tiffany debuted its “Tiffany-style” six-claw round brilliant cut setting in 1886. But while the classic round brilliant cut will always be in style, there is an emerging desire for other elongated shapes, in particular, pear- and oval-cut stones, from prospective ring buyers. Firstly, so-called “fancy” shapes (anything other than round) cost less per carat than round, which of course means you get more diamond to love for a lower price. Second, oval and pear shapes, when well cut, will be more flattering on the hand compared to their round cut equivalent; the longer shape gives the impression of elongated fingers. One caveat, it’s important to get the right advice on the cut quality of the stone as these shapes are more likely to have dark spots or a “bow-tie” effect, which is best avoided.
Get in touch with Olivia Bond to secure an appointment (she is also happy to travel inter-state) here.
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on December 5, 2018. Some details may have changed since publication.