By the Project Wedding staff for our sponsor, Blue Nile
Diamonds have long been a symbol of love and commitment, the preferred stone adorning the ring fingers of the engaged. For ring shoppers, the sparkly options seem endless. The cut of the stone, setting style, band metal and personal style all factor into finding the perfect ring.
The most popular diamond shape is the round diamond, often called the round brilliant. Fifty-eight triangular facets direct light from the bottom of the diamond through the crown for that ultimate sparkle. Created by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919, diamond cutters have been perfecting this particular cut for nearly 100 years, giving you a versatile stone that shines in both modern settings and elaborate designs.
The princess is the most popular non-round choice with brides-to-be. First created in London during the "swingin' sixties," this many-faceted, pointed-cornered gem varies in shape from square to rectangular and has a mirrored effect. While stunning as a solitaire, the princess works very well in eternity bands, as the edges line up to create a seamless wall of stones.
The emerald cut diamond is one most associated with the term "ice." The art deco shape earned its name in the 1920s when the cut was used primarily for emeralds. Its flat surface with lean rectangular facets spotlights the stone's clarity.
The Asscher cut is named for the Asschers of Amsterdam, gem cutters for Britain's royal family, who designed the shape in 1902. It's essentially a square version of the emerald, with a high crown and stepped sides. The dramatic profile was popular through the ‘30s, and is perfect for vintage lovers.
This brilliant-cut stone flatters the finger with its distinctive elongated shape. The Marquise diamond works well with others; consider setting it with round or pear-shaped stones. The gem can be worn either vertically (as Victoria Beckham does) or horizontally (as per the preference of Catherine Zeta-Jones).
The oval's brilliance and versatility can rival that of a round, but with the added advantage of its shape accentuating slender ring fingers.
The rectangular radiant diamond is known for its trimmed corners. First introduced in the 1970s, the long step-cut and triangular facets optimize its light refraction.
The pear is also known as the teardrop. The unique shape boasts a single point (facing up) and rounded end. Keep in mind that this unusual and feminine diamond often goes solo as few wedding bands can fit beneath this stone's underside.
The unique shape and obvious symbol of love make the heart-shaped stone a distinctive and romantic option. Louis XIV had heart-shaped diamonds in his collection.
The cushion-cut diamond, also known as "pillow-cut," is a square stone with rounded corners and large facets to ensure maximum brilliance and making it a popular choice for more than a century. More shine than sparkle, this diamond is often set with surrounding tiny diamonds.
There are numerous ways to set a ring. Prongs, usually three to six of them, hold a solitaire diamond. This is the most popular engagement ring setting, centering the diamond to reflect the most light.
A three-stone setting lines up three diamonds that represent the past, present and future.
The increasingly popular bezel setting encases a single stone in a collar of metal. This modern style is a great design for active brides, and the encircling metal ring both protects the diamond's edges and makes it appear larger.
The boxter setting features a frame of little diamonds surround a central diamond. This makes a small gem appear larger and creates a unique feminine statement.
Platinum and gold are the top picks when it comes to band metals. Platinum is considerably more expensive but is also the strongest jewelry metal and won't tarnish or wear away. Most jewelers recommend the more secure platinum prongs in solitaire settings, even if the band is gold. Yellow gold provides a warm hue and traditional look, whereas white gold provides a more affordable non-yellow option. Gold is a softer, more malleable metal, yet the 18k gold band remains the most popular engagement band choice.
Custom bands with floral motifs and geometric shapes are also on the rise. Some brides prefer a band as their engagement ring; with the dazzling options and a less-expensive price tag, the eternity band continues to be a favorite.
Choose a ring she'll want to wear forever.
Learn more about engagement rings here!