When shopping for the perfect engagement ring, one of your first observations will likely be the incredible variety of styles. Engagement rings come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from complex and intricate to simple and elegant.
An engagement ring is a big decision, but don’t let that scare you. This is your opportunity to find the perfect engagement ring and to choose something you and your fiance will both love. Even if you find yourself wondering, “Are engagement rings and wedding rings the same?”, we are here to help! Let’s get you caught up on everything you need to know about the different styles of engagement rings so you can make the best possible choice to find the perfect ring!
A Quick Education
To understand the different styles of engagement rings, you must first become acquainted with the star of the show...the diamond! When choosing between specific engagement ring styles, you must know a thing or two about this precious stone.
Don’t worry; you don’t need to become an expert overnight. CJ Charles is well equipped to offer our expert advice on how different styles of diamonds pair with different types of engagement rings.
The Four C’s
When deciding on a diamond for an engagement ring, you really want to be focused on “The Four C’s.” Carat, clarity, cut, and color all impact the overall brilliance (i.e., shine and sparkle) of your diamond. The Four C’s are a classic way to grade a diamond, giving the stone an overall score and a basis of value.
Typically, the higher a diamond scores in each category, the more expensive the stone becomes. Here’s a quick rundown of each descriptor and how it impacts your diamond selection while choosing an engagement ring.
This refers to the weight of the diamond. Diamonds are measured in carats, and typically the larger the carat, the higher the price. However, not all carat weights are created equal.
For example, a lower clarity diamond is less appealing and less expensive, meaning a diamond of equal carat weight with higher clarity would cost more. Traditionally diamonds for engagement rings fall anywhere between .5 and 2 carats.
Clarity is one of the single most impactful factors when grading diamonds. It’s important to note that very few diamonds are flawless. As a result, there are small blemishes within or on the surface of most diamonds. These flaws are called inclusions. In most diamonds suitable for an engagement ring, these inclusions are almost invisible to the naked eye.
Inclusions range from none in a flawless diamond to visible with the naked eye in included diamonds. In between these two extremes are slightly included (SI), very slightly included (VSI), very very slightly included (VVSI), and internally flawless (IF). Additionally, for SI, VSI, and VVSI, there are subgrades of 1 or 2, with 1 being the more included version and 2 being the diamond with better clarity.
The cut does not necessarily refer to the diamond’s shape and style (i.e., Pear vs. Round Cut) but instead to the stone's overall width and depth. When a diamond is cut, it is cut to refract the maximum amount of light regardless of shape.
When grading a cut, a certified gemologist measures the overall proportions of the diamond and the precision of the facets. The best cuts maximize the sparkle and brightness of the diamond.
This is probably the most self-explanatory category as it refers to the actual color of the diamond itself. Traditionally, the less color a diamond has, the more rare and valuable it is. The less color a diamond has, the more the light can refract within the stone, creating those beautiful and sought-after shimmers.
When shopping for a diamond, color can have a large impact on brilliance. The grades of colors fall between “D -Colorless” and “K - Faint Color.” The scale descends all the way to Z and then as you see more yellow in the stone the “Fancy Yellow” diamonds begin. Fancy yellow is also rare and therefore more valuable as the saturation of the yellow color intensifies to “Fancy Vivid.”
Styles of Diamonds in Engagement Rings
Now that we have a basic understanding of how diamonds are assessed, let’s look at some of the most popular diamond styles for engagement rings. There are two basic categories of diamond shapes that you will need to be familiar with when selecting between different styles of engagement rings.
Rounded engagement ring cuts feature the classic round cut and the incredibly elegant marquise cut. In contrast, the square style of diamonds features the decadent emerald cut and the coveted princess cut.
Here are some of the most popular styles of rounded diamond ring shapes:
Perhaps the most popular diamond shape for a classic engagement ring, the round cut is a standard for good reason. A round cut maximizes the amount of light that is reflected back to the viewer, maximizing brilliance and luster of the diamond. Perfect all by itself or tastefully paired with a gorgeous halo, the round diamond cut is as traditional as it is coveted.
A wonderful alternative to the classic round cut, the oval cut diamond achieves the same light-attracting characteristics as the classic round cut with a more unique shape. Typically, oval cut diamonds are a preferred choice for a smaller stone as the oval tends to be more noticeable on the finger.
This diamond style is currently experiencing a modern resurgence due to its combination of elegance and previous lack of popularity. This once unpopular cut has become a niche favorite, as it represents a rarity within diamond styles. Boasting both a beautifully curved bottom and a striking point, the pear cut is intended to be worn pointing toward your fingernail.
The cushion cut diamond is a popular choice if you are on the fence about choosing a round or angular cut. The cushion cut is somewhere between an oval and a square with a cube-like shape but all rounded corners. This style of diamond is most popular with a halo.
This pointed oval shape looks like a vertical eye shape with a point at each end. Perfect for someone with long, dainty fingers, the Marquise cut is striking due to its elegant shape and is bold due to its distinctive style.
Here are some of the most popular styles of rectangular engagement ring diamond shapes:
The princess cut is the closest thing to a square cut diamond that you will find. This diamond appears to be a true square from the top down, but it is actually rounded on top, coming to a point at all four corners. This unique style of diamond allows the light to interact with the stone as if it were round cut, while the square shape creates the illusion that the center stone is bigger than it really is.
Named for its similarity to an emerald's classic shape, the emerald cut diamond uses bold, sharp lines to tier the diamond from the top surface to the outer edges. This tiered surface creates a window into the center of the diamond, perfect for diamonds unencumbered by color.
Named for its ability to radiate and reflect sparkle, this cut is a cross between the princess and the emerald cut. It can be more rectangular like an emerald or more square like the princess, this classic diamond style is a brilliant cut with kite and triangular facets making it ideal for hiding imperfections within the stone shape.
This square-style diamond shape is most similar to an emerald cut diamond due to its sharp lines and tiers. The perfect symmetry has the ability to draw the eye to the stone's center. Unlike many of its square and round style counterparts, the Asscher cut draws attention from the outer perimeter inward, making the middle of the stone the focal point.
Choosing a Setting
Once you know the type of diamond cut that best suits your style preferences, choosing a ring setting is the next big step. Here are the four of the most common styles of engagement ring settings:
A halo engagement ring is a classic way to accentuate and accent the diamond in your engagement ring without drawing attention away from the stone. In fact, many jewelers advise that a halo setting is a great way to amplify a smaller stone. A halo ring features smaller diamonds around the central diamond's outermost edge, giving it the appearance of, you guessed it, a halo!
This engagement ring setting style is perfect if you are interested in having smaller diamonds set within the band in addition to the diamond on top. There is an array of styles and possibilities, but typically, small round brilliant stones are channel set or set in prongs along the band and sometimes in the basket underneath and around your main center stone.
Perhaps the most popular engagement ring the diamond is the star of the show, simply centered on a thin band. The diamond is often supported by a prong setting with either four or six prongs that sit on the top of the band. Ideal for diamonds with a rounded shape, the solitaire ring likely comes to mind when someone says the words “diamond engagement ring.”
Three Stone Setting
More commonly referred to as a Trinity Ring, the three-stone setting is a great way to accent a smaller diamond. While this setting can certainly accommodate a large center stone, many people choose this setting as it affords the use of smaller, less expensive stones. It should also be noted that this setting can be a mixture of accent stones and isn’t exclusively reserved for diamonds alone.
Choosing the Perfect Ring Style
The universe of engagement rings is filled with a wide variety of styles, shapes, and combinations. While it may be easy to become overwhelmed or intimidated, know that CJ Charles is here to help. From becoming aware of how an engagement ring should fit to learning how to choose an engagement ring, we can help you with all the important details!
The good news is that there is no right or wrong answer when choosing an engagement ring. You and your significant others’ personal preferences will influence your decision more than anything else, and that’s exactly how it should be.Familiarizing yourself with different styles of engagement rings allows you to have a better understanding of your options but if at any point you feel overwhelmed, remember that we’re at your service! Check out our engagement rings in San Diego to find your partner’s dream ring today.