Written By: Vahid Moradi
Every ring tells a story. For a solitaire ring, the story is one of elegance and simplicity. When picking jewelry, it doesn’t get more refined than this classic design.
Solitaire rings are any ring with a single centered gemstone—no accent gems, no encrusted jewels. The clean look and versatility of this design has made it a timeless style. If you’re new to the world of engagement rings, the solitaire ring is a wonderful place to start.
Curious to learn more about what a solitaire ring is? Keep reading for the ultimate guide on the history, types, and benefits of this traditional ring.
History of Solitaire Rings
Solitaire rings carry a rich legacy, symbolizing love and fidelity across centuries. While it’s impossible to say when solitaire rings exactly began, diamond solitaire rings have a more traceable past. Let’s explore a timeline of the solo diamond ring:
- 1470’s – Until the Middle Ages, engagement rings did not include diamonds. Most couples instead opted for simple wood or metal bands. However, the Archduke Maxmillian of Austria changed that by commissioning a diamond engagement ring in 1477.1 This created a trend over the next few centuries amongst European aristocrats to buy diamond engagement rings.
- 1880’s – After the Industrial era, jewelers began inventing new designs to showcase the brilliance of machine-cut diamonds. These inventions included the Tiffany setting, created by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1886.2 This six-prong ring setting exposes maximum diamond surface area, setting the stage for modern solitaire diamond rings.
- 1940’s – Five hundred years after Archduke Maxmillian commissioned his ring, the British mining company De Beers began a campaign to sell South African diamonds. Thanks to a 1947 advertisement marketing “A diamond is forever”, sales of diamond engagement rings soared. The solitaire diamond ring became a staple design over the following decade.
- Present day – Nowadays, more than one-fifth of couples choose a solo diamond for their engagement ring.3 The simplicity and elegance of this ring design helps it retain a popular reputation.
Solitaire Ring Meaning
Quality over quantity—that’s the solitaire ring motto.
The simplicity of a diamond solitaire ring speaks for itself. With a singular gem, the design proves that you don’t need extra lavises to enjoy things of beauty. Over time, couples have chosen the solitaire engagement ring to symbolize the strong values underlying their partnership, such as:
Whether engaged or not, wearing a solitaire ring will always exude classic style. Tastemakers of all types can appreciate its clean and effortless look.
Different Types of Solitaire Rings
Despite their simplicity, solitaire rings still offer plenty of personality. Many buyers customize the ring’s three components—the setting, the gemstone, and the band—to create a look that fits their taste. Let’s explore the full range of solitaire ring design.
A ring setting includes any method of securing a gemstone to a metal band. Unadorned metal bands (often seen on men) have no settings since they have no jewels. However, a solitaire ring will always have a setting to secure its single diamond or gemstone, including:
- Prong – Elegant and minimalist, prongs are the most popular solitaire setting for a reason. In fact, some might argue that solitaire rings only have prong settings. Their pared-down look perfectly highlights a solo gemstone. Typically, this design includes six or four metal prongs that wrap around the gem. You can choose rounded, pointed, or flat prongs to reflect different levels of light.
- Cathedral – Similar to prong settings, a cathedral setting uses metal prongs. However, these rings also have two arcs that extend from the wedding band itself, sweeping up to hold the gemstone. This creates two romantic metal curves on each side of the gem.
- Bezel – This modernist setting fully or partially encapsulates a gem inside a sleek metal rim. The bezel setting is very secure, protecting a fine gem from scratches and outside force.
- Tension – A tension setting gives the impression of a “floating” gem. With compression, a tension setting holds a gemstone between a gap on the ring’s band. It’s a particularly unique and modern design.
With solitaire rings, only one gem gets to shine. That’s why it’s important to pick a high quality gemstone that matches your taste.
By far, diamonds are the most popular choice for solitaire engagement rings. About 85% of all couples choose a diamond stone for their dainty engagement rings, with 28% of that number picking solitaire diamond rings.3 However, there’s a range of precious gemstones that also step up to the spotlight, including:
No matter the jewel, every solitaire wedding ring or engagement ring needs a complementary metal band. The right precious metal sets the stage for each solo gemstone, uplifting its shade, cut, and brilliance. And with no secondary jewels, a band truly gets to shine on solitaire rings, often using quality engagement or wedding band materials like:
- Gold – Classic and stylish, gold is the most popular band for engagement rings.4 A warm yellow gold band is the most traditional choice, but unique options like bright white gold and romantic rose gold can equally amaze. While high quality, gold becomes soft and susceptible to damage above 24 karats. That’s why expert jewelers combine gold with other metals (copper, silver, etc.) to strengthen the material. Knowing the difference between white gold vs yellow gold will help you choose the right method on how to clean wedding ring or engagement ring at home.
- Sterling silver – For a luminous yet affordable option, sterling silver makes a beautiful solitaire ring. The moon-like glow of this metal creates a feminine and subtle beauty for any ring. Similarly to gold, silver must be combined with other metals to bolster its strength.
- Platinum – This rare metal has a clean and silvery shine, illuminating contemporary solitaire rings. Platinum is also incredibly strong, and it will withstand the test of time with little upkeep.
- Titanium – Once a factory material, titanium has grown in popularity as a ring metal. Like platinum, this silvery and clean metal resists damage overtime. However, you can not resize a titanium ring due to its strength.5
Which Solitaire Diamond is Best?
For many couples, a singular diamond is the ultimate engagement ring. However, not all diamonds shine so brightly on their own.
When picking a diamond, every jeweler will tell you to consider the four C’s— diamond clarity, color, carats, and cut.6 Out of all these standards, the cut has the greatest impact on a diamond’s look, transforming it from dull to magnificent. Luckily, the simplicity of solitaire rings embraces nearly any cut or diamond shape to shine. Look into these illuminating shapes for a solo diamond:7
- Round cut – The quintessential engagement ring shape, a round cut is circular and typically on the smaller side. For diamonds, this versatile shape highlights their inner brilliant core the most.
- Princess cut – Sharp and strong, a princess cut engagement ring or wedding ring is a glamorous look. These parallelogram diamonds have square or rectangular dimensions, creating a clean shape. To protect their sharp edges, experts recommend a protective setting like a bevel solitaire diamond ring.
- Emerald cut – This ornate cut dates back to the Art Deco era with its mix of curved corners and straight rectangular edges. An emerald cut diamond makes a romantic solitaire ring, bringing out the stone’s illustrious quality.
- Cushion cut – Like a mini pillow, a cushion cut creates a square-shaped diamond with rounded edges. Their vintage appeal and multi-faceted design make a subtly stunning look for any solitaire diamond engagement ring.
Benefits of a Solitaire Ring
Unsure why these simple luxury rings are so popular? Solitaire rings make valuable and durable additions to any jewelry collection. Their elegant design has benefits that more complicated rings typically lack, such as:
- Timeless style – Minimalist fashion rarely looks passe. With its clean look, a solitaire ring will look stylish today, tomorrow, or even decades from now. The singular stone instantly draws attention, highlighting your beautiful selection. Pick the right cut, and your solitaire ring can reflect light stronger than a multi-gem piece.
- Minimal upkeep – Over time, the maintenance of multiple gemstones on one ring can grow tiresome (and expensive). With solitaire rings, cleaning the single diamond or gem and setting remains simple.
- Less expensive – With solitaire rings, you’re only paying for one stone. Compared to extravagant halo or pave rings, you’ll likely pay quite a bit less for the same primary gemstone in a solitaire ring. Another benefit? Since their design is so timeless, solitaire rings rarely lose value over time. If you need to resell, you’ll likely receive close to the original value.
What’s the Average Cost of a Solitaire Ring?
Solitaire rings are often less expensive than accented rings. Yet even with one gem, the price of a solitaire ring can range widely. It all comes down to the type and value of its materials.
Depending on the stone and band, a solitaire ring can range anywhere from $500 to $20,000. However, the gem of choice will mostly drive the price. To estimate the value, here’s the average price of luxury solitaire rings with these gemstones:
- Diamond (clear) – $2,000 to $30,000 per carat
- Emerald – $3,000 to 10,000 per carat
- Ruby – $2,000 to $10,000 per carat
- Sapphire – $2,000 to $20,000 per carat
Note: Prices may vary heavily depending on the quality and type of stone.
Find Your Next Treasured Piece with CJ Charles
Timeless, elegant, versatile—a solitaire ring is built to last a lifetime. No matter your style, there’s a spot for this classic design inside your diamond jewelry collection. And with CJ Charles, you can find the ring that fits your own life’s story.
From diamonds to sapphires, our luxury ring selection brings the highest quality jewels to customers. Expert jewelers can help you navigate different cuts, bands, and stones to find your most fitting piece. Contact us online or visit one of our San Diego shops today to start your search!
Written By: Vahid Morai
Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.
- American Gem Society. The History of the Diamond as an Engagement Ring. https://www.americangemsociety.org/buying-diamonds-with-confidence/the-history-of-the-diamond-as-an-engagement-ring/
- Brides Magazine. Tiffany Setting Engagement Rings: The Complete Guide. https://www.brides.com/tiffany-setting-4846633
- The Knot. The Most Popular Engagement Ring Styles Right Now. https://www.theknot.com/content/the-knot-engagement-ring-stats
- Brides Magazine. Which Type of Ring Metal Should You Choose? https://www.brides.com/ring-metals-5070639
- The Diamond Pro. The Best Metals for Wedding Rings. https://www.diamonds.pro/guides/best-metals-for-wedding-rings/
- American Gem Society. 4Cs of Diamonds. https://www.americangemsociety.org/4cs-of-diamonds/
- Brides Magazine. The 12 Most Popular Diamond Shapes for Engagement Rings. https://www.brides.com/engagement-ring-cuts-5079122