The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for marriage proposals (so it’s no surprise that Prince Harry recently popped the question to fiancée Meghan Markle), but that doesn’t mean engagement rings have to be predictable.
Rather than offering traditional diamond solitaire rings for brides, plenty of jewelry designers are creating pieces that haven’t been seen before.
“For decades the classic engagement ring has not changed, but the brides have,” noted Sylva Yepremian, the designer behind Sylva & Cie. “I find that the modern bride is looking for something as individual as her own self, and in my opinion, this is where the traditional engagement ring falls short of accomplishing its goal.” To meet the needs of modern brides, Yepremian and her fellow designers are dreaming up unique engagement styles that bend old-school rules: switching up yellow gold for white gold, à la Markle’s sparkler, or using colorful gemstones instead of traditional diamonds.
Alysa Teichman, vice president, business development of popular Dallas, Texas fine jewelry boutique Ylang 23, said that her fashion-forward clients are gravitating toward engagement rings that feature diamonds and gemstones set at off-kilter angles or that are placed above and below the band, rather than right on top. As stacking rings remain ever popular in fashion jewelry, women are also having fun curating their own bridal stacks instead of limiting themselves to the traditional engagement ring and wedding band pairing.
“Choosing a unique ring, or better yet, a unique stack, brings our customers so much joy,” said Teichman. “There is nothing better than knowing that you have created something that no one else in the world has.”
Designer Lizzie Mandler works one-on-one with her customers to create engagement styles that are completely tailored to their tastes. She explained that brides are open to re-thinking what a wedding ring can be, by substituting a stunning diamond eternity band for a diamond solitaire, for instance.
“I firmly believe that clients should get what they like,” Mandler said. “A woman’s engagement ring should be a piece that reflects her personality and style. I have seen an increase in women throwing out the tradition of a solitaire engagement ring and opting for something more suited to their lifestyle and/or budget by getting either a diamond eternity band or simply an interesting ring.”
Choosing a distinctive or unusual style doesn’t mean sacrificing a ring’s timeless appeal, however. Designer Eva Zuckerman of Eva Fehren has gained a cult following for her edgy bridal offerings that are more cool and minimalist than overtly romantic, but she always designs with the goal of creating an heirloom that will stand the test of time.
“The majority of our customers are looking for iconic, modern pieces that feel classic enough to pass on for generations,” Zuckerman explained, “but also represent their personal style and have thoughtful, sometimes irreverent details. We are always trying to walk the fine line between creating engagement rings are classic, while remaining effortlessly cool and modern.”
Whether a woman would describe her aesthetic as elegant or edgy, romantic or tough, today’s bride can find a ring that represents it all. Click through to see 27 stellar options for all kinds of brides-to-be.