When you are setting out to find the perfect engagement ring, there are so many different styles and designs to choose from. How do you know where to start looking? Do you want something simple or embellished? Traditional or modern? Solitaire or multi-stone? If you aren’t quite sure what styles you like, a bit of jewelry education can help make the task a bit easier. Today we look at three styles of engagement rings which have been popular throughout history – solitaire, two-stone and three-stone diamond rings.
One of a Kind: One-Stone, Solitaire Engagement Rings
The most classic of all engagement ring styles is the diamond solitaire. The solitaire ring is a band of metal set with a single diamond. This style of ring can be traced back to Ancient Rome, and was usually a gold band set with one uncut diamond. Some of these Roman rings still exist today, owned by museums or collectors. Diamond cutting was invented in the Early Middle Ages, and primitive diamond cuts such as the point and table cut, were held in place by gold bezels. As diamond cutting and goldsmith techniques improved, the bezels were often made in silver or gold and backed with silver foil to show off the diamond’s colour and sparkle better. Some antique designs used prongs to hold the diamond in place, but they differed from the styles of today in that the diamond was sunk deep into the metal to secure it. In the early 1800’s setting diamonds ‘a jour’ became popular, which was a style where the back of the setting was pierced open to allow more light to enter the diamond. In 1886 Tiffany and Co. debuted their ‘Tiffany’ setting, which was a 6-prong solitaire setting that held the diamond high above the band. This setting was revolutionary as it showed off every angle of the diamond and enhanced the stone’s brilliance. The Tiffany setting is still one of the most popular diamond settings in the world today. Modern settings can have 4, 5, 6 or more prongs holding the diamond in place. Like the Tiffany setting, most of today’s solitaires have the diamond raised up above the band. The solitaire setting may seem a simple choice, but in fact there is a lot of variation to choose from, like metal colour, diamond shape, the number of prongs, the style of the band and the design of the setting itself. The solitaire ring is the perfect choice for someone who wants their diamond to be the center of attention. This elegant and classic design ensures that this type of ring will never be a passing trend and will maintain its appeal for generations to come.
It Takes Two: Two-Stone Engagement Rings
The second type of engagement ring we are going to look at is the two-stone diamond engagement ring. This style of ring has gained popularity lately with many jewelry stores promoting these designs. The two stones can represent two people joining together in love, or one stone for friendship and the other for love. While the two-stone ring seems to be a rather new concept, rings with two central elements trace back to Roman times when wedding bands featured two hands shaking, representing the marriage contract. In the Middle Ages, a popular style of marital ring was the gimmel ring, named after the Latin word for twin. The gimmel ring consisted of two interlocking hoops that, when connected, formed one single ring. Each gimmel ring would have a gemstone set in a bezel setting, and when the two rings joined together the stones sat side by side. In 1776 Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to Josephine de Beauharnais with a two-stone “Toi et Moi” ring (“you and me” in French). The ring featured a pear shaped blue sapphire and a pear shaped diamond set opposite each other. This ring become one of the most famous engagement rings in history and started the “Toi et Moi” trend. Victorian era rings often featured two pear shaped gems that were set beside each other to form a heart shape, usually topped with a crown or a bow. Rings from the Edwardian era and Art Deco periods featured two stones (usually diamonds) flanked by a curving band in a bypass setting. After the Art Deco style fell out of favour, two-stone rings weren’t commonly seen as engagement rings. But like all trends, what goes around comes around and the last few years have seen a rise in this style of ring again. The two-stone engagement ring is perfect for the person who is a romantic and likes to be a little bit different from the rest. It is also a great choice for someone who may not be able to afford one large diamond, but still wants something that looks significant on their finger.
Third Time’s a Charm: Three-Stone Engagement Rings
The three-stone ring is often called a trinity or trilogy ring and it first came into style during the Victorian times. This style of ring traditionally displayed three stones of the same shape and cut with the center stone being the largest, although they could all be the same size as well. The three stones are symbolic, although there are different opinions on what they represent. The most popular belief is that the three stones stand for past, present and future, with the “present” stone being the most important. This idea was heavily promoted by De Beers and lead to the three-stone diamond ring becoming a popular anniversary gift. Other meanings of the three stones have been “friendship, love and fidelity”, the words “I love You”, and “father, mother and child”. The last few decades have seen this style of ring become popular as an engagement ring. The three-stone ring is fantastic because it comes in a huge variety of designs. The style can look classic using three stones of the same cut, such as three round brilliants or three princess cut diamonds. Or it can look completely modern using different combinations of stones, such as an emerald cut diamond set with two trilliant cut stones, or an oval diamond being set with two pear cut stones. The options are literally endless, with variations in metal choices, graduated or non-graduated sized stones, setting styles, combinations of diamond cuts or adding coloured gems into the mix. The three-stone engagement ring is a great choice for someone who is sentimental and symbolic. The wide variety of options means the three-stone ring can appeal to both the traditional and the modern jewelry wearer.
The types of engagement rings I have covered above only describe three options out of a limitless number of ring designs. There are, of course, the popular halo engagement rings, five-stone rings, eternity bands and the list goes on and on. If you are still trying to find the perfect engagement ring, a great place to look for inspiration is on Kimberfire’s Pinterest page where we have curated a fantastic collection of images.
Sara is the Jewelry Production and Social Media Coordinator at Kimberfire – a brilliant way to buy engagement rings, fine jewelry and loose diamonds in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from York University and a Diploma in Jewellery Arts from George Brown College. She is skilled in jewellery design using CAD software, as well as traditional goldsmith techniques. When she is not immersing herself in all things jewellery, Sara is a dog mom to Barley, her beagle mix rescue dog who loves a good tummy rub.