Year in Review: Top 5 Engagement Ring Trends of 2011
By Devorah Isenberg , Tuesday, December 27, 2011
2011 is drawing to a close, and for all of those who got engaged this year, or for anyone planning to get engaged in 2012, it’s time to take stock of one of those all-important end-of-year issues—which engagement ring trends emerged this year? Which celebrity engagement rings sparked a style obsession that’s going to be around for a while? And which fleeting fads are going to disappear in the coming year.
- Kate Middleton may have revealed her engagement ring—the famous sapphire and diamond ring also worn by Princess Diana—in late 2010, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2011 that British and American brides alike began to pick up on this style in their own engagement rings. Throughout 2011, this interest in sapphires—especially in their most popular dark-blue tones—remained constant, keeping sapphire prices high and making them suddenly as fashionable and appropriate for a diamond engagement ring as diamonds themselves. Elizabeth Hurley elevated this trend to the celebrity level when she unveiled her own engagement ring recently—a huge sapphire flanked by two diamonds.
- The classic engagement ring will always be a single center diamond on a simple band, but this year, brides began experimenting with fashionable diamond rings that incorporated smaller diamonds into a pattern and motif, sometimes skipping the center stone altogether in favor of a more intricate design. This trend may have been inspired by the famous Twilight engagement ring, which featured a flat metal surface encrusted in pavé diamonds instead of a center stone, or by Twilight star Nikki Reed’s own engagement ring, which featured a row of small diamonds in a looping bezel setting.
For those brides that do opt for a single center stone, the round brilliant shape is beginning to lose its monopoly on the engagement ring. Celebrities and ordinary brides alike began to opt for more interesting, unique cuts, like the cushion and emerald cut, which feature a rectangular shape and a unique facet structure. Kate Hudson’s is an emerald cut—an elegant step cut that shows off a beautiful diamond to its best advantage, while Reese Witherspoon wears an Ashoka cut, a unique vintage style with its own sparkle and charm.
- They say good things come in threes, and that is certainly true of the three-stone ring, which surged to new popularity this year. Whether you choose a dramatically large center stone flanked by two small diamonds, or a center diamond with two contrasting colored gemstones, choosing a three stone ring is a great way to incorporate more than one design element into your ring. Elizabeth Hurley rocked a sapphire ring with two triangle-shaped side diamonds, while Jessica Simpson opted for a ruby center stone and two round diamonds as its side accents. Even Kim Kardashian’s famous ring was a three-stone, with a huge center stone and two equally impressive diamonds flanking it.
- Micro-pavé—a setting style in which tiny diamonds are set into a piece of metal, forming the illusion that the surface has been ‘paved’ in diamond—is a highly popular setting style this year. Seen on celebrities from Molly Sims to Amy Smart, the micropavé setting is often used to add sparkle to the band or halo setting of an otherwise simple engagement ring. It’s a great way to add visual appeal and style to a classic engagement ring setting and it’s the secret reason that celebrity engagement rings always look dazzlingly sparkly in photos!
Now, although all these trends emerged in force in 2011, they are likely here to stay. But one notable engagement ring style is unlikely to survive in the New Year. Enormous, excessive diamond engagement rings like the 20-carat number sported by Kim Kardashian during her blink-and-you-missed-it engagement and marriage are a dying breed. After all, most of the time, diamonds above a few carats have serious flaws in terms of cut and clarity, and those who buy them are falling prey to the “bigger is always better” mentality. But now that even a 20-carat ring and three Vera Wang wedding dresses could not buy Kim Kardashian wedded bliss, many of her Hollywood cohorts are realizing that smaller, but much higher quality diamonds are classier, prettier, and a whole lot more wearable. The same lesson applies to those who aren’t about to spend a million dollars on a diamond—no matter what your budget it, a diamond with high marks in cut quality will sparkle more and look more beautiful than a giant rock with serious flaws.
Here’s to some even more beautiful celebrity engagement rings and engagement ring trends in 2012! Happy New Year!
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