When it comes to fashion, anything goes—yes, there are trends that come up seasonally and Instagram rabbit holes that lead toward a mass yearning for certain “likeable” items, but the fun of it lies in celebrating your own unique sense of style. That’s as true in apparel as it is in jewelry, and as applicable to statement earrings as it is to engagement rings.
In 2018 brides-to-be gravitated toward alternative stone shapes and unique settings in their engagement rings. An anti-traditional approach to this once-super-traditional item has poured into 2019. Yes, classic diamonds will forever have a place in this market, but even the most timeless of engagement ring styles are being subtly revived and revisited, according to four industry pros: Katie Zimmerman, chief merchant officer at Blue Nile; Dayna Isom Johnson, trend expert at Etsy; and Jess Hannah Révész and Chelsea Nicholson, cofounders of the direct-to-consumer brand Ceremony.
“A lot of the trends we’re seeing aren’t necessarily new; they are an updated take on traditional style. The influence of the trends are a mix between customization options and modernization,” says Zimmerman. Shoppers are moving away from round diamonds, which have long been a favorite for brides-to-be, in favor of so-called fancy-shaped diamonds, like oval, pear, emerald, cushion, and marquise. She says, “Fancy shapes have been around for many years, but they are becoming a stronger trend than ever before. I’m seeing it heavy in engagement, whether it be as a single stone or used in a three-stone setting to mix and match shapes.”
Isom Johnson describes 2019 as the year of “being real” with engagement rings, with brides exploring options that are more aligned with one’s personality than with what’s traditional. “For generations, the diamond has been the ultimate stone for proposing, but today’s bride isn’t tied to the norm,” she says. “Couples are moving away from cookie-cutter bling and opting for one-of-a-kind engagement ring styles instead, which can often come with a lower price tag than a traditional diamond ring.”
Hannah Révész agrees, adding that there’s a “general shift in values” when it comes to shopping for engagement rings, as shoppers become more conscious of ethics, sourcing, and recycled materials, as well as adopt a bigger “focus on design and less on having the biggest flashiest ring possible.” If you or your S.O. are procuring a ring in 2019, she says, it’s about “prioritizing good design, quality craftsmanship, and materials.”
This isn’t to say there aren’t certain stylistic elements that are sweeping the industry. According to these experts, some popular elements include vintage-inspired bezel settings and Art Deco details; toi et moi (a French term for “you and me,” referring to two stones) and three-stone rings; and simple bands replacing a solitaire ring altogether. Should you pick out something that feels of-the-moment now and have your tastes change down the line, it’s all good—you can always reset a stone: Zimmerman says to “[not] be afraid to try a trend because down the road you can trade up. The best thing about a natural diamond is it carries value. You can reset your diamond into a new setting or change the way it looks and feels on your finger with added bands.”
Whether you’re set on a fancy-cut solitaire, are drawn to the simplicity of a band, or simply want to go all-out maximalist with your engagement ring, check out 10 styles that will prevail in 2019.