11 Engagement Ring Styles You Need to Know About in 2021
Leave it to a pandemic and long-term social distancing to make us appreciate the people we love the most. It’s no surprise that 2020 has brought us a lot of loved-up couples looking to take the leap into marriage. That means more weddings to look forward to in 2021, but in the meantime, it’s time to pick out some rings!
Here are a few of the engagement ring styles you should know about for 2021, including a few you might find surprising and at least one you may have never even heard of before.
1. Two-Stone Engagement Rings
Solitaires are très chic and three-stone rings have been understandably en vogue for a while, but this year is reserved for two-stone rings. These sparkly duos are innately romantic, and depending on the setting, they can feel quite avant-garde, too. Some versions feature two stones of varying sizes for an artfully asymmetrical look. Others use the stones to stud the ends of an open ring. No matter which style resonates with you, the symbolism will be clear for all to see.
2. Blue Engagement Rings
Colored stones have surged in popularity in recent years, but blue seems to be particularly sought-after this year. It’s likely no coincidence that Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020 is “Classic Blue,” an elegant hue that’s reminiscent of a dusky night sky but that also has regal and almost military (think Navy!) undertones.
Many people don’t realize that about one-quarter of engagement rings sold worldwide don’t even have a diamond as the center stone. Instead, people buck tradition and go with color. If blue strikes a chord with you and your soon-to-be spouse, blue sapphire is a solid option, but that’s not the only blue gemstone. Check out aquamarine, blue topaz and tanzanite for starters, and ask your jeweler what other choices they may have for you to explore.
3. Statement Bands
One of the popular engagement ring styles for 2021 eschews the go-to center stone and instead goes big with a majorly dramatic band. From eternity bands that feature 360 degrees of sparkly stones to masterful engraving and all kinds of metalwork and detailing in between, these bands may be paired with a more understated wedding ring or stand on their own — because they can!
4. Vintage Engagement Rings
There’s a lot about 2020 that makes people long for simpler times, and that wave of nostalgia is manifesting in everything from haute couture to holiday decorations. Vintage engagement rings fit right into the heartwarming trend, but don’t mistake retro for quaint or old-fashioned. These vintage styles are nothing short of stunning, especially the Art Deco-inspired rings that perfectly straddle 1920s glam and modern sophistication.
Expect this vintage trend to really pick up speed in 2021, with jewelers creating bespoke vintage-inspired settings. You can also update a family heirloom, either by using the center stone in a new setting or upgrading the stones in a ring already beloved by your family for generations.
5. Sustainable Engagement Rings
As people become increasingly conscientious about where their jewelry comes from, sustainable engagement rings will likewise continue to rise in popularity. The best jewelers go beyond sustainability, though. In addition to ensuring mining and manufacturing processes are as eco-friendly as possible, companies can take other steps to create engagement rings that honor customers’ values:
- Support the Kimberley Process, an effort designed to support the trade of conflict-free diamonds
- Encourage transparency by including sourcing information with each diamond or diamond jewelry purchase
- Offer lab-grown diamonds that are both affordable and guaranteed to be conflict-free
6. Yellow Gold Engagement Rings
Guess who’s back? White gold, platinum and titanium seem to be the unofficially official engagement ring metals of the 21st century, but after a short flirtation with rose gold, consumers are once again falling in love with the yellow gold their parents and grandparents preferred. It may be another nod to nostalgia or just evolving tastes, but expect to see yellow gold engagement rings and wedding bands in both modern styles as well as vintage settings.
7. Moissanite Engagement Rings
If you’re never heard of moissanite, don’t worry; you’re far from alone. Although this gemstone was discovered well over a century ago, it’s only gained traction fairly recently. The best part? This stone is literally from outer space — or at least it was originally. True moissanite is an extremely rare mineral first discovered in 1893 by French chemist Henri Moissan. Moissan discovered diamond-like crystals in an Arizona meteor crater. Ten years later, he realized those “diamonds” were actually silicon carbide.
Today, the moissanite used in engagement rings is made in laboratories. While it’s easy to mistake a moissanite stone for a diamond at first glance, just as Moissan himself did, there are some differences. Though moissanite is almost as hard (and therefore almost as durable) as a diamond, it has a unique type of brilliance that mimics a rainbow or disco ball.
Couples that choose a moissanite ring are likely to get a quality product for a reasonable price while still enjoying a gorgeous, eye-catching piece of jewelry. Plus, it comes with a wonderful origin story!
8. Custom Engagement Rings
Designing a ring from scratch is a lovely way to ensure the final result is as personal and heartfelt as possible. Engagement rings are innately romantic, and the amount of love put into each purchase doesn’t change depending on if it’s a DIY design or “off the rack.” But customization does come with some advantages, and it can be a rewarding path for anyone who wants to create a piece that mirrors their mate’s personality, interests and personal aesthetic.
When you design your own engagement ring, you get to select your setting, including your preferred metal, as well as your stones. Whether you love a twisted band or feel especially inspired by nature, you can take the things you care about and turn them into a timeless, sentimental ring that’s truly one of a kind.
9. Three-Stone Engagement Rings: Revisited
Three-stone engagement rings aren’t new, but the 2021 version won’t look quite like what you expect. Traditionally, three-stone rings have a larger center stone flanked by two smaller stones, one on either side, like an A-list actor with a complementary supporting cast. But the updated triple-stone rings are all about impact — three large statement-making stones that share the spotlight.
These stones may be identical for visual cohesion and a balanced design, or there may be three stones that are similar in size but that differ in cut or even color. It’s bling, bling, bling and one majorly jaw-dropping ring.
10. Minimalist Engagement Rings
Sometimes you feel flashy. Other times, simplicity suits you just fine. One interesting engagement ring trend in 2020 is a penchant for streamlined designs. No bells, no whistles, no engraving or pave-set side stones — just a striking stone and a delicate band. And “striking” doesn’t necessarily mean “big,” either. This is the perfect opportunity to invest in a smaller stone that’s of the utmost quality, with impressive clarity and captivating brilliance.
11. Stacked Engagement Rings
The stacked ring trend is super fun and allows for exponentially more customization. Not only do you get to pick out multiple rings, but you can also design several bands to complement each other. Stack several eternity bands to create major gemstone magic, or choose a few minimalist rings that represent different places, people or important events.
Stacked rings also allow for a ton of flexibility. You can take off a few bands to make it more comfortable to work out or travel or change the order in which you wear the rings for a different effect. Some people like to wear stacked engagement rings as-is pre-wedding, then split them up to flank their wedding ring after they say, “I do.”
Once you fall in love with your engagement ring, the meaning behind it ensures it’ll never go out of style. But while you’re still shopping around, knowing which engagement rings are trending for 2021 could help you narrow your focus and discover which styles you truly love. When in doubt, try designing your own ring from scratch — you may be surprised what you find yourself gravitating toward!