In 2021, fashionable trends are displayed on more platforms than ever with jewellery styles and imagery abundant on screens and phones around the globe, as couples have needed to look online during a time when visiting the showroom has been impossible.
Couples, designers and jewellers are showing signs of super-creativity in this more optimistic year, but also timeless designs are very much in favour too.
Engagement rings are tremendously special objects, which must be treasured and adored, and also must be spectacular – they have to look gorgeous. They are also, of course, so much more than just objects – they are powerful symbols of our humanity and our love for one another.
Love is eternal and Covid is but fleeting, thankfully. Although wedding ceremonies may have changed dramatically, the yearning for togetherness hasn’t changed at all – perhaps it has taken on a new meaning and shape.
So, what about the meaning and shape of a diamond engagement ring this year? Well, it’s more meaningful than ever, and diamond shape preferences may shift, the diamonds themselves remain solid and dependable…
What’s likely to be hot in 2021 in rings and diamonds? Whether it’s very early days in diamond ring related discussions, or you’ve had a pretty fair idea what your dream engagement ring looks like for years, you’ll want to be up to date with the latest trends before taking the next steps with your partner, designer and jeweller…
More and more, couples are seeking to convey their own flair and difference through their rings. People are coveting the more unusual cuts and also unique custom-made settings.
As well, it’s no secret that ‘secrets’ are a thing – secret details concealed within rings – love messages that only your partner, and yourself, know about.
BAND STYLE RINGS
Band style engagement rings have seen a surge in popularity. This has a long tradition in many old European countries and has recently taken off in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
They are also easier to look after and keep clean, and safer to wear in the age of regularly washing and disinfecting hands.
TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST…
The classics are ever-popular, and in a time of uncertainty many couples have opted to run with tested and trusted models.
This is also due to showrooms having seen less clients in person due to social-distancing restrictions – and in turn many have opted for styles which are more along the lines of ‘playing it safe’.
But oftentimes the solitaire and 3-stone ring styles are seen in a new iteration with a subtle but distinctive point of difference, such as the colours of the stones or settings.
Overall, it seems you still can’t go wrong with an old favourite, now as ever.
OLD EUROPEAN CUTS and HEIRLOOMS
It’s an era when people have re-evaluated what’s most important in life – and for most of us that means family.
People have become more in tune with family connections and traditions and sentimentality has become so much more of a factor in diamond ring styling.
Couples are also looking towards the future and considering their legacy.
The old European cuts, beautiful pieces with heirloom items incorporated and heirloom inspired rings, with their very unique facets and patterns, evoke that sense of belonging to strong, multi-generational dynasties.
This powerful symbolic element of matrimonial jewellery is high on people’s list of priorities when choosing or designing a ring in 2021.
PETITE SIDE STONES
As mentioned, 3 stone rings have seen a resurgence in the popularity stakes again, and this theme has extended to a demand for ‘petite side stones’ – which are smaller, more delicate side stones – a wistful, fairytale look and a fabulous ‘classic with a modern twist’ styling option.
Also known as ‘North South East West’ settings, this zany fashion is actually another vintage style with a 21st century take on it. An amazing group of solitaire diamonds can be so dramatically showcased in this literally left-of-centre design.
Emeralds are the evergreen alternative to diamonds and rubies are their red-hot competition. These are both well and truly back in vogue, especially the emerald – in classic settings. The deep, hypnotic colours of emeralds and rubies whisper to the heart and soul.
There are of course many other colourful gemstones and these are wildly celebrated as we move forward this year, and we are seeing more of these in unexpected shapes and settings as well.
Having played second fiddle to platinum and white gold for many years, yellow gold is back! Both because trends tend be cyclical and also not surprisingly due to the value of gold having gone gangbusters during the pandemic.
Yellow gold plays a very important role in the cultural fabric of many non-European societies, whose presence and predilections become increasingly more important in the Australian context.
TYPES OF DIAMONDS
It’s a good idea to brush up on your general knowledge around diamonds before discussions with designers and jewellers.
For example, did you realise that one of the main reasons that diamonds are the most common stones selected for engagement rings is simply because they are the hardest?
That’s right, diamonds are the tough guy in the crowd – much harder than all the other precious stones – even sapphires are nowhere near as robust as their sparkling cousins.
There’s a grading for minerals called the ‘Mohs scale of hardness’; it’s a 1-10 scale – diamonds are a 10 and sapphires a 9.
So, diamonds will endure the hard knocks which come with the everyday wearing of the average engagement ring.
Diamonds are classified or graded by their carat, cut, clarity and colour – sometimes referred to as the ‘4 C’s’. Although the technicalities can get pretty tricky, you can definitely learn the fundamentals of these characteristics.
Having a good working understanding of these terms will be of great benefit to your selection process:
Cut – the overall beauty of a diamond and often referring to it’s actual shape also.
Diamonds that have been well cut will reflect and refract light – that’s how the stone sparkles and glitters! It’s a special way light travels through the crystals in the diamond. There are certain angles and proportions which bring the best out in a diamond; these can be cut and can function in many different ways – what’s important is that the cut is finished with the utmost skill and precision, so that the diamond bursts forth with brilliance – to capacity!
Colour – there are actually many colours a diamond can come in – including pink, yellow, red and even black! Many people do not realise this, as diamonds are mostly associated with clarity of appearance. Indeed, the clearest diamonds (with less colour) are often more highly prized, because their display of fiery brilliance is brighter. However, this does not always equate to value. Many of the most valuable diamonds are strong in colour, such as pink diamonds – these beauties are extremely valuable due to their rarity.
Clarity – clarity is similar to purity; it describes the integrity of the diamond, in terms of its number of ‘inclusions’. Inclusions include other crystals, microscopic diamonds within the main stone, and cracks (known as feathers) – which can appear as cloudy or white blemishes. The size, amount, location, orientation and appearance of these inclusions determine the clarity grading of each diamond, and ultimately its value. Stones with fewer or no inclusions are considered to be harder to find and are more valuable.
Carat – the carat refers to the size and weight of the stone, and is often uppermost in many people’s reckoning when it comes to choosing a diamond.
Shapes – there are 10 standard shapes for diamonds. Round is far and away the most popular, comprising around three quarters of diamond sales around the world. Being in higher demand also means they cost more than the other shapes. The other main cuts are Princess Cut, which is square, Cushion Cut (which is a morphing of round and square), oval cut, pear shape, emerald cut, marquise shape and radiant cut.
The better you understand the nature of precious stones and metals, the more exciting and wonderful your adventure will be, when choosing or custom designing your engagement ring. Your jeweller and their design team will be a font of knowledge, advice, ideas and enthusiasm. Your journey together to the land of your perfect ring should be a fun and illuminating experience!
By Nick Resch