Alexandra-Mor_Brilliant-Cut-Diamond-&-Sapphire-Ring_Black-BG_Hi-Res_Side I never thought I’d say this, but if ever there was a time when I was tempted to trade up my engagement ring, it would be now. Take the diamond and sapphire stunner by Alexandra Mor, shown above. When I spotted it, it was love at first sight. Talk about wearing your heart on your finger! But after my interview with Jewelers of America Amanda Gizzi, when she walked me through some of the most fabulous engagement rings I’ve ever seen, and talked about the major trends behind the designs, I have to admit, I would have a hard time choosing “the one” if I was seriously ring-shopping today. Even since our last blog post on engagement ring trends last fall, I can see how the shifting tastes and preferences of Millennial brides are influencing wedding jewelry in new and delightful ways. When I asked Amanda and other industry pros if they thought engagement ring shopping in general was getting an update, they agreed that the process was changing.  In a nutshell:

° More couples are choosing the ring together, often splitting the cost.

° And social media is playing an important part in the process. “Online research is usually the first step in the buying process,” says Gizzi. “They’re finding design inspiration on Instagram and pinning what they like on Pinterest boards to share with their friends.”

° In addition, responsible sourcing is a big topic with this generation. According to a recent Nielsen survey, more than half of Millennials are concerned about ethical sourcing, as opposed to 26 percent of Gen Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers.

° But perhaps the biggest influence Millennials have had on engagement ring trends is their quest for uniqueness. High on their shopping criteria: an engagement ring must be personal, unique and unexpected. As Gizzi told me: “They don’t want what their friends have.”  To that point, the rings you are about to see are hardly cookie-cutter. They represent the four trends Gizzi foresees as reshaping the bridal market. In our book, these are engagement ring trends anyone will love, and not just for now, but for years to come. —Sue Perry

 

UPDATED SOLITAIRES

Vivaan YR218_romanticFor the last few years, solitaries have been outshone by the more popular halo designs. But things seem to be shifting. Though still important, Gizzi predicts that we’ll be seeing fewer halos and more solitaires embellished with other intriguing design details. Shown: Vivaan Solitaire ring

 

THE ART DECO REVIVAL

LX Antwerp v2 Bellona1-image1

The Deco style has traditionally been crafted in platinum and white gold. But today it’s being reinterpreted with luminous results in the warm tones of yellow and pink gold. Shown: LX Antwerp engagement ring

 

THE CONTINUED POPULARITY OF BLUE GEMSTONES

oscar heymanColor is huge right now in fashion and it’s been gaining traction in engagement rings as well. “We’re seeing more color for sure in both center and accent stones. But the highest demand is for blue gemstones, says Gizzi.” While sapphires are timeless, look for a whole spectrum of blue stones—from bright, saturated tourmaline to milky aquamarine—popping up in engagement rings. Shown: Aquamarine and sapphire ring by Oscar Heyman

THE MORE THE MERRIER BANDS

Rona Fisher ring stackStacking multiple bands alongside an engagement ring is another trend that’s not going away any time soon. “It’s another way of expressing your individuality,” says Gizzi.  And today’s bands are anything but basic, plain or boring! Shown: Rona Fisher stacking rings