Every engagement season brings an entirely new batch of engagement ring styles, and 2021 is no different. We asked wedding jewelry experts to share their predictions for the most popular engagement ring trends they expect to see in the coming months, and the results are in: colored stones, extra sparkle, and sustainable materials will be top of mind for many couples.
According to the new #DropAHint study from WeddingWire and Betches Brides, 70% of those anticipating an engagement expect a ring to be part of the proposal, which means there’s a lot of fresh bling on the horizon. And talking about the type of engagement ring you want before the proposal is more popular than ever—based on a recent Betches Brides poll, 60% of people who are expecting an engagement have no shame in dropping hints about their ideal style of ring to their partner on a monthly (or weekly) basis leading up to the big moment. So if you’re planning to pop the question or suspect that a proposal is imminent and want to brush up on your jewelry knowledge, here’s the rundown on the engagement ring trends that will be everywhere in the upcoming months.
Two-Stone Engagement Rings
Double the diamonds, double the sparkle, right? Two-stone engagement rings—also known as toi et moi rings, if you’re feeling fancy—are expected to be one of the year’s biggest engagement ring trends. “Coming in hot this year and into 2021 is not just one main diamond, but two,” says Kaeleigh Testwuide, founder and president of The Diamond Reserve in Denver, Colorado. “For any bride that prides [herself] on standing out, this is a design to consider. Who said you have to just pick one diamond anyway?”
Choose a ring that has contrasting gems, such as a pear cut next to an emerald cut or a large stone with a smaller stone, for a total statement-making piece. Even better: this trend is an easy compromise if you can’t choose just one favorite cut, shape, or stone type. Look to Solange Knowles, Emily Ratajkowski and, most recently, Ariana Grande for celebrity examples of this trend.
Three-Stone Engagement Rings
If two stones aren't enough sparkle for your liking, consider a three-stone ring instead. “2020 has been an incredibly fun year as a jewelry designer with the resurgence of the timeless and classic three-stone engagement ring,” says Testwuide. “Smaller side stones are in, accentuating the center diamond. Pear and heart-shape side stones taper into the trending dainty and thin band. Less is more when it comes to this style engagement ring—our designs allow brides to see the profile of their diamond, giving off radiating sparkle at every angle and allowing a wedding band to sit flush.”
Thanks to the symmetry of the design, this engagement ring trend, also known as the 'trinity ring,' is actually not as edgy as the two-stone trend. This is a chic choice for brides who love classic-with-a-twist style, and it's also celeb-approved—Demi Lovato, Miranda Kerr, Jessica Simpson, and Nicky Hilton are just a few famous faces known to wear three-stone engagement rings.
Blue Engagement Rings
Blue gemstones will be a major trend in 2021 for anyone who wants to rock a pop of color on their ring finger. Dark blue stones spiked in popularity after Kate Middleton famously got engaged to Prince William with Princess Diana’s Ceylon sapphire ring, but this year, lighter blue stones will be stepping into the spotlight. Aquamarines, tourmalines, topaz, tanzanite, and opals are a few eye-catching options if you’re looking for blue gemstones. Bonus: blue stones look incredible with both platinum and yellow gold ring settings, and they're a built-in 'something blue' wedding idea if you're following that tradition.
Alexandrite Engagement Rings
Alexandrite, which is notorious for changing color depending on the angle and type of light it’s viewed under, is one of the must-see engagement ring trends if you’re into non-diamond styles and alternative designs. “The next precious stone trend to make its debut is alexandrite,” says Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson. “We’ve seen a 94% increase in searches on Etsy for alexandrite engagement rings in the last three months [compared to the same time last year].” Alexandrite’s color ranges from purple and fuchsia to green, bright blue, and orange. It’s also the June birthstone, along with pearl and moonstone. Pair it with a rose gold band to complete the ultra-trendy style.
Sustainable Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands
“I predict sustainable engagement and wedding rings will gain popularity in 2021,” says Johnson. “From ethically sourced diamonds to recycled metals, couples are looking to prioritize sustainability when shopping for their rings.”
With environmentally friendly practices and zero waste weddings being top of mind for many couples, it’s not surprising that sustainable jewelry is a big engagement ring trend to watch. Although the jewelry industry has plenty of options for ethically sourced metals and stones, lab-grown diamonds are another way to ensure that your purchase is conflict-free—and they’re gaining popularity. Meghan Markle, Bindi Irwin, and Penelope Cruz have all been spotted wearing lab-grown diamonds, but since they look identical to mined diamonds, you wouldn’t know it. The only difference? Lab diamonds grow much more quickly, and are therefore often sold at a lower price. Recycled diamonds and metals are another option if sustainable materials are a priority for you. Take a cue from Natalie Portman, whose engagement ring features an antique center stone and a recycled platinum setting.
Timeless Engagement Rings
This 2021 engagement ring trend is actually the opposite of trendy—and we mean that in a good way! More than ever, couples are opting for engagement rings that are reminiscent of simplistic and sophisticated vintage styles, with the goal of achieving a timeless look. This means solitaire engagement ring settings, simple bands, and a resurgence of round diamonds.
“I’m seeing a lot more clients this year looking for round center stones and going for our more classic designs,” says Caitlin Mociun, founder and designer at Mociun in New York, New York. “With my custom pieces, I am seeing clients looking for more unusual cuts, both in step and brilliant cuts.”
Step cuts, such as emerald and Asscher, are gorgeous options if you love Art Deco design. As for the brilliant cut, you can think of it as an updated (and much more precise) version of diamond styles that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as old mine cuts and old European cuts. All three cuts are designed with a high number of facets to achieve major sparkle, but what you choose ultimately depends on your personal preference. A round brilliant cut will radiate light, while old mine, rose cut, and European cuts are more rare and will draw the eye into the center of the stone.