The fine jewelry world has seen several iconic engagement rings throughout the ages. Trends started, disappeared, and popped up again years later. Although dozens of trends became popular in the last few decades, influencing thousands of engagement rings, a few stand out as exceptionally iconic engagement rings. However, to understand these designs and rings, it’s essential to know about the different shapes of diamond rings.
9 Diamond Shapes
The Princess cut traces its origins from the inspiration of the baron cut by Basil Watermeyer. The diamond is characterized by the geometric shape of a square which comes in at a point.
This is probably one of the most classic shapes of all time when it comes to ring designs. This shape goes back 100 years ago when diamonds’ light return and sparkle were optimized. The love and popularity for this ring, still seen today, definitely make it one of the most favorable and iconic engagement rings you will find.
The oval cut process of this design was perfected by the Russian diamond cutter Lazare Kaplan in 1957. Since then, and with the creation of the oval diamond guide, this shape has become a staple in rings designs.
An emerald-cut diamond is famous for its vintage-inspired rectangular stone with cut corners. The elongated shape gives the impression of the stone appearing bigger.
These stunning designs are also referred to as teardrop-shaped pieces. It’s a design that elongates your fingers and shows off more of the diamond’s surface. They are traditionally set in a vertical position.
A cushion cut, also known as a hybrid diamond cut, has been a popular design since the 1900s. This cut is an age-old favorite, from the elongated cushion cut to the more round design.
A marquise gemstone carries a tapered oval shape with pointed ends. Although this design is seen less in wedding rings, it remains a well-loved design. It originated in the 1800s when King Louis XV of France commissioned a ring with the diamond cut resembling his lover, Jean Antoinette Poisson’s, lips.
This cut only came into the picture later on and was created in the 1970s. Characterized by its linear outline, with horizontal and vertical facets, it is known for its brilliance similar to a round cut.
Produced in the early 1900s, this square cut truly became famous in 1920. Like the emerald cut, it is known for its high crown and significant step facets. This design produces more brilliance than almost any other diamond cut.
Spoilt For Choice
Through the decades, several iconic engagement rings have kickstarted new trends in the diamond industry. Looking only at recent history, it’s easy to identify some of the big trendsetters and iconic engagement rings.
As with Aretha Franklin’s engagement ring in the ’60s, this age was about showcasing the brilliance of the diamonds. The solitaire setting became more popular to ensure the diamond is the center of attention. This trend was largely kickstarted in 1953 by First lady Jackie Kennedy’s 2.84-carat emerald and 2.88-carat diamond emerald cut engagement ring. The pear cut also made a resurgence in 1966 when Frank Sinatra proposed to Mia Farrow with a 9-carat solitaire pear cut ring. In late 1960, over-the-top and grandiose rings became the height of fashion when Elizabeth Taylor got engaged with the Krupp diamond, a 39.19-carat Asscher cut diamond ring.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s second iconic engagement ring became a trendsetting piece in the ‘70s. The stunning 40.42-carat marquise diamond embodied the geometric and angular cut rings that became one of the most popular among some of the most iconic engagement rings today. With unique designs becoming all the rage, the princess cut really became popular in 1973. Due to people wanting unique rings, matching designs also became popular, with brides and grooms personalizing their wedding bands.
This was the golden age, where gold truly became the go-to setting for rings. Colored stones made a massive comeback as well, thanks to Princess Diana’s cluster sapphire and diamond iconic engagement ring set in a gold band. This further became a trend of excessive and unique ring designs. It included adding tapering baguette stones and luxurious finishing touches.
Contrary to the previous decade, the ’90s were all about minimalist engagement rings. More subtle metals like platinum and white gold became the norm. The round solitaire diamond setting also became the most wanted diamond cut. Close to the end of the ’90s, the marquise shape came back into popularity with the reveal of Victoria Beckham’s 3-carat marquise cut iconic engagement ring in 1998.
With the focus on sparkle, halo rings became the thing in the 2000s, mainly to up the sparkle of a usually solitaire setting. A 2-carat elongated cushion cut or a 1-carat radiant cut diamond would be surrounded by a ring of pavé diamonds to give that extra sparkle. The colored stone trend also resurged with J.Lo’s 6.10-carat pink Harry Winston diamond and Paris Hilton’s canary diamond as the rings that started this trend. This trend was further boosted with Princess Diana’s iconic engagement ring reemerging as Kate Middleton’s engagement ring in 2010.
Around 2015, it became a new style to have a two-tone engagement ring and wedding band. Like the iconic engagement ring and wedding band of Queen Elizabeth, pairing gold wedding band and platinum engagement ring, or similar two-toned pairings, became the new retro look of mixing metals. People also gravitated towards vintage rings as the concerns on conflict-free and ethically sourced diamonds rose. This caused the reappearance of older designs, such as Meghan Markle’s iconic engagement ring in 2017. The Botswana diamond flanked by two smaller diamonds is a three-stone style that hasn’t been as popular since the ’80s but has since seen more interest. Meghan Markle also showcased the new trend of stacking rings with her third ring added to her engagement and wedding ring stack.
There are no limits to what an engagement ring can look like. There’s the current trendsetter of oval designs, whether a vertical or horizontal oval diamond ring on a solitaire band like Hailey Bieber’s engagement ring or Lady Gaga’s pink sapphire oval cluster ring. The pear shape makes a comeback as the incredible and stylish minimalist engagement rings. Another iconic and classic favorite in the last two years is the round diamond cut, like Britney’s Spears’ engagement ring in 2021. Knowing about the most iconic engagement rings and trends shows how we got to today’s diamond industry and created a new appreciation for engagement ring designs.