The Diamond Pro

Unique Engagement Rings: What’s Trending Now in 2020

By Michael Fried
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A unique engagement ring is a ring with uncommon elements, such as a double halo, a fancy shaped diamond or colored gemstone. Unique engagement rings represent a specific personal style and look different than other engagement rings. For example, this unique three-stone ruby engagement ring features emerald cut stones, diamond halos, and a split shank setting. 

There’s a broad range of unique engagement ring styles, from vintage designs like this hexagon baguette diamond engagement ring to tension settings like this intricate round cut engagement ring. The most popular unique engagement ring settings are vintage and halo rings. You can also find designer engagement rings. Unique engagement rings may also feature colored diamonds or gemstones, like this fancy yellow cushion cut engagement ring or this double ruby oval ring

To find beautiful unique engagement rings, handpick your gemstones and setting. Depending on your budget, you can also request that a designer make you a one-of-a-kind ring.

For another example of a unique stone engagement ring, check out this stunner of a bezel set pavé halo engagement ring at James Allen:

James Allen Unique Halo Ring

The oval 1.06 carat green emerald is surrounded by diamonds and the simplest of a tapered metal band. What we love is that it’s far from traditional, yet each element is a known quantity. It’s a great example of how even the simplest elements can be thoughtfully arranged into something completely original.

How to Choose a Unique Engagement Ring

To determine which unique engagement ring is the best fit for you, consider a few main factors: 

  • Your partner’s personal style: Does your partner enjoy extra sparkle or a more antique look? Consider their other jewelry pieces and wardrobe to hone in on what style they’d appreciate the most. 
  • What you want the focal point to be: Do you want to be drawn to the center diamond or the intricacy of the setting? Whatever element your eye initially notices, that’s the focal point of the ring. 
  • Long-term wear: Try to put aside what’s popular now and think about how the ring will look in 10 or 20 years. While you don’t need a standard or classic design, opt for a ring that will stand the test of time for you and your partner.
  • Your diamond shape: Each diamond shape offers something different. If you’re going for a diamond with pointed edges, like the marquise cut, be sure the setting holds the diamond’s ends safely. If you want a round brilliant, accentuate the ring with a halo or vintage setting. 

Here’s a breakdown of the most unique styles of Engagement Rings (with their features). These features will help you narrow down on the style you prefer and look for Engagement Rings in that Category.

Vintage engagement rings

  • Offers an antique flair
  • Draws inspiration from art deco and other time periods
  • Usually includes intricate detailing

Halo engagement rings

  • Helps the center stone look larger
  • Adds character to the ring with a circle of smaller diamonds around the center stone

Tension engagement rings

  • One of the most uncommon settings
  • Uses pressure to hold the diamond in place
  • Stands out from the crowd 

Three-stone engagement rings

  • Offers the opportunity to add other diamond shapes and gemstones for personalization and character

Designer engagement rings

  • Similar to furniture and clothing designers, there are top-tier ring designers that create ring settings you can’t find anywhere else

Cost of Unique Engagement Rings

The cost of unique engagement rings can be anywhere from $1,200 to $20,000 or more, based on your carat weight, setting style and other features. The prices for unique engagement rings can be similar to conventional engagement rings, but can also be more depending on the design. For example, if the setting is more intricate, you have big diamond halos, or include expensive side stones, your ring cost goes up. For example, this floral halo engagement ring costs $1,730 while this larger carat weight designer ring costs $6,670. 

The average amount a couple spends on an engagement ring remains the same with unique engagement rings: somewhere between $5,000-$7,500. Choosing a unique engagement ring is more about design preference than paying more. As with any engagement ring, the price depends on the diamond and its cut quality, precious metal, and setting design.

Six-Prong Solitaire Setting with Hidden Under-Halo
Six-Prong Solitaire Setting with Hidden Under-Halo from Blue Nile

Unique Engagement Rings by Style & Price

To help you narrow down unique engagement rings to choose from, we compiled a list of setting styles with price ranges. The price categories are based on the average amount a couple spends on an engagement ring, including the minimum and maximum costs for each setting type. No matter your budget, you can find an extraordinary engagement ring that matches your partner’s style

From solitaire to vintage designs, here are the most unique engagement rings by price. For each ring, you can change the precious metal to white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, or platinum.

Note: Prices reflect the setting only. You’ll need to choose a specific diamond or gemstone to complete the ring and determine the total cost.

Vintage Style Engagement Rings

Oval Bezel Diamond Engagement Ring with Baguette Sidestones
Click image to See Details

Add flair with a vintage touch. From simple to elaborate, here are the most unique vintage engagement rings. There are stylish options for every budget.

Under $1000

$1500-$2000

Under $3000

Halo Engagement Rings

Tear Drops Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Click Image to see Details

With a halo, smaller diamonds surround your center stone. Your central diamond looks larger and your ring has more character. Here are the most stunning halo engagement rings by price range.

Under $1000

$1500-$2000

Under $3000

Designer Engagement Rings

White and Rose Gold Parisian Engagement Ring by Verragio
Click Image to See Details

Renowned ring designers like Verragio and Jeff Cooper craft engagement rings that are stunning and unique. From simple rings to more complex styles, here are the best unique designer engagement rings.

Under $1000

$1500-$2000

Under $3000

Three-Stone Engagement Rings

Tapered Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring
Click Image to See Details

With a trio of stones, these engagement rings offer more options for personalization. You can choose colored gemstones as your side stones or diamonds of different shapes. Check out these three-stone engagement rings by price range for inspiration.  

Under $1500-$2000

Under $3000

Solitaire Engagement Rings

Criss-Cross Solitaire Engagement Ring
Click Image to See Details

Solitaire engagement rings are timeless but they don’t have to be standard. With detailing like milgrain and etching, turn a classic ring into a standout piece. No matter your price range, you can find a solitaire your partner will proudly showcase.

Under $500

Under $1000

$1500-$2000

Under $3000

Where to Buy Unique Engagement Rings

The best place to buy unique engagement rings is from a reputable online vendor. These vendors offer the lowest prices because they have low overhead costs. Throughout our years of experience, we’ve vetted several online and bricks and mortar vendors. The companies we recommend below offer top-quality diamonds, gemstones, and settings at excellent prices.

While it may seem trendy to find unique engagement rings on sites that sell vintage rings, the quality will simply not be there. With unique engagement rings, you want to be sure each component is built to last, especially with multiple diamonds or a pavé band. 

Here are the top vendors for unique engagement rings: 

James Allen (← Click to Visit Site)

  • An industry leader in unique diamond engagement rings
  • Well-crafted settings at excellent prices
  • Fantastic customer service
  • High-quality imagery of diamonds and settings

Blue Nile (← Click to Visit Site)

  • Largest selection of diamonds and ring settings
  • High-quality photos and videos 
  • Maintains great relationships with ring designers
  • Streamlined business model with great prices

Brian Gavin Diamonds (← Click to Visit Site)

  • An industry leader in diamond cutting
  • Offers signature lines of diamonds and engagement rings
  • High-quality jewelry craftsmanship

Abe Mor (← Click to Visit Site)

  • Customized shopping experience
  • High-end diamonds and fine jewelry
  • Excellent option for those with a $50,000+ budget

Leibish (← Click to Visit Site)

  • The go-to company for fancy color diamonds and gemstones
  • Masters of building jewelry to bring out the most color in your gemstone

Don’t skip the basics

Your ring choice may not be basic, but it’s still critical you follow all the proper steps, according to our experts. Time-tested advice holds true no matter the ring, stone or era:

  • Know your vendors.

    Just like you wouldn’t buy a cheap car off the Internet without a test drive first, you don’t want to buy an engagement ring from someone untrustworthy.

  • Say no to pressure.

    No reputable seller of rings will pressure you to make a sale before you are ready. If it feels uncomfortable, walk away.

  • Understand expectations.

    Carat weight, a key consideration, still applies, even with other gemstones or unusual settings or materials. If your better half believes bigger is always better, then a speck of a gem isn’t going to cut it.

Appraising that one-of-a-kind gemstone

While we certainly support taking a step off the beaten path, it’s still vital to stick with trusted retailers. No one wants to find out that perfect Art Deco piece is actually worthless. Have the ring appraised by a professional. James Allen is one such retailer who packages your ring with a lab report and appraisal.

Related content: Everything you need to know about diamond appraisals.

Increasing Demand for Unique Engagement Ring

A new wave of ring buyers are seeking something more unique and personal without compromising on quality. Jewelers are responding, showcasing more varied, antique and vintage rings — or just plain one-of-a-kind rings — for every taste and budget.

For example, shoppers with online jeweler Blue Nile can now choose between a range of memorable details, from beaded-edge milgrain to hand-engraved elements. Even a quick tour of their site shows that while rose gold is an easy trend to scoff at, it’s still holding firm throughout 2018. There seems no better representation of this unusual color choice than Blue Nile’s Monique Lhuillier (of wedding dress fame) Petal Garland diamond engagement ring in 18k Rose Gold (1/2 ct. tw).

Unique Ring at Blue Nile

Related content: More vintage engagement ring choices at Blue Nile.

Joanna Hardy, a UK-based expert, tells the Telegraph newspaper that millennial ring buyers are driving the trend toward more unique engagement pieces, seeking greater individuality. The same shift has been noted among older couples who are getting married for the second time. With more maturity behind the buying process, these couples are also driving the need for more breadth of choice.

Still, traditionalists need not fear. “Brides aren’t necessarily pulling away from tradition, but more so are making tradition their own,” Gurki Basra, senior buyer of jewelry and watches at Barneys New York, explains to Glamour magazine.

Even Princess Diana, considered by many to be the ultimate storybook bride, wore a completely original — and even controversial — engagement ring.

Instantly recognized across the globe and now gracing Princess Kate Middleton’s ring finger, Diana chose an iconic ring with 14 solitaire diamonds, a 12-carat blue Ceylon sapphire with an oval shape, and a distinctive white gold band.

What’s so interesting here to diamond experts is that it actually wasn’t custom made for the late Princess of Wales. It was expensive, to be sure, but in reality was simply “off-the-shelf” — featured in the ring maker’s catalogue — which really set royal tongues a-wagging.

Trend alert in diamond engagement rings for women

When thinking ahead to what trends will be meaningful in 2019, we’re expecting many brides-to-be to show off more unusual shapes than colors like this 7.25 ct black and pave diamond flower ring at Leibish — a completely unique alternative to the typical solitaire.

Unique Black Diamond Flower Ring at Leibish

And since we know that celebrity proposals (and rings!) make a lot of headlines and launch trends, we too watched as pop icon Justin Bieber proposed to model Hailey Baldwin. The 6 to 10 carat ring, according to People magazine, was custom made to best show off the shape of Hailey’s hands.

Unique engagement rings for under $1,000

We’ve all heard the saying money can’t buy love, yet we tend to completely stress out when it comes to budgeting for engagement rings.

You definitely do not have to spend a mint to get a show-stopping ring. One way to find an affordable one-of-a-kind engagement ring is to build your own. This way you can focus more of your budget on the elements you and your partner actually care most about.

At Leibish & Co color is one element that is full display leading into 2019, from “argyle” to “chameleon” and many more options, including several for single diamonds under $1,000. In all, don’t be afraid to buck the phrase that you need two months salary in order to make a ring purchase.

Shape is also a factor you won’t necessarily need to compromise on when it comes to the ring of your dreams. You can also consider how the ring might interact with the wedding band, like an antique halo design that is “stackable” which allows it to fit snugly against the band for less than a grand.

On James Allen or Blue Nile you can browse endlessly for options, from heart shapes to euro cuts. We’re currently big fans of the yellow diamonds at Leibish, like this yellow cushion cut diamond pave style.

Unique Yellow Diamond Ring from Leibish

It manages to be slightly on the classic side but with a strong modern element reflected in the choice of color.

Final thoughts

Unique engagement rings are here to stay. From east-west settings to unusual color choices, there’s never been a better time to step outside of the mainstream and focus on pairing your ring selection with deeply personal creative expression. And again, don’t be afraid to ask questions and insist on the same level of quality you’d expect from any gem-based transaction. Like your love, you’ll want this investment in time and money to last a lifetime.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
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