While the diamond solitaire still has its place in wedding lore, an increasing number of couples are taking a more unconventional approach to the classic engagement ring, opting for edgier, more surprising designs. From sprays of coloured stones and recycled precious metals to unique settings, we edit this season’s best alternative engagement rings that are perfect for saying “I do”.
The solitaire diamond set on a simple platinum band has long been the go-to engagement ring, a universal symbol of romantic partnership and marriage. And yet, tastes have evolved. The millennial couple wants more than the traditional, and jewellers are inviting the newly betrothed to leave conventionality at the door, with designs incorporating mixed metals, kaleidoscopic gemstones and striking cuts.
The engagement ring can be traced as far back as the Ancient Roman Empire, when it was declared by Pope Nicolas that the sanctity of marriage should be honoured with a ring “of faith”. A plain band in silver or gold was given to the wife, which she would wear to show society that she was no longer available to court.
It was only in the late 15th century that the diamond first made an appearance, sparkling on the finger of Mary of Burgundy when she became engaged to the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Where the gentility led, others followed, and engagement rings became de rigueur for any couple set to walk down the aisle, with a classic round or oval diamond solitaire the stone of choice.
However, just as weddings are no longer confined to the traditional, neither is the engagement. These days, modern couples-to-be more likely shop for a ring together, looking for something that will make a statement and allow their self-expression and individuality to shine through. From ‘toi et moi rings’, where two gemstones nestle side by side, to sprays of diamonds and vintage-inspired designs, the modern engagement ring is a perfect excuse to say ‘I do’ with a work of art. We handpick the best alternative engagement rings that will make a statement.
alternative engagement rings
Marei New York
Emma Clarkson Webb
Alicia Jane & Co.
Carbon & Hyde
Nour by Jahan