Top 10 Alternative Engagement Ring Trends for 2021

The saying goes that a flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all. 

So much love and so many wonderful moments have been created this year, despite all that's taken place, and it has been such an honour to be a part of it all. We chose to share this quote because the year's adversity has created a whole new expression through jewellery design for many of our customers. They've been more daring, braver and stronger in their design choices, challenging us to push the boundaries of jewellery design to create stunning salt and pepper, sapphire, morganite and lab grown diamond engagement rings. 

But what does this mean for 2021? Will these trends carry through into the New Year? Absolutely! We're predicting a year of diversity in alternative engagement rings - and here are our predictions. 

1. North-South-East-West Halos

A north-south-east-west halo is designed to point to the four corners of the compass. Departing from the traditional round or cushion halo, we expect to see more unusual additions to centre stones like this, drawing on Art Deco styling. The most common way to create this halo effect is to use white baguette diamonds, either of different sizes or combined with smaller round diamonds. Requests for baguette diamond halos have really increased through 2020, and we're excited to work with them in bold new designs next year.

(Featured ring - Ada) 

2. Baguette Diamond Side Stones

The roaring 20's are inspiring so many of our designs, driving the resurgence of the baguette diamond. Rectangular in shape, they are indeed named after the French baguette, and come in many shapes and sizes. The most popular pairing for baguette diamonds we've seen this year is radiant and emerald cut sapphires. Setting one or two baguette diamonds either side of an intense teal or blue sapphire creates a timeless Art Deco look. It's also worth noting that they're a rare choice of side stone, making them (for some) even more appealing.

(Featured ring - Erin)

3. Asymmetrical Designs

Asymmetry can be created in lots of ways. What we've seen throughout 2020 is a move towards ignoring the traditional rules of jewellery design and embracing expression through shape. Salt & Pepper diamonds are the most popular choice for asymmetrical designs with a hero stone. There's so many unusual rose-cut shield shapes to choose from, with the unique shape of each one lending itself to its own one-of-a-kind design. Beyond salt and pepper diamonds, rings made up of multiple small coloured diamonds and sapphires are increasing in popularity - these designs are always bright, bold and unique.

(Featured ring - Roxanne, bespoke)

4. Paler shades of salt & pepper diamonds

The salt and pepper diamonds trend is here to stay in the UK, BUT we're predicting the paler shades of these ever-popular diamonds will dominate in 2021. Salt and pepper diamonds are wonderfully unique - their inclusions can range from simple veins to peppercorn-like birthmarks, which is why we love to work with them. Up to now, the darker and stormier shades have dominated many of our designs, with some of the gemstones close to black. However, we're seeing an uptake in the paler shades of these stunning stones, and predict that we'll see a broader range of salt and pepper diamonds in the new year.

(Featured rings - April, Sophia, bespoke Winter,Natalia)

5. The rise of the sexy hexagon

One of the biggest trends we're expecting to dominate in 2021 is the rise of the sexy hexagon engagement ring. From six-sided salt and pepper gemstones, to hexagon halos, they're emerging in many guises, and we are here for all of them. For the alternative bride, rose cut elongated hexagon gemstones are on track to be the biggest hexagon trend for 2021. Nestled between curved trilliant diamonds, they're pleasing on the eye, elongate the fingers and give Art Deco styling a modern twist.

(Featured rings - Ophelia elongated Hexagon, Isabelle Salt & Pepper, bespoke) 

6. Ceylon Sapphires make a come back

Ceylon Sapphires were a huge mid-century trend, and as with all the best trends, it's coming back around. Ceylon Sapphires are mined in Sri Lanka and are celebrated for their colour, which is often heat treated to intensify its natural qualities. One of the main reasons for the rise in popularity of this precious gemstone is it's timelessness in an array of designs. It lends itself to vintage-style, Art Deco and modern pieces with so much ease. We expect its popularity to coincide with price rises, however - so if you're in the market for a Ceylon Sapphire engagement ring, the sooner you buy, the better. 

(Featured rings - Margot,Ophelia and Erin)

7. Brilliant Round Blue Diamonds

Blue diamonds have been popular among our customers for a while now, and we're predicting more requests for these stunning shades in 2021. Like Ceylon Sapphires, many blue diamonds are heat treated to intensify their natural colours, resulting in diamonds ranging from navy blue, to paler baby blues. Interestingly, blue diamonds are most popular when set within classic designs. Bridgette, our hero trilogy design, has been created in so many beautiful blue diamond versions. What we're hearing is that choosing a blue diamond is an amazing way to add personality to a ring, whilst keeping a timeless design.

8. Lab Grown 'Cultured' Diamonds

Many consumers are looking for ways to minimise their impact on the environment, which is leading them to look for ethical and environmentally friendly diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are a wonderful option. Each one is grown from a 'seed' diamond, held within a chamber which is designed to create the perfect conditions. Not only do they offer a clearer conscience, they're often lower in price. Just like natural diamonds, they all have their unique colours and characteristics. And we're expecting to see another increase in sales of these stones next year.

(Featured rings - Margot and Bridgette)

9. Talon Claws

Claw styles are often an under discussed element of jewellery design, but they make such a huge difference in the final look of the ring. One of the key trends we've noticed towards the end of 2020 is an increase in customers requesting talon claws, in place of traditional round claws. As the name suggests, they come to a point over the stone, adding more drama and sometimes changing the personality of a ring. Whilst we often get requests for talon claws on salt and pepper diamond rings, we're beginning to receive them on morganite and diamond rings too.

(Featured rings - Ophelia and Sophia)

10. Elegant Half Halo

We've saved the best until last. You can expect to see lots more half-halo engagement rings in 2021. These unique designs are usually most effective with a long gemstone, such as an oval, kite or pear, with the halo coming to a delicate point. One of the great things about half-halo designs is that they're lots of fun. We're seeing mixed gemstones, graduating salt and pepper colours and lots of contrast. Not only is this a fun and brave design to wear now, it will age well and be wonderfully timeless in years to come.

(Featured rings - bespoke and Celeste

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