These Are the Biggest Engagement Ring Trends of 2021

published Feb 26, 2021
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old jewelry diamond rings in box.
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The holidays kick off engagement season, where we see a surge of proposals up through Valentine’s Day. And looking at engagement and wedding ring trends during the 2020/2021 season of love, there is an emergence of creative styles along with a resurgence of classic designs. 

Since the pandemic hit, engagement and jewelry trends have shifted slightly as couples change their proposal plans. For instance, couples are spending less money, buying smaller stones, and making more purchases online, according to The Knot 2020 Jewelry & Engagement Study. The national average for an engagement ring in 2020 was $5,500, down from $5,900 in 2019. And the average center stone size for 2020 was 1.3 carats; whereas, previously it was 1.5 carats.

COVID is not getting in the way of love though, as couples continue to plan their nuptials and purchase engagement and wedding bands. If anything, it seems like couples are getting a little more creative with the bling they’re donning during these unusual times. 

For instance, on Pinterest searches for “creative engagement rings” have increased eleven-fold in the past year, and it remains one of the site’s top engagement ring search terms. Etsy has seen a 65 percent increase in searches for alternative engagement or wedding rings in the last three months, showing that couples desire to embrace more nontraditional styles. 

“Even though the pandemic has put many wedding celebrations on hold, couples still want to celebrate their love in their own way,” says Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson. “ … We have seen interest in emerging styles for engagement rings, like 1800s-inspired gemstones and diamond and pearl combos.” 

Other overarching trends include customization, gender-fluid styles, unique stones and cuts, along with yellow and vintage golds. Read on to see the specifics of how couples are adorning themselves in the name of the love.

Customization

“Because couples have more time for planning and are opting for smaller scale celebrations, they’re able to devote more time to selecting a ring that is just right for them, many finding either an alternative option or customizing a specific design,” says Isom Johnson.

According to The Knot, nearly half the couples who participated in their jewelry study purchased rings with some sort of customization. And they stated the the most important features when selecting a ring were style, setting, center stone shape and type of stone, revealing that they are interested in an array of elements that contribute to an overall unique look.

“Now more than ever couples want to express their individuality, especially when it comes to their wedding rings,” says Isom Johnson. “On Etsy, these emerging trends are proving that it’s no longer about being the flashiest, but having a ring that best illustrates personal style, whether that’s a colored stone, personalized band, or vintage ring that tells a unique story from decades past.”

Credit: Stocksy | Natalie Jeffcott

Gemstones and pearls

In the past few years, the popularity of alternative engagement rings has been on the rise — and that includes an array of unique stones, other than the tried-and-true diamond. 

On Pinterest, gemstone wedding ring searches have increased fifteen-fold in the past year, as couples look for colorful baubles.  

“Gemstones are growing in popularity, such as sapphires,” says Pinterest’s Insights Manager Swasti Sarna. “Gemstone rings are also gaining popularity for men.”

Specifically, on Pinterest, there has been an increase in searches for men’s gemstone rings, crystal wedding rings, amethysts, sapphire and engagement rings, moonstone wedding rings, and black onyx engagement rings.

“Pop culture has always been a huge source of inspiration for shoppers, especially when it comes to wedding and engagement rings. Thanks to the release of many popular royal-inspired shows, colorful gems — which were popular in the 1800s — are trending again,” Etsy’s Isom Johnson says. 

In the last three months, Etsy has seen an increase in the sale of rings with gemstones like emerald, amethysts, rubies, and sapphires. 

And some shoppers are even opting for beautiful vintage designs made during specific time periods they love,” Isom Johnson says. The site has seen a 21 percent increase in searches on Etsy for vintage rings.

Ariana Grande’s recent engagement has sparked a new interest in pearl and diamond combination rings, and many Etsy shoppers are hopping on this trend,” Isom Johnson says, as the site has seen a 15 percent increase in searches for this type of sparkler.

Gender-fluid styles

Embracing the emerging trend of alternative styles and stones, jewelry e-tailer Brilliant Earth recently launched a brand-new gender-fluid line of rings called The Mx Collection, which offers a fresh take on engagement rings and wedding bands. 

“Our collection of gender-fluid rings blends traditionally masculine and feminine elements to create fresh and unique designs, which are available in a broader, more inclusive range of sizes,” says Kathryn Money, senior vice president of merchandising and retail expansion at Brilliant Earth. 

Designs range from their Rainbow Ring — an 18K yellow gold band studded with emeralds, rubies, amethysts, and multi-colored sapphires — to the Zenith Ring, an elegant band with pyramids that comes in an array of metals. 

Credit: Getty Images | Suriyo Hmun Kaew | EyeEm

Yellow and vintage gold

While white gold has been a matrimonial mainstay in recent history, yellow gold has seen a big resurgence, according to Brilliant Earth. In the past six months, the retailer that focuses on ethically sourced jewelry has seen yellow gold sales triple, in comparison to other metals. “While yellow gold is currently trending, this lustrous and warm-toned precious metal has been sought after for centuries,” Brilliant Earth’s Money says. 

According to The Knot’s engagement and ring study, white gold has remained a favorite for couples, with 48 percent of people who bought engagement rings in 2020 choosing it for their ring setting. Sixteen percent chose yellow gold, 13 percent chose rose gold, and 13 percent chose platinum.

“This year, Pinners are shopping for engagement rings with unique metals and stones,” says Pinterest’s Sarna. “We are seeing rising searches for vintage gold in particular, with searches for ‘vintage gold rings’ 13 times greater than last year.”

For those who are feeling nostalgic and are looking to embrace styles that might echo that of their grandparents’ and parents’ wedding bands, yellow gold is a great option for a timeless ring.

Credit: Getty Images | kyoshino

Unique cuts

Always timeless, diamonds will never go out of style. But a way to reimagine the classic stone is to think about the cut. Diamonds cut into shapes like oval, pear, elongated radiant, emerald, and marquise styles are on the rise, according to Brilliant Earth. It’s a great way to embrace the timelessness of diamonds, but add your own personality to a ring design for something fun and fresh.

“We’re recently seeing yellow gold classic solitaire and three stone settings paired with elongated fancy shaped diamonds like oval, emerald, radiant, cushion, pear, and marquise,” Brilliant Earth’s Money says. “Additionally, surprise diamond accents like hidden halos are an increasingly popular and contemporary update to timeless yellow gold ring settings.”

While round is always sound, other shapes are emerging as popular selections for those who are looking to don untraditional baubles. 

According to The Knot’s study, round cuts reined supreme — 43 percent of people who bought engagement rings in 2020 chose them. Thirteen percent chose princess/square cuts, and 15 percent chose oval cuts. And on Pinterest, there’s been an increase in searches for cushion cut engagement rings, radiant cut engagement rings, double-stone engagement rings, and emerald cut emerald rings.