While Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day might all be quickly joining Valentine’s Day as the most popular times to pop the question, it seems eight thousand (ish) weeks spent in lockdown together has persuaded several couples to cement their commitment. There truly is no better relationship test than full-blown isolation, after all.
Whether you get engaged in private or on a Zoom call in front of all your family and friends, the most important part of a proposal is of course the engagement ring.
Okay, the gushy sentimental speech and lifelong commitment is pretty major too, but this is a piece of jewellery you're going to wear every day for the rest of your life. You sort of need to like it.
So what style should you choose? Or, if you're going down the traditional route, what style should you *heavily* hint at so that your partner 'chooses' it for you?
Here’s a round-up of the nine engagement ring styles brides-to-be will be coveting in 2021 according to the experts...
1. SUSTAINABLE & ETHICAL DIAMONDS
Unsurprisingly, a key concern for many people buying diamonds right now is the ethical and sustainable impact of that item - often a more important criteria than small aesthetic requirements. "The biggest demand is that our diamonds are more sustainable than mined diamonds," explains Laura Chavez, Founder of Lark & Berry - a the first designer fine jewellery brand in the world to use only lab-grown diamonds and stones. "We’ve also recently introduced 100% carbon neutral shipping, are hard at work on new jewellery boxes that are made totally sustainably, and we plant trees per every Lark & Berry purchase, whether in-store or online."
2. GYPSY RINGS
The term 'gypsy ring' refers to the setting of the stone when it is mounted flush with the metal. Popularised during the Victorian era they're back in a big way thanks to the jewellery world's rediscovered love for chunky, bold rings. London-based jeweller and goldsmith Jessie Thomas - whose designs are created in 100% recycled gold and feature ethically sourced diamonds - has noticed a real increase in demand for this style and predicts it will be huge for 2021.
3. SPLIT SHANK RINGS
"A split shank engagement ring is a very distinctive style we’re seeing increase in popularity," revealed Lorna Haddon, head of diamonds and jewellery at Beaverbrooks. Consisting of band that parts as it reaches the centre stone, Lorna explains that "The shape of the split shank frames the centre diamond beautifully, and as it’s the style of Beyoncé’s engagement ring, you’d be in good company."
4. PEAR-CUT DIAMONDS
Another of Jessie Thomas' picks, the pear cut diamond - also known as the teardrop or pendeloque cut - is set for big things in 2021. A classic cut with all the coveted fire and brilliance of a traditional brilliant cut, it can be worn with the tip facing upwards or downwards offering a unique sense of versatility that hasn't gone unnoticed by the likes Victoria Beckham or Cardi B.
5. COLOURED STONES
A classic style that Lorna Haddon anticipates still being popular in the coming year is coloured gems for the central stone. "From birth stones to classic precious gems such as sapphires, rubies and emeralds, a pop of colour is a really eye-catching feature for an engagement ring. With its regal heritage, a sapphire is a timeless choice for an engagement ring with a splash of colour."
6. PEARL RINGS
Another style of engagement ring that Jessie Thomas sees being hugely popular is slightly more unusual, in that it swaps the traditional stone for a pearl (or two). An eco-friendly, stylish, more affordable alternative to the mined diamond, it's a great statement choice for lovers of classic jewellery who prefer to write their own rules.
7. HALO DIAMONDS
If it ain't broke... Not all styles for next year are new, with the ever-popular halo diamond set to be going nowhere fast. "Some things never change," notes Lorna, "and halo rings absolutely fall into that category - this stunning style is here to stay. Halo rings are cut so that they catch the light at all times for a truly breath-taking sparkle, adored by our customers and us too!"
8. GALLERY DETAIL
A much subtler trend for 2021 comes in the form of the gallery detail. "The gallery of the ring is the part that is visible from the side view upon which the centre stone is mounted," explains Lorna. "It’s such a sweet and subtle way of adding personality to a ring, whether it's an intricate love heart or infinity symbol to represent your everlasting love."
9. ASYMMETRIC CLUSTER RINGS
"For both an interesting, trending style choice and for a customer on a tighter budget, one new trend we’ve seen emerging is asymmetric cluster rings," reveled Laura Chavez. Perfect for those looking for maximum impact with a more modest budget, the cluster ring also offers up an opportunity to show your unique creativity as they're so rarely the same.