by Jacqueline Mitchell
In the past, shopping for an engagement ring was fairly straightforward: a round diamond ring was seen as the gold standard. While this traditional style remains a timeless option, many couples now look at engagement rings as a form of self-expression, with the style as unique as the person wearing it.
“Before, it was always tradition to do a diamond,” said Jill Buss, jeweler at Cambridge Jewelers in Hudson. “I think now, people are realizing there are no rules to jewelry, and it’s a way to express yourself.”
She said customers visit the store looking for a gemstone in their bride-to-be’s favorite color. In the past two years, she said, alternatives to diamonds have become popular, with ruby, amethyst, sapphire and emerald topping the list. These colored gemstones can be used as the ring’s centerpiece, or they can be used to accent a traditional diamond.
Buss herself has a sapphire engagement ring.
“There’s no particular reason; it’s what caught my eye at the time,” she said.
Customers are also looking for different shapes, even if they do stick with diamonds. Vintage-inspired marquise-cut stones (typically featuring 58 facets, an elliptical shape and pointed ends) and pear-shaped (also known as teardrop) diamonds are especially popular, Buss said.
“Two of the other unique shapes people have been asking about lately are an Asscher cut [a stepped square cut with cropped corners] and kite-shaped, which gives it a different look than a traditional engagement style,” she said.
Stacking bands allow for multiple shaped stones, including square or oval.
“Some ladies do three at a time, or two,” Buss said. “It changes the look of the ring every way you wear it. You can change it every day if you want. It gives your engagement ring a different look so you don’t get tired of it. You can change it up for different occasions.”
Yellow gold bands are seeing a resurgence, rising in popularity over white gold, which dominated for years, and even rose gold, which became trendy in the last year or so. Buss said this metal trend is apparent in all jewelry, not just rings.