The Next Wave of Wedding Jewelry

By Tanya Dukes, INSTORE Guest Editor

Engagement rings and wedding bands, jewels that celebrate lasting love and are intended for long-term wear, usually feature pretty timeless design. Everlasting love and disposable, flash-in-the-pan trends seem somehow…incompatible. Still, the world of commitment jewelry evolves, if slowly, with certain design elements coming into favor or fading way to respond to changing fashions and social change. Traditional rings continue to lead in popularity, but newer styles are gaining ground, including gender neutral eternity bands and engagement rings featuring marquise-cut center stones or east-west settings (or both). Each offers an accessible spin on classic wedding style. They bring a fresh look to the category but have staying power, too.

One for All 

Love for diamonds knows no gender. Style-setting gents on the red carpet (or Tik Tok to be utterly au courant) are unabashed about flaunting diamond jewelry whenever they feel so inclined, including in their wedding jewelry. And plenty of women, especially of the Gen Z set, eschew engagement rings that feel traditionally feminine, even if they still want to celebrate their relationship with a gloriously sparkly ring. Diamond bands are the answer for anyone who gravitates to gender neutral jewels. With their minimal, unfussy lines, it’s all in the details when it comes to choosing the right one: elements like stone shape and setting style — channel vs. prong, for example — make all the difference. 

14K White Gold Channel Prong Diamond Anniversary Band – 0.48 ct

14K White Gold Micro Pavé Diamond Wedding Band – 0.93 ct

Style: AN7634W44JJ

14K White Gold Diamond Anniversary Band – 0.91 ct

Style: AN15578W44JJ

Regal Regalia

The marquise cut might have the most romantic origin story of them all. During the 18th century, French King Louis XV is said to have commissioned a jeweler to create a diamond modeled after the shape of the lips of his mistress, Marchioness Madame de Pompadour. The aristocratic result, rounded at the center with pointed ends, is in the midst of an engagement ring resurgence, having last peaked in popularity from the midcentury mark through the 1980s. The long, lean silhouette of the marquise makes fingers look similarly lithe. (Who isn’t interested in that?) And it’s a surprisingly adaptable and versatile shape. A vintage-inspired setting will play up its antique beginnings but the sharp, angular ends of the marquise can also make an ultra-edgy impression in a contemporary design. Surely, Madame P would be happy her pout has inspired a jewel with such legs.

14K White Gold Marquise Halo Diamond Engagement Ring

14K Yellow Gold Marquise Halo Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Marquise Shape Diamond Engagement Ring

A New Direction

Sometimes a little change of perspective will transform the way you see things entirely. That’s certainly the case when it comes to fancy-cut diamonds, especially ones with elongated shapes: oval, pear, emerald and marquise shapes. Though they’re typically set vertically, turning any one of those diamonds horizontally in an engagement ring, (also called an “east-west” setting) will put a new…spin on its appearance, giving it an unexpected, modern look. And for anyone who wants to wear an engagement ring in an understated way, an east-west setting has distinct appeal; rotating the center stone places it within the contours of the ring and makes a slightly more subtle impression. To capitalize on the rise in popularity of the style, ring designs have multiplied to incorporate the unconventional orientation, including sweet, straightforward solitaires; wide contemporary bands and expansive shapes with airy openwork.

14K White Gold Horizontal Oval Solitaire Engagement Ring – 0 ct

14K White Gold Oval Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White-Rose Gold Oval Diamond Engagement Ring

More important than tapping into the engagement ring zeitgeist is finding a jewel that makes your heart skip a beat. When you’ve found the one, no other will do.

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