When you’re looking for your own wedding and engagement rings, it’s important to choose a set that complements each other and does a good job of representing your style. For many people, this means using traditional gemstones and settings. But other couples don’t feel as though the more traditional and staid options represent their own journey and they look for something different. Given the rise of independent and niche jewelers on the Internet, many couple quickly find themselves almost overwhelmed by choice.
If you want to know about options beyond the ordinary but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. We’ve brought together 20 stunning options for engagement rings, wedding rings and sets sure to inspire.
Flip the Script on Traditional
When you think of wedding rings, chances are you think of diamonds. They’re the ultimate in tradition. For people who love their iconic style but want something that breaks the mold, black diamonds can provide the perfect solution. They’re stunning and cut to look exactly like their more fairy-tale counterparts. But black diamonds are arresting for an entirely different reason. Set against more dynamic stones such as opals or emeralds, their darkness has a depth that creates a truly breathtaking look.
This bridal set available through Overstock boasts a 5 carat black diamond set against sapphires and a classic setting. It creates a look that is cutting edge and modern without losing that iconic and traditional feel. For modern couples with classic taste, it’s a perfect fit.
Noori Collection – Black Rhodium Gold Bridal Set
• 2 1/5-carat black diamond
• 1 carat of black diamonds and pink sapphires
• Set in 14k black rhodium-plated gold
• Cost – $3,000
Sometimes a love story doesn’t take the traditional route and so couples want a wedding ring that reflects the ups and downs of their relationship, the struggles they’ve already weathered and the roller coaster adventures they’re ready to take on together. If that sounds like a tall order for a ring, then you haven’t seen the scattered diamond band available through Purely Diamonds. This truly unique design uses round cut diamonds in a scattered band that will dazzle no matter what the angle. This is a beautiful choice for people who want the dazzling features of a full matched set in one ring.
Purely Diamonds London – Scattered Diamonds in White Gold
• Round Brilliant Cut diamonds
• 1.5 carat total
• Set in 18k White Gold
• Cost – $3,000
A Rose (Or Ring) by Any Other Name
People often choose jewelry that represents their own interests and hobbies. People have rings commemorating their college associations, charm bracelets with their favorite items and necklaces with special engravings. So when it comes to choosing a wedding ring, people with a love for gardens and flowers may find that the perfect ring to represent their love is one that also reflects the idea of nurture and care promoting growth and beauty.
The Pink Twinkle ring from the British jewelry shop Adorn is the perfect representation of that nurturing spirit. The 18-carat white gold ring is wide, set with small pink sapphires and miniature diamonds that create the look of roses growing up a trellis. The ring itself is wider than a traditional band but its intricate style prevents it from becoming too heavy or overpowering. Instead it remains a simple and elegant way to celebrate the love you have today as well as what it will become in time.
Adorn – Pink Twinkle
• Diamonds and Pink Sapphires
• Vintage style
• Set in 18k White Gold
• Cost – $1,500
When You Marry Your Other Half
Many times, couples feel that being with The One makes them a better person. Being in love with someone and having their encouragement, support and input can inspire us to do more, become better and set goals that benefit not only ourselves, but the family you begin to build the day you choose to become one.
Bespoke jewelers brent & jess are located in Topsham, a small town in Maine that boasts a history of ship making, tanneries and a variety of craftsmen. The team at brent & jess carry on this tradition of high-quality and specially made items with their line of jewelry featuring fingerprints. Their heart design offers a beautiful matched wedding set for couples who want to leave their mark.
brent & jess – You Complete Me Wedding Set
• Incorporates your actual fingerprint
• Available in gold, platinum, and palladium
• Customizable Engraving
• Cost – $500
Celebrating LOVE and Honoring the Past
Rainbow hued wedding and engagement sets have become incredibly popular in the last few years. Not only have LGBT couples been entering the wedding market en masse, so have their straight, bi and non-identifying allies. While the rainbow flag and its colors remain a symbol of the LGBT community, it’s also come to represent the idea of togetherness and solidarity – of truly coming together as one force for change and beauty.
Equalli’s Pride Collection includes stunning options for men and women who want to incorporate their support and celebration of love into their own wedding set. With options that embrace and celebrate Pride, couples can choose from amazing gemstone heavy pieces sure to impress like the Birmingham Ring in Sterling Silver or more subtle pieces like the Las Vegas Marquise.
Equalli – Birmingham in Silver
• 2.55 carats of 1.7mm round cut Rainbow Sapphires
• Sterling Silver band
• Fully Customizable
• Cost – $499
Love is LOVE
For another take on the Love Wins idea, consider the Love Ring by Proposition Love. It’s available in a selection of different metals and is created by looping the world LOVE around the wearer’s finger. The O in love is a triangle, providing a subtle nod to the pink triangle featured in the LGBT rights movement.
Proposition Love – Love is Love
• Interlocking Triangles
• Sterling Silver band
• Also available in Rose or Yellow Gold
• Cost – $125
Love the idea of a ring that incorporates the gay pride triangle but looking for something with a bit more sparkle? Check out the Equalli Pink Collection. Each piece features a dynamically cut and set Pink Tourmaline. The Pink Tourmaline Ring boasts a dazzling tourmaline gemstone in a triangle shape that celebrates the LGBT movement for equality.
Equalli – Pink Collection, Pink Tourmaline Ring
• Pink Tourmaline triangle
• 1.0+9-carat tourmaline
• Set in Pink Gold
• Cost – $349
Engage with History
If you want something unique and doing something to save resources, consider a vintage ring. Passing down rings within a family is an old tradition that isn’t as prevalent these days but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a ring with some history. You can start by hitting up local pawn shops. The idea that rings at pawn shops are bad luck is a myth. Many families sell jewelry collections to pawn shops after a relative dies and some people sell original wedding rings in order to finance an upgrade. Want something where you get the back story? Check out listings on ebay or etsy and visit smaller, local consignment shops.
Vintage and heirloom rings are increasingly popular thanks to their one of a kind look and the fact that they’re eco-friendly. Celebrities like Mary-Kate Olson and Kate Middleton have sported vintage engagement rings. Olson’s vintage 1953 Cartier fit the fashion guru’s style perfectly. Middleton, on the other gemstone laden hand, sported a vintage ring with as much history as it has beauty. When Prince William proposed to his bride back in 2010 he presented her with Princess Diana’s iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring
- 14 solitaire diamonds
- 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire
- Set in 18-karat white gold
- Cost – $390,000
Want the look but don’t have $400k to invest in a ring? Equalli offers a dazzling tanzanite diamond ring that offers the same classic look and luxurious appeal at a price that doesn’t require a Royal bank account.
Equalli – Tessa Tanzanite & Diamond Engagement Ring
• 2.81 carats of pear-shaped tanzanite
• 0.37 carats of diamond
• Available in 18K white, yellow or rose gold
• Cost – $4,200
Love Can Move Any Mountain
Many couples go to great lengths to be together. While every love story is different, struggle and overcoming challenges are always a feature. For many, working to simply be together was a journey all in its own. When you’re both ready to walk down the aisle and take on the next part of life’s journey, why not choose a set that shows just how far you’re willing to go?
This sterling silver Mountain Set by Panselinos Jewelry is a puzzle ring with a twist. The two pieces join together along the rocky edge to create one smooth and complete band. Apart, each one is its own stunning band that complements the wearer without being overbearing. Panselinos Jewelry is a small boutique style jewelry shop whose name means ‘full moon’ in Greek is located in Heraklion, Greece and specializes in “of eco-friendly sterling silver and other metals jewelry with a touch of romantic elements.”
Panselinos Jewelry – Set of Mountain Sterling Silver Rings
• Interlocking set that come together seamlessly
• Available in brushed or polished finishes
• Handmade on demand and packed in eco-friendly material
• Cost – $55
A Halo of Color
Another option that puts a new spin on a traditional look is swapping up the color placement on a ring. Traditionally, a colored stone is surrounded by clear diamonds, creating a pop of color against the diamond’s glacial and multi-dimensional look. But swap those colors out and suddenly both the colored gemstone and the diamond look brighter and more dynamic. It’s a look sported famously by actress Olivia Wilde who got engaged to Jason Sudeikis in 2013. Her ring features a central sparkling diamond surrounded by a halo of bright green emeralds. In addition to being dazzling, the ring is also a vintage piece with little known about it. When asked about the ring, Olivia told one interviewer “I love imagining the story of this ring. Who had it? It’s a bit of an aqua emerald, not a deep dark green. Jason said it reminded him of my eyes, which is very sweet.”
Designer Unknown – Olivia Wilde’s Vintage Ring
• Brilliant round diamond
• Emerald Halo setting
• Yellow gold band in a vintage style
• Cost – Unknown
The Science of Love
They say love is a chemical reaction, nothing more. Others say that chemical reaction results in a kind of alchemy that simply can’t be explained by science. Chances are the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Whatever the explanation, the fact is that the power of our own body’s reaction to love is staggering and life changing. Celebrate that fact – and show off your geeky side – with this ring shaped like the serotonin molecule offered by yhtanaff. Accented with three gemstones, it can easily be customized for a couple’s preferences.
yhtanaff – Science Serotonin Molecule Silver Ring
• Features gem stones which are customizable
• Simple Silver band
• Custom item made to order
• Cost – $40
More Celebrity Inspiration
Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban
Nicole Kidman’s ring from husband Keith Urban is unique in that it’s not your run of the mill solitaire diamond. Then again, when has fiery-haired Nicole ever been run of the mill? Kidman’s ring is a sparkling Cartier ring of diamonds that surround her finger and dazzle onlookers from every angle.
Cartier – Diamond Engagement Band
• Dazzling cut diamonds
• Large eternity style design
• Cost – $50,000
Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake
When Justin Timberlake proposed to Jessica Biel, he clearly wanted to give her something truly personal. That’s why he co-designed the 6-carat diamond ring he used to pop the question. When Jessica answered yes (and, really, who wouldn’t?) she was only too happy to sport a beautiful ring that reflects a classic and iconic style. When asked about the ring, Timberlake confirmed he had taken a great deal of inspiration from vintage rings.
Leor Yerushalmi – Custom Designed Engagement Ring
• 6-carat diamond
• Blackened platinum
• Featuring aquamarine in a vintage style
• Cost – $130,000
Queen Elizabeth II
When Elizabeth and Philip decided to get married, it was headline news .. and not just because she’s part of the Royal family. The two were – and remain – deeply in love. They had met a few times when Elizabeth was quite young. She and Philip are second cousins twice removed on Philip’s side and second cousins on Elizabeth’s. Still, this isn’t uncommon in Royal Families and, when Philip asked Elizabeth’s father for her hand in marriage, King George VI agreed. But since Elizabeth was heir to the throne, Philip would need to give up his Greek and Danish titles as well as converting to Anglicanism and adopting hos mother’s maiden surname before the wedding could proceed. Philip was, of course, only too happy to do whatever was required in order for him and Elizabeth to be wed. When he chose her ring, he wanted something beautiful and striking but which could also be worn alongside any jewelry the future Queen would wear. He chose a 3-carat solitaire diamond beset with five other diamonds. Its understated simplicity means it has always been a piece the Queen has been able to wear no matter what and, according to reports over the years, she’s never taken it off.
Philip Antrobus Ltd. – Queen Elizabeth II’s Engagement Ring
• 3 carat diamond solitaire
• Flanked on either side by 5 smaller diamonds (The diamonds were taken from a tiara owned by Philip’s mother, Princess Alice
• Set in platinum
• Cost – Unknown
- Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards got engaged to Zayn Malik back in 2013 but the relationship didn’t last. After Malik called off the relationship via text, Edwards struck back by publicly telling people she was keeping the breath-taking ring as a form of karmic retribution for the way Zach had handled the relationship
- When blogger and co-editor of Boing-Boing, Cory Doctorow and his wife began planning their wedding they decided to have a matching pair of decoder rings. The rings were designed by Isabel Rucker, the daughter of cyberpunk author Rudy Rucker. Doctorow then held an open contest on Boing-Boing asking his readers to come up with the perfect combination for the couples’ rings.
- No list of noteworthy engagement rings would be complete without mentioning Kim Kardiashian’s headline making 20-carat rock. The $4 million ring was stolen in a Paris robbery and now Kim sports a ring with a simple and more modest look.
- Elizabeth Taylor may have been famous for her acting, but she became an icon thanks to her fashion. When she became engaged to Mike Todd in 1957, she became the owner of one of the most dazzling diamonds in history. The 29.4 carat emerald cut Cartier ring was so big Taylor reportedly referred to it as her ‘ice skating rink’.
- Jacqueline Kennedy was born to be a fashion icon. Back when she was still Jacqueline Bouvier and said yes to John F. Kennedy’s proposal, she became the proud owner of a Van Cleef & Arples ring of emerald and diamond. The beautiful setting boasted a 2.84-carat tapered baguette emerald alongside a 2.88-carat diamond in a diamond open halo setting. Accepting JFK’s wedding proposal marked the beginning of America’s own Camelot and, looking back, there was no better ring to set the tone for an iconic woman.
- When we think of Marilyn Monroe, understated isn’t often a word that comes to mind. But when the blonde bombshell became engaged to Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio many expected her to sport a massive rock that would be as big as her own personality. But instead, the couples chose a classic look, one that reflected Marilyn’s true personality. Her platinum eternity band may not have boasted the biggest gems but it was no less breathtaking. Technically, of course, the ring was her wedding ring as DiMaggio slipped it onto her finger at the wedding ceremony in the winter of 1954. While their union didn’t last, the beauty and timeless style of the ring continues to be popular with couples today.
At the end of the day, the ring you and your partner choose as engagement and wedding rings will become a part of you. You’ll each wear them every day and so they need to be something you love now and for years to come. While sifting through the options can be overwhelming at times, it isn’t a decision that should be rushed. Instead, enjoy looking at the different options and getting people’s opinions on them. Ask friends and family about their own rings and you’re likely to find inspiration for your own rings as well as a greater understanding and appreciation for the love around you.