Trends

Experts Weigh In on the Hottest Bridal Trends of 2021

TrendsFeb 03, 2021

Experts Weigh In on the Hottest Bridal Trends of 2021

Here’s what couples are looking for in engagement rings now.

Greenwich St. Jewelers said it is selling more emerald-cut diamond engagement rings than ever. Here, the “Grand” ring from the store’s in-house line, G. St Ceremony, featuring a 1.7-carat emerald-cut diamond center stone flanked by step-cut trapezoid diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold ($20,500). “Three-stone rings, especially with unique side diamonds, have also been a prominent trend in the past year,” said co-owner Christina Gandia Gambale.
New York—Weddings may have hit some speed bumps in in 2020, but the pandemic hasn’t slowed down engagements.

According to jewelry industry experts, demand for engagement rings and wedding bands is still high.

These are the top bridal diamond trends they’re spotting.

Diamond Shapes: Feeling Fancy
Round brilliant-cut diamonds reign supreme in the bridal world.

“Round diamonds are still the most requested shape,” said Kwiat’s Greg Kwiat, followed by cushion and oval cuts. “[A round diamond is] timeless and classic, and no one ever went wrong presenting a round diamond engagement ring.”

Despite the classic cut’s popularity, many retailers and designers noted an increase in fancy shape demand.

“Elongated diamonds are what’s on-trend in engagement rings right now,” said Greenwich St. Jewelers co-owner and gemologist Christina Gandia Gambale. “In order of popularity we’re selling more emerald, radiant and oval cuts than ever before.”

Tacori has noticed this trend as well.

Chief Operating Officer and Design Director Nadine Tacorian said, “The round-cut diamond shape is the most popular, but we’re continuing to see interest in elongated shapes like oval, pear and emerald.”

Jade Trau's customers seek out her distinctive, signature designs. Here, the
Jade Trau's customers seek out her distinctive, signature designs. Here, the "Selma Solitaire Ring" in 18-karat yellow gold and platinum with 1.25-carat pear-shaped diamond center stone ($17,218).

Jade Lustig, the jewelry designer behind Jade Trau, said a pear-shaped diamond is the most popular shape among her clientele, even ranking above round brilliants, but she’s seen a dip in oval diamond sales after the shape rose in popularity a few years ago.

“The oval craze seems to have petered out a bit,” she observed, which may indicate the cut is beginning to reach its tipping point, though it should remain a top contender for the next few years.

Instagram cult favorite Stephanie Gottlieb said after a round diamond, emerald cuts are her company’s most popular shape year after year, but cushion, oval and elongated radiant cuts are also trending.

While not her company’s top-seller, Stephanie Gottlieb noted a growing interest in her more trend-forward engagement ring settings, like the “Band and a Half” ring, pictured. Emerald cuts continue to be her No. 2 most popular diamond shape, after round brilliants. This particular ring, boasting a 5-carat emerald-cut diamond and set in 14-karat rose gold with diamonds and rubies, sells for $120,000. Currently, Gottlieb is more likely to execute this style in yellow gold, white gold or platinum as, “rose gold has cooled off a bit,” she said.
While not her company’s top-seller, Stephanie Gottlieb noted a growing interest in her more trend-forward engagement ring settings, like the “Band and a Half” ring, pictured. Emerald cuts continue to be her No. 2 most popular diamond shape, after round brilliants. This particular ring, boasting a 5-carat emerald-cut diamond and set in 14-karat rose gold with diamonds and rubies, sells for $120,000. Currently, Gottlieb is more likely to execute this style in yellow gold, white gold or platinum as, “rose gold has cooled off a bit,” she said.

Gottlieb isn’t the only one who’s experiencing emerald fever.

Single Stone, which specializes in modern updates on vintage diamonds as well as vintage-inspired styles, said its clientele gravitate toward unique, individual cuts, like a portrait cut.

But the company is also seeing a resurgence in more classic shapes.

“There is a renewed interest in emerald and Asscher-cut diamonds,” said co-founder Corina Madilian.

Metals: A Yellow Gold Resurgence 
The jewelers and designers National Jeweler interviewed for this article agreed that platinum is the bridal diamond engagement ring standard; however, yellow gold is on the rise.

“We find that 18-karat yellow gold and platinum are nearly tied, with yellow gold taking a small lead,” said Gambale.

And Single Stone’s unique-design-loving demographic requests yellow gold more than any other metal, “by far,” said Madilian.

It’s also a best-seller for Lustig, who noted, “18-karat yellow gold for sure [is the most requested metal].”

Platinum and round brilliant diamonds may not take up as much of the engagement ring market share as they always have but they’re still top for many fine jewelers. A platinum setting from Kwiat, pictured, starts at $1,500.
Platinum and round brilliant diamonds may not take up as much of the engagement ring market share as they always have but they’re still top for many fine jewelers. A platinum setting from Kwiat, pictured, starts at $1,500.

For most, platinum hasn’t budged.

“We’ve seen an increase in platinum,” said Tacorian, “[which is] our preferred choice in metals for the durability and the benefits of being a naturally white metal that won’t fade in color and gets stronger over time.”

Diamond Ring Settings: A Clean Slate 
The halo setting has surged in popularity over the last decade, but its status now is mixed for different companies.

Single Stone said its customer is no longer requesting the style but has become interested in three-stone variations.

At Kwiat and Fred Leighton, Greg Kwiat said the halo remains popular in part, “because it adds scale to the finished ring,” but also “because it is a beautiful design.”

“In some form or another, halo designs have been around for nearly 200 years, so they’re here to stay. But they do seem to be slightly less popular than they have been over the last two decades.”

Tacori’s brides, however, can’t get enough.

“Our most requested styles feature a ‘bloom,’ what others refer to as a halo,” said Tacorian. “We’ve seen an increase in interest in unique takes on a traditional bloom, from hidden blooms to blooms that transform the shape of a center diamond.”

Overall, jewelers said a solitaire setting is the most popular right now.

“Ring designs seem to be more scaled back, not too fussy or overdesigned, just classic and clean,” said Madilian.

Single Stone caters to a fashion-conscious bride. Like most women, she wants a clean, streamlined look but in yellow gold and with a unique element, like an interesting diamond cut. Here, Single Stone’s “Odette” ring in 18-karat yellow gold with 6.02-carat hexagonal step-cut diamond ($99,000).
Single Stone caters to a fashion-conscious bride. Like most women, she wants a clean, streamlined look but in yellow gold and with a unique element, like an interesting diamond cut. Here, Single Stone’s “Odette” ring in 18-karat yellow gold with 6.02-carat hexagonal step-cut diamond ($99,000).

Kwiat agreed.

“Kwiat brides want their engagement ring to celebrate the center diamond,” he said. “Our most popular styles are our ‘Kwiat Signature Solitaire setting,’ which features our floating basket.”

According to him, thin, diamond pavé bands are also popular with brides.

“The most common words we hear from a woman describing their desired ring are ‘thin,’ ‘delicate,’ and ‘set low to the finger.’ Women want rings that put the focus on the center diamond as the star of the show. They are less interested in overly busy mountings that incorporate too many diamond details and design elements.”

Gambale concurred, adding that her customer also values simplicity, but with a unique detail.

“Our top-selling style is our ‘Baxter setting,’ which is a solitaire with a hidden halo,” she said. “The hidden diamond band, a subtle detail just for the wearer to see and enjoy, is an in-demand accent.”

Gottlieb noted her client is after a little extra sparkle as well. The millennial-centric company’s top-seller is a simple pavé band, followed by a solitaire.

In addition to a diamond solitaire—a brushed yellow gold knife-edge with platinum prongs, specifically—Lustig noted she has certain signature styles that might not be trending in the market overall but entice the Jade Trau fan base.

“I have a couple of top-selling styles that seem to be the motivation for lots of my bridal clients to come to me,” she explained, like her fashion-forward split-shank solitaire.

The halo trend has peaked. Less popular than in recent years, it is still a significant trend. Here, a Tacori "Petite Crescent Ring in platinum. ($4,710 for setting only)
The halo trend has peaked. Less popular than in recent years, it is still a significant trend. Here, a Tacori "Petite Crescent Ring in platinum. ($4,710 for setting only)

What’s Next: Niche Bridal Trends
So, what micro-trends are jewelers seeing that could become the next big thing? They run the gamut.

Interestingly, Lustig is seeing demand for two-tone metal styles. “The two-toned engagement ring is back with a vengeance for me,” she said, as are marquise-cut diamonds, which happen to be her favorite shape.

“I also have been noticing that when people are shopping for ring they are bearing in mind, both in look and in budget, the overall stack they are trying to achieve because they want that finished look and not just an engagement ring and a single band. 

“In fact, some of my clients have forfeited center stone engagement rings altogether for a great bridal stack.”

A couple of rising engagement rings trends are represented in this array from Jade Trau: a stack, rather than a traditional ring and band, as well as mixed metals. The "Jenny Solitaire" with 1.7-carat round brilliant diamond in 18-karat yellow gold with platinum prongs ($22,850) is flanked by two "Hanging Kismet" bands in 18-karat white gold with diamonds ($7,400 each).
A couple of rising engagement rings trends are represented in this array from Jade Trau: a stack, rather than a traditional ring and band, as well as mixed metals. The "Jenny Solitaire" with 1.7-carat round brilliant diamond in 18-karat yellow gold with platinum prongs ($22,850) is flanked by two "Hanging Kismet" bands in 18-karat white gold with diamonds ($7,400 each).

More brides today are willing to think outside the box than in years past.

Gottlieb has found as much. She noted, “a lot of our clients are very excited about our fashion-forward, trendier settings like our ‘Band and a Half’ or ‘Spiral’ settings.”

With Gottlieb personally showcasing these styles on social media, her devoted clientele is willing to take the plunge and follow her lead.  

Madilian said color is making a comeback for the Single Stone bride, who is always looking for something different, or a spin on the traditional.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in adding colored stones to the mix: a diamond center stone with sapphire or ruby side stones.”

Tacorian has also seen a rise in color, but not as overtly. Rather, brides are incorporating hidden details in their rings, sometimes in the form of colored gems.

“We’re seeing an increase in vintage-inspired details, but ones with a modern look and feel, and we see a lot of clients who want to personalize with pops of color, whether it’s using a gemstone as their center stone or embellishing parts of their rings with color that represents birthstones or sentimental color choices.”

Kwiat is ambivalent about how popular certain niche trends will become.

“Two-stone rings are a ‘thing’ (thanks Ariana Grande!) but I see this as a small niche, at best. We can all agree that it is non-traditional, but will it stand the test of time?”

Only time will tell.

The most positive emerging trend of the bunch, however? A bigger bridal budget, though Gambale is tempering her optimism with caution.

She said in her store’s experience, “Budgets have gotten bigger [and] people are spending more on their rings, perhaps due to the pandemic and not being able to spend on other luxuries.”
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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