By Rachel Garrahan in Los Angeles
The days of having to getting hitched in a traditional church ceremony are long over. From brides in black to saying your vows in a hot air balloon or atop a glacier, anything goes.
The same is true for the white diamond solitaire engagement ring, which has dominated the world market ever since De Beers coined its famous "A diamond is forever" slogan in 1947. Today, however, brides are more focused on finding a unique engagement ring unlike anyone else's.
The only parameters are that the gemstones be durable enough for everyday, lifelong wear, and that the ring won't go out of style: most brides are wary of choosing anything too fashion-forward, wisely opting for vintage-style or subtly elegant rings.
Read about unusual engagement rings in our UK edition
American independent designers are producing these unusual engagement rings at a rate of knots. We've recently featured those offered by Anna Sheffield and Monique Pean, and we now take a look at the best of the rest.
Liseanne Frank, the designer behind LFrank in Venice, California, loves helping a couple select their dream ring: "It's such a privilege to be part of the engagement ring design process. There's a real level of trust. People want something that looks unique, and I like to create something both practical and incredibly beautiful. I want people to have a ring they absolutely love," she says.
Using matt yellow gold and gorgeously hued rose-cut and old European-cut stones, Liseanne's jewellery does not shout its name but glows with an understated, timeless elegance.
Her round grey Moghul-cut diamond is set in a band made of a series of gold discs, each featuring white pavé rose-cut diamonds. If the bride prefers white diamonds and a more modern style, she can opt for Liseanne's double triangle ring featuring two trillion-cut diamonds in a geometric setting.
Finn Jewelry's latest engagement ring offers a chic take on white diamonds. With its oval sparkler majestically suspended from a diamond pavé band, it recently took home first prize for bridal jewellery at the Couture Show in Las Vegas.
And for those with colour in mind, there are Finn's sweet but meaningful love knot rings available in a range of hues - the perfect stackable ring that you can add to on each anniversary.
When Ylang 23, the luxury gem e-tailer and store in Dallas, opened in a new location this spring, it added a Ring Bar, which has proved to be a big hit with prospective brides and grooms on the lookout for something different to mark their betrothal. "Alternative is the new traditional," says Joanne Teichman, the store's owner. Megan Thorne, Cathy Waterman and Todd Reed are among the most popular designers at the store for the ultimate commitment gift.
Cathy Waterman, whose jewellery is worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift, creates jewellery with a deeply romantic look. Her one-of-a-kind black diamond ring features a 2.65 carat diamond in a scalloped frame of white diamonds on her signature branch band in 22 carat gold. Another signature look for the designer is the diamond garland band, as seen in her round rose cut white diamond ring with blackened detail and brilliant leaves.
Megan Thorne makes jewellery with a vintage look and, as a master craftsman, casts, fabricates and hand-finishes each piece herself. Often working with family stones, "There is no end to Megan's energy, talent or commitment to brides," says Joanne Teichman. Her delicate and wonderfully detailed Plume ring in yellow gold features a 1.01 carat cushion-cut diamond and finds the perfect partner in Megan's petalled, diamond-accented wedding band.
Katey Brunini of K. Brunini, meanwhile, is a master in mixing colour. Her Twig rings mix luxury with organic beauty: one features a vibrant yellow beryl with rose-tinted rustic diamonds and another a pear-shaped diamond with deep-red ruby side stones.
If these unusual engagement rings don't signify love eternal, we don't know what does.
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