Top five alternative engagement ring trends for 2020

Round, oval and pear shape diamond engagement rings might still be the norm, but the alternative bridal scene is alive and kicking.

Rachel Boston Art Deco engagement ring

With high demand from future fiancées with a taste for the unique and the unusual, independent brands and jewellers are stepping up to the challenge. As someone who has long lamented the lack of choice when it comes to what is one of the most significant jewellery purchases of your life, it is a real pleasure to see designers like Rachel Boston – whom I first met at London Fashion Week several years ago – forging genuinely new engagement ring trends. If you’re on the hunt for an alternative ring, these are my trend predictions for 2020.

Find out more about diamond cuts to suit different hand shapes here.

Unique diamond cuts

Looking beyond the traditional diamond shapes opens up a whole world of possibilities, as modern brides are discovering. Often used as accent gems in three stone rings, the trilliant cut is triangular in shape and even more striking when it is the star of the show. Then there is the shield cut, which wears its armour shape proudly and is a commanding presence even in the simplest of settings (see Gee Woods’ gorgeous Artemis ring). Look out, also, for elliptical marquise diamonds, which I predict we will also be seeing a lot more of in 2020.

For unique diamond cuts, try: Gee Woods, Polly Wales, Eva Fehren, Brooke Gregson, Tasaki.

Tasaki Valle engagement ring
Tasaki Valle 0.30 carat trilliant cut diamond engagement ring in platinum 

Unusual coloured gemstones

Over the past decade, the jewellery industry has witnessed an explosion of colour, with designers experimenting with stones in myriad hues, and previously little-known gems, such as Paraiba tourmalines, becoming widely known and much loved. Whilst the classic coloured gems – red rubies, blue sapphires – remain the most popular choices for an engagement, for those brides to be seeking a truly original ring, exploring the spectrum of gems, and hunting out the more unusual hues, like this beautiful lavender spinel at Hirsh London, will become an increasingly attractive prospect in 2020.

For unusual coloured gemstones, try: Tomasz DonocikHirsh London, Shimmel & Madden, Michelle Oh, Kataoka.

Hirsh round diamond and Paraiba tourmaline halo engagement ring
Hirsh London 1.03 carat D colour round diamond engagement ring, encircled by a halo of 24 Paraiba tourmalines in platinum 

Salt and pepper diamonds

Salt and pepper diamonds are beautiful grey flukes of nature that are celebrated for their imperfections. Traditionally, flaws are a negative when it comes to diamonds, but in the case of salt and pepper diamonds, these blemishes are their USP. Ranging in colour from the palest goose down to the deepest grey, the inclusions can appear in all shapes, sizes and colours. Smoky and seductive, they are proving increasingly popular at Rachel Boston’s boutique in East London. “We are drawn to the unique constellations of inclusions that give each stone a very specific character and charm,” says Rachel. “Our clients are drawn to them because each stone is one-of-a-kind."

For salt and pepper diamonds, try: Rachel Boston, Polly Wales, Anna Sheffield, Tomfoolery London.

Rachel Boston salt and pepper diamond ring
Rachel Boston Nix engagement ring set with a 1.06 carat rose cut rectangular salt and pepper diamond, with baguette cut diamond side stones, in platinum 

See more unusual colour diamond rings here.

Step cut diamonds 

The emerald cut is one of the oldest diamond cuts, so to say it is trending seems somewhat counter-intuitive. But in the past year it has been impossible not to notice its return to prominence, and the twists on tradition that have resulted from its resurgence in popularity. Setting an emerald cut diamond east-west so that the stone sits across the finger rather than extends up it, as seen at Jessica McCormack, is unconventional without being too out-there, or explore another step cut diamond: the baguette. Longer and leaner than the emerald cut, baguette cut diamonds are more often used as side stone accents, but they can also be the main event, as witnessed at Tomfoolery. “A recent addition to our roster of designers is Artëmer, who are well known for unique stone cuts, unexpected compositions and delicate execution,” says Laura Kay, owner of the North London boutique. “They often work with baguette diamonds, which are really having a moment.”

For step cut diamonds, try: Artëmer, Jessica McCormack, Suzanne Kalan.

Artemer baguette cluster engagement ring
Artëmer baguette cut diamond cluster engagement ring in 18 carat yellow gold.

Intricate gemstone halos

Intricate gemstone halos surrounding a central diamond are the final trend that I predict we will be seeing a lot more of in 2020. Think Cressida Bonas’ engagement ring, given to her by her long-term beau Harry Wentworth-Stanley. The Art Deco inspired ring is part of a growing trend for the “Target” style engagement rings first popularised in the 1920s featuring colourful halos comprised of sleek rows of channel-set gems. Another take on the trend can be seen at Hirsh London, where a round diamond is encircled by a row of electric blue Paraiba tourmalines, bringing a fresh vibrancy to an all-time classic engagement ring design. 

For intricate gemstone halos, try: Jessica McCormackHirsh London, Rachel BostonBear Brooksbank, Hattie Rickards




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