When it comes to engagement rings, couples are returning to the classics.

“People are yearning for something unique, distinctive and reflective of their personal style,” said Antoinette Matlins, an international gem and jewelry expert and author of “Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide” (Gemstone Press, $19.99). “The micro-pavé style caught on like wild fire, but now people want a ring that they aren’t likely to see on anyone else.”

Vintage and antique rings, but with a touch of modernity, such as Asscher-style cuts or ones with added side stones, are becoming more popular as engaged couples search for something different, Matlins said. Helping to fuel the trend, for example, is Tiffany & Co.’s Soleste ring, which has one small diamond encircled by a double row of even smaller diamonds. It’s has a romantic look, yet it has the impact of a much larger ring because of its sparkle, she said.

“You want to wear the engagement ring for a lifetime, but your taste can change. If you select something more classic, you’re less likely to get tired of it and it will stand the test of time.”

According to a recent survey by David’s Bridal, 57 percent of newly engaged women would change something about their engagement ring if they could. And while classic styles – think solitaires – are usually a safe buy, several other looks are making waves.

These are a few engagement ring trends to watch this year:

  • Nature-inspired styles, including floral shapes. Nature inspired themes are popular in all areas of bridal designs, according to Seattle-based Ben Bridge buyer Laurie Kirkman.
  • Rings with a center stone and a frame (or frames) of smaller stones. The style set off by Kate Middleton’s sapphire and diamond sparkler (previously belonging to the late Princess Diana) remains in vogue. Charming and fine in their detail and how they rest on the finger, Marion Glober of Past Era Antique Jewelry said the classic cluster rings don’t last very long in her shop.
  • Colored diamonds and other colored stones. Again, you could credit the Duchess of Cambridge for reinvigorating interest in splashy stones, but colored gemstones also appeal to brides who want to be more unique. Matlins said she recently worked with African-American couple who selected a black diamond for an engagement ring as a cultural symbol.
  • Vintage. “Antique rings remind (brides) of someone in their family … there is a romantic nostalgia about them,” said Glober, who has a large selection of Edwardian jewelry at Past Era. Meanwhile, vintage designs in new rings are popular in lace patterns and rose gold, according to Kirkman, who predicts rose gold alloyed with copper will be the color of preference for a generation.

Source: Houston Chronicle