The Most Popular Engagement Ring Styles Right Now, According to Our Data
It's no secret that engagement ring trends ebb and flow over time. As your go-to source for all things wedding jewelry, we constantly have our finger on the pulse of what's new in the jewelry industry. But, when it comes to defining the biggest trends of the moment, nothing is quite as revealing as what real couples wear every day. Enter, The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study.
To get a better understanding of the most popular engagement ring styles right now, we conducted a survey of over 5,000 respondents who got engaged from January through November 2021—and the results are telling. So, are you curious to know the most popular engagement ring styles right now, according to real data? Read on to find out… and to see how your sparkler matches up.
In this article:
- What's The Most Popular Engagement Ring Style Right Now?
- The Most Popular Engagement Ring Shape
- The Most Popular Engagement Ring Metal
- The Most Popular Engagement Ring Center Stone
What's The Most Popular Engagement Ring Style Right Now?
In recent years, we've seen couples opt for fancy-cut diamond center stones, sparkly bands, and intricate settings. But, of all the creative engagement ring designs out there, some things don't change, like the most popular shape.
Most Popular Shape of Engagement Ring: Round
According to The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study, the most popular engagement ring shape is a round-cut center stone. We found that 41% of respondents have this style, and it's not a new trend—rounds have been the most popular engagement ring shape for quite some time. And not only is this claim data-driven, it's supported by industry experts too. "The round-cut diamond is consistently the most popular engagement ring shape," says Shannon Delany-Ron, CMO for online ring retailer James Allen, noting that its appearance is timeless, versatile, and provides plenty of sparkle. "A round-cut is cone-shaped to maximize light return through the top of the diamond and looks stunning in every type of setting. You can't beat a classic."
But while round engagement rings are a frequent favorite, a new cut is quickly joining the ranks as one of the most popular shapes.
Trend Alert: The Rise of Ovals
If you feel like you see oval-cut engagement rings on your Instagram feed every time you open the app, you're not alone. This engagement ring shape has been gaining popularity in recent years. Our study found that 19% of respondents received an oval-cut engagement ring, up from 15% in 2020. For context, that number was 2% in 2015, proving that this elongated shape is seeing a steady increase.
So, why the push for ovals? Celebrity wearers may have had an impact. While Blake Lively was one of the first A-listers to sport an oval engagement ring in 2012, other stars like Hailey Bieber, Ariana Grande and Kourtney Kardashian have recently accelerated the trend. "It's definitely not hurting the oval-shaped gemstone's popularity that plenty of celebrities are getting engaged with that cut," says Jillian Sassone, founder of fine jewelry brand Marrow Fine.
Beyond their celeb-approved status, ovals make for great engagement ring shapes because they elongate the finger, pair well with additional bands, and appear larger than their carat size. "The oval shape is timeless, and the curves allow for endless stacking options," Sassone adds. "They also tend to face up larger than they actually weigh."
Although round has been a longtime favorite engagement ring shape, the data indicates that it may be facing a decline. While 41% of respondents said they have a round engagement ring, that number is down from 43% in 2020. Our data found that, after ovals, princess (or square-cut) diamonds were the third most popular style, coming in at 11%. This shape is followed by cushions and pears (or teardrops), both of which account for 7% of engagement rings styles. Rounding out the most popular engagement ring shapes are emeralds, at 5%, and marquises, at 2%.
According to pros, fancy-cut diamonds (like ovals, emeralds, pears and marquise stones) are slowly—but surely—gaining traction. "We're thrilled to see more and more emerald and cushion cut engagement rings among our clients," Sassone adds. "Marquises are equally as exciting, because they have a vintage feel and, like ovals, can appear larger than they actually are."
Delany-Ron echoes this prediction. "We're most excited by emerald and pear-shaped diamonds, two that have also grown in popularity thanks to some of their celebrity wearers," she explains. "Both are unique and beautiful in their own right."
Most Popular Engagement Ring Metal: White Gold
When looking at an engagement ring, you probably notice the center stone shape first. As one of the most defining features, it's not surprising that it often takes center stage. But, believe it or not, the metal has a drastic impact on the visual appearance of the engagement ring. A rose gold band, for instance, can cast a warmer glow within the center stone than, say, a platinum band. But according to our study, one metal reigns supreme: white gold. With 45% of respondents saying they have a white gold band, it's the most popular engagement ring metal. But although this style takes the top spot, it's steadily declining. In 2017, 61% of rings were white gold, which has gone down to less than half in 2021.
Trend Alert: Yellow Gold Settings Surge Again
With white gold rings seeing a decline, yellow gold settings are on the rise once again. Our study found that 20% of engagement rings feature a yellow gold band, which has seen an 11% increase since 2017. At 14%, platinum is the third most popular engagement ring metal, followed by rose gold at 11%. Sterling silver rounds out the top five at 10%.
In regard to additional setting details, simple designs are most common. We found that 35% of engagement rings feature a prong setting, while 19% boast a halo or shared prong setting. Bands with pavé settings (or additional diamonds) came in as the third most popular style at 16%.
Most Popular Engagement Ring Center Stone Material: Diamond
When it comes to the actual stone, diamonds are a consistent favorite. After all, there's a reason De Beers' age-old slogan "A diamond is forever" is still commonly used today. Our data found that 85% of all engagement rings feature a clear diamond. Of that number, 54% of respondents said their ring is a clear diamond center stone with side stones and/or accents, while 28% said they have a clear diamond solitaire.
Trend Alert: Young Consumers Opt For Alternative Center Stones
Diamonds aren't the only gemstone of choice, though. Ten percent of respondents said their engagement ring features another precious stone beyond diamonds. Of those, 28% said their ring has a moissanite gem, which is up 9% since 2019. This may indicate that consumers are now interested in finding budget-friendly diamond alternatives that have ethical and sustainable benefits.
Of those that don't have a moissanite ring, sapphire is the second-most popular choice, making up 17% of precious stone engagement rings. Morganite and opals both make up 6% of center stones, while emeralds close out the top five at 5%.
Ultimately, there's no shortage of design inspiration for engagement rings. And while round-cut diamonds are consistently the most popular, more couples are experimenting with styles that are as unique as they are. "Many of our customers are interested in showing off more of their personality in their engagement ring," reflects Delany-Ron. "People are less concerned about fitting into the 'mold' and more focused on a unique piece that speaks to them and to their love."