Engagement Ring Trends Shaping What She Likes in 2020
Choosing an engagement ring in 2020? You need to get up to speed on trends before you take another step. Yes, you still need to think about the 4c’s. However, what gets our team talking are the key trends driving change – personalisation, sustainability, technology and millennials – and how these impact how you approach buying that rock!
Whether it’s the ads getting served to you on Google or your content preferences displayed by the Netflix algorithm, every buying decision these days is highly personalised. For engagement rings, it’s always been a personal decision – and always will be – and it’s important to keep in mind that what you wear is a reflection of who you are, what you believe in and what your marriage represents.
While it’s tempting to think like royalty and go straight for a single round or princess-cut diamond, pause for a moment and think about the following:
Emotional connection – once the excitement of showing your friends and looking at it each day is over, what do you want that ring to mean to you? Is it something you want to give to pass on as a family heirloom? Is there a story you want it to tell? There are so many options when it comes to what you choose, it’s good to think this through. For example, what did your mother have? Maybe she had an emerald cut engagement ring or pear shaped diamond and you could start a tradition by following her lead? Is there something that would speak to your fiance-to-be? An engagement ring represents a beginning, and maybe there is something on his side of the family that can be reflected in your choice.
Size versus style – it’s natural to get the best ring you can within your budget so people usually start this journey thinking that bigger size and higher clarity are better. While we love a big ol’ rock, in the long term we suggest thinking how it reflects your personal style. Are you subtle or showy? Do you want to impress others, or be one of a kind? If you subscribe to minimalism, your engagement ring is the perfect way to tell the world what you believe in. Alternatively, if you’ve always dreamed of a showpiece stone and will love it whether you are 25 or 55, go for it!
You might be thinking ‘I only get one of these in my life, ain’t no one gonna tell me where I get my ring!’. Well, like any Tesla owner can tell you, nothing beats driving an awesome car while feeling like you made a decision to help the planet. Blood diamonds are a real thing (if you haven’t seen the film, we suggest watching it just to check out Leo) and basically the diamond industry can be pretty nasty. By the time it ends up looking pretty on your finger, that diamond might have witnessed forced labour or even wars, not to mention it’s still estimated that up to 10% of diamonds are illegally traded. Now, if that doesn’t worry you one bit, jump to the next section, but for those whom which this resonates, there is a solution:
Lab-grown diamonds – so the process of growing a natural diamond requires carbon being subjected to serious heat and pressure deep down underground over a long period of time. It’s an amazing natural process which produces a thing of real beauty. However, when this takes place in war torn, third world countries, the human toll makes it worse than buying a ‘sweatshop’ t-shirt.
Fortunately, technology has worked this process out and can now produce the same quality gems without the unwanted side effects. To the groom, bride, and her friends it looks completely the same (even gemologists can’t tell the difference) but you can sleep at night knowing you’ve made the ethical choice.
Sparing you the scientific details, there are two methods for producing lab-grown diamonds: High Pressure-High Temperature and Chemical Vapor Deposition. Both processes start with a tiny diamond seed which then undergoes transformation. They are then graded and certified using the same process as mined diamonds using the 4c’s (cut, clarity, colour and carat).
If you get comfortable with lab-made diamonds, the good news is that they are typically 20-40% less expensive than their mined cousins. This is a reflection of the production cycle that means labs can produce them faster than it would take to dig them up. Everything else after that costs (and is done) largely the same, from cutting and polishing to inspection.
3. Buying online
Previous generations had to brave the high street jeweller to go ring shopping. This usually meant an awkward trip – the groom-to-be, maybe with a friend or even with the lucky lady – into a shop to take a look at the options. This may have included a discussion about budget, diamond shape and an introduction to the 4c’s – all a bit embarrassing when you’ve never done it before and aren’t sure what your budget can afford.
Fortunately online shops like Clean Origin now make this super easy. Their engagement section allows you to build your own, shop by ring style, band metal or collection. This means you can work through the parts at your own pace, taking your time over the look you like but with each click keeping an eye on the detail. Whether you are looking at a band or a diamond, each one breaks down the details such as weight, shape, cut, clarity, colour, polish etc. You can easily toggle between these and balance the cost versus inputs.
We love the slider tool which allows you to turn the inputs up and down, giving you a visual guide to making the selection. So much better than having to tell a jeweller ‘I’ll take the cheaper one, thanks!’ And the ‘build your own’ functionality gives you a far more flexible way to shop so that you can combine any possible band / diamond set allowing you to truly personalise the ring – that’s right, trend no. 1.
Wedding Wire has revealed that Millennials are starting to do engagements differently. They are moving online, personalising their choice and involving their future partner (or a friend). What this tells us is that you should be comfortable doing what works for you. Sure, there is tradition, but online shopping has modernised the process so it is more about what you want than about what you think you should want. While we never want the romance of an engagement ring to fade, this trend is a good thing because it’s your long term happiness with the ring that counts, not the rather traditional buying process many of our husbands had to go through.
Summarising the stats for you, here’s how Millennials are approaching their purchase:
- 25% buy their rings online while only ⅓ shop at their local jeweller
- 70% opt for a diamond while precious gemstones are gaining popularity at around 10% due to their perceived uniqueness
- 40% buy rings with diamonds on the band
- 25% opt for a non-traditional cut like a pear shape
- 40% said they paid less than 2 months (2-3 months salary is the rule of thumb)
- 20% go shopping with their partner and 14% take their partner’s friend
- 25% drop hints to their partners about the style of ring they want before the proposal
So, now you’ve got the big picture, take a moment to think about what that ring means to you, your partner, your family and even the world. Get researching and be comfortable buying something that is 100% right for you.