2023 Engagement Ring Trends Breathe New Life Into Individualism

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to engagement rings. Some don't want one at all — they are antiquated and sexist. Others think the bigger the better, while some say the clarity of the stone is what's really important. Then there's the debate about cost and ethics. Should you source a true diamond or is a lab-grown better? At the end of the day, selecting and purchasing an engagement ring is incredibly personal.

As sartorial trends continue to evolve so too does fine jewelry, and finally, one of the most beloved and traditional forms of jewelry — engagement rings — is getting a trendy upgrade for the better. As of 2023, the engagement ring pendulum is finally beginning to swing away from sheer consumerism and back to individualism. After years of solitaire diamonds and platinum settings, it's now just as trendy to buy a colorful stone and a golden band. Below, we break down exactly what to look for if you're shopping for engagement rings this year.

Unique Stones

If you're a woman who has ever thought about marriage, chances are you've imagined your future partner getting down on one knee and giving you a diamond ring. Romantic? Yes. Standard? Not anymore. At the end of the day, traditional diamonds simply aren't for everyone. It's becoming more common to see engagement rings composed of colorful gemstones whether or not they are diamonds. "One of the main appeals of colored gemstones is that each stone will have its own distinctive character. Because no two colored gemstones are alike, these are wonderful choices for meaningful, personal jewelry," luxury jewelry designer Rachel Boston told Brides earlier this year. Investing in non-diamond gemstones, like rubies or emeralds, gives the couple an opportunity to source or design something that feels just as special as their love story.

Just because you want a little color, doesn't mean you need to abandon your dream of a diamond ring, either. Colorful diamonds are on the rise — and experts predict that trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon. "Engagement ring gemstone choices are evolving beyond the traditional white sparkler," says Sarah Spada — a jewelry expert — when speaking to The Zoe Report. "Black diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds are only a few of the non-traditional gemstones we've seen lately." So, if you've ever dreamed of a goth engagement party — now's your chance.

Details, details, details

In 2023, we may finally say goodbye to the less is more trend, and acknowledge the fact that for some brides more really is more. To be clear, we aren't talking about the size of the stone — we're talking about the rejection of minimalism. Brides these days are just as happy to have a ring composed of lots of little stones as they are to have one big diamond. "The number of stones per ring seems to continue to increase [each year]. We're moving away from Toi et Moi styles to designs with three or more gems on a single ring," jewelry designer Grace Lee, told The Zoe Report. Investing in a multi-stone ring enables you to craft something visually stunning and truly your own. It's a unique combination of stones that no other bride past or present will ever have.

Additionally, detailed pieces have an aura of romance that solitaire diamonds simply do not, as solitaire settings have only been fashionable for the past 40 or so years. "It's a romantic option cemented throughout by some of history's most famous couples — think Napoleon and Josephine and John F Kennedy and Jackie O." Jewelry designer Rachel Boston said of the increasingly popular three-stone rings style when speaking to Brides. Suffice it to say, if you go with a multi-stone ring, you're in good company.

A modern twist on an old favorite

At some point what was once thought to be old and outdated becomes new and hip once again. When it comes to engagement rings, 2023 is shaping up to be all about the revival of the past. Modern jewelry designers are fielding more and more requests to turn heirlooms or vintage stones into something special. "I've seen an increase in demand for reimagining heirloom stones into new designs that feel more aligned with the bride's or groom's style," creative director Jillian Sassone said when speaking to Refinery29. Couples are increasingly gravitating towards rings with a vintage feel. Antique cushion cut stones (extremely rare and hard to find) and highly detailed art deco pieces are on the rise, per Brides.

If you're designing your ring — as opposed to sourcing a vintage option — using a combination of vintage and modern styles will help you avoid the cookie-cutter look. Trends come and go, but in the case you don't have to worry about your ring feeling dated in a few years. As fine jewelry continues to move towards individualism, vintage styles (especially art deco) are only going to increase in popularity. "There is something for everyone, and I can't see the appeal of Art-Deco-inspired pieces slowing down anytime soon," Rachel Boston assured Brides.

Thick bands

On the subject of bands, you're about to start seeing a big uptick in thick flashy ones. Stylish brides have long tended towards something delicate and understated, but not anymore. 2023 is about big, bold, and individual. "Bold pieces will grow in popularity," jewelry designer Jillian Sassone told Refinery29. "Metal-heavy chunky settings have been requested the most in 2022, and I don't see that slowing down." Brides seem to be embracing the chunky look for a myriad of reasons, not least of which is it allows for more unique stackable and fashion-forward bridal sets. "These styles are awesome for someone who doesn't want their ring to feel so 'bridal,'" jewelry designer Lizzie Mandler said of the thick band trend when speaking to The Zoe Report.

Generally, thin bands require stones to be oriented north to south, but thick bands mean that your stone can sit east to west — much more unique. "[East-west settings] make for a playful but still endlessly elegant solitaire," Rachel Boston told Brides. Don't get stuck on the idea of orienting your stones one way or the other. Thick bands have the added benefit of holding multiple stones of multiple sizes in various orientations. What those orientations or stones are is completely up to the individual.

Ultimately, thick bands work because they speak to the individualism of the modern bride. A thick band is customizable, yet maintains a modern air of androgyny and wearability that thin single-stone bands simply do not have.

Free form

Relationship dynamics are evolving, and so too are the traditions associated with heteronormative partnerships. Brides don't necessarily want a flashy ring anymore — they want something meaningful and wearable. Modern engagement rings are all about individualism, so it's no big surprise that some of them don't look like engagement rings at all. Designers are increasingly fielding requests for truly unique rings that placed on any other finger would just look like fashion jewelry. "People want something cool and modern that doesn't have such a conventional connotation attached to it," jeweler Jessie Thomas told Vogue. "I think they want something that fits with their other jewelry and general style." These days, an engagement ring can look like anything from a signet ring to something slightly more nuanced like bezel-set stones or an engagement set made of multiple stackable bands.

So, if you're not interested in something traditional and simple, you were born at the right time. Those bold enough to experiment with expectation and style will find themselves at the cutting edge of engagement ring rings. When speaking to The Zoe Report designer Baylee Zwart noted that her clients tend to want something that pushes boundaries and plays with traditional aesthetics. "They have a strong sense of personal style and are usually very playful and experimental, often mixing and matching colorful stones in daring combinations," she said.

Mix and match

Platinum bands have long been the standard when purchasing an engagement ring. The durable metal doesn't tarnish and never really goes out of style. As 2023 progresses, though, prepare to see a lot more gold jewelry in your newsfeed. "In the last 10 years, I've seen how brides have dared to go away from the classic white gold or platinum and opt for yellow because it fits their personal style better," Lizzie Mandler said when speaking to The Zoe Report.

Sartorial law dictates that someone either looks good in gold or silver, but modern brides aren't concerned about that. Rather than going one way or the other, they're comfortable embracing both. "We are seeing a huge trend in mixed metal settings," designer Ashley Zhang said, speaking to The Zoe Report about 2023 trends. "Setting your diamonds in a white metal like platinum really allows them to pop against a yellow gold band," she added. Embracing the mixed metal trend presents the opportunity for couples to create truly unique bridal sets that play with tone and style. At the end of the day, though, the engagement ring is about you. You buy it, wear it, you look at it: 2023 is the year we finally take ownership of that fact. So, lean into individualism, and get something you'll love forever — or at least as long as you love your fiance.