According to our latest National Wedding Survey, December is the most popular month for Brits to pop the question. To offer some inspiration to those thinking about their perfect engagement rings, we’ve worked with the experts at Austen & Blake to reveal the most popular engagement ring trends for anyone looking to drop down on one knee.
The Most Popular Engagement Ring Styles
According to jewellers Austen & Blake, there are a number of versatile designs to choose from but the bestselling style of engagement rings in the UK is the classic solitaire setting.
Kat Hill from Austen & Blake says: “If you’re asked to imagine an engagement ring, you’re likely to think of the single sparkling diamond on a band. This is known as a solitaire and has long been our bestselling design.
“Its popularity is owing to its stunning simplicity; it allows the diamond to take centre stage and truly shine. They are also an appealing option as their clean and versatile look complements a range of diamond shapes.”
In a recent poll of our Instagram users*, we found that 72% of respondents said that their dream engagement ring was a simple, classic and timeless piece, which is why we are pretty confident that this popular engagement ring style is here to stay.
2. Side Stones & Halos
Just over 1-in-10 respondents in our Instagram poll said their dream engagement ring was “big, bold, and blingy”, and Kat says that this is a ring trend they see growing in popularity.
“A trend that we see carrying on into 2024 is ring designs featuring side stones or halos. These two styles are also some of our bestselling designs this year, and they’re ideal for someone seeking additional sparkle beyond the solitaire design.
“Halo designs have been popular for a while. However, as with any trend, we usually see those looking for a unique take on the style. In this case, it’s hidden halo designs.”
Kat says that buyers of hidden halo designs are often looking for a distinctive and less common choice of engagement ring, because of how the diamonds are placed. “The smaller diamonds are placed beneath the centre stone, providing a touch of elegance with a subtle sparkle,” Kat adds.
3. Three Stone Settings
Around 10% of those we surveyed said that their dream engagement ring is something a little bit quirky, with a vintage or retro feel. According to Kat, a three stone setting is the perfect choice.
“We predict that three stone engagement rings will remain a favourite thanks to their sentimental meaning. These styles of engagement rings are said to symbolise the past, present, and future of a relationship. To us, this proves that romance is still very much a deciding factor!”
4. Wedding Ring Sets
“Interestingly, our fifth most popular style in 2023 was actually bridal sets”, says Kat. “These sets comprise an engagement ring with a specially designed wedding band.
“This shows that couples are not only ensuring the perfect fit with their rings but also planning ahead with their purchases – potentially as a money-saving move as we found the average spend was £1,800 for bridal sets. As we move into 2024 and costs rise in every aspect of life, this may see this category gain even more popularity.”
5. Natural vs Lab Grown Diamonds
They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and our research certainly backs this up! In fact, the majority of those surveyed said their dream engagement ring was set with diamonds, and Kat says that the best diamond rings will never go out of style.
“We predict diamonds will continue to be the go-to for most engagement rings. This is backed up by the fact that 81% of those who took our poll stated a diamond would feature in their perfect ring.
“We saw strong sales for both diamond types, but lab diamonds remain popular. Lab created diamonds, as the name suggests, are developed in a laboratory under the same conditions as natural diamonds. This means they are chemically and optically identical.
“As the time and cost of producing lab diamonds are less, the price reflects this. This means that customers can access a larger or higher-quality diamond within their budget. Customers may also be seeking lab created diamonds to reduce the environmental and ethical impact of their jewellery choices.
“As more customers learn about the benefits of lab-created diamonds and more myths are busted industry-wide about their properties, we’re sure their rise in popularity will continue to grow. However, as with almost every element of jewellery buying, individual preference is key. That’s why we’d recommend booking an in-store appointment at Austen & Blake to discuss your needs.”
Centre Stone Shape Trends
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to how the centre stone in your dream engagement ring should be set. Kat explains the different engagement ring shapes, so buyers will know which engagement ring trends to avoid.
6. Round Cut
“The classic round cut diamond has long been a favourite shape for engagement rings. With the tradition surrounding this look, we think it’s a shape that’ll forever be in style – through 2024 and beyond. They have a symmetrical shape with a brilliant cut that shows the stone’s sparkle, making them ideal for an elegant solitaire design.”
7. Oval Cut
“We’re not surprised to see the oval shape appearing second on our bestsellers list. While the shape is a stunning alternative to the much-loved round, we predict this trend here to stay with its beautiful and timeless look. Plus, with Molly-Mae Hague’s engagement in July 2023, we expect fans to have their eye on this shape for their own ring design.”
8. Pear, Princess & Emerald
“We were pleased to see some distinctive shapes also making the best sellers list, with pear, princess and emerald proving popular with our customers this year.
“These three shapes show that while traditional styles remain popular, there are still plenty of brides seeking an alternative look to set them apart. Pear (or teardrop) shapes are distinctive and eye-catching with rounded edges and a single point. With this in mind, we may see a rise in interest in the marquise diamond shape as it combines the elegance of an oval with an elongated shape.
“As our customers seek square princess and rectangular emerald engagement ring shapes, this could hint at vintage-style rings rising in popularity. Our range combines intricate details with geometrical shapes reminiscent of times gone by, including features such as halo settings, filigree detailing and coloured gemstones.
“Whether it's the glamour of the Art Deco era or the whimsical Victorian era, this style can evoke a sense of nostalgia for a bygone time. Plus, they’re ideal for brides seeking an alternative style that never goes out of fashion!”
Designing Your Own Engagement Ring
When it comes to engagement ring trends, styles may vary, but designing your own ring has never been more popular. Designing your own engagement ring may seem daunting, but with the right support you'll enjoy the process and love the result. What could be more meaningful than a ring designed by you for the one you love (as opposed to a ring off a shelf!).
Whatever you decide, before you start looking for the dream ring it's important to understand the different styles and designs that form the foundations. Armed with a base layer of knowledge you’ll be ready to share ideas and inspiration with your jeweller of choice.
London’s leading bespoke engagement ring jeweller, Blackacre, has quickly gained a reputation for creating some of the highest quality and personal designs around. Their rings start at around £5,000 and they are best known for timeless, elegant designs with a layer of hidden detailing as well as a highly personalised service.
With no standardised process or template designs the team of experts at Blackacre will guide you through designing a ring tailored to your exact needs with ethically sourced gemstones sourced on expeditions across the globe.
How Much Should an Engagement Ring Cost?
Ah, the age-old question. In truth, there is no financial figure for how much you should spend on an engagement ring, because each circumstance and preference is different.
However, according to our Instagram polls, 60% of engagement rings in the UK cost between £1,000 and £3,000, and almost a fifth of people said their ring cost less than £1,000. Looking at the average cost of engagement ring sales at Austen & Blake, Kat says the average spend is smack bang in the middle.
“Although individual prices vary from style to style, jeweller to jeweller, we found in 2023 the average cost for an engagement ring was approximately £2,200.”
The best advice Kat offers those looking at engagement ring costs is to “research costs when looking at designs you like. This will help indicate what styles are available in line with what you feel comfortable spending.
“There are some savvy swaps you can make as well, such as lab grown diamonds or gemstones. For example, the average cost for a ring with lab created diamonds was £1,650, while one incorporating natural diamonds was approximately £2,700.”
Precious Metal Preferences
Metal colour is another important factor to consider when researching engagement rings, as this is such a personal preference for each person. According to Austen & Blake, silver tones are the most popular choice for engagement rings, with 60% choosing white gold or platinum over the more traditional yellow or rose golds.
“Both our sales data and poll results show that silver-toned rings are still the most popular choice, with almost half of respondents (46%) saying they prefer platinum or white gold (14%) engagement rings. We see this carrying forward into 2024 as it's a versatile tone that works well with diamonds and gemstones alike.
“While we also saw strong sales of yellow gold and rose gold rings, just over a third of our poll respondents (39%) said their dream engagement ring would be yellow gold, showing that personal preference will always be a determining factor.
“Your jewellery should be an expression of your personality and style”, says Kat.
Who Buys the Engagement Ring?
As with anything traditional, this is something that we are seeing changing with the times. Yes, it used to be that the male partner would be the one to have picked the engagement ring for his betrothed, modern couples are truly doing whatever works for them as just over half of our poll respondents said their partner was the one to pick their engagement ring.
We found that almost a quarter of engagement rings are being chosen by the person who will be wearing it, with another 21% saying that their engagement ring was made specifically for them. On this point, Kat says: “As every ring we make is custom-made to celebrate individuality, we’re happy to see more couples choosing what’s right for them!”
Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?
While traditionally the bride-to-be would be the one to wear an engagement ring as an indication that she was ‘off the market’, we firmly believe that anyone can wear an engagement ring!
In our poll, we found that almost half of people really don’t care if men wear engagement rings, and just over 1-in-10 respondents said that they felt that everyone should be able to wear a little bling if they want to!
*Poll of 1,373 Instagram users across both the Hitched and Austen & Blake profiles accurate as of 05/11/2023