Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Carla Jonas
Estimated reading time: 24 minutes
There are very few items in life that are as precious as an engagement ring. An engagement ring represents one of the most special moments in life when your significant other asks you to spend the rest of your lives together. Considering this, it’s easy to understand why engagement rings get so much attention. From a young age, we begin thinking about what our dream engagement ring would be: a classic cut diamond engagement ring, three stone setting or rose gold. Or, perhaps, unexpected exotic engagement rings. As the years go by and we feel the big moment starting to approach, countless hours are spent looking at engagement rings on the web, talking to our friends about them, planning our unique engagement and deciding what the perfect engagement ring for us is (to then drop subtle hints about it to your significant other).
If you find yourself on this page, odds are you probably have some interest in unique engagement rings. Many different characteristics can make an engagement ring “unique.” Below, our jewelry experts at The Pearl Source dive into all of the different aspects that engagement rings feature, and in addition, take a closer look at some of the most unique engagement rings of all time.
What are the Top 10 Most Unique Engagement Rings of All Time?
While we will take a much closer look at the details of each ring later in the article, here’s a quick look at the ten most unique engagement rings of all time:
- Olivia Wilde’s Brilliant-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with an Emerald Halo
- Kate Middleton’s Blue Ceylon Sapphire
- Eva Longoria’s Ruby Ring with a Diamond Halo
- Jessica Biel’s 3-Stone Diamond and Aquamarine Ring
- Jackie Kennedy’s Emerald and Diamond Art-Deco Masterpiece
- Katy Perry’s Oval Ruby Set in Yellow Gold
- Emma Slater’s Splendid Pink Sapphire
- Halle Berry’s Emerald Ring with Secret Inscriptions
- Jessica Simpson’s Vintage-Inspired Ruby and Diamond Engagement Ring
- Victoria Beckham’s Massive Ruby with a Diamond Swirl
The History of Engagement Rings
The Beginning of The Tradition
To begin, just like the wedding band, the engagement ring comes with a long tradition that dates back hundreds and hundreds of years. Ancient Egyptians, who believed circles symbolized eternity, are the ones responsible for the beginning of the tradition. In Ancient Rome, women wore an engagement ring on the ring finger (the fourth finger on the left hand). This was because of their belief that this specific finger had a vein, called the vena amoris, which ran directly to the heart. However, these rings were simple and plain, much like wedding bands today.
The first well-documented example of a jewel appearing on an engagement ring was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond engagement ring. While this certainly marked the start of more lavish engagement rings that featured gemstones, these types of rings were only accessible by Europe’s most elite. For the next few hundred years, the tradition of engagement rings continued to exist, but never took full grasp among people in broader society. However, two major events would eventually change this and make engagement rings one of the most popular jewelry items in the world.
The Rise of Gemstone Engagement Rings
In 1867, a 15 year-old local found the first diamond along the banks of a river. As a result, prospectors from around the world came to the country to find more diamond deposits. Approximately ten years later, the Kimberley mine in South Africa was estimated to be producing roughly 95% of the world’s diamonds. These mines held large volumes of diamonds that could produce enough of the gemstone to make diamonds, and diamond engagement rings more specifically, a mass-market luxury product. Around 1888, Cicil John Rhodes, a British native, bought his partner’s share in the Kimberley mine and launch DeBeers Consolidated Mines, almost instantly becoming one of the most powerful companies in the world and monopolizing the diamond industry.
The Classic Diamond Ring – The Beginnings
As a result of the Great Depression, engagement rings became a tradition that the younger generation was increasingly losing interest in. At the same time, The DeBeers company, which had grand visions of making large sums of money by selling diamond-adorned engagement rings, was quick to understand the negative implications that this could have on their business. In 1939, the company launched one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time, convincing consumers that engagement rings, and more specifically engagement rings featuring diamonds, are absolutely essential. Following this campaign, the popularity of engagement rings began to steadily increase, eventually getting them to the point that they’re at today as a multi-billion-dollar industry and the engagement ring is the most talked-about pieces of jewelry.
The Anatomy of an Engagement Ring
Understanding the history of engagement rings is essential when on the market for the perfect engagement ring. Compared to a simple band, an engagement ring with a middle stone has many different parts. Each of these parts can have different variations and it’s the combination of different variations that makes an engagement ring one-of-a-kind. The different parts of an engagement ring include:
The stone in the center of the ring is undoubtedly the most important aspect of an engagement ring, especially considering it serves as the focal point – whether the piece is a three stone ring or one adorned in gems. While diamonds are a popular stone option for three stone settings, more and more people are opting for alternative gemstones such as pearls, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds (more on this in the next section).
Side stones, which are almost always diamonds, are exclusive to three-stone engagement rings. These stones complement the center stone by adding more shine to each side of it. In terms of size, side stones are smaller than the center stone, but larger than accent stones.
Accent stones, sometimes also referred to as accent diamonds, are a set of tiny diamonds that are used to decorate the area around the center stone and give it more sparkle.
The head is the top portion of the engagement ring that holds the center stone, as well as the optional side stones, securely in place. Prong and bezel settings are examples of the head of an engagement ring. Prongs are similar to claws that secure the diamond, ruby, sapphire, or emerald center stone. Common prong styles include 4-prong, 6-prong, and 8-prong settings. Another option instead of prongs for a diamond center stone would be a bezel setting, which wraps the diamond with a metal ring around it. A pearl center stone doesn’t require prongs as it is secured through a nearly invisible pin that extends from the mountain and goes into the gemstone.
The shoulder is the part of the shank that connects to the head of the ring. On certain engagement rings, the shoulder can feature accent diamonds or other details such as milgrain decorations.
The bridge is the part of the band that rests on the top portion of your finger. The head of the ring is also affixed to the bridge.
The gallery is the area that is beneath the center stone and above the bridge of the ring. Typically, this part is left undecorated, but some rings feature detailed embellishments or milgrain in this area.
The shank is sometimes referred also referred to as the band. More specifically, it is the part of the ring that encircles your finger while wearing the ring. The top half of the shank splits into two pieces—the shoulder and the bridge.
The Classic Diamond Engagement Ring VS Gemstone Engagement Rings
As mentioned in the previous section, the center stone is the focal point of an engagement ring. It is definitely the most important element and requires a lot of consideration. For decades, diamonds have been the traditional choice for engagement rings. More recently, however, people have begun considering alternative gemstones, whether it be pearls, rubies, sapphires, emeralds or even mother of pearl. Here, we dive a little deeper into each of these options.
Diamond Engagement Rings
As we explained earlier, the connection between diamonds and engagement rings was primarily a result of a revolutionary marketing campaign by DeBeers, the world’s largest diamond company. The success of the campaign is exemplified through the great popularity of diamond-enriched engagement rings. While diamond engagement rings are the classic option, people who are looking for something more original are beginning to consider alternatives. That said, there is no shortage of unique engagement rings featuring diamonds, some of which we’ll cover in our list later in the article.
Gemstone Engagement Rings
There’s no doubt that since the 20th century, diamond engagement rings have been the most common option. However, during the Renaissance period, gemstone engagement rings were just as popular as diamond-adorned engagement rings among Europe’s elite. Today, gemstone engagement rings are regaining some of their popularity. Instead of choosing diamond engagement rings simply because they are the traditional choice, people are finding appeal in alternative gemstones because of their uniqueness. You get to decide if a bling with colored stones qualifies as a weird engagement ring or as a classy choice.
Pearl Engagement Rings
Of all the alternative gemstones, pearls are widely considered the most fitting for an engagement ring. The beauty of pearls, along with their symbolic meaning, make them a truly incredible option. Pearls symbolize purity, integrity, and loyalty—all of which are extremely important as you get ready to spend of the rest of your life with someone. For engagement rings, the pearl center stone is often complemented with accent diamonds to create an absolutely mesmerizing look that exudes timeless elegance.
PEARL ENGAGEMENT RINGS
The remarkable beauty of pearl engagement rings is truly alluring. Whether you’re interested in an engagement ring that is simple with clean lines, perfect for your classic wedding band, or a three stone ring that features a combination of pearls and diamonds, The Pearl Source is the premier source for spectacular non traditional engagement rings. Find the most beautiful engagement rings and June birthstone rings in our pearl rings collections at the best prices in the market.
The Ten Most Unique Engagement Rings of All Time
In this section, we list our ten most unique celebrity engagement rings of all time. Some even consider them the most beautiful engagement rings. While each of the rings features diamonds, what makes all of these unique is how they each incorporate other gemstones as well. From emeralds to rubies, and even aquamarine, the beautiful colors and delightful details of these rings sets them apart from other engagement rings. Can you guess which celebrity each ring belongs to? Read our list of unique rings below and find out.
1. Olivia Wilde’s Brilliant-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with an Emerald Halo
In January 2013, actor Jason Sudeikis proposed to actress Olivia Wilde. The bling: an unbelievably unique engagement ring. Some might even say it’s a weird engagement ring. The brilliant-cut diamond certainly adds heaps of sparkle, but the halo of emerald accent stones that surrounds the diamond is undoubtedly the most unique part of this ring. Typically, a halo engagement ring is created using diamonds, so this inverted halo is truly one-of-a-kind.
2. Kate Middleton’s Blue Ceylon Sapphire Engagement Ring
A ring that needs no introduction. This unique engagement ring, which features 14 solitaire diamonds that surround a 12-carat blue Ceylon sapphire center stone, was originally Princess Diana’s. Despite facing initial criticism for choosing a ring that wasn’t custom made, the ring soon became the most sought-after engagement ring style given Princess Diana’s reputation as a style icon. The ring style gained a lot of buzz again in 2010 when Prince William used the ring to propose to Kate Middleton. The only change that was made for Kate was getting the ring resized, which they did by placing tiny platinum beads inside the band. With its legendary history and magnificent design, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see this celebrity engagement ring featured on our most beautiful engagement rings list.
3. Eva Longoria’s Ruby Ring with a Diamond Halo Engagement Ring
Elegant. Unique. Vibrant. Three qualities that define this next entry on our list. Not only does this engagement ring that belongs to Eva Longoria boast a ruby gemstone that has an extremely vibrant red hue, but experts estimate that the stone is between 6 to 8 carats large! The center stone of the unique engagement ring is highlighted with a halo of rather large accent diamonds that altogether make this one of the most unique celebrity engagement rings we’ve ever seen.
4. Jessica Biel’s 3-Stone Aquamarine and Diamond Engagement Ring
Jessica Biel’s engagement ring has all of the details you could ever dream of! The piece is definitely worthy of its spot on the most beautiful engagement rings list. The center stone is a 6-carat diamond that has a double halo of accent diamonds encircling it. The engagement ring also features an aquamarine gemstone on each side of the center stone, giving the ring a unique dash of femininity. The final part of the unique engagement ring is the band, which is outfitted with a row of pave diamonds that make the ring sparkle beautifully with every flash of light. Classic, yet unique. Elegant, yet modern. This ring has it all. Considering all of the intricate details featured in the ring’s design, it’s easy to understand why this celebrity engagement ring is so unique.
5. Jackie Kennedy’s Emerald and Diamond Art-Deco Engagement Ring
We couldn’t compile this list of unique celebrity engagement rings without including the non traditional engagement ring that John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie Kennedy with. Some might call it a weird engagement ring – and they wouldn’t be far off. Some think it is one of the most beautiful engagement rings in the world. The engagement ring is truly unlike any other ring that exists, due to many different reasons. To begin, it has a unique two-stone diamond and emerald combination—markedly different from the one center stone or three-stone designs that we’re accustomed to seeing. The engagement ring is renowned for its Art Deco influence that is exemplified through the floral details. Finally, along the shoulder of the ring are more tapered baguette diamonds used to highlight the two main gemstones. Just one look at the ring gives you all the evidence you need to understand its uniqueness and elegance.
6. Katy Perry’s Oval Ruby Set in Yellow Gold Engagement Ring
This next piece definitely deserves its spot on our list of unique rings. Floral appeal? Check. Color pop? Check! Uniqueness? Definitely! While this ring may seem quite similar to Eva Longoria’s ring that we covered earlier, it’s actually quite different. This ring, which Orlando Bloom proposed to Katy Perry with, features an alluring oval-shaped ruby with a floral-shaped diamond halo around it. The most unique aspect of this halo engagement ring is the yellow gold that it’s set in, which creates a beautiful contrast with the red gemstone that makes it one-of-a-kind. This stunning engagement ring is certainly one of our favorite celebrity engagement rings.
7. Emma Slater’s Splendid Pink Sapphire
Elegant and twinkling pink gemstones make popular choices among stars. In 2016, Sasha Farber proposed to Emma Slater live on Dancing With the Stars. He did so using an unbelievably unique ring that features a 4-carat oval pink sapphire as the center stone. Emma Slater had fallen in love with the engagement ring on a shopping trip with her sister. Emma’s sister later told Sasha about the ring, who would eventually go to the store to purchase it. The rare pink sapphire, together with the 115 micropave diamonds that surround it, make this ring well worthy of a spot on our list.
8. Halle Berry’s Emerald Ring with Secret Inscriptions
The next entry on our list of unique rings is definitely not your typical halo engagement ring. Halle Berry got this non traditional three stone engagement ring when French actor Olivier Martinez proposed to her in 2012. The 4-carat hand-forged emerald central stone is flanked with diamonds on both sides and set in textured yellow-gold. However, the design of this ring isn’t the only unique thing about it. The ring supposedly contains secret codes and messages that were only understood by the couple.
9. Jessica Simpson’s Vintage-Inspired Ruby and Diamond 3-Stone
This ring, which belongs to Jessica Simpson, features a combination of unique details. To begin, the ring is an antique from the early 20th century, that has huge influence on its design. The middle stone is a gorgeous oval ruby, which is also Jessica Simpson’s birthstone. The most distinctive part of the ring, however, is the pear-shaped diamond side stones that are set horizontally. All of these different details give the ring a vintage charm that we find extremely appealing.
10. Victoria Beckham’s Massive Ruby with a Diamond Swirl
Victoria Beckham might very well be the queen of unique engagement rings. Throughout their marriage, David Beckham has gifted his wife more than 10 engagement rings as a token of his love for her. Her collection includes multiple diamond rings, an emerald engagement ring, a sapphire ring, and this awe-inspiring ruby masterpiece. This halo engagement ring features an absolutely massive oval-cut ruby gemstone along with a halo of diamonds that swirl around the middle stone—all set in platinum.
Top Five Unique Pearl Engagement Rings
To round out this article on the most unique engagement rings, in this section we feature five unbelievably unique pearl engagement rings. The graceful beauty of pearls complemented with the one-of-a-kind sparkle of diamonds creates a one-of-a-kind combination. This may be the primary reason why pearl engagement rings are generating so much buzz.
1. South Sea Pearl and Diamond Engagement Ring
It’s the overall aesthetic of this engagement ring, which resembles a lotus flower, that makes it so unique. The size and luster (or glow) of the South Sea pearl is highlighted perfectly with the accent diamonds that encircle it. Despite its relatively simple design, this ring manages to captivate you with its one-of-a-kind beauty.
2. South Sea Pearl and Diamond Engagement Ring
The most unique aspect of this engagement ring is the different types of shine that it gives off. At the center of the ring is the South Sea pearl, which exudes a deep, radiant glow that makes the gemstone seem as if it’s radiating from within. This glow from the pearl contrasts with the sharp sparkle of the accent diamonds that the ring’s design incorporates. While a diamond halo in a bezel surrounds the pearl, additional pave diamonds are set across the shank. No matter which angle you look at this from, you can expect a never-ending amount of sparkle and shine.
3. Golden Pearl and Diamond Engagement Ring
This Embrace engagement ring is the ultimate definition of unique. Some might even classify it as one of the exotic engagement rings. The focal point is the rare golden pearl in the center that immediately tells you about the lavish aesthetic of the ring. 32 accent diamonds set across the split shank make the ring even more distinguishable. For a ring that’s unlike any other and will certainly turn heads, look no further than the Embrace ring.
4. Exotic Engagement Rings: The Tahitian South Sea Pearl and Diamond Eva Ring
One of the qualities that make this Eva engagement ring so unique is the Tahitian pearl that adorns it. Tahitian pearls are some of the rarest pearls in the world and are recognized for their exotic dark colors. And, unsurprisingly, they make exotic engagement rings. The pearl is complemented with an Art Deco-inspired floral design that is encrusted with diamonds. Sophisticated, elegant, and unique—what else can one want in a ring?
Planning a unique engagement starts with the right engagement ring. On your wedding day, the engagement ring and wedding band are the two most important pieces of wedding jewelry. That said, the rest of your bridal jewelry, such as your bridal earrings or necklace, also play a huge role in helping you look your absolute best. Pearl jewelry is a great way to add elegance to your bridal ensemble without being too bold, whether you opt for Freshwater Pearls or Akoya gems. Pearl jewelry sets give you all of the pearl jewelry essentials in one set: necklaces, pearl bracelets and earrings. Not only will all of your jewelry match perfectly, but the polished look of the gemstone will help bring your whole look together.
5. Akoya Pearl and Diamond Crown Jewel Engagement Ring
We saved the last spot on this list for a truly special engagement ring that is fitting for royalty. With a top-quality Akoya pearl together with a vintage-inspired diamond crown design around it, this ring once again proves the one-of-a-kind beauty of the pearl and diamond combination. That said, what we love most about it is the option of choosing the pearl’s color. While white may be the classic option, the rose gold colored option is equally as exquisite.
Buying an Engagement Ring
When buying an engagement ring, there are a few things you want to avoid. To begin, you do not want to get ripped off. The next no-no is buying a ring that doesn’t fit your significant other’s style. Finally, and arguably worst of all, is buying a ring with counterfeit gemstones. Purchasing the perfect ring can be a process that is a bit tricky. However, it could be a lot simpler and less stressful with a little bit of knowledge and planning. There are three simple steps you can follow to make sure that you end up getting the engagement ring that’s right for you.
Set a Budget for Your Engagement Ring
Setting a budget is an important first step that everyone must do when shopping for an engagement ring. By setting a budget, you’ll know how much you can spend on your unique engagement ring and how you want to spend it. For example, perhaps it’s getting a higher-quality statement stone with no diamond halo or, instead, maybe a central stone with less quality that is still beautiful along with a plethora of accent diamonds. Three stone rings also make great options – and are budget-friendly if you opt for smaller gems. While the general rule of thumb is to spend two months income on an engagement ring, do what works for you. That said, the last thing you want to do is spend too much money on an engagement ring and start your marriage in debt.
Get a Feel for What Engagement Ring Your Significant Other Desires
White gold? Classic yellow? Or perhaps an engagement ring featuring purple gemstones in rose gold? A classic halo engagement ring or a slightly weird engagement ring? So many decisions. Our list of unique rings is a great place to start narrowing it down. There are many ways that you can get a better understanding of the type of unique engagement ring that she wants. You can start off by talking to close friends or family members that she might have talked to about this subject. Or, if you happen to be shopping or visiting the mall one day together, you can make a quick stop in a jewelry store.
You don’t want to buy a generic engagement ring that doesn’t connect with her. By learning about the different parts of an engagement ring earlier, you’re in a better position to buy a unique engagement ring that has the details which will make her jaw drop. Next, redefine your search. Sticking with the classics or shopping for exotic engagement rings?As we’ve seen, more and more people are opting for gemstone engagement rings. This may be something you may want to consider.
Buy the Engagement Ring from a Trusted Retailer
Avoid getting ripped off or getting an engagement ring with fake stones. How? Whether you are purchasing classic pieces or exotic engagement rings, make sure you shop smartly. By purchasing the engagement ring you decide on from a trusted retailer. For instance, always take the time to read prior clients’ reviews and ask questions about gem certification. At The Pearl Source, we’ve been the premier source for top-quality gemstones. Plus, we have the lowest prices on the market for over 20 years. In addition, we’re proud to be accredited by Jewelers of America and the Better Business Bureau. Lastly, we have a 4.8 rating on Trust Pilot with over 6,000 reviews!
As we’ve seen here, engagement rings can be unique in a multitude of ways, from various design features to the ring’s overall aesthetic. That said, one thing is for certain—engagement rings that feature gemstones such as pearls, sapphires, and emeralds are the way to go for an engagement ring that is unlike any other. The combination of these gemstones with accent diamonds create a one-of-a-kind beauty that make them distinct from engagement rings that only feature diamonds.
Now that you have all this information about unique engagement rings, let us know what some of your favorite unique engagement designs are in the comments below. What are you going for: a gorgeous halo engagement ring? A simple diamond engagement ring paired with exotic wedding rings? Or perhaps a non traditional, weird engagement ring in rose gold with matching pink gemstones? And which one is your favorite pick from our list of unique rings? Let us know in the comments below!
Get shopping and find your dream engagement ring!
The images above have been reproduced under the “fair use” doctrine of the US Copyright Act. This blog claims no credit and means no copyright infringement for any images published on this site unless otherwise noted. The images on this blog are copyright to their respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please email us with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.
- The Most Unique Engagement Rings of All Time - September 16, 2019
- Millennial Spending Habits - September 5, 2018
- Birthstones 101 and a Complete Guide to the June Birthstone - June 27, 2018