Today is Valentine's Day and that means love is on the brain. For many people it also means that rings are on the brain--more specifically engagement rings.
And while the tradition of giving a women a ring upon betrothal is nothing new--a lot has changed in the world of engagement rings, according to Martha Stewart jewelry expert Melissa Colgan. For instance, the old "rule" that an engagement ring should cost the equivalent of three months of the man's salary is a thing of the past--and so is picking out a rock without your fiance's stamp of approval, for that matter.
"When it comes to engagement rings, I don’t really believe in rules—I think people need to be realistic and spend what they are comfortable with," Colgan told us. "There are so many factors that play into this [but] the most important thing is that couples talk about it beforehand and discuss what they’re comfortable with."
Another trend that's gaining in popularity is "upgrading" your ring--as in swapping your old engagement ring for a bigger, more jazzed-up version. "Upgrading is definitely a big trend. In fact, there are certain jewelers for whom upgrades comprise most of their sales," Colgan wrote to us. "I think this is great! Most newly-engaged couples are just starting their careers while paying of student loans and saving for a down-payment on a home. In that case, a large ring just isn’t an option. A few years down the road, however, an upgrade is a meaningful way to celebrate where you’ve been as a couple and where you’ll be going in the future."
Oh an how about the so-called Man-gagement trend? Yep, turns out it's a real thing. "It’s definitely gaining popularity in the gay community, and I know of a few straight men who’ve asked for them, too," Colgan said. "As for whether or not it will take off, we’ll have to wait and see!"
But one of the biggest changes to hit the engagement ring market is that now regular old diamonds aren't the only kind of rock getting love. Colgan filled us in on the top engagement ring trends right now, so if you're a soon-to-be fiance (or just really like drooling over expensive gems), click through for some serious jewelry porn.
Custom design. "More and more couples are commissioning expert jewelers to create pieces that suit their unique styles. People are drawn to this approach because it guarantees they’ll get exactly what they’re looking for. Plus, it’s fun to be involved in the design."--Melissa Colgan
Colored Stones "I suppose we can thank Will and Kate for this one! Lots of brides are opting for pink or yellow diamonds or precious stones like sapphires, rubies, or emeralds. It’s a way for them to express their personalities and differentiate themselves from their girlfriends. And who doesn’t want to feel like a princess?"--Melissa Colgan
Eco-friendly "Today’s couples are very conscious of their carbon footprints and the impact their jewelry will have on the environment—and for good reason! That’s where rings made from recycled gold and conflict free diamonds come in. These materials don’t compromise on quality, and they help brides and grooms feel good about their purchase."--Melissa Colgan
Classic solitaires "Classic solitaires, of course, will never go out of fashion. And the halo setting—a crown of smaller diamonds that surrounds the center stone—is still very popular and every bit as timeless. It’s a fabulous, cost-effective way to give a small center stone a much bigger look."--Melissa Colgan