When it comes to seeking out the very best engagement rings, even the most radical, non-conforming couples are captivated. While some wedding traditions have been gleefully thrown into the dustbin of history—I mean, who can even imagine promising to “Obey” in their vows anymore?—the desire for the very best engagement ring endures.
Whether your ceremony is a barefoot beach affair or a blowout in a hotel ballroom, the best engagement ring you have ever imagined will shine from the best manicured finger you’ve ever flaunted on what is meant to be the best day of your life. (Ok, let’s say one of the five best days of your life—since surely the birth of a child, or an amazing job promotion, counts too?)
What makes an engagement ring best? It may seem obvious, but it’s the one that reflects your own distinct personality, that speaks directly to your soul—the one you’ve always dreamed of (maybe as much as you’ve dreamed up a dreamy partner.) It could be a classic version, with a gorgeous big stone plopped upon a platinum band; it could be a slightly quirkier iteration of an emerald, princess, marquis, or cushion cut! It could be a diamond-studded band doing double duty as engagement ring-and-wedding-band in one; or it could be something totally wild, totally nutty, that speaks to the two of you in a language only you two understand.
If, right about now, you are feeling overwhelmed by this vast plethora of choices, in every price point, in every metal, there is an enormous variety of good, better, and best engagement rings out there. Would it help if you knew a little history of the best engagement rings?
It all began, at least allegedly, in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring for his intended, Mary of Burgundy. Members of the European nobility soon copied his idea. Still, the notion of a diamond engagement ring was far out of reach for most people, at least until the Victorian era, when a burgeoning middle class had the buying power for such trifles. (If you couldn’t afford a real diamond, you could have one of paste!)
Of course, the most revered engagement rings in history were made of the finest materials. Napoleon gave Josephine a ring meant to evoke two teardrops in sapphire and diamond to symbolize their two hearts; Queen Victoria opted for a snake ring, an unconventional choice even if it was accented with a large emerald, rubies, and diamonds. Audrey Hepburn brandished a trio of studded bands; Jackie Kennedy rocked an emerald. And Lady Diana Spencer’s famous engagement ring consisted of 14 diamonds surrounding that incredible 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire, set in 18-karat white gold. (Kate Middleton has it now.)
If we learn anything from these lessons in jewelry lore, it is this—there is no one “best engagement ring.” Whether you opt for a classic diamond, a traditional version with a twist, a vintage-inspired design, a dramatic all-in-one band, or something unexpected and truly wild, your ring will be as glorious, and, we hope, as long-lived! as the relationship it celebrates.
These beautiful styles have stood the test of time.
These studded lovelies combine the beauty of an engagement ring with the grandeur of a wedding band.
Traditional With a Twist
These enduring styles have been reinterpreted with brilliant new design details.
The glories of decades past are embodied in these special creations.
Who says your engagement ring has to color within the lines?