The latest bridal-jewelry trend gives new meaning to the term “the one”: Jewelry designers are creating a single innovative and meaningful band that replaces the traditional engagement and wedding ring set.
Casual lifestyles, a gender-neutral approach to jewelry, and the ongoing desire for self-expression have all influenced this style. The independents that create bridal jewelry are offering a wealth of alternatives, which are gaining in popularity as couples seek rings that reflect their own special relationships.
“Choosing to wear only one band rather than a set is a matter of personal style,” says Jennifer Gandia, who co-owns Greenwich St. Jewelers in New York with her sister Christina Gambale. “With marriage equality comes people who are breaking the norms in how wedding jewelry is designed and worn.
This creates a terrific opportunity for designers to think outside the box when designing for couples and commitment.”
The one-ring trend challenges today’s designers to come up with looks that take symbolism, comfort, style and everyday wearability into consideration.
“It’s about wider, bolder rings reimagined into a totem of sorts with significant gems for birthstones or romantic messages, such as diamonds for enduring love or rubies for passion,” says Kathryn Bullock of luxury boutique Pilot and Powell in New Orleans, Louisiana.
She has also seen jewelers pushing boundaries with innovative band settings, like contemporary designs that recall older favorites. Brent Neale’s Flush Mount rings, for instance, are a creative play on the burnished gypsy rings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In fact, the gypsy setting is one of the most sought-after styles in the all-in-one ring category, notes Gandia. Echoing that sentiment are Corina Madilian of Los Angeles-based jeweler Single Stone, Pratima Sethi of the Sethi Couture label in San Francisco, California, and designer Lauren Curtin of New York brand Lauren Addison.
Other jewelers — such as Lizzie Mandler in Los Angeles, Jade Ruzzo in New York, and London-based designer Nadine Aysoy — have been selling wider yellow gold styles in various incarnations.
“During the pandemic, women were looking for wedding rings to wear on a daily basis that still felt special,” Mandler relates. “After that, women’s mind-sets changed. They realized an engagement ring can be anything they want it to be; it doesn’t have to be a large-stone solitaire, [but] what best suits their individual and practical needs.”
For Mandler, this means wider bands — especially channel-set, alternating trillion or alternating tapered-baguette bands. “They offer a lot of sparkle, have a strong presence, and take up a lot of real estate on the finger,” she explains.
Ruzzo’s clients “want a ring that can do it all,” says the designer. “[It’s] part of the ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra that defines confident minimalism. These rings must have personality and character to stand on their own, like our snow-set pavé bands, which feature 450 hand-set stones, or our Tennessee ring of individually hand-bezeled diamonds that sit on top of an 18-karat band like a crown.”
[Clients] want a ring that can do it all. [It’s] part of the ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra that defines confident minimalism.
Aysoy’s Catena and Bombe rings are another variation on wider rings that feature different stone cuts in chunky or textural bands.
All of the interviewees affirm that couples who buy rings together are choosing complementary elements rather than the perfectly matched styles of the mid- to late 20th century, opting for metals and gemstone colors, diamond cuts, tactile details, and engravings that fit together well.
The big question is how the all-in-one ring trend is impacting sales. “There’s no guarantee for retailers that you will sell more than one ring,” says Gandia. “The goal is always to give people an unforgettable experience so that they return to you for any jewelry needs — so really, that one ring is…the gateway to building a relationship with your clients that lasts.”
Main image: Briony Raymond diamond and gold bands. (Sophie Sahara)
This article is from the September-October 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.