Step aside, rounds; fancy shapes are making their mark on bridal consumers.
While round diamonds remain the dominant style in the market, particularly for engagement rings, fancies have experienced an upward trend in recent years.
“First it was oval and then pear shapes. Now people want marquise cuts,” says Ryan Miller of jeweler Brent Miller in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “Fancy shapes in general are definably more popular these days.”
So what’s driving the trend? There is a consensus that digital media plays a strong role. People are buying diamonds directly online and taking many of their fashion cues from social media, especially from celebrity influencers, jewelers note.
“The oval got popular when [actress] Blake Lively received that oval ring from [now-husband] Ryan Reynolds about 10 years ago,” comments Miller. Said ring featured a 7-carat, light-pink diamond center stone in rose gold with diamond pavé.
Marissa Rubinetti agrees that celebrities are having an impact on trends.
“Several celebrities have gotten engaged lately with fancy-cut stones, from emerald to heart-shaped,” says the executive vice president and operations officer for New York bridal store Kleinfeld.
In general, she’s noticed an uptick in more unconventional wedding rings, which she sees as part of a larger shift in how couples celebrate marriage.
“Today’s customer strives to be unique in their style and not subscribe to traditions, which is causing wedding trends to quickly evolve,” she elaborates. “Bridal parties can be mixed, some couples are walking away from the bouquet and garter toss, and some women are even proposing to their partners now. This cultural shift is affecting how people shop for their engagement rings, gravitating toward non-traditional [designs] featuring fancy-cut stones, colored gemstones, and even multiple gemstones, such as in the popular toi et moi rings.”
Retailer C.D. Peacock in Chicago, Illinois, has been experiencing this shift as well, according to Margaret DeSalvo, its director of merchandising for fine jewelry. Beyond that, she adds, some fancy cuts are just more flattering on the hand.
“Clients are looking for a shape that feels timeless yet unique, while offering a larger look,” she says. “With certain fancy shapes, such as pear and oval cuts, these diamonds have a larger surface, which gives the appearance of a more elongated look on the finger.”
Michael Deal, business growth leader for jewelry brand Tacori, echoes this sentiment.
“A long, shiny object on a finger looks better,” he says. “There’s a combination of the appearance of elongated shapes, [and] women saying, ‘I want to be different.’”
The stone’s long-term value also comes into play, according to Dominick Gabriel, co-owner of New York-based jeweler Gabriel & Co. In the past, retailers would recommend round diamonds because they held value, but that has changed, he explains, pointing to lab-grown diamonds as a factor.
The trend for fancies isn’t consistent across all shapes, observes Miller. Some cuts, such as princesses and cushions, have seen a drop in demand. As for which fancies are doing well, Gabriel cites ovals, radiants and pears as strong performers. DeSalvo has seen particular success with ovals, pears and emeralds.
Nonetheless, rounds are still the bulk of business for most jewelers.
“A round remains one of the most popular diamonds due to its classic shape and [being] one which has the best sparkle,” says DeSalvo.
Image: Fancy-shaped diamonds. (Shutterstock)