Engagement Ring Trends To Watch In 2023
A data-driven run down of the most popular engagement styles, budgets and gemstones in the past year helps our experts predict the biggest engagement ring trends in 2023. From yellow gold to oval diamonds - and just how many of us are buying lab diamond rings.
Queensmith End of Year Trends Report
The pandemic led to many important milestones being delayed or even cancelled. But over the past year, plans have started to unfold again. With the lifting of restrictions, planning a wedding is a significant milestone that many couples are getting excited about once more, and of course, that begins with one very important thing: an engagement ring.
When it comes to finding the engagement ring, the list of questions can feel endless. Have the most popular engagement ring designs changed since the pandemic? How much money do people spend now? And what trends will 2023 bring?
We have dived into our internal data from customer purchases to create an inaugural engagement ring report that looks at last year’s trends to predict what will be on the rise in 2023.
This report offers key insights into the trends that have influenced our engagement rings over the past year, including spending and buying habits, bespoke vs. pre-made rings; the most popular styles, shapes, gemstones, metal colours and carat weight, along with the rise of the lab grown ring.
Here are the trends and themes we’ve loved the most in 2022 and what we predict to see in 2023…
How Much Did People Spend on Engagement Rings Last Year?
With the cost of living crisis in the UK, many have experienced additional financial stress over the past year, so what impact did this have on engagement ring budgets?
Our figures show that on average, people spent £6,500 on an engagement ring in 2022 - which is a significant cost, and an increase from previous years. It appears the cost of living climate has not necessarily impacted people's budgets - but it has had an impact of the value they expect for their money, as ring buyers strive for exceptional quality, aftercare services and bigger diamonds (thanks to lab diamonds).
It doesn’t take much research to find how drastically engagement rings can vary in price, starting from £1,200 for a simple, 0.30ct lab diamond solitaire. A simple 1ct lab grown diamond ring costs around £2,500 - and an identical ring crafted with a natural diamond costs around £6,200. The cost of a ring increases with design complexity, and more notably with the carat weight and quality of the diamond.
Starting the process with a clear budget in mind will help to set the parameters of your search and offer a realistic expectation of what your ring could look like from the get-go.
Be aware of the myths about how much money should be spent on an engagement ring, so you don’t feel the pressure to live up to this. The well-rehearsed narrative that you should spend 1, 2 or even 3 months’ monthly salary on a ring started off as a marketing ploy by a well-known jewellery company, primarily to boost revenue from diamonds. The reality is, there is no right or wrong answer. What’s right for others won’t necessarily be right for you and your partner, and while it's important to buy a ring that you both love and feel proud of, it shouldn’t need to break the bank.
Engagement ring buyers are actually spending a little more than previous years. People like to invest in their relationships with exquisite, meaningful rings to last a lifetime, perhaps even more so during uncertain economic times.
There are a few decisions you can make to save money on an engagement ring, without sacrificing your dream design or the quality. One way to reduce the costs is by choosing a lab grown diamond over a natural diamond - identical in every way and entirely authentic, yet typically between 60% and 80% less expensive.
There's no obligation to buy a flawless diamond either. The closer you get to flawless diamonds, the rarer and more valuable they will be - but the truth is, expanding your budget in an attempt to chase down a diamond without any inclusions isn’t necessarily money (or time) well spent. Eye-clean diamonds graded above VS2 will contain tiny inclusions that aren’t visible without magnification; at the end of 2022 we saw 67% of Queensmith clients choose a VS1 grade diamond which is eye-clean yet significantly less costly than a flawless diamond.
When it comes to diamond shape, some shapes are more expensive than others. For example, round diamonds are 20% more expensive compared to any other shape. This is due to their high demand, and because more diamond is wasted during the cutting process to achieve the round shape. Shapes like oval diamonds and pear diamonds are typically cheaper carat-for-carat, and actually look bigger due to their elongated shape.
What Was the Most Popular Month To Buy an Engagement Ring in 2022?
As you can clearly see in the graph below, November was by far the most popular month to purchase an engagement ring in 2022. Buying an engagement ring the month before the festive period gives enough time for the ring to be crafted, and to put any final plans in place. This time of year is typically filled with happy and romantic moments or getaways with loved ones, so it’s unsurprising to see a spike in purchases in preparation for a Christmas proposal.
There is also a growing trend in summer vacation proposals, with purchases for engagement rings noticeably increasing in both July and August. With holidays booked abroad and many weddings taking place, the summer months are the perfect opportunity for people to plan a proposal of their own. Long sunny days and scenic backdrops make a proposal at this time of year even more memorable.
As a general pattern over the course of 2022, there has been an uplift in Queensmith’s website traffic, online purchases and in-store appointments, showing that the buzz around engagement ring shopping is showing no signs of slowing down despite the cost of living crisis. Perhaps such happy occasions are offering a beacon of hope and stability in an otherwise uncertain climate.
Bespoke vs. Pre-Made Rings
The attention to detail and care behind crafting an engagement ring for the person you love, often makes the ring even more precious for the person receiving it.
For our customers, personalisation is one of the top priorities with nearly every ring we sell being crafted to order, rather than ring-buyers selecting a pre-made design. This consumer choice demonstrates that thought is prioritised over ease when it comes to finding an engagement ring, whether that’s from in-store sales or online orders.
We find that most proposers and couples prefer to go to the effort of choosing their own diamond and then tweak the details of their design, to end up with a bespoke ring that only they have.
While we do have a limited range of engagement rings that we’ve pre-made in our workshop, it is typically only those with time constraints that opt for a Ready to Wear ring. As little as 4.3% of the engagement rings we sold in 2022 were pre-made designs available in our Ready to Wear collection - demonstrating that the demand for bespoke engagement rings is sky-high.
Over this past year, customers have developed tastes for classic designs with the addition of unusual or personal design features; empowering the customer to lead the decision-making to create a truly personal ring. This trend, where customers are inspired to learn more about jewellery designs, is likely down to increased exposure of ideas online, through TikTok trends and celebrity engagements.
In 2023, we think collaborative rings will become an even bigger trend, with more couples designing their engagement or wedding rings together, rather than the proposer picking out the ring as the ultimate surprise.
Bespoke is big - couples love to know their ring was made just for them. Adding secret diamond details is the biggest ring trend at the moment - hidden halos, diamond bridges and diamond bezels add a beautiful, personal touch to even simple designs.
Most Popular Style of Engagement Ring
When it comes to the most popular style of engagement ring in 2022, solitaire rings were consistently at the top. A solitaire engagement ring is the design that most people typically associate with a classic diamond engagement ring, featuring one centre diamond or gemstone with a plain band - the best way to let a seriously gorgeous diamond do all the talking!
However, we did notice a significant interest in ring buyers looking to elevate the simplistic design of their solitaire rings with hidden diamond details like a secret halo, diamond set bridge or diamond set bezel. These subtle features are incredibly romantic and always so well received by unsuspecting partners that consider these extra details an extremely thoughtful touch.
In November 2022, nearly 40% of the solitaire rings we created for couples featured a secret diamond detail of some sort. Interestingly, in November the year before, hidden diamond details were a rare request, accounting for less than 5% of all solitaire rings. This is a big trend to keep an eye on and we’re predicting that hidden diamond detail will be one of the biggest ring trends in 2023!
Hidden diamond details were also popular amongst those creating diamond band rings. Once upon a time, halo rings took the spot for the 2nd most popular ring style - but recent trends for demure, striped-back and simplistic style has seen diamond band engagement rings soar.
Trilogy rings were the third most popular style, often recognised for their symbolisation of eternal love, with the three stones that are set on the head of this ring representing the past, present and future.
Two or three years ago, halo rings were much more popular than they are now. Then, halo rings were preferred as a cost-effective way to create a larger looking ring without spending beyond your budget - but now, couples find they can achieve that bigger diamond look simply by opting for a lab-grown diamond with a lower cost per carat.
We also saw a consistent increase in the demand for ‘other’, more bespoke styles over the year as couples aimed to make their engagement ring feel more personal to them. This was particularly apparent with toi et moi style (“you and me”) engagement rings, a modern look made popular by celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski, Ariana Grande and Megan Fox; binding together two unique stone shapes to symbolise unity.
Five-stone rings were another popular bespoke style, representative of a five year long relationship for those who meet that timeline. Both of these styles add that sentimental touch for anyone looking to get engaged.
|Rank||Ring Style||Popularity: % of rings made in 2022|
|#5||Other, e.g. Toi et Moi & Five Stone rings||7.5|
Most Popular Engagement Ring Diamond Shape
Our data shows that round diamonds remain by far the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings, accounting for nearly 60% of the rings made by Queensmith in 2022. Their popularity is largely due to the unrivalled sparkle emitted by the round cut; engineered to contain 360 degree symmetry and 57 optimally structured facets that facilitate their intense sparkle.
Oval diamonds came in second place for the most popular shape, making up 21.5% of all rings sold last year. The oval-cut is very flattering for the ring wearer, with its soft round edges offering a feminine and classic style that can make the finger appear longer and super elegant. Another reason oval diamond engagement rings are so popular is due to how big they appear, thanks to their increased spread of carat weight over an elongated area - carat for carat they can look upwards of 30% bigger than an equally weighted round diamond!
Oval diamond popularity steadily increased throughout the year, from 21% in January to nearly 30% in December. At Queensmith, we continue to see the demand for oval diamonds grow, helped by the fact that they offer exceptional value for money.
In third place were pear diamonds, which have all the same benefits as oval diamonds. The greater spread of carat weight makes them look both bigger and flattering in shape, but with a lower cost per carat. The edgy shape of the pear diamond gives couples a unique look that, although the 3rd most popular shape, accounts for less than 5% of engagement rings.
|Rank||Diamond Shape||Popularity: % of rings made in 2022|
Most Popular Gemstones Other Than Diamond
When it comes to coloured gemstones, they typically account for five in every 100 rings that we make for our customers. Coloured gemstones refer to any gem other than a diamond, as diamonds are typically colourless. Diamonds can be found in a number of colours - but these are referred to as coloured diamonds, rather than coloured gemstones.
According to our report, the most popular coloured gemstone are blue sapphires by far, resulting in 4% of all engagement ring sales last year. Sapphires are durable, second in hardness only to diamonds, and offer incredible lustre along with intense colour.
Aside from blue sapphires, other gemstones account for less than 1% of ring sales, with the most commonly purchased being rubies and emeralds. A small number of Queensmith engagement rings crafted in 2022 featured more unusual gemstones, including black diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds, citrine, topaz, tanzanite and tourmaline, however the trends show that colourless diamonds are the firm favourite amongst ring buyers.
Sapphires are a smart alternative to diamonds because they durable, resistant to chipping or scratching, and super lustrous. Blue is by far the most popular sapphire shade, but they can be found in a full spectrum of colours!
Most Popular Ring Metal Colour
Rings are crafted in a limited selection of fine and precious metal. From bright, colourless platinum and white gold, to the warm and characterful tones of yellow and rose gold, there are many options to choose from when it comes to finding the right metal match.
We’ve seen a big jump in demand for yellow gold, influenced by everyday jewellery trends and fashion. In 2021, yellow gold accounted for only 18% of sales but in 2022, we saw that figure jump to 27%. It’s popular for a number of reasons, including its complementary, warming nature and versatility. The sunshine tone can look both traditional or more contemporary with simple, refined ring designs.
That said, platinum remains the top favourite metal choice over the past two years and we expect the metal to continue to top the charts in 2023. As a colourless and lustrous metal, platinum is the perfect choice for diamond engagement rings.The reflectivity of the metal enhances the diamond’s sparkle, helping it to maintain a bright and icy look. Platinum is also a safer option to go for; not only being a timeless choice for an engagement ring but also suiting different tastes and designs.
White gold (5% of sales) and rose gold (4%) were not far apart in terms of demand, and were significantly lower than platinum and yellow gold metal. Both of these metals give an engagement ring a beautiful result, but as with any ring, there are reasons that make them a less popular choice in comparison. For instance, white gold will need plating in rhodium to keep it silvery and with pinkish rose gold, this contemporary tone is a trend that could fade with time.
However, there are many other factors to consider when deciding on a metal colour, like skin tone. Yellow and rose gold compliment people with warm skin tones and cool skin looks best with metals that are silvery, like white gold.
Most Popular Diamond Carat Weight
The average diamond carat weight in 2022 varied depending on whether the client chose a natural diamond or lab diamond. For instance, lab diamond ring buyers typically opted for larger carat weights compared to natural diamond buyers.
On the whole, the large majority of natural diamond buyers bought diamonds close to one carat. When it comes to lab diamond engagement rings purchased in 2022, there appeared to be a much greater variation in carat weight, reflecting the ability of lab diamonds to suit all kinds of budgets.
However, across both natural and lab diamonds more broadly, the average diamond carat weight bought in 2022 was 1.25ct.
|Carat||Lab Diamonds: % of rings made in 2022||Natural Diamonds: % of rings made in 2022||% of all rings made in 2022|
|0.30 - 0.49||3.3||10.8||5.8|
|0.50 - 0.99||26.3||56.3||36.3|
|1.00 - 1.24||23.1||21.7||22.6|
|1.25 - 1.49||13||3.9||10.0|
|1.50 - 1.74||13.5||5.4||10.8|
|1.75 - 1.99||7.3||>0.1||4.9|
|2.00 - 2.24||5.4||0.7||3.9|
|2.25 - 2.49||2.5||0.7||1.9|
A Huge Uplift in Lab Grown Diamonds
In 2022, the interest in lab diamond rings soared. Towards the beginning of the year, around half of our clients chose lab diamonds but by the end, this figure was closer to 80%.
The craze for lab grown diamonds is largely down to younger diamond buyers having better consumer awareness, especially when it comes to environmental responsibilities and gauging how to get the best value for their money. Lab grown diamonds are a great option for anyone considering sustainability as part of their engagement ring search, as this diamond will come from a transparent supply chain that doesn’t require mining.
Aside from environmental factors, lab grown diamonds are not only consistently better quality, but much more affordable too. Unlike natural diamonds, the manufacturing process of lab grown diamonds doesn’t extend over billions of years but a matter of weeks. The efficiency of their production explains the significantly reduced price tag.
Lab diamonds are a major disruptor - having hugely changed the jewellery industry in a matter of a few years. They are the first of its kind within the jewellery sector which had largely remained unchanged for centuries!
In a 2021 survey conducted by Queensmith, 88% of participants said they would prefer a lab diamond to a natural diamond, despite 60% of those surveyed having never heard of them before. We’re now finding clients have far richer knowledge regarding these human-made gemstones - and are curious to compare natural and lab diamonds in person. The most consistent winner in this comparison is resoundingly lab diamonds.
In the final three months of the year, the percentage of lab grown rings skyrocketed. In September 2022, 86% of the rings sold were lab-grown, versus just 14% being natural diamond, which shows a significant, if not permanent, step away from mined-diamonds into 2023.
|Month||% of Rings Made with Lab Diamonds 2022||% of Rings Made with Natural Diamonds 2022|
Engagement Ring Trends for 2023
Senior Gemmologist & Design Expert at Queensmith, Eddi, explains;
“If the current trajectories continue, oval diamonds will continue to give round diamonds a good run for their money in 2023. They look bigger and cost less per carat, so for today's buyers seeking the very best value for their money, oval diamonds make total sense. However, when it comes to sparkle, you simply cannot beat a Round diamond. They are the peak of diamond evolution and are here to stay!
We expect solitaire and diamond band rings to dominate the most popular engagement ring styles - particularly those with hidden diamond details, like a hidden halo or diamond set bridge, as couples look for ways to add subtle yet super personal embellishments.
The majority of us will continue to choose platinum in 2023, but there is a strong case for yellow gold making an impact throughout the year as it rises in popularity.
Most notably, we’re expecting lab diamonds to account for almost all engagement rings we create in 2023 - particularly as consumers grow more aware of their benefits and lower cost per carat. With a cost of living crisis ongoing, we’re all a bit more conscious about where we’re spending our money, and the quality of goods or services we receive in return. A custom made lab diamond ring is the perfect solution to receive exceptional quality and size at a non-Earth-shattering price.”
Engagement Ring Trends According to TikTok
As stated previously, consumers are increasingly exposed to jewellery design online through social media such as TikTok. Through analysis of a comprehensive list of ring designs and styles, we’ve used hashtag data from TikTok to reveal which trends have the highest number of views.
1. Black Diamonds - 142,200,000 views
While coloured gemstones other than diamonds typically account for only about 5 in every 100 rings we make at Queensmith, quite surprisingly, black diamonds seem to be having a moment on social media. The hashtag black diamonds had a huge amount of views. A dramatic choice, black diamonds add an undeniable edge to any bridal set - but we’re sceptical to see whether this prediction comes to fruition. We predict this is more of a fleeting trend.
2. Lab-grown Diamonds - 129,400,000 views
This comes as no surprise, as we have seen from our own sales data, lab-grown diamonds have increased in popularity throughout 2022 and we predict they will continue to dominate the diamond market in future years. This is due to increased consumer awareness of environmental and social responsibility resulting in a significant decline in demand for natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are a great option for anyone looking to purchase a diamond from a transparent supply chain that has not been disturbed the earth through mining.
3. Oval Engagement ring - 53,000,000 views
Oval diamonds continued to rise in popularity in 2022. The year of 2022 was marked by a desire for minimalism and ‘clean’ aesthetics whether that be interior, make-up, hair and jewellery. Combined with several celebrities who have had an oval engagement ring grace their finger such as Hailey Bieber, and Kourtney Kardashian. This has led people to embrace the feminine and classic shape with 53 million views on TikTok. We believe this ring shape will become even more popular in 2023.
4. Toi et Moi ring - 22,300,000 views
The highly romantic Toi et Moi ring meaning ‘you and me’ in French is most certainly going to stick around in 2023. Demand for the Toi et Moi ring had risen sharply over the past couple of years after this style of engagement ring was seen on celebrities like Megan Fox, Ariana Grande and Emily Ratajkowski following their engagements and with 22 million hashtag views on TikTok, we believe this style is going to stick around in 2023. We predict this style of ring will become increasingly popular as partners opt for more unique, one of a kind type rings, with a Toi et Moi ring, you are not only picking two shapes, but you can also mix in a play of colour with gemstones to create something even more special for you and your partner.
5. Sapphire Engagement ring - 10,000,000 views
Our most popular coloured gemstone is by far the blue sapphires, accounting for 4% of all engagement ring sales and with 10 million hashtag views we predict this style of engagement ring to become increasingly popular in 2023. Wedding trends for 2023 predict that couples will increasingly opt for more non-traditional coloured wedding wear, and we predict this will mean increasingly looking for more colourful, non-clear gemstones.
|#3||Oval engagement ring||53,000,000|
|#4||Toi et Moi rings||22,300,000|
|#5||Sapphire engagement rings||10,000,000|
|#6||Rose gold engagement rings||1,100,000|
|#7||Men's engagement rings||921,300|
|#8||White gold engagement rings||326, 900|
|#9||Platinum engagement rings||50,900|
|#10||Diamond halo rings||14,708|