10 alternative engagement rings

Nothing says 'engaged' like a solitaire diamond. But with the white wedding era on the wane, many women are looking for something more unique. From local designers and ethical sourcing to unusual stones and settings, Stylist brings you the top 10 engagement rings for the anti-Bridezilla.

Words: Sonia Van Gilder Cooke

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    18ct Gold Hand Carved Aquamarine Ring - McCaul


    London may be a modern metropolis, but it still houses old-world ateliers where artisans ply their trade.

    If you are looking for a ring with individuality, there's no better place to find it than in a workshop like McCaul's in Exmouth Market. Run by two young brothers from Dublin, Barry and David, the workshop employs centuries-old goldsmithing techniques such as hand forging.

    The McCauls create beautiful engagement rings. The adventurous, however, might choose this hand carved 18ct gold ring from their standard collection, set with an aquamarine sourced from a fifth generation stone cutter in Germany.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    The Eternal Multi Ring - Hattie Rickards

    £3,400 Hattie Rickards

    Nothing beats the advice of an expert. And no one knows unconventional engagement rings like London-based jewellery enthusiast Kate Baxter. The London-based 'jewel hunter' offers a free engagement ring advice service and runs a blog called 'The Cut', which highlights eye-catching pieces and designers.

    One of her favorite artists is Hattie Rickards, a 20-something London-based designer who counts Poppy Delevingne and Pippa Middleton amongst her fans. Her Eternal Multi Ring, made of 18ct fairtrade gold and semi precious stones, is a chic alternative to girly engagement bijoux.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    'Love' Written Ring in 18ct red gold and diamond - Solange


    Some designers are so wild that their engagement offerings are just the place to find your special ring. That's the case with London-born Solange Azagury-Partridge, the iconoclastic former creative director of French jewellery house Boucheron.

    Her 'Tough Love' collection includes what looks like an irreverent take on the Duchess of Cambridge's famous sapphire ring and a circle of fine white gold bones entitled 'Till Death Do Us Part'. The 'Love' ring is a playful, luxe deconstruction of the diamond solitaire.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    'Colpo di Fulmine' Rhodium-plated White Gold Ring with Flat Rose Cut Oval Amethyst and Diamonds - Pomellato

    £ 1,965

    Major luxury jewelers often have engagement ring collections, but it's worth nosing around in their other work to find something unique. Milanese brand Pomellato, known for its gloriously limpid gemstones, offers a rainbow of alternatives to the colourless diamond.

    Its rhodium-plated white gold ring with lilac-hued amethyst and diamonds, from the collection 'Colpo di Fulmine' (meaning 'Love at first Sight'), is beautiful without being a bore.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    18ct White Gold & White Diamond Thorned Heart Locket Ring, Shaun Leane


    If you're set on diamonds, why not be daring? Britain has a wealth of mature home-grown talent producing works of edgy beauty. Jeweller Shaun Leane, who collaborated with Alexander McQueen for a decade, offers an 18ct white gold and white diamond Thorned Heart Locket Ring inspired by Victorian antique jewellery.

    The heart, grasped by thorns, opens to reveal a secret compartment.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    1.6ct Emerald And Platinum Engagement Ring - Ingle & Rhode

    Prices start around £2500

    Edward VIII proposed to Wallis Simpson with a 19ct emerald ring, and you can't say it wasn't a happy union. This gorgeous gem is a showstopper when set as a solitaire like this engagement ring by London's Ingle & Rhode. Better yet, this bespoke jeweler is one of many in Britain committed to ethical sourcing.

    These days, there's no excuse for wearing a bauble that wasn't mined and polished for fair pay. This Zambian emerald is set in US-sourced recycled platinum.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    Electric Yellow Waves Band, 18ct yellow gold - Fernando Jorge

    £2180 Available via

    London attracts talented young jewellers from all over the world, and their collections are a fertile place to look for distinctive rings. Young Brazilian designer Fernando Jorge trained at Central St. Martins, but his jewels evoke the movement and rhythms of his home country.

    The 'Electric' waves ring uses yellow gold, white and brown diamonds and imperial topaz sourced from Brazil to create a work of organic beauty.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    Stacked Sapphire Ring, 7 one point red diamonds set into a 14K gold band with sapphire stacked on top - Mociun


    The hipster haven of Brooklyn, NY is a hotbed of engagement ring innovation. Many local designers' hand-crafted pieces are available via boutique, which offers international shipping.

    Other Brooklynites have hopped across the pond. You can find the work of jeweler Caitlin Mociun, a star of the indie engagement scene, at Couverture & The Garbstore in Notting Hill. She also offers international shipping from her website.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    18k White Gold Engagement Ring with 0.55ct Cognac Diamond - Amanda Li Hope


    Open studio events can be a great way to discover unique pieces crafted by local artisans. From 16-19 May, 90 London designers will open their workshops to visitors for the event 'Made in Clerkenwell'.

    One of those is Amanda Li Hope, who uses only certified fairtrade/fairmined gold. Hope works with clients to create bespoke rings like this understated solitaire, which features a sophisticated, cognac diamond sourced ethically from Australia.

  • 10 alternative engagement rings

    Foil Backed Four Diamond Ring, 18kt yellow gold


    Uncut diamonds each have a personality all their own, making them an attractive alternative to the sparkling solitaire. A simple Google search will reveal that many designers are now highlighting diamonds in the rough. One standout is British jeweller Pippa Small. This doyenne of bohemian bling excels at celebrating these unpolished stones.