The Alt-Bridal Trend
With the rise of millennials came the rise of alternative and quirky bridal trends, jewelry included. Alternative bridal designs offer a certain uniqueness that is appealing to young consumers. These brides no longer want a 2 carat engagement ring. In fact, some don’t want a diamond at all! Wearing unique settings, diamond bands, or gemstone rings has become an option for those brides that either want to stand out from their peers or those that would rather spend that money elsewhere, like on a honeymoon or a home.
In a time where being socially conscious and politically aware has become trendy, today’s brides have also begun to take a company’s sustainability and social responsibility practices into consideration when choosing a ring. We now see brands like Brilliant Earth, Do Amore, Bario-Neal, Stone & Strand, and so many more creating sustainable jewelry, and thanks to social media it has never been easier for these brands to target millenials.
When it comes to jewelry there are several ways to get that “alt-bridal” look without moving out of the diamond category altogether. A lot of designers are using different cuts like rose cut, old miners, and transitional cuts. Some designers even use rough stones in their production. These more affordable diamond cuts paired with unique castings can make for some pretty fun styles!
Rose Cut Diamonds
Having emerged in Europe in the 1500’s, the rose cut is one of the oldest styles of diamond cutting. While these were popular in the Georgian and Victorian Eras, they all but disappeared when the round brilliant cut arrive in the mid 1700’s.
Today this cut is making a resurgence because of its vintage-like appearance. With every bride wanting to be unique, it is the perfect way for them to still have a diamond ring, but one that looks different from more traditional styles.
Another factor that is often enticing about the rose cut stone is that they tend to be less expensive than round brilliant cuts. Rose cuts are not priced by Rappaport, the diamond industry’s primary source for diamond pricing, so manufacturers have a bit more flexibility when it comes to determining a price-point.
Old Mine Cut Diamonds
Old Mine Cuts, or ‘Old Miners’, were also popular in the Georgian and Victorian Eras. This is another great option if you are looking for a ring with vintage or antique qualities. The old mine cut is recognizable by its chaotic cut pattern and large culet at the center. It has does have 58 facets, but unlike the round brilliant cut, it has a smaller table, larger culet and higher crown angles. These cuts usually appear in round or cushion shapes. They have more sparkle than rose cuts, and are appealing to those women only seeking a ring with a slightly-alternative look. Old Miners maintain the traditional engagement ring style while playing up the “vintage” feel.
This is an extremely popular trend right now in bridal design. Boho brands everywhere are creating their own versions of this art-deco inspired starburst ring. Most designers are using a center stone with baguettes creating a ‘sun’ shape surrounding it. There are endless options when it comes to customizing these starbursts rings. Some designers use the rose cut or old mine cut diamonds as the center stone. They can stand in as an engagement ring or be worn as right hand rings. The starburst even shows up in earrings and pendants. It is in both the fashion and bridal category.
This trend appeals primarily the millennial generation. Studies show that while traditional styles still lead the pack, about ⅓ of couples prefer something non-traditional, whether that means a colored gemstone, just a wedding band, or no ring at all.
There are several factors that affect these decisions, but the biggest is price. Typically colored gemstones can be purchased for a great deal less than a traditional diamond. Not only is the price attractive, but as previously mentioned this next generation of consumers is constantly looking for ways to stand out.
Alt-Bridal Diamond Bands
Unique diamond bands are very popular amongst the alt-bridal crowd. Not only are these bands a great way to add personalization to a traditional ring, but some of them are starting to be worn on their own as an engagement ring. With the importance of a traditional ring fading amongst a large group of consumers, brands have started designing bands that have their own personality and presence, no center stone needed. Again, price is another attractive reason to opt for this alt-bridal trend.
Whether or not you are into this Alt-Bridal movement, it is safe to say its made its way into the mainstream jewelry market. But is it here to stay? Will Millenials one day look down at their opal engagement rings and secretly wish they’d gone with a more classic option? It is hard to say whether or not this trend will continue to grow as there are so many factors that could have an effect. Our economy, politics, and culture could all have an affect on the diamond engagement ring.
With a lot of young couples saving for their first house or extravagant vacations, paying for a traditional diamond ring may not be at the top of their priority list. There has also been a rise in feminism and social responsibility amongst the younger generation, which could potentially have a long term effect on the engagement ring market. As much as this could mean trouble for the industry, an increasing number of jewelers and designers have adopted and embraced the Alt-Bridal movement. Brands everywhere now offer rings for both the traditional bride as well as the unconventional bride.