By Neil Lane
Updated Feb 13, 2018 @ 5:30 pm
Unconventional Engagement Rings - Kate Middleton
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As The Bachelor's engagement ring designer and Hollywood's go-to for diamonds, Neil Lane knows how to make a wedding sparkle. I Dos and Don'ts is his take on everything bridal.

Q: I like the idea of a nontraditional engagement ring, but I'm worried that may wear off years from now. How can I find a style that will last but also suits me right now?

A: Today, the entire wedding experience is nontraditional. From rustic venues to flower crowns, witty nuptials to mini-moons, more than ever couples are going against the grain to make their unions one-of-a-kind.

The non-traditional wedding movement has undeniably spread to the ring! Colored diamonds and gemstones were once an avant-garde choice, but their popularity has heightened and brightened. (And we are now sharing these beautiful, nontraditional gemstones with soon-to-be brides all over the world as part of my Neil Lane Bridal collection.)

Don’t be afraid to embrace it. Choosing a colored stone may seem like a daring decision when we’re talking about forever, but it can make the ring feel more you. Some of the most famous engagement rings have featured colored stones, from the deep blue sapphires worn by Kate Middleton and Penelope Cruz to the brilliant emeralds you’ll spot on Halle Barry and Victoria Beckham.

Halle Berry
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Here’s how to choose a nontraditional ring that tells your love story.

A Colored Stone

A colored stone like a sapphire, ruby, or emerald is a bold way to embellish your daily look. If you want to add color but aren’t ready to abandon the tradition of diamonds altogether, a three-stone ring is an excellent choice with deep meaning—and it creates the opportunity to tell your unique love story. The setting symbolizes a couple’s past, present, and future or can also represent friendship, love, and fidelity. Just look at the ring Eric Johnson chose for Jessica Simpson (above), featuring a large ruby center stone, flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds. The ruby is not only Jessica’s birthstone but also represents love. It’s one of the most romantic, rare, and special stones in the gem family.

Neil Lane
Credit: Jessica Simpson's Engagement Ring. Courtesy Neil Lane.

A Blushing Center Stone

Perhaps you’d like a hint of color that’s subtler than a ruby or sapphire. If you’re looking for a stone that is both modern and versatile, look no further than the morganite. This enchanting, pink-colored stone is said to inspire joy and reverence for life, while symbolizing unconditional love. The morganite thrives in a solitaire setting and pairs well with sparkling diamonds in more elaborate settings as well. One of my favorite designs is a morganite married with a halo, creating a look that’s both delicate and feminine. If you want to turn up the pink, set the stones in rose gold . This makes for a playful combination that is still monochromatically chic.

Neil Lane Untraditional Rings - Slide - 8
Credit: Courtesy Neil Lane

A Unique Setting

There are ways to design an eye-catching ring without straying from bright, white diamonds. Mixing and matching creates eye-catching contrast. Try a sparkling marquise or oval center stone, framed with a halo of smaller round diamonds—a modern ring with a vintage feel. Another rising favorite among my customers is mixed metals. Believe it or not, a two-tone engagement ring is one of the most versatile styles of all, making the stress of matching it to your other jewelry a thing of the past. Create a gorgeous focal point by accentuating your center stone with a platinum setting paired with a gold band, or choose a more elaborate design with a sophisticated gold-and-platinum twisted band.

Neil Lane Untraditional Rings - Slide - 6
Credit: Courtesy Neil Lane

Remember that it’s your marriage, your ring, and your hand. So don’t hesitate to do something bold or unexpected that you love. Just make sure your ring is the one you’ll want to wear every day, at every age. No matter how unconventional the wedding journey becomes, there is one lasting tradition that will remain true: Your ring is forever a symbol and celebration of love.