Solitaire vs Halo Engagement Rings: Which is Better?
If you’ve been shopping for engagement rings, you’ve probably focused a lot on diamonds and all the decisions you need to make to make the right choice. Mined or lab grown diamonds? One carat or two carats? Round, oval or emerald cut? Once you decide on a diamond, the next biggest decision is the style of the engagement ring. The two most popular engagement ring styles are solitaire engagement rings and halo engagement rings.
In a recent survey of newly engaged couples by Ringspo, solitaire was the most popular engagement ring style, with 33.6% saying they chose a solitaire ring. Halo engagement rings were the second most popular choice, with 19.1% of couples saying they chose a halo style engagement ring. We have many customers who ask whether they should choose a solitaire engagement ring or a halo engagement ring. Here are all the things to consider about solitaire and halo style engagement rings, the pros and cons of each style, and how to decide which one is for you.
Solitaire Engagement Rings
If you look at the engagement ring emoji, you’ll see a solitaire engagement ring. This style is the essence of an engagement ring: one diamond on a simple loop of gold. The most common solitaire engagement rings have four prongs that hold the diamond high above the band so light can enter the diamond from all angles.
The one diamond in a solitaire symbolizes how two become one in marriage. A gift of a solitaire says that your spouse is the only one for you. The diamond also symbolizes the strength and enduring nature of your love.
Solitaire engagement ring styles are classic and timeless. Their history stretches back to the 1870s, when the discovery of diamonds in South Africa made large diamonds much more available. They’ve been the most popular engagement ring style for about 75 years. Really the story of solitaires is the story of how engagement rings became a tradition for everyone, not just for the rich and the royal.
Solitaire style engagement rings are easy to mix and match with other jewelry styles because they are so iconic. In particular you can pair a solitaire with many different styles of wedding rings and anniversary rings. Because this style is so simple, it often doesn’t look unique or distinctive. Stacking it with a unique band or two can help personalize the styling. If a solitaire seems too basic, you can take it to the next level with a pave band.
The solitaire is all about the diamond. The simplicity of the setting puts the spotlight on the center stone. As a result, it really requires a significant diamond. There’s nothing to distract from the diamond, which is positive if the single diamond is big and beautiful but not-so-positive if the diamond has flaws or isn’t well cut.
One reason why this style has become more popular in the past few years is that couples are choosing lab grown diamond solitaire rings set with high-quality lab grown diamonds. The affordability of diamonds that are created in a lab rather than mined means that high-quality two carat lab grown diamond engagement rings are now within reach. With such a big beautiful gem, the solitaire style is the perfect way to show it off.
Since this style has been refined for decades, solitaire rings are generally durable and up for the challenge of daily wear. Solitaires generally have the diamond set relatively high on your finger. Because the edge of your diamond’s girdle is exposed, use caution in situations where you might expose the edge of your diamond to blows, like lifting weights or building furniture. If your diamond shape has sharp corners, like a princess cut or pear shape, make sure the corners are protected with prongs.
Solitaire Engagement Ring Pros
- Timeless design that will never go out of fashion.
- Highlights a big center stone
- Cleaning and maintenance is easy
- Solitaires can pair with many wedding ring styles
- Works with many diamond shapes
Solitaire Engagement Ring Cons
- Large diamonds can be expensive unless you choose lab grown diamonds
- Simple styling means it doesn’t look very unique
- The exposed setting means that the edges of the girdle can chip
- If the setting is too high, pockets and gloves can be challenging
Halo Engagement Rings
The difference between solitaires and halo engagement rings is that a halo style has a circle of smaller gems that orbit the center diamond. Halo engagement rings are like a magic trick. The small diamonds add their brilliance to the center gem, making it look bigger and brighter. A halo design is the best way to add drama and sparkle to a smaller diamond. The illusion works best when the center stone, halo and setting metal are all the same color so it’s most common to see white gold halo settings.
Halo engagement ring designs symbolize that love is at the center of everything. The popularity of this engagement ring style surged in the early 2000s and 2010s. Because the size of the halo can very and many different types of settings can be used, there is a lot of variety in halo designs. A large center with a small pave halo looks very different from a small center with a large flower-style halo. Some styles even have a double halo to make the center diamond look even better. The halo can be at the same level as the center gem or slightly below it.
Many halo designs have a delicate vintage-style look, with lots of detailing. If you are a fan of embroidery, lace, and other embellishments the elaborate silhouette of a halo will appeal to you more than the simplicity of a solitaire. Because the center has a lot of metal, halo engagement rings are sometimes paired with a custom contour wedding ring since a straight wedding ring may not fit next to the engagement ring.
Halo designs protect the center stone well with the outer circle of gems taking any blows. But the settings or the small diamonds with their tiny delicate prongs may loosen over time. It’s also a bit more challenging to clean halo engagement rings because there are more nooks and crannies where dust can collect. When you clean your halo engagement ring, lightly tap each small stone to make sure that it’s still tightly held in its setting. If any stone moves, be sure to take it to a jeweler to be tightened.
Halo Engagement Ring Pros
- The halo makes the center stone look larger
- Many different styling options for a unique look
- Can have a unique vintage look
- Halo protects the center stone
- Works with many different diamond shapes both for the center and halo
Halo Engagement Ring Cons
- May be too busy for your taste
- Fewer wedding ring choices: may require contour design
- More difficult to clean and maintain
- This setting costs more than a setting with no accent stones
Which Should You Choose?
When it comes to deciding between a halo or solitaire engagement ring, there’s no wrong answer, just like there is no one style of wedding dress. It comes down to what you prefer. If you like a sleek strapless column wedding dress, you are probably drawn to the minimalistic style of a solitaire. If your dream wedding dress is a princess style dress with lace and a full skirt, you probably will prefer a halo engagement ring. Thanks to the affordability of lab grown diamonds, you no longer have to sacrifice style and the size of the center stone to get the engagement ring you want. You can express your own style and choose what you really want. At the end of the day, both of these engagement ring styles are beautiful and meaningful symbols of your love and commitment.