What is a halo engagement ring? A halo ring has a round center stone completely surrounded by smaller stones in a circle, or halo. This is the classic halo engagement ring setting that most people are familiar with, and that’s super popular right now. But halo rings are nothing new, and they haven’t always been for engagement rings.

The Morgan sapphire engagement ring pays homage to the halo rings of the 1920’s.

History of the Halo Ring

Jewelry designers setting stones around larger stone has existed for hundreds of years. Originally they were made with a gemstone like a ruby or a sapphire and surrounded by pearls or other gemstones. The halo style evolved in the 1900s with the advent of widespread diamond availability, and designers began placing small diamonds around gemstones to achieve a floral, cocktail ring look to be worn on the right (non-engagement ring) hand. In the 1920’s art deco era, small diamonds were used to surround a larger diamond, and the modern day halo engagement ring was born.

A classic round cut diamond engagement ring with diamond halo, The Sherri.

Why do we love halos at Abby Sparks Jewelry? For one, it’s a guaranteed way to makes center stones look larger, tricking the eye to see the entire diameter of both the center stone and halo as one. Diamond halos also add a ton of extra sparkle, making halo settings a trusty design element to use when you want to get the most for your budget and make a small stone really shine. The best halo engagement rings enhance the center stones shape and size and maximize its brilliance.

A pear shaped center stone gives The Erika just a hint of the unconventional.

Modern Halo Engagement Rings

The traditional halo ring will always feature small diamonds around a round diamond or a cushion cut for a symmetrical look, but the concept continues to evolve. Halo engagement rings break from tradition when you start to see them used as a creative design element. Opting for a different diamond shape like The Erika pear shaped halo engagement ring or The Suzy oval halo ring gives you all the benefits of a symmetrical halo but plays with your expectation of shape. Another way to update the classic is play with proportions and utilize larger diamonds or diamonds of varying shape and size like The Carrie and The Julie engagement rings.

The Carrie’s ruby center stone surrounded by diamonds harkens back to halo rings of the art deco era, while the diamonds size variance is totally cutting edge.

If you’re open to mixing up stones sizes, bigger stones at north-south-east-west coordinates are a major trend to better frame the center stone and give a more organic look. Besides aesthetics, setting more prominent halo stones at specific locations is a way that our couples are personalizing their rings, like using the ring as a clock face and setting the largest stones at a meaningful time.

The Julie NSEW halo setting.

Another totally modern take on the halo? Switch up your stone colors. Contrast is always good in design, and it makes it more unique. The Katy and The Wendy engagement rings stick to diamond center stones with diamond halos, but integrate colored diamonds for a twist on the classic.
Nowhere does it say that a halo has to be sparkling diamonds, in fact you know the prototypical halo rings weren’t. You can use a variety of precious gemstones as a halo, and sapphires are a great choice since they’re so durable. But the most durable stone will always be diamonds, and a modern way to switch it up is to use rough diamonds in the halo, like The Chelsea.

The Maria rough diamond and sapphire engagement ring.

The Kathryn floating halo rose gold engagement ring.

A floating halo ring features a gap between the diamond and the halo, with the center stone raised just above the stones that encircle it. The effect is a center stone that looks like its suspended in mid air, giving it an airy, multidimensional and architectural feel. A ring like The Sandi distinguishes itself by using a yellow diamond center stone, and The Caroline takes it even further by using mixed metals with a rose gold band and a floating halo setting in platinum.

The Caroline mixed metal halo engagement ring.

The most radical use of a halo? Use minimal stones, maximum metal. The Kimi sees traditional round diamonds in the halo, but the the metalwork around the halo is what’s most remarkable, creating a floral shape instead of the typical round setting.

The Kimi floral rose gold ring.

Unique Halo Engagement Rings

Using a metal halo to play with the shape of the center stone is the latest design trick that’s popping up, and yes a halo can be metal only. All metal halos feature large milgrain (essentially metal dots) that surround the stone like a frame. The Colleen’s square halo with accent diamonds in each corner tricks the eye to anticipate a large square diamond.
Looking for a bigger departure from the expected, but still want a halo style? Ditch the diamonds completely. This is the fast track to an alternative, non-traditional engagement ring and a halo will make even the darkest stone shine.

The Corrie emerald shaped midnight blue sapphire ring.

When done in a creative and unique way, we love halo engagement rings. The fun is in using this classic ring style in new and unexpected ways. Some of our favorites? Mixing up stone sizes, uses larger diamonds, and incorporating more milgrain. Because halo engagement rings are so popular as of late, they are being manufactured instead of handcrafted. The downside to mass-produced rings is that they lack variation and tiny halo stones are not always placed thoughtfully. As long as you work with a custom jewelry designer, you’ll get a ring that’s well made and stands out from the crowd. Ready to create your own custom halo engagement ring? Send us a message.