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How to Buy a Dainty Engagement Ring for the Minimalist Bride-to-Be

If your style is more understated and showing off some major bling while you’re engaged is just not your thing, you’re in luck: rocking a minimalist engagement ring doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on style—in fact, some of the coolest rings we’ve seen are all about simplicity. Take Mila Kunis and Julia Stiles as examples with their strikingly simple solitaire designs. Whether it’s a five-carat stunner like Mila’s or a more understated stone like Julia’s, these celebrity rings prove that there’s nothing quite like a classic.

“These understated designs wear well and are less likely to clash with your wardrobe or other pieces of jewelry,” says Melanie Casey, jeweler and founder behind Melanie Casey Fine Jewelry.

What is a Dainty Engagement Ring?

The term ‘dainty’ was once only applied to engagement rings with a band less than 2.5mm in size and a simple solitaire stone. These days, any style with a slim band, petite stones and slight decorative features can be considered a dainty engagement ring.

The rules for what constitute a dainty engagement ring relate more to how it looks and feels for the wearer. For example, a band may be thicker than 2.5mm, but if the wearer has wider hands and fingers, it can still look and feel dainty. Really it is an umbrella descriptor for a delicate engagement ring.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Dainty Engagement Ring

Before you commit to a dainty engagement ring, there are a few things to consider. The smaller band size of a dainty ring means that not all diamond sizes and designs will fit onto a skinny band. If you have your heart set on multiple large stones, or a tension set stone, the slim band may not be able to support it.

Prong settings work best for dainty rings as they allow more light into the stone which can help make smaller diamonds sparkle more. A bezel setting, though more secure, can overwhelm a dainty ring and diamond. Smaller diamonds in a channel setting may also require a thicker band for the channel so these designs are also not well-suited.

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Another thing to think about is your wedding band.

Traditionally, a wedding band is simpler than the engagement ring, so a dainty engagement ring will only really pair with a dainty wedding band. If you have your heart set on an elaborate wedding band with heavy design details, you may want to reconsider a dainty engagement ring. This is because it could easily be overwhelmed with a regular sized band and get lost on your finger. When choosing your wedding band, try to keep the width of your wedding band similar to your engagement ring for a more harmonious match.

Best Dainty Engagement Ring Styles

Jewelry designers have responded to the dainty ring trend by creating an array of dainty engagement ring styles to suit every bride and style sensibility.

1- Classic

Classic brides with more of a demure taste can’t go past the original dainty solitaire design. Look for a stone that is showcased in an elegant cathedral style for a hint of detail when the ring is viewed from the side.

2- Halo Settings

Halo settings are perfect for brides that want maximum sparkle on a dainty band. What a diamond may lack in size is made up for through a frame of sparkling stones. Add extra intrigue by choosing an interesting shape such as a square or octagon.

3- Hidden Halo

If you love the idea of extra diamonds but don’t necessarily want them on show, look for a dainty ring with a hidden halo. The ring looks like a regular solitaire when viewed from the top, but its profile reveals a sprinkling of small diamonds around the gallery and setting frame. Perfect for a bride that wants a little secret sparkle!

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4- Supporting Stones

If a halo setting adds too much to the width of your diamond, consider spreading the diamonds out along the band instead. Look for three stone diamond designs; tapered bands that feature tiny accent stones on the shoulder, or a delicate band completely encrusted in pave set diamonds.

5- No Center Stone

Brides looking for a dainty minimalist ring should consider styles without a center stone. Look for bands completely covered in clustered diamonds if you still want your ring to shine or opt for bands dotted in smaller diamonds for something very subdued. These simpler styles are perfect for brides that love to stack bands, or simply want a ring that isn’t big, bulky or blingy.

6- Colored Stones

If you want to add a pop to your dainty ring, think about looking for a colored stone. A regal sapphire or classic red ruby are both timeless options. Modern options include gorgeous champagne diamonds, yellow sapphire, black diamonds or salt and pepper diamonds. Colored stones, be it center stones or accent stones will catch the eye and help your dainty ring get noticed.

7- Baguette Stones

Baguette stones laid horizontally across the band work particularly well with dainty rings as they keep the bulk along the length of the band. This helps to preserve the petite feel of your ring, as opposed to a stone that is wider than the band. Oval or marquise cut stones can also have the same effect.

8- Modern

Though dainty rings have less space to work with in terms of design, it’s the placement of design elements that allow them to carry modern styles. Look for clustered stones set to the left or right of the middle for a subtle asymmetrical look or look for stones set on either the top or bottom of the band. These styles are ideal for matching with a curved wedding band to create a crown or tiara shape.

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How to Shop for a Dainty Engagement Ring

When you are shopping for your dainty engagement ring you will want to look for designs that are made with sturdy metals. You want any engagement ring to be able to withstand daily use and wear-and-tear, but this is especially true for rings with delicate designs. Look for rings made with platinum or at least 14k gold in your preferred color to ensure that your ring is durable. Rose gold is a particularly good option as copper in the alloy adds some strength to the gold.

Also keep in mind the size of the stones you are looking for. Most people assume that bigger is better when it comes to carat sizes of diamonds and other precious stones. But the opposite is true for a dainty engagement ring because a stone that is too big can look bulky (especially on a thin band) and defeats the purpose of a fine, dainty ring. As a general rule, if you are shopping for a band width of less than 2.5mm, try to keep your diamond less than two carats.

Balance is key for a dainty engagement ring. If you do want a dainty and sparkly engagement ring, consider a three stone design; petite halo or petite pave styles that incorporate many smaller diamonds along the length of the band rather than a large single stone that dominates the ring and your finger.

A little vintage milgrain pattern is also a great way to add details to the band without adding any weight or bulk. Milgrain detailing also catches light so can add a little twinkle.


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