What Is a Halo Ring?

This ring style offers a whole host of options for creating big diamond looks, as well as ways to personalize and customize your engagement ring.

Are you drawn to the big engagement rings that celebrities in music and entertainment (not to mention actual royalty) have been sporting recently? Do you want to make a big splash with a “little” budget? Surprisingly, these two very different types of engagement ring shoppers both connect with the brilliantly beautiful halo ring. And for good reason.

A high-carat center diamond looks enormous in a halo setting. And a quarter-, third- or half-carat diamond can look, by some estimates, as much as a half a carat larger.

The halo ring is a setting that encircles a center gemstone in a collection of round pavé or micro-pavé diamonds (or faceted color gemstones). These pavé stones flash with light and focus attention back on the center stone to create interest and draw people’s gaze to your ring.

A high-carat center diamond looks enormous in a halo setting. And a quarter-, third- or half-carat diamond can look, by some estimates, as much as a half a carat larger. So no matter what your budget, a halo ring gives you a bigger bang for your buck.

Look back

The halo engagement ring made its debut in the 1920s, when the style known as Art Deco became prominent. Their current resurgence has rocketed halo rings to second place behind the classic solitaire as the most favored style of engagement ring. Halo rings are almost as classic as solitaires, but with a stylish twist.

The most classic of halo rings is one with a big stone supported on a narrow, clean band. Consider a round colorless center diamond circled by colorless pavé stones on a white gold or platinum ring. “White on white on white” creates a spectacular statement. This look is also a classic when paired with a princess- or cushion-cut center diamond.

Additionally, you can choose to pavé part of the shank (the part that wraps around your finger) or leave the metal bare. To cleanly follow the tenets of Art Deco, the number of stones on the shank must be equal on both sides, creating symmetry. Pavéed or not, this ring will give you that classic halo look.

A look at halo options

If the classic halo engagement ring isn’t quite “it” for you, there are so many options to choose from that it’s best to spend some time simply looking online at pictures of modern halos to see what you like. Putting together a personalized halo ring is all about the details.

The center stone

It can be a fancy-color or colorless diamond or other precious gemstone (tanzanite and sapphire are top choices). For those on a budget, instead of a center stone, you can do a cluster of small or pavé diamonds. You can wind up with the same carat weight of a single large stone, and a much lower price.

Cut of the center stone

You know now that round and princess-cut center stones are classics, but a halo engagement ring can feature ovals, emerald-cut and even pear and marquise diamonds. The pointy edges that can turn women off of pears and marquises (they can catch and break or chip) are actually softened somewhat when “wrapped” in a matching halo. Radiant cuts, which combine the elegant emerald shape with the dazzling brightness of a round, can also give you the extra oomph you’re looking for.

Pavé color

Choosing contrasting pavé gemstones can give your ring a custom look. Examples can be as subtle or outrageous as you choose. Beautiful options for pavé include sapphires and rubies surrounding a colorless diamond. Or consider the reverse: colorless diamonds surrounding a fancy vivid-yellow diamond center stone.

Number of halos

In the quest for bling, the classic single halo has birthed double and even triple halos. A triple is three rows of pavé stones circling your center stone. Each “circle” of pave makes the ring look bigger ... and bigger ... and bigger, so the triple wrap may make sense if you have a very small center stone. Keep in mind that there’s a fine line between “big” and “just plain silly.”

Shank

To pavé or not to pavé? That is the question. A shank that is not pavéed creates a cleaner, simpler look. The shape and thickness of the shank will also add to the overall design. But if you want more bling, then by all means, pavé the shank. A tip — circling the entire shank makes the ring difficult to resize. (Forgive the downer, but knuckles get bigger as we get older, making ring removal and replacement an issue.) A shank that’s evenly but not fully pavéed allows a jeweler at a later point to cut and open the metal if needed.

Also consider a split shank, in which the band is split into two narrower bands. You can find straight split shanks, entwined ones, pavéed and not.

Choice of metal

The classic choice for the halo engagement ring is white gold or platinum. But as you explore your halo options, you may discover yellow gold is the perfect complement. Yellow gold is a great choice for diamonds with some yellow in them because it downplays the tint (white gold would emphasize it — something you likely don’t want to do unless you have a natural yellow diamond). Two-tone settings can be an interesting choice. And rose gold is becoming increasingly popular as an engagement ring metal. It can impart a vintage feel, and its soft, pinkish color can enhance assorted color gemstones, such as a green peridot.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re looking for a halo engagement ring. But if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, remember that many jewelers can create it exactly “from scratch.” Or you can follow a jewelry company’s step-by-step online process, where you choose a setting and size, choose a gemstone (or choose the gemstone, then the setting) and make it happen for yourself!

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