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If you're in search of a unique engagement ring that feels one-of-a-kind but isn't too pricey, then you really can't go wrong with a cluster engagement ring. Made with an assortment of stones in different cuts and sizes, these rings are interesting to look at and often feel unexpected.
"Cluster rings are usually asymmetrical and incorporate different shapes and colors," jeweler Sarah Ortega of Sarah O. Jewelry tells Brides. "There are multiple main stones (no main center stone) creating a multi-focal point."
Meet the Expert
Sarah Ortega is a New Mexico-based jeweler who created the brand Sarah O. Jewelry.
There are two types of cluster rings. One kind, which is particularly trendy at the moment, features a few different stones in different cuts and colors (think Emily Ratajkowski's engagement ring). The other kind features a cluster of small stones that are put together to resemble one larger stone.
It's not hard to see why cluster engagement rings are having a moment in the spotlight. "A lot of people are drawn to cluster rings because they want something non-traditional, and it allows them to create something totally unique," Ortega says. "Also, it's a nice way to incorporate sentimental stones, like birthstones or heirloom stones." Cluster rings are perfect for the indecisive bride: If you can't pick between a round diamond or a pear-cut gemstone, you can have both.
Here's a look at some of the most gorgeous cluster engagement rings available that will leave you seriously reconsidering the solitaire ring you had your eyes on.
Make your cluster ring even more unique with this vintage option. It's an authentic ring from the Edwardian Era circa 1910, featuring an old European-cut diamond surrounded by clusters of small diamonds.
This Art Deco-inspired ring is a true stunner. The horizontally-set oval center stone gives it a bit of a vintage look, while the beaded gold setting and smaller diamonds surrounding it add lots of detail.
This cluster ring features two larger stones in two different shapes: the oval and pear diamonds steal all the attention, but the smaller diamonds clustered around them really add a nice shape. The thin gold band keeps this ring on the simpler side.
The perfect cluster of small diamonds makes a unique and beautiful shape. This almost looks like two rings stacked together, but it's really just one on a thin gold band. This gives the look of a larger diamond without the price point.
This elegant and sophisticated design features a center pear-cut diamond stone surrounded by smaller diamonds. It creates a unique shape that is signature Harry Winston and manages to be classic but different at the same time.
If you want the look of a larger diamond without the high price point, this cluster bouquet ring is perfect. The center stone is actually several small diamonds clustered together to look like one round stone, and the double band creates a chunkier look.
If you're open to something besides a diamond but also want to keep things a little bit classic, opt for this ring. The asymmetrical raw diamond looks more modern, and the cluster of yellow sapphires on the side adds a little bit of color.
Uniquely designed gold prongs, tiny leaf details, and a split shank band make this ring really stand out. The cluster of small diamonds creates a round diamond look, and the overall feel is very floral and feminine.
A cluster of white and gray diamonds is a nice way to do something unique and modern without straying too far from the classic white diamond. These small stones are arranged in a constellation-like shape.
This one has a very different shape: instead of smaller stones around a large center stone, it's a few stones lined up. The unique prongs and the collection of different shades make this one very modern.
Small round and baguette diamonds make up this interesting cluster ring. From afar, it might appear to be one large diamond, but a closer look shows that it's just a whole bunch of smaller ones making a beautiful shape.
This ring is both classic and unique at once, with a cushion-cut diamond center stone surrounded by smaller diamonds and citrine. The citrine adds a nice pop of color that is still subtle.
What to Know When Shopping for a Cluster Engagement Ring
If you want to create your own cluster ring, Ortega strongly recommends working with a talented designer. "They can advise you on choosing stones, settings, and creating the actual design," she says.
Many people say that one of the pros of cluster engagement rings is that they're cheaper. This is usually because they don't have one large center stone, so while they do feature several stones, they're all smaller and less expensive. But Ortega notes that this isn't always true: some cluster engagement rings can be pretty high up there in terms of cost.
Cluster rings that feature multiple kinds of stones definitely have a more modern look to them, so if your goal is to get something that seems classic, this might not be the ring for you.
Do cluster rings require any special care?
Depending on the stones and settings in your cluster ring, Ortega notes that it might require extra care. "Again, this is where a trusted designer can help guide you to choose what works best for your lifestyle and preference," she says. "Plus, they can give you the best cleaning and care tips for your particular ring."
How do you pick a wedding band that matches a cluster ring?
"If your cluster engagement ring has a lot of diamonds or gemstones in the design, you may want a metal wedding band with none or minimal gemstones to further highlight the engagement ring," Ortega says. "If you are going to pair a cluster ring with a band, it might be good to have that in mind when you are choosing/designing. This way, you can make sure both rings complement each other."
What are some of the cons of cluster rings?
Ortega notes that they can take more time to design and that they aren't always cheaper. "They can be tricky to pair with a band depending on the silhouette of the ring," she adds.
How can you make a cluster ring look more classic instead of trendy?
Ortega recommends using white diamonds and sticking to fewer stones instead of mixing a lot of different ones. "The cluster style engagement ring can seem like it needs a lot of stones, but in reality, you can add just a few accent stones to achieve the same cluster look, while maintaining that classic feel."
The Ultimate Guide to Non-Traditional Engagement Rings