You’re not done jewelry shopping once you’ve got an engagement ring—you still have to find a wedding band to go with it before you exchange your vows. And if you’re like us, one wedding band might not be enough. Enter: stacked wedding rings.
What Is a Ring Stack?
A ring stack is a set of multiple rings that sit or nest together in a grouping. This can include the engagement ring, wedding band, and other additional rings. The wearer can add or switch bands to express personal style or mark special occasions.
Ring stacks are like the modern-day insert, but with the option to switch out different rings. Jewelry designer Anna Sheffield loves creating unique ring stacks for her clients, "I liken the nesting and stacking bands to tree rings—it's the kind of thing where collecting them over time makes for a beautiful layered look that marks important moments in time." She has clients who add to stacks to celebrate things like anniversaries, the birth of a new child, Mother's Day, a new job or promotion, or any other milestone to commemorate with a ring.
A ring stack also means you can experiment and style your rings with different metals and stones. "For example, if you have a classic white diamond and white gold ring set, but you want to go less traditional at times, you can mix in different metal colors or even colored stones," says Sheffield.
Traditionally, there is one ring for the engagement and one for the wedding. "That would mean two rings forever—but maybe that's just not enough," says Sheffield. "So there is stacking to be done!"
How to Get Started
When it's time to choose the bands to create your stack, there are a few things Sheffield suggests keeping in mind. The size and shape of your engagement ring will affect which bands you can stack, which is why she created her specialty Ceremonial Suites with ring stacking in mind. "For example, you could layer a marquise or pear-shaped ring with a compatible, pointy-shaped band, but those bands are also really interesting layered with a classic round diamond."
She also notes that with ring stacks, it's best to try them on in person. If this isn't possible, her printable stacking guide makes it super easy to see how one of her nesting bands will look next to your engagement ring.
From adding bling to telling a story, layering multiple bands around your engagement ring really serves to put that milestone piece front and center.
Ring Stacking FAQs
Have questions about ring stacks? Here are answers to the most common ones.
How many rings should be in a stack?
The short answer is the more, the merrier. “Start with three (including your engagement ring) and build a well-curated stack until you run out of room between your hand and your knuckle,” says Sofia Kaman. Then move on to another finger! Adds Alysa Teichman of Ylang 23, “I’m definitely partial to odd numbers—three looks better than two, and five looks better than four.”
Can you mix metals? What about stones?
“Absolutely! Now more than ever, it’s all about mixing metals, stone colors, and shapes to add excitement to your stack,” says Emily Goldstein of EF Collection. Teichman agrees. “Mixing metals and stones will add personality and make your stack different from anyone else’s. It’s all about buying and wearing things that make you happy, so if you want to pair a family heirloom yellow gold band with a platinum engagement ring, go for it!”
Kaman recommends choosing a focal point to keep things cohesive. “If you choose yellow gold as a common thread, mix textures and stone colors but keep the metal matching. If you prefer mixed metals, stick with a single stone color like white or champagne to pull it all together,” she says.
What’s the best way to layer different styles?
Again, Kaman emphasizes that a theme is key. “You might love texture or want to mix modern and vintage designs,” she says. “In that case, pick a single metal and play with silhouettes. Part of the fun is seeing what each person comes up with as she expresses her individuality!” Goldstein also loves a cohesive element. “You could layer different styles in a matching metal or stick with simple eternity bands and play with the finish to create interest.”
Teichman reminds brides to keep it light. “Don’t overthink the process! Different styles add interest, so try on everything. As you play with shapes and sizes, you’ll figure out what feels great and what layers well on your hand.”
What silhouettes or styles should brides look for?
Rings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so what works best? Goldstein suggests starting with a classic base and building from there. “My three favorite silhouettes are the classic pavé band, a bezel-set band, and a baguette band,” she says. These rings all have smoother edges and similar profiles, which Kaman loves. “Profile refers to the chunkiness or thickness of a band, how it feels between your fingers.”
Try to keep the profile similar across all your rings to retain overall balance.
For Teichman, it’s a puzzle. “The ideal is to find several bands with different shapes that fit well together, but there’s no perfect stack that works for every bride. We love and sell them all, from thick and thin bands to curved bands and even ones with hanging stones!”
Is there a ring style that works best in a stack?
Kaman has three ways to answer this question: “If you want a big, blingy look, opt for an engagement ring with a raised mounting. This will show off the sparkle of your center stone as well as allow for a flush stack. If you prefer a lower mounting and a more subdued look, seek out contoured bands that fit snugly against the engagement ring’s setting. And if you want an eclectic, collected feel, mix and match lower mountings with straight bands. There will be negative space between the engagement ring and your band, which can be a design element on its own.” For the third option, she recommends that brides pay special attention, as the rings can wear down where they rub against one another.
Look for an engagement ring in a solitaire style if you want super-easy ring stacking. These are usually the best fitted for nesting bands.
Teichman prefers that funky, collected look, with gaps between the engagement ring and the bands while Goldstein has another solution altogether: Wear your stack on your other hand! “Your engagement ring is the main event, so commit to one you love. Then create a stack that complements it without distracting,” she says.
How should you shop for a stack?
It’s all about finding your options. “Find a store that has a wide array of stackable rings,” says Kaman. “You really need to experience trying them on together in person! We’re constantly surprised by the combinations and unexpected pairings that emerge when people try on different options in the store.” But don’t feel pressure to build an entire stack all at once. Says Teichman, “When you build your stack over time, it takes the pressure off of finding the perfect stack right away. We are big proponents of mixing it up, upgrading over time, and wearing bands with or without your engagement ring.”