The youngest engagement ring shoppers out there are veering as far away from tradition as they possibly can. Yellow diamonds are having a moment. Jenny Yoon of Kinn Studio recently told the Zing Report, “We’re seeing more couples…being more open to non-traditional [gemstone] cuts.” And The Knot’s recently released 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study found that nearly one in four engagement rings in 2021 featured a man-made center stone!
The east/west setting has emerged as a new favorite among Gen Z-ers (and their fellow ring shoppers from other demos) at this precise moment. The style works for elongated shapes like marquises, ovals, cushions, and emerald cuts, shifting the traditional north/south orientation into something altogether more unexpected feeling. An east/west setting is also a clever way to make your center stone look larger (most east/west settings will span the full width of the finger, which generally emphasizes the gem’s girth).
Historically speaking, the east/west setting style cannot be attributed to a single house or designer, but it is considered an exemplar of the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s. “The period was inspired by strong geometric forms including both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs,” notes Alan Levy of the DeYoung Collection and co-founder of The Jewelers Circle, a trade platform for high-end estate and antique jewelry dealers. “The East/West setting was about pioneering the strong powerful concepts that were different from the previous flowery designs of the Edwardian period and was present in many of the major French houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Lacloche Freres.”
Wholly against the grain with a whiff of something French? Without completely bucking tradition? Sounds like east/west is the way to go in 2022. Follow along below to see all the different ways this burgeoning trend is taking shape. —Amy Elliott
Top: Marquise Sunset ring in 18k yellow gold, $4,800; Katkim