Eight Reasons to Avoid Halo-Style Engagement Rings
In a halo-style ring, the center stone is surrounded by a pavement (pavé) of little stones.
This kind of ring is in style at the moment. But in a few years, it's likely to look a little dated—that is, if the ring is well-made enough to hold up that long!
Take a look at the other two rings here. I'm betting neither of those rings makes your heart go pitter-patter. But they used to be all the rage...
Before you fill your "forever finger" with a "fashionista" ring, remember: you are going to be wearing this ring for a LONG LONG TIME.
My advice: you've got nine other fingers. Go ahead, knock yourself out there with cutting-edge design, fun and futzy fashion rings, stackers, whatever!
But a commitment ring? It's serious business. It's serious money. This is not the time to succumb to a ring that you may, in a decade, be embarrassed to wear.
Eight Reasons Not to Buy a Halo-Style Ring
1. It's a trend. Trends end. I hope I've made my point: this style, though it can be classic, has glutted the bridal market. Halo rings are likely to drop out of favor, sooner or later.
2. Wear issues. One reason the halo ring is popular is that it's got a major bling factor. All that glitter means...a lot of maintenance. Every one of those little pavé stones is held in by teeny-tiny wispy prongs. Say there are fifty tiny diamonds in the ring: that's 200 prongs that can wear out. Re-tipping those little babies is an art. I've seen some mighty blobby re-tipping; it ruins the look of the ring.
Sooner or later, you are likely to lose a small diamond. Just google "I lost a tiny diamond from my halo engagement ring."
3. Value. You pay for all those little diamonds, and the labor to set them, but in the end the amount of value all those diamonds add to your ring is negligible. A halo ring can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars, but when it comes time to trade it in, those little diamonds don't add much to the value of your center stone.
4. Bling can be camouflage. A schmaltzy chassis might be a bad reason for you to buy that ring. All that ornamentation could be distracting you from a poor-quality diamond.
5. It's catchy. It catches sweaters, hosiery, nylon jackets. Baby's delicate bottom. Halo rings, particularly those with exposed pavé, are more likely to catch and scratch. That means you'll frequently want to take the ring off—which makes it less enjoyable to own, and more vulnerable to theft or loss.
6. It's everywhere! Go to a jewelry store and ask to see halo rings: they're as common as dandelions in June. If you want something unusual, look for something else.
7. It's complicated. Halo rings, just because they are so sparkly, often hide manufacturing or design flaws. Ironically, the simplest designs are often the most difficult to execute well: the eye picks up distortions much more easily when there's less distraction.
8. It may not even look good on your hand. Seriously. Look at your entire body in a big mirror, not just down at your hand. Buying an expensive ring without seeing it in context is like buying jeans without looking at your bum!
Some Halos Are Better Than Others
At least this style has been around for centuries. If you get a genuine vintage ring, there's no worry about it looking temporarily trendy—though the other concerns I listed above are still valid.
I can usually spot the real McCoy across the room.
Some halos are so obviously "imitation antique" that they remind me of those old fake "woodie" station wagons, or Formica that's obviously trying too hard to look like granite. The openwork looks sloppy and the diamonds don't all face the same (or even in the same direction!).
Visit a skilled jeweler, not just a sales clerk. Learn what to look for, so you get what you think you are paying for!
Does Your Angel STILL Want a Halo?
If her heart is still set on a halo style, please consider these five important tips:
- Pick platinum. Platinum tends to hold onto those small diamonds more reliably than white gold, although it's more of an initial investment.
- If you can, choose a style with a bit of a "channel" or "rim" that protects the pavé from glancing blows.
- Turn the ring over and look underneath. The metal should be well-finished. Thick, too. It might not be perfectly smooth, but the ring should look solid.
- If possible, have the ring made to your size. Sizing a ring that's encrusted with tiny diamonds can be difficult—those little diamonds are more likely to fall out after sizing.
- Get a backup ring--a simple band to wear when you're more active. Just a wisp of gold, or something reasonably priced and totally wearable. You don't want a crooked halo after a day of boating or gardening!
Finally, don't rely on a jewelry-store warranty to replace small diamonds that come out: you may be told that YOU created the problem, and "wear issues" are most often not covered by in-store warranties. Even if the store agrees to replace your lost tiny diamond(s), the repair may compromise the structural integrity of your ring. After all, you can have fifty, a hundred, even two hundred tiny diamonds on your finger.
What Else is There?
There are sure a lot of halos out there, but before you buy, ask your jeweler to price out a nice solitaire (wide or narrow, flowing or straight, whatever looks and feels best). For the same budget, you can soup up your engine and not have to deal with all the maintenance issues of a detailed chassis.
I also like a solitaire with two bands, one on each side of a solitaire. Or even a three-stone ring. Because if you get bored with a three-stone ring, you have an instant suite: necklace and matching earrings. On the other hand, if you scrap out a halo, all you have is the high labor costs of putting those tiny rocks into some other vulnerable setting.
I don't see that many trilliant-accented rings out there (with triangular gems alongside the center stone). They can be so cool, and they never go out of style.
Here are a few ideas:
You might try browsing Google Images or Bing for ideas. Find a great diamond, then look for rings that flatter that shape. Search "oval engagement rings," or "three-stone Asscher cut rings" for ideas. Always get the website URL for your jeweler! (Nothing is more frustrating for a bride-to-be than finding the perfect ring online once, then never finding it again).
Keep in mind that you are much better off finding a stock setting from Stuller or Overnight Mountings than you are putting together a custom ring: that's always costly.