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Eight Reasons to Avoid Halo-Style Engagement Rings

Claire, an ex-pat Montanan, ardent Progressive and former jeweler, covers NYC-based film festivals for Bright Lights Film Journal.

A halo-style engagement ring. Avoid them!

A halo-style engagement ring. Avoid them!

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!

Is this the engagement ring of your dreams?

Is this the engagement ring of your dreams?

Maybe this one?

Maybe this one?

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!

A well-made halo, albeit in 18k white gold.

A well-made halo, albeit in 18k white gold.

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 the web 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.

© 2014 BaizBlogger


Baizblogger on January 09, 2020:

That's great, Beth! As I said in the article, the style has been around for centuries. Still, modern versions are often "me too" rings, and you can't dispute the monetary value of one larger diamond solitaire vs. the same investment made on a smaller diamond surrounded by tiny gemstones. There's upkeep, too, on six prongs versus sixty or more, especially those micro-set diamonds with hair-thin prongs. You've been married almost as long as I have -- we both deserve "halos" for our love & commitment to our life partners.

Beth on January 09, 2020:

My engagement ring of 30 years ago is a halo, albeit the small stones are more substantial, not micro. I still love it. How are halos too trendy to last if my 30 year old ring doesn't look old fashioned?

Jewelrdesigner on September 16, 2018:

Your engagement ring may be the most emotionally worn piece of jewelry you will ever own, bought with love and worn for love. There are, however, some practical considerations to think about. It is an undeniable fact that most trends fall out of favor and people do tire of them. Trends are embraced because of their wide appeal so it is easy to get caught up in one. I have seen some beautiful halo rings, but, they certainly are a trend. A classic design proves to be timeless, accepted as a thing of style and beauty for generations. Even classic designs start as trends,of course, such things are exceptions not the rule. I think the point of this article is to warn a fashion forward bride to take some time and think about long term wearability for such a significant purchase that is a current trend. Of course, if you just have to have the halo, go for it! It is your ring. Just make an informed decision. I don’t think the author wanted to hurt anyone. In the end, if the bride is happy, all is well.

Jamie on September 15, 2018:

This article and particular comments prove how bitchy women can be! Way to go! Can't believe I've wasted my time

Lulu on August 16, 2018:

Who pays you to crush people’s dreams? I think if your opinions on other people’s things are that formed, you need something more to do with your time. This isn’t an advisable article, it’s just highbrow tormenting. Get the ring you want and love it no matter what anyone says.

tonysam on March 06, 2018:

Don't care for "halo" rings. They will go out of style. I will take a solitaire any day of the week. My late mother's 1.5-carat flawless solitaire is better than any halo ring.

Caitlin on February 09, 2018:

This article amounts to “I think halos are ugly/trendy so no one should get one.” All sorts of rings have pave details, not just halos; I don’t see why these are so much more impractical And the rings at the top are obviously garish. Not that some halos aren’t totally over the top, but there’s nothing about a simple pave ring detail that necessarily won’t age well.

Worth noting I do not have a halo ring! but I do think some are nice. Like any ring style, there are simple ones and over the top and ultimately your ring is no one else’s business.

Apes on January 15, 2018:

Awesome read! I also love my solitaire ring for those reasons. And second I’m not the typical girl with the halo ring. Lol

Karen HH on August 12, 2017:

Terrific comment. I do believe it will be a dated look very soon. Nice to see it written here too.

Sophia on December 19, 2016:

I just received my 2 carat pear solitaire and it's perfect. I avoided halo for all of the reasons you listed above. Also, the girls I know who've desperately wanted halo rings are trying to make their center stone look bigger. I say, either rock the small or get a bigger ring. Don't make people say "Oh what a great looki- ooh.. it's actually really small" when they see your hand. LOL

BaizBlogger (author) from Chelsea, NYC/South Bend, IN/Great Falls MT on August 04, 2016:

A center diamond in a halo ring can often be used in an updated design. Those tiny diamonds that make up a halo? They cost more to be re-set than they are worth...I'm all for people getting their heart's desire, but an informed consumer might choose a more practical, timeless design or modify the halo to be more durable.

Stephanie on August 04, 2016:

I disagree with you. A diamond is forever, and can be brought up to date by having reset in another ring.

Don't crush people's wishes and desires.

Tania on March 29, 2016:

AWESOME READ ...funny !!!

Alli Rose Smith from Washington, DC on October 05, 2014:

I like the title to your hub.