Updated December 2, 2019

Halo Engagement Rings: What You Need to Know

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Halo engagement rings allow you to get a much bigger ring on a smaller budget. Learn about this trendy setting and how to choose one right for you.

Halo engagement rings are all the rage these days.

Seriously, did you know they're the 2nd most popular style, after the classic solitaire?

Halo rings are equal parts classic, vintage, and trendy. This makes it appealing to a wide range of women. They're adored for their bling factor and extreme catchiness. This setting makes perhaps the largest impact for the price. It's perfect for anyone who loves a lot of sparkle. It'll also appeal to the girl with slightly vintage tastes, but who also wants something modern and trendy.

Is it the right style for you?

Here's everything you need to know about the halo setting - the good and the bad. We also give you tips on how you can truly it make it your own.

What is a halo ring?

The halo setting is when the center stone has a ring of small stones around it. It was popular in the Art Deco period, and has had a huge resurgence in popularity in recent years. They're elegant - yet have a vintage feel. They're super sparkly - yet not too over the top.

Did you know: The halo style ring actually dates back to the Georgian era (1714-1830). But it wasn't made popular until the 1920's Art Deco movement. The style of this era was portrayed a lot of geometric shapes, intricate detailing, and bold colors. The halo ring perfectly depicted the glamour and opulence of that time.

There are different types of halos. Which one catches your eye?

Flush against the center diamond: This setting has the halo right around the center diamond, which allows the diamond to appear bigger.

Screenshot from James Allen Website

Cushion Outline Halo ring (with round center) by James Allen

Floating halo: This setting has the halo set a little bit below the center diamond, so the diamond is raised above the halo. There's a small gap (called an "airline") between the center diamond and the halo. This can help make the diamond appear even larger. It's totally up to personal preference - some girls love the look, and some avoid it like the plague.

Screenshot from Whiteflash Website

A floating halo ring by designer Simon G. at Whiteflash

Double halo: Just like it sounds, this is when there are two halo circles around the center diamond. As you can imagine, this really makes the diamond look HUGE. There's also a triple halo, but personally, I think it's getting into the overkill category.

Double Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Double Halo Diamond Engagement Ring via James Allen

The Double Halo ring from James Allen. See how huge it makes the ring look.

Halo rings look good no matter the metal color. A white gold halo ring looks elegant and classy, not to mention makes the diamond look huge since the metal is the same color. A yellow gold halo ring will bring out the vintage feel of the design even more. And a rose gold halo ring is romantic and feminine.

If you're considering a halo diamond ring, you must check out James Allen's inspiration gallery.

Halo Rings in Other Shapes

Round is the most popular shape for engagement rings. But halo rings look beautiful when paired with other diamond shapes as well.

Cushion cut diamonds are often set with a halo. The cushion cut has a soft pillowy shape, but it's not known for being the most brilliant. So the halo gives extra sparkle to the cushion diamond.

via James Allen

Tip: If you love the cushion shape, another idea is to get a round center diamond with a cushion-shaped halo. This way, you have both the brilliance of a round diamond, but the cushion outline with the halo.

Oval is another popular shape with halo rings. Oval diamonds already appear larger, and a halo will give it even more mass. And if you like the vintage look, set your halo oval ring in rose gold.

via James Allen

For an unique statement ring, check out this halo ring with a pear diamond.

via James Allen

See other halo rings here.

Advantages of a halo setting

The halo ring wins serious points for how much it can add to the appearance of a ring:

  • The diamond looks huge: The major advantage of the halo setting is that it makes the center diamond look huge. From far away, it just looks like one huge, sparkly diamond. A halo can typically add 2 mm of width. This mean that a 1-carat round diamond with a halo can appear as large as 2 carats.

  • Massive bling factor: And of course, because it's a center diamond surrounded by a border of small diamonds, halo rings have intense sparkle.

  • It makes a big impact. This setting makes one of the largest impacts for your buck. It's glamorous and makes the diamond appear larger and the ring sparklier. And all for relatively less money. A typical halo setting runs around $700 - $1,500, but the impact is huge.

    To compare, a 1-carat diamond (round) is usually $5,000 - $6,000. A good-valued 2-carat diamond goes for $17,000 - $25,000. But you can spend just $1,000 on a halo setting and have the design appear just as large.

    If your budget is small, you can get a modest 0.5-carat diamond for around $1,000. Plus another $1,000 on a halo setting, and you'd still end up with a nice looking ring on a limited budget.

Things to watch out for

But there are some downsides to consider too:

  • It's easy to lose a little diamond: Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for one of the small pavé stones to fall out at some point. Be sure you check with your jeweler if this is covered under warranty. Sometimes, this is considered wear-and-tear issues, and won't be covered under the manufacturer's defect warranty.

    Tip: If you're very active or work a lot with your hands, and really want a halo ring, then consider getting a style with a bezel around it. A bezel is a rim of metal that wraps around the diamonds. This will give more protection to all the little diamonds. Also, a platinum setting will hold the diamonds in better.

    Screenshot from James Allen Website

    The Trellis Halo Ring from James Allen is a gorgeous halo in a bezel setting.

  • It catches on things: Because of all those little diamonds, this style of ring can be easily caught on sweaters and hosiery. And they can be scratchy, too. Again, if you love this style, but work a lot with your hands or with children, consider a bezel around it for a smooth outline.

  • Poor resell value: Most the cost of the halo setting goes into the labor it takes to set those little tiny diamonds. If you do get bored with your halo ring and want to trade it in, those little diamonds have very little resell value.

  • It is too trendy: Halo rings are the 2nd most popular engagement ring style today. So this means that there are a lot of women walking around with them. Chances are, you have friends with this style ring. Maybe you want to be more unique (see next section).

How you can customize a halo ring

Halo rings are so common nowadays. So what if you love this look, but you also want to stand out?

Luckily, there are almost endless ways to customize a halo ring so you can really make it unique to your personal style.

  • Use a gemstone as the center stone: This is a great way to design a ring that stands out AND save some money. Gemstones are often just a fraction of the price of a diamond of the same carat weight. And the contrast between the rich hue of a gemstone and a ring of white diamonds is beautiful.

    Kate Middleton's heirloom engagement ring is an oval sapphire with a halo of diamonds, and it's stunning. Other stones that are gorgeous in a halo setting include emerald, ruby, yellow sapphire, and morganite.

    Screenshot from James Allen Website

    James Allen's halo engagement ring, shown with an emerald yellow diamond center (but you can get just yellow sapphire for the same look)

  • Use different stones for the halo: Or you can reverse that and use gemstones for the halo. Keep in mind that this isn't the cheapest option though, if budget is your main concern. You can even customize your halo ring with contrasting colors like this sunburst sapphire halo setting number.

  • Choose a different diamond shape: Round and princess cuts dominate the ring fingers of brides. Simply going for another diamond shape will make your ring stand out. A halo will add more pizazz to just about any shape (just note that heart shapes are best left to speak for themselves).

  • Try a geometric halo: If you have more vintage tastes, you may like the look of geometric halos (such as an octagon shape). These are reminiscent of the Art Deco period. Round and asscher diamonds look really nice in vintage geometric halo settings.

    Screenshot from James Allen Website

    The Octagonal Halo Ring by James Allen

  • Different metal color: White gold and platinum are the most popular. To stand out, consider yellow gold, especially if your diamond is lower on the color scale. Rose gold is another beautiful choice for a more romantic, vintage look. You can even do two-toned, such as rose gold for the halo and white gold for the band.

  • Pavé band or not?: This is one of the most popular questions for brides considering halo rings. A halo ring with a plain band will look cleaner, while a pave band will add more sparkle. It's just based on your preference.

  • Customize the shank: If you like the style of a classic diamond halo, you can spice up the ring with a more unique shank (the band) instead. You can have a split shank, a twisted shank, shank with vintage motifs, etc. You can choose something as simple or as elaborate as you want.

    Simon G. Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
    Simon G. Halo Diamond Engagement Ring via Whiteflash

Don't forget the wedding band. Sometimes with certain halo styles, brides run into the problem of not finding a matching wedding band that looks like it belongs together. Especially if the halo has a wide bottom, a wedding band may not sit flush against it. Some girls don't like that gap in between their two rings. So sometimes, the wedding band for a halo ring is specially designed to curve around it.

If you're picking out a halo ring with a wider bottom or a unique shape, it's smart to ask about a matching wedding band at the same time. Or you can buy a bridal set to ensure that the two rings match.

Bottom Line

If you really love this style, go for it. We don't see it going out of fashion anytime soon. It's a great choice if you're limited on budget and looking for something that really packs a punch. For relatively little money, a halo design can really spruce up a ring and make it look a lot more expensive.

Some women love the look of a classic halo around the center diamond. But if you want something more unique, there are endless ways to customize this style. So you don't have to worry about having a ring that looks just like someone else's.

Write to Anna G at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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