Diamond cluster settings may just be the next biggest thing in engagement rings, offering an elegant alternative to halos AND saving the average groom-to-be thousands of dollars.
First, let's talk about halo settings. If you follow engagement ring trends at all, it's hard not to notice how hot halo settings have been for the last few years. Surrounding a center stone with a halo of smaller, often pave set, diamonds offsets the centerstone to make it appear larger in contrast. And brides have been jumping on the halo bandwagon because it's just downright beautiful and classy.
Not to get in the way of any bride and her bling, BUT, we have a hunch that the next major engagement ring trend will be cluster settings. Whereas a halo setting features a sizable center stone encircled by much smaller stones, a cluster setting usually "clusters" stones of equal size tightly together, with or without a center stone. The effect of the cluster setting is mega sparkle due to the many more facets of diamonds now reflecting the light in all different directions, as opposed to the halo setting's big center stone plus lots of little scintillation from the mini halo diamonds.
And not that we need celebrity engagements to prove our point (because we certainly can start trends without them), but it's interesting to note one celebrity engagement ring that took full advantage of the cluster setting's sparkle, so much so that people did not know she had a cluster setting. From the picture, it appeared that Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burress's ring was a massive 2 carat oval-cut centerstone when upon further investigation, I noticed that the ring was actually a cluster setting of smaller diamonds set in the shape of an oval. As I explained in this article, the difference in price is enormous: instead of $40,000 with a 2 ct. high-quality oval-cut diamond, Kandi's actual ring cost about $11,000 since it did not have a multi-carat center stone but rather lots of smaller diamonds clustered together.
And this, my friends, is where the trend gets exciting for you. Not only are cluster settings beautiful, but they can save you a lot of money. If Kandi's fiance Todd Tucker could save almost $30,000, can't the average Joe out there save at least a couple thousand? The concept of a cluster setting can be applied to engagement rings, diamond stud earrings, and pendants, and the end result is that diamond jewelry becomes more affordable for the tight budget. Let's take a look at this.
This diamond cluster setting from James Allen features a 0.76 total carat weight of smaller diamonds clustered together, which provide comparable brilliance and diameter to a 1.50 carat diamond. What is the price tag of this cluster setting? $1,890. In order to compare the price of a 1.50 carat loose diamond with this cluster setting, I searched for a diamond with the same color and clarity as the clustered diamonds, but that was 1.50 carats. The average price I came up with was $12,500 for ideal cuts. That's not even including the ring setting, which would probably run about $1000. If we do the math here, that means a savings of over $11K!
Of course, there are smaller diamond cluster settings, and there are bigger, just like with any ring. Would a rich and famous celebrity cluster together big diamonds? Yes. Does that mean that you need to? No. If the objective of a diamond engagement ring, according to most of the future grooms who write us for diamond advice, is to find a diamond that is big and sparkly, then ladies, why not go for a cluster ring? You can get big and sparkly and pocket the savings for your down payment or honeymoon. Now doesn't that just make a whole lot of practical sense?
I know, practical does not always describe every bride. Some brides really have their hearts set on a minimum number of carats. But if it's possible to suggest this cost-saving and still beautiful alternative, I think it's worth your consideration. And who knows, maybe you'll be the trendsetter with the cluster ring since, ladies; halo settings are becoming so passé.
Original Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-weissman/diamond-cluster-settings-_b_4868523.html