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Choosing Between Cluster Rings and Solitaire Rings

Like all jewellery, rings have changed drastically over time. What was fashionable in the 1950s is not to today’s taste. However, quality vintage and antique jewellery remains truly beautiful and unique regardless of the fact that the trends that formed it are no longer popular.

In this blog we explore the differences between diamond cluster rings and solitaire rings – both of which have been hugely popular at different times – to help you decide which best suits you.

What is a cluster ring?

A cluster ring features gemstones grouped together, often with a larger gem in the centre and smaller stones in the surround. From a distance, cluster rings can appear to be one large diamond as they glint and shine in the light. These elegant rings first came into fashion in the Edwardian era and were a common staple in Edwardian jewellery, often with a coloured stone (such as a sapphire or emerald) surrounded by a cluster of small diamonds. The rings were round, rectangular, or oval in shape, and had slim bands. Cluster rings returned to fashion in the 1960s and are popular today.

Shop our vintage cluster engagement rings to see a selection of stunning multi-stone pieces.

Solitaire diamond rings

Solitaire rings allow a single stone to do the talking. The stones in solitaire rings are generally of a higher carat than in rings with multiple stones and, depending on the setting and cut used, will still be just as radiant as cluster rings when reflecting light.

Because of the importance and centrality of the main stone in solitaire rings, the cut, clarity, colour, and carat-weight are usually more important than in rings with multiple stones, and therefore heavily impact the cost of the ring. Usually, higher quality stones are used in solitaire rings as any imperfections or impurities are more noticeable than in cluster rings. The diversity available in antique solitaire rings is incredible, as the style has been a mainstay for decades. They’re not all diamond-centric, with some people seeking rings other gemstones in to best represent a meaning or sentiment.

Browse our range of vintage solitaire engagement rings to see what single-stone rings catch your eye.

Cluster diamond rings versus solitaire diamond rings

Over the years, jewellery design has reflected fashion. Edwardian jewellery mirrored the intricate lace and elegant styles of the time with the popularity of cluster jewellery. Cluster rings then came back into fashion with the excesses of the post-war boom era.

Solitaire rings, with all their simplicity and elegance, have never really fallen out of taste and have consistently adapted to the fashions of the time with different diamond cuts, metals used, and additional details helping them to fit in in all eras.

Which type of ring you decide to buy depends entirely on what and who you’re buying the ring for. Antique or vintage cluster rings are likely to be more unusual – and bigger – than solitaire diamond rings, so if you’re looking for a unique ring that will make a memorable gift, that could be the right choice. If you want something more understated, traditional, and simple, perhaps for use as an engagement ring, solitaire rings could be a better bet.