The Biggest Benefits to Buying a Halo Engagement Ring

When you start the time-honored process of buying an engagement ring, one of the first varieties you'll hear about is the halo engagement ring — it's become one of the most popular styles in recent years, to the point that some jewelers and trend observers call it "the halo craze." Two of this year's biggest celebrity weddings involved halo rings: Celebrity journalists noted that Lady Gaga's brand-new $400,000 engagement ring is a sapphire with a diamond halo; and Nick Jonas proposed to Priyanka Chopra this fall with a cushion-cut diamond surrounded by smaller baguette stones.

Don't have a six-figure budget? No problem — you can gift like a baller for a fraction of that, and a halo setting is one of the best ways to make your budget go further. Whether you've received a request from your partner or a recommendation from a relative who owns a beautiful heirloom halo, here's a quick guide to what qualifies as a halo engagement ring, the features and benefits of a halo, and how to select the perfect one.

(All of With Clarity's halo engagement rings are hand-crafted by master artisans, and because we're online, our prices are much lower than jewelry stores. And learn everything you need to know about buying an engagement ring in our comprehensive guide.)

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What is a halo engagement ring?

Think shape. A halo ring is a type of setting, in which a stone is encircled by a ring of round pavé (pronounced pah-vay) or micro-pavé diamonds. Pavé, in French, means "to pave," and in jewelry, the term refers to a pattern of small gemstones placed closely together, creating an impressive field of shine and sparkle.

benefits of halo engagement ring with without

Different types of halo engagement rings

Even though the halo sounds like a very specific type, there are many different variations, so you have a lot of room for personalization. The halo around the center stone could be round, squarish or diamond shaped. The band can be white, yellow or rose gold, and the band can meet the center diamond in a straight, twisted or double-ringed design. On many of With Clarity's halo rings, the stones extend partway onto the band, creating an even more stunning glittery effect.

And, yes, of course you can personalize your halo engagement ring by choosing your favorite diamond shape for the center stone. With that characteristic alone, there’s tons of variety for this type of ring, from cushion cut halo engagement rings to the classic round halo engagement rings. Some styles riding in popularity are the oval engagement rings with a halo and pear shaped halo engagement rings. But there are also some other types of halo rings with which you might be less familiar. Here's a quick guide to the lesser known styles that offer even more personalization for your halo engagement ring:

benefits of halo engagement ring styles

Split shank halo engagement ring
This shimmering style creates even more real estate for accent diamonds, meaning more glitz for the girl who loves glamour. With this style, the band of the engagement ring splits when it comes close to your center stone and halo. From the top, this setting looks like diamond and its halo are supported by two thin bands rather than one. It’s a popular style for its ability to catch the eye thanks to those smaller gems.

Plain shank halo engagement ring
Plenty of ring shoppers know you can’t go wrong with a classic. That’s exactly what this style is. An elegant polished band arcs gently up to the diamond and its halo, ensuring the center stone is getting all the attention.

Double halo engagement ring
On the other side of the spectrum is this style of halo engagement ring for the bride who feels that more is more. The double halo is also a dazzling way to save some dough. Yes, the setting costs more than a single halo, but the little diamonds cost a lot less than a large center stone. And since the single halo can make your diamond look a half carat bigger, you’re looking at up to a whole carat increase in appearance thanks to the double.

Pave halo engagement ring
Although the plain shank halo has been the favorite for some time, the pave halo ring is catching up quickly. It’s the gorgeous middle ground for these different ring settings. The extra accent diamonds only extend part way down the shank of the ring. It’s the sweet spot between extra sparkle and timeless elegance.

benefits of halo engagement ring jewelry dish

Benefits of halo engagement rings

The biggest benefit of the halo engagement ring is that it can make the center stone look bigger. This can save you money on the center stone. A halo setting can make the center stone look up to one-half carat bigger, which can translate into hundreds of dollars of savings. (Learn more about carats, and how to choose an engagement ring size, here.)

The pavé design also creates intense sparkle. Smaller stones also cost less, so you get even more sparkle for your buck. One overlooked benefit of the halo is that the surrounding stones offer protection for your center stone (because, yes, they can get damaged).

Are you ready to buy a halo engagement ring? At With Clarity, we have expert gemologists on staff who are highly experienced in working within budgets to find the right ring for each couple. They can walk you through a diamond's GIA certificate — which lists a diamond's carat size, measurements and ratings on various qualities — so you'll know how to best concentrate your budget.

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halo engagement rings how to buy

How to buy a halo engagement ring

So you're thinking of buying a halo engagement ring. That might sound like a reality competition show coming to Fox, but in actuality, the process doesn't have to be anywhere near stressful. We're here to help!

First, feel good about your choice. Halo settings — in which small accent diamonds or gems encircle a center stone, like a halo — are beautiful, popular, and a great way to maximize your budget. A halo adds sparkle to any setting, and can make a center diamond seem up to a half-carat bigger. But when it comes to a halo engagement ring, you have no shortage of options. Here are some particular concerns you should consider before buying.

Get familiar with the different halo styles available

Here's a quick rundown of halo engagement ring styles:

  • Plain shank halo engagement ring: Totally classic. An elegant polished band arcs gently up to the diamond and its halo, ensuring the center stone gets all the attention.

  • Split shank halo engagement ring: The band of the engagement ring splits as it approaches the center stone and halo. This style is popular because it creates more real estate for eye-catching accent diamonds.

  • Pave halo engagement ring: Pave accent diamonds only extend partway down the shank of the ring. It’s the sweet spot between extra sparkle and timeless elegance.

  • Double halo engagement ring: A dazzling way to save some dough. It's more expensive than a single halo setting, but the added accent diamonds cost much less than a large center stone. Since the single halo can make your diamond look a half carat bigger, you’re looking at up to a whole carat increase.

Decide which fits your/her style and personality the best

Like tattoos or Kardashians, halos can be subtle or flashy. Think about what you'll actually want to wear forever. The most important consideration here: Will you go with smooth shank or pave? There is no right answer; it all depends on your personal style. And smooth shank doesn't mean "boring," nor pave "flashy" — we offer hundreds of styles in each setting, and you amp up or dial down the drama as much as you'd like.

Browse smooth shank halo engagement rings and pave halo engagement rings.

Think about the total size of the center of your ring

Whether it's a single or a double, the halo adds size. If you think your finger will be overwhelmed by 3 carats, you'll want to go smaller on the center stone, otherwise the halo will exceed that size.

halo engagement rings carat vs cttw comparison

Consider how your center stone will match the diamond halo

Although we're big fans of some of the near-colorless diamond grades — they can save you a lot of money — you can only go so low when choosing a halo engagement ring. That's because if there's a big difference between the grade of the halo accent stones and the grade of your center diamond, it will be noticeable, which may not be ideal.

Are you ready to buy a halo engagement ring? We're here to walk you through the process! At With Clarity, we have expert gemologists on staff who are highly experienced in working within budgets to find the right ring for each couple. They can walk you through a diamond's GIA certificate — which lists a diamond's carat size, measurements and ratings on various qualities — so you'll know how to best concentrate your budget.

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How to personalize your halo engagement ring

You really can’t go wrong no matter which halo engagement ring you pick. The design — a center stone surrounded by smaller accent diamonds — can make even the smallest carat diamond look huge. And if you have a large stone? A halo setting can make it look like a headlight.

That said, it might seem like opting for a halo engagement ring means you have to give up on adding personality to your ring. Luckily, that’s not true! There are dozens of ways to make a halo engagement ring your own, ranging from simple enhancements to big, bold changes.

halo engagement ring with larger stones

Add larger halo stones

Opting for bigger pave diamonds with the halo can create a floral effect. Perfect example: the Floating Halo Pave Engagement Ring. Plus, many people opt for smaller stones, which means your ring will stand out in the crowd.

halo engagement ring with milgrain

Details, details, details

The Milgrain Flower Halo Diamond Engagement Ring adds even more dimension to the flower effect. Take a closer look and you'll see tiny dots of metal around the edges. That metal work is called milgrain, and it's an uncommon but beautiful element that can be used on engagement rings.

halo engagement ring big and small stones

Go big (and small)

Pave accent diamonds don’t have to all be the same size on a halo setting. The Star Halo Diamond Engagement Ring uses different sizes to create an almost-regal look. Plus, the play on sizes keeps your eye moving when you're looking at it, creating the illusion of movement.

halo engagement rings with hidden halo

It's a secret

Add in a secret element to create a different look, like in the Hidden Halo Floating Diamond Ring. What's the value of a hidden halo, you might ask. Although you don't see the profile of your ring much, other people do. And they'll be drawn to the subtle pops of sparkle coming from your demure ring.

halo engagement ring with angular halo

All in the angles

Not every halo has to be completely rounded. Angular halos, like on the Octagon Halo Diamond Engagement Ring, give a more modern look to the classic style. It's also a great way to give a little bit of edge to a round, feminine center stone.

halo engagement ring with east west halo

Rotate, rotate, rotate

Rotate your angular halo like on the East West Halo Diamond Engagement Ring just to switch things up a bit. Bonus: the corners pointing along the length of your finger can make your hands appear longer and thinner by drawing the eye up and down.

halo engagement ring with double halo

Double the fun

Add a second halo like on the Double Floating Halo Cathedral Diamond Engagement Ring. Each halo can add up to a half carat to your center stone, which means a double halo can make your center diamond look a full carat larger.

halo engagement ring with second hidden halo

Play hide and seek

Adding a second halo underneath the main one — like with the Double Halo Pave Diamond Engagement Ring — adds even more size and dimension, just in a different way. Plus, like the hidden halo, people admiring your ring see those diamonds pop from the profile view of your sparkler.

halo engagement ring with heirloom look

Make a statement

Not every diamond engagement ring needs to have a simple band. A statement band, like on the Heirloom Halo Diamond Engagement Ring, proves that with an intricate look that screams “vintage and antique.” Only you’ll know the truth.

halo engagement ring with twist

Get it twisted

Let your ring band get in on the action with a twisting shank swirls to become the halo like on the Open Twist Halo Diamond Engagement Ring. Some variations on this design have tighter or looser twists, and some feature two diamond encrusted bands or only one.

halo engagement ring with three stones

Add mini halos

Who says you can only have a halo over one stone? Not us! Go for a ring that adds a halo to a three stone engagement ring like on our Three Stone Halo Engagement Ring. Although halo engagement rings and three stone engagement rings are both pretty common, you rarely see the combination of these two styles.

halo engagement ring with intricate halo

Opt for intricate

An intricate band with added details — like the Vintage Halo Diamond Engagement Ring — can add a bit of extra personalization without going overboard (if that’s not your thing). Several of our settings have subtle nature-inspired designs like the leaves on the band of this engagement ring setting.

halo engagement ring with cathedral

Don't stop at the halo

Why only add accent diamonds around the center stone? Go for a ring that has them throughout the band, like our Cathedral Halo Diamond Engagement Ring. The cathedral setting also adds some height to the center stone, which can draw more attention without any additional elements that are seen from the top of the ring.

halo engagement ring with sapphire

Think outside the diamond

Halos can be created with other types of stones besides diamonds. Our Cushion Sapphire Plain Shank Engagement Ring lets you create a contrast that’s just as striking as a diamond center stone. Plus, the cushion cut does an amazing job at showing off the rich colors of gemstones, making it a great cut for this ring.

Other ways to personalize a halo engagement ring

As you can see, there are already a million-and-one ways to personalize your halo engagement ring, but you have even more options.

One big way? Choose a metal that stands out against your diamonds, like yellow or rose gold. Although rose gold has been popular lately, white gold and platinum are the most popular for engagement rings, so you can stand out just by choosing a different metal.

halo engagement ring in three different metals

Engraving is another legit option, too. At With Clarity you can also get an engraving on the inside of your ring to personalize it to your relationship and make something that’s truly your own.

Still not sure which is best for you? Get in touch with a With Clarity expert. Our gemologists know all the secrets to personalize your halo engagement ring and truly make it your own (with a price you can handle, too!).

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