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Pearls can get a bad rep for being old-fashioned. Simply the mention of them and you’re likely imagining a single strand worn by your grandmother. But celebrities like Ariana Grande and Emma Stone have recently made the case for pearl engagement rings, and if we're being honest, the timeless stone has never been chicer.
Meet the Expert
Lorraine Brantner is a gemologist and sales manager at James Allen. Founded in 2006, James Allen is the largest privately held online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer in the world.
"Pearls are among the more, if not the most, delicate choices for an engagement ring," James Allen gemologist Lorraine Brantner tells Brides. "Pearl rings are not very common, so it is an easy way to stand out and get people talking about your engagement."
Ready to say "yes!" to a pearl engagement ring? Peruse our favorite pearl engagement rings in every style and budget.
Consider this ring for the minimalist bride. Here, a large natural pearl is put on full display, although it is off-set by a dainty bezel-set diamond.
If this bauble looks familiar it's because you've seen it on Emma Stone's finger. Her fiancé, Dave McCary, proposed to the actress with this gorgeous snowflake-like pearl ring in November 2019.
This ring was made for the timeless bride. Set in platinum and surrounded by a halo of round brilliant diamonds, the button-shaped South Sea pearl is on full display.
If you're interested in a three-stone engagement (alá Meghan Markle!) but not satisfied with diamonds, turn to this white gold ring from Kay Jewelers. The trio of cultured pearls is completely unexpected while small diamond accents add a touch of bling.
Inspired by the letter M, this Mikimoto ring boasts an 8.5mm Akoya cultured pearl and a polished 18K white gold band. But there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this masterpiece: If you look closely you'll notice small diamonds atop the prongs.
Diamonds and pearls elegantly combine to form this enchanting ring. From the diamond-studded vine motif to the stunning freshwater, this bauble is contemporary and romantic.
We can't decide what we like most: The 5mm Akoya pearl floating inside four diamond pavé prongs or the wrapping 18K gold band. Either way, this delicate KatKim ring is lovely to look at and undoubtedly unique.
This ring set is proof that you don't need to choose between pearls and diamonds. The timeless pearl engagement ring is accented by a diamond pavé band, and both are available in white, yellow, and rose gold.
Between the split shank band, brilliant freshwater pearl, and the swooping diamond pavé accent, this is a ring you'll get tired of looking at. Pair with a simple diamond pavé wedding band to keep this the center of attention.
Two pearls are better than one when it comes to this unique bauble. A glamorous quirk, the larger white pearl is topped with a petite diamond.
Colored gemstones are having a major moment right now—why not pair them with a pearl? Perfect for a bride searching for a timeless engagement ring with a fun twist.
Inspired by an olive branch, this romantic Tiffany & Co. ring displays a freshwater pearl in a stunning sterling silver setting. Simple, yet elegant.
Pearls are well-suited for open rings. But the bold style is given an upgrade through petite diamonds on either side of the band.
Perfect for the vintage-inspired bride, this ring features a freshwater pearl flanked by a white sapphire and a trio of diamonds on either side. Nothing short of elegant!
This beautiful and geometric ring in 14k gold, cultured pearl and diamonds, is inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's painting, Floating.
Inspired by the grace and elegance of Princess Diana, this engagement ring is a showstopper. A floral-esque halo of prong-set diamonds surrounds the center freshwater cultured pearl.
This sophisticated pearl is highlighted by trios of eye catching diamond accents on either side. The ring is crafted in 14K gold.
Set in an intricately made 10K yellow gold band, this cultured freshwater pearl certainly makes a statement. It is accompanied by a center row of bezel-set round diamonds with rows of diamonds above and below.
This pearl engagement ring bursts with beauty. The design is reminiscent of the infamous Sandro Botticelli painting, "Birth of Venus", making it a one-of-a-kind stunning piece. The Akoya pearl is set in a 14K yellow gold band.
For a pop of color, consider this combination of pearl and blue sapphire. This cultured Akoya pearl is flanked by blue sapphires that add elegance with a twist.
This unique freshwater pearl has a peachy tint to it. It is held in an intricately crafted 14K rose gold band.
Less is more with this cultured pearl ring. Held in a 14K gold diamond pavé band, this pearl embodies class while remaining chic.
This cultured Akoya pearl is highlighted in a halo setting with a total diamond weight of 1/5ct.. It is a dazzling way to style a pearl while still having some shine.
Inspired by romantic eras of the past, this vintage-style ring holds all of the timelessness of eternal love. This Akoya rose gold pearl is paired with a diamond band that comes in both yellow gold and platinum.
This modern take on a traditional pearl ring comes from Delfina Delettrez, a part of the iconic Fendi dynasty. Two pearls are held on a pierced band with a 0.05ct white diamond in the center.
A single pear-shaped pearl stands alone on this minimalist engagement ring, but if you love this ring and want a bit of shine, no worries. You can custom design this ring with a gemstone of your choosing.
This Golden South Sea cultured pearl is truly a treasure. Two prong-set diamonds flank either side of the golden pearl. The stones are set in a 14K rose gold band.
Art deco intersects with class in this handcrafted pearl ring with a woven designed band.
This toi et moi ring is an ode to everlasting love with two cultured Akoya pearls surrounded with pavé diamonds. The 18K yellow gold band features David Yurman's iconic cable design.
What to Look for When Buying a Pearl Engagement Ring
Type of Pearl
Just like other gemstones, there are plenty of types of pearls to choose from for your engagement ring. For starters, there are natural and cultured pearls, with the latter requiring human intervention to form. Natural pearls are extremely rare and incredibly costly. Brantner offers, "There are different types of pearls, some rarer and more sought after than others, so the species and size can affect pricing. Pearl rings can be rather affordable at just a few hundred [dollars] and go into the thousands."
Here, the four main types of cultured pearls, which are most commonly used in jewelry.
- Freshwater Cultured Pearls: Per Brantner, freshwater pearls are typically the most affordable option—and the most commonly produced. These pearls are formed in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds, and come in a range of shapes and sizes.
- Akoya Cultured Pearls: Slightly more expensive than freshwater pearls, Akoya pearls are also quite common in fine jewelry. "They have a white base color with a subtle iridescent rose glow," describes Brantner.
- South Sea Cultured Pearls: An even more luxurious option, South Sea pearls are mostly sourced from Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Branter says, "If you like the richness of an all-gold pearl search for a South Sea."
- Tahitian Cultured Pearls: Tahitian pearls get their name from the French Polynesian island Tahiti, as they are primarily formed there. Sometimes referred to as "black pearls," they showcase "hypnotic and moody colors."
Here is a list of frequently asked questions shoppers have when looking at pearl engagement rings.
- What do pearl engagement rings symbolize? Pearl engagement rings symbolize beauty and purity, and many of them are incredibly rare. Brantner adds, "Their organic and lustrous beauty has symbolized the moon and its power and their subtle sheen hints towards purity." They are considered “the Queen of gems" and centuries ago were once only reserved for royalty. Pearl is also the birthstone for the month of June.
- What stones best complement pearls on an engagement ring? "Tapered baguettes or round diamonds on the sides is a very classy way to show off your pearl and add extra sparkle to your ring," says Brantner. "You can also mix and match shapes of diamonds and complementary gemstones like multi-colored sapphires to create a ring as unique as you are!"
- How do I care for my pearl engagement ring? Since pearls are organic material, they are more susceptible to damage compared to diamond rings. Per Brantner, "The fine coating on the surface of a pearl, called nacre, is very thin and once worn away cannot be replaced or repaired. Pearls should always be 'last on, first off' and gently wiped with a clean jewelry cloth and safely stored away from other jewelry items that could cause scratches."