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Believe it or not, not everyone wants a gigantic diamond for an engagement ring. It's true. Modern and minimalist brides flock to smaller designs with teensy stones and delicate bands that are easier to style. (You can even get in on the wedding stack trend that guarantees a chic look!) Not to mention, a smaller ring will typically cost much less than a flashier one.
While small engagement rings are less attention-grabbing initially, they can be more intricate than larger solitaires with more opportunities for craftsmanship. "With bigger diamond rings, usually the stone takes up much of the ring so there are less opportunities to add design elements," says Ashley Zhang, a fine jewelry designer based in New York. "With smaller rings, you can have multiple stone cuts in one design, add accent stones like birthstones, or hand engraving."
Meet the Expert
Ashley Zhang is a fine jewelry designer with a New York City-based eponymous label, Ashley Zhang Jewelry. Her pieces have been worn by celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Bella Hadid, and Dua Lipa.
When shopping for rings, Zhang reminds brides to consider both their personal style and lifestyle. Someone who doesn't wear much jewelry may not be sartorially (and physically) comfortable donning a large rock. It's also important to consider practicality. "[Some] women have jobs or activities where they use their hands a lot, such as nurses who are putting on and taking off gloves throughout the day," says Zhang. "For them, a large ring may become an annoyance for everyday wear."
Whether you're partial to a sleek and sophisticated classically-cut stone in a pared-back setting, a romantic cluster ring, or one with a more distinctive off-kilter setting, peruse our edit of dainty engagement rings. We guarantee there’s one for you.
Ginette NY Medium Lonely Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Ginette NY, from $705
Update a classic solitaire ring by opting for a diamond in a bezel setting. This piece from Ginette NY, set in 18k rose gold, is perfect for brides with a cool-girl ethos.
Zoë Chicco Horizontal Baguette Ring
SHOP NOW: Zoë Chicco, $330
Minimal, subtle, elegant. This mini 0.06-carat baguette diamond ring, set in 14k gold, can be worn on its own or stacked with other bands.
Barbela Design Diamond Jayne Ring
SHOP NOW: Barbela, $460
Two bezel-set diamonds meet vertically in a twisted, closed-loop band. An elegant, artful choice for the modern bride set in 14k yellow gold.
Anne Sisteron Moonstone and Diamond Maddie Ring
SHOP NOW: Anne Sisteron, $435
Elevate and customize a classic style by mixing unexpected gems. This sleek stunner features an emerald-cut moonstone flanked by 16 round diamonds set in a half pavé, 14k yellow gold band.
Claire Kinder Aurelia Ring
SHOP NOW: Claire Kinder, $430
A larger, bezel-set stone on top of an ultra-slim, 14k yellow gold band adds drama to an otherwise simple solitaire design. This delicate option comes in your stone of choice—Moissanite, White Sapphire, White Zircon, or a classic diamond.
Ariel Gordon Marquise Wink Ring
SHOP NOW: Ariel Gordon, $650
This ultra-delicate option features a marquise diamond in a more modern, east-west setting. Set in 14k yellow gold, other gemstone options for this ring include rhodolite garnet, swiss blue top, and iolite.
Invert elongated stones for a more contemporary engagement ring style. "For gems, turning an elongated stone on its side, like a marquise or emerald cut, will make it easier to stack with other bands or wedding bands," says Zhang.
Après Jewelry The Triple Rose Cut Ring
SHOP NOW: Après Jewelry, $1,365
Featuring a trifecta of rose-cut diamonds perched on a delicate, slender 14k yellow gold band, this Après Jewelry design is elegant, romantic, and definitely swoon-worthy.
Shahla Karimi Love V Ring
SHOP NOW: Shahla Karimi, $890
Set in 14k yellow gold, the placement of the lone pear diamond combined with the open, asymmetrical, split-shank band detail makes this piece a structural work of art.
Ceremony Ren I Thin Cigar Ring
SHOP NOW: Ceremony, $1,550
This Art Deco-inspired piece of jewelry features a cigar-style band with a lone princess cut diamond. This ring, set in 18k yellow gold, is perfect for brides who want a wider band with a structural edge.
KatKim Grande Crescendo Flare Pavé Ring
SHOP NOW: KatKim, $5,800
With a sideways diamond pavé band that wraps around the finger, punctuated by a seemingly-floating, single round diamond, this piece of jewelry is perfect for anyone who wants to make a statement. A work of art set in 18k yellow gold.
Lizzie Mandler Petite Knife Edge Solitaire Ring
SHOP NOW: Lizzie Mandler, $1,420
The knife-edge detailing on the 18k yellow gold band of this round-cut solitaire option adds dimension to a timeless design.
Jade Trau Alchemy Sophisticate Solitaire Stackable Ring
SHOP NOW: Jade Trau, $1,800
When choosing smaller, simpler rings, pay close attention to unique design elements. The hexagonal bezel setting on this 0.15 carat round brilliant cut diamond, plus the matte finish on the 18k yellow gold band, give this simple solitaire ring a distinctive feel and contemporary edge.
Eva Fehren The Solitaire Ring
SHOP NOW: Eva Fehren, $1,750
The perfect blush option for the modern-day romantic. The pale champagne hue of the central diamond and pavé stones gives the ring a soft, feminine quality, while the inverted stone (see that pointed tip?) renders a more contemporary, edgy vibe. The ring is set in 18k rose gold.
ILA Pietro Marquise-Cut Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: ILA, $2,045
With a hovering marquise-cut diamond set in recycled 14k rose gold, this exquisite delicate ring is sure to wow.
Selin Kent Defne Pavé Ring with Diamond Marquise
SHOP NOW: Selin Kent, $2,250
Look for interesting details, like dual-toned metals and off-kilter gems, for a one-of-a-kind ring. This offset marquise diamond clamped by white gold prongs hovers atop a pavé band of a different metal, 18k rose gold.
Mociun Compass Rose Solitaire with White Diamonds
SHOP NOW: Mociun, $2,400
Old European-cut diamonds gained popularity during the Art Deco period. For a subtle whiff of Art Deco sensibilities, consider this piece by Mociun with a central diamond set in 14k yellow gold and flanked by six pavé-set diamonds.
ManiaMania Entity Solitaire Ring
SHOP NOW: ManiaMania, $2,400
This classic statement piece features a round, rose-cut diamond, in a 14k yellow gold, pavé-style band. The prongs, designed to keep the diamond in place, add a rustic vibe to this ring.
De Beers The Promise Small Round Brilliant Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: De Beers, $2,500
This dazzling 18k rose gold beauty features a round brilliant solitaire enclosed by two interlocking bands, one plain and one set with diamonds. A truly elegant choice.
Blanca Monrós Gómez Small White Lily Ring
SHOP NOW: Blanca Monrós Gómez, $2,565
The unique cluster of rose-cut diamonds differing in size, surrounded by a slim pavé band, ensures that this ring will sparkle when catching the light. This ring is set in reclaimed 18k yellow gold.
Ashley Zhang Baguette Diamond Eternity Band
SHOP NOW: Ashley Zhang, $4,895
For fans of the eternity band, consider this textured, Art Deco-inspired option with milgrain detailing. Featuring a seamless loop of channel-set, baguette-cut diamonds, this ornate piece of jewelry will get you all the compliments. This ring is set in 14k white gold.
Nora Kogan Paloma Ring
SHOP NOW: Nora Kogan, $2,835
Calling modern brides with spunk: This ring, featuring a tapered diamond is for you. With a horizontally-set baguette diamond, set in 18k yellow gold, this tapered, square band option is a bold (and fun!) engagement choice.
Smaller rings allow for more styling flexibility. "Smaller engagement rings have more potential for stacking and mixing bands. This way your bridal stack can change upon your mood or be added to over time," says Zhang.
Elisa Solomon "Anna Karenina" Marquise Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Catbird, $1,960
This vintage, romantic ring should be promoted to heirloom status, stat. Inspired by Native American art, this ornate piece features a marquise diamond with a melee halo. The jewel-encrusted band, with baguette and melee diamonds, is set in 18k platinum.
Zoë Chicco Bezel Set Emerald Cut Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Zoë Chicco, $2,750
The emerald diamond in a thick bezel setting adds a rustic vibe to this otherwise delicate and simple, half-round band ring. It's set in 14k yellow gold.
Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Marquise Band Ring
SHOP NOW: Tiffany & Co., $2,800
Modern and fashion-forward, this solitaire marquise diamond ring in a platinum band is inspired by the signet design.
Cartier Etincelle De Cartier Ring
SHOP NOW: Cartier, $2,990
Sleek, timeless, elegant. Set in 18k pink gold, this ring is anything but boring. Featuring an emerald-cut diamond at the center flanked by 22 round brilliant-cut diamonds, this beauty is a testament to refined simplicity.
Jacquie Aiche Pavé Marquise Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Jacquie Aiche, $3,250
The thick bezel setting of this horizontal marquise diamond ring, set in 14k gold, gives it a rustic, Old Hollywood-feel. Perfect for vintage-loving brides.
Catbird Odette The Swan, Supreme Ring
SHOP NOW: Catbird, $3,100
The ultra-slim pavé band is the perfect backdrop to the trio of diamonds in this ring. A rose-cut diamond and two brilliant-cut diamonds are set in a 14k gold band.
Jennie Kwon Diamond Kite Balance Ring
SHOP NOW: Jennie Kwon, $3,792
The striking kite-shaped diamond of this Jennie Kwon piece is perched atop a slim pavé band with intricate milgrain detailing. Perfect for the fearless, fashion-forward bride, this ring is set in matte-brushed, 18k yellow gold.
Sofia Zakia Pleiades Supreme Ring
SHOP NOW: Sofia Zakia, $5,650
Astrology lovers, this ring is for you! Named after a cluster of luminous stars, this celestial-inspired ring is romantic and dreamy. Featuring a central diamond flanked by diamonds, two round and two baguettes, this dazzling beauty in 14k yellow gold makes it look like stars have been plucked straight from the skies.
Gillian Conroy Jewelry Marquise Diamond and Pavé Bezel Ring
SHOP NOW: Gillian Conroy Jewelry, $5,450
We love the antique sensibilities of this half-pavé band ring with a horizontal bezel-set, marquise diamond in the center. Both elegant and rustic, this ring is set in 18k yellow gold with a satin-matte, almost dirty gold, finish.
Wwake Medium Vista Ring
SHOP NOW: Wwake, $6,052
Vary diamond cuts and sizes for a more striking piece of jewelry. Here, an emerald cut diamond is framed by four round diamonds. The ring, which boasts of reclaimed diamonds, is set in 18k yellow gold.
Kataoka New Moon Solitaire Ring
SHOP NOW: Kataoka, $7,580
In a stunning display of craftsmanship, this romantic option features a brilliant round diamond surrounded by a smattering of smaller diamonds on a dainty, delicate, 18k beige gold band.
David Yurman Eden Petite Solitaire Engagement Ring
SHOP NOW: David Yurman, price upon request
Fun details make a ring feel more unique, even when it's a detail unseen to the public eye. This solitaire ring, featuring a round center diamond, features discreet cable detailing on its round, 18k yellow gold band. It could be your little secret.
Vrai The Signature Ring
SHOP NOW: Vrai, from $1,306
This emerald-cut solitaire by Vrai in 14k rose gold is a timeless option. Set slightly lower than usual, it's made to sit low on the finger for a subtle play on light and depth.
ILA Perryn Diamond Baguette Ring
SHOP NOW: Catbird, $2,200
Stylish brides to be will love the subtly cool details of this ring. Set in 14k yellow gold, the two back-to-back horizontally-set, tapered baguette diamonds, not to mention the barely-there prongs, make this ring a work of art.
Jennifer Dawes Dreamy Rose Cut Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Jennifer Dawes, $5,250
Almost mystical, this rose-cut diamond solitaire has a dreamy, watery element to it. This ring is set in 18k rose gold and is a great fit for brides-to-be with ethereal sensibilities.
KatKim Cosma Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: KatKim, $4,860
Sharp, geometric edges make simple, timeless designs feel fresh. Featuring an octagon bezel setting and a square band crafted in polished 18k yellow gold, this solitaire ring is anything but plain.
KatKim Marquise Crescendo Ring
SHOP NOW: KatKim, $3,300
Make a statement with this seductive 18k yellow gold stunner featuring a marquise-cut diamond in a pointed, open design. This is definitely a choice for the fashion-forward bride.
Because smaller rings tend to be more delicate, they require gentler care. Zhang advises wearers to remove rings before exercise or strenuous activities and to refrain from sleeping in them to avoid snagging the prongs on beddings.
Minimal VS Asscher Cut Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Etsy, from $5,600
A solitaire ring need not be boring. A less common cut, like this Asscher cut diamond, in a bezel setting, updates a classic and gives it a more contemporary twist. This ring is set in 18k yellow gold.
Jennie Kwon Diamond Baguette Mini Equilibrium Ring
SHOP NOW: Jennie Kwon, $1,395
This small, vintage-inspired bauble is a showstopper. The central round diamond is bezel-set and framed by milgrain detailing. With baguette and round diamonds set in a 14k yellow gold band, this ring is a delicate and intricate piece of jewelry.
Bario Neal Nikko Mini Morganite Marquise Ring
SHOP NOW: Bario Neal, from $630
This east-west marquise ring features morganite from Brazil and is set in 14k yellow gold. Bario Neal prides itself on transparency so you can trace the brand's gemstones from mine to market. This is a great choice for the bride-to-be who wants to veer slightly away from a traditional diamond.
Blue Nile Mini Baguette-Cut Diamond Fashion Ring
SHOP NOW: Blue Nile, was $299, now $209.30
This slim ring, set in 14k yellow gold, features a bezel-set mini baguette-cut diamond. It's simple, modern, and definitely stackable.
Grace Lee Petite Marquise + Pear Half Eternity Ring
SHOP NOW: Grace Lee, $3,880
Sometimes small pieces make the most impact. Case in point: the row of offset marquise and pear diamonds in this Grace Lee option, set in 14k gold, is delicate, striking, and a little bit whimsical.
Jennie Kwon Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Equilibrium Ring
SHOP NOW: Jennie Kwon, $1,575
This dainty cluster ring in 14k yellow gold sparkles like a constellation. With three rose cut diamonds surrounded by eleven smaller stones on a slim, delicate band, this piece is a romantic choice for brides who exude subtle elegance.