Engagement Ring Meaning & Symbolism

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by Suzanne Sachs  5 min read

vintage engagement ring


An engagement ring is more than a simple piece of jewelry, it is richly layered with meaning and sentiment representing not only a couple’s love, but also their personalities and style preferences, relationship history, and commitment to a future together. To perfectly capture all this symbolism, many couples choose an engagement ring with suitable stone, shape, and design meanings to showcase their unique romantic journey.

What You Need To Know--

Why the Engagement Ring Matters

An engagement ring is far more than just a piece of jewelry, and the center stone is the one part of the ring that truly stands out, catches the eye, and gives a first impression. Additional side stones, accents, and design details add more clarification and meaning to the ring, creating a complete design and an intricate, personalized story. The center stone type, shape, and arrangement all affect what story the ring will tell.

Vintage engagement ring

Engagement Stone Meaning

The type of center stone in an engagement ring is the most obvious focal point of the piece and conveys the most symbolism of the ring. The most popular and symbolic engagement stones include…

Diamond – Classically elegant, diamond is the most popular engagement stone and stands for eternal love, clarity, perfection, purity, and faithfulness.

Emerald – With rich green tones, emeralds signify rebirth, nature, fertility, and compassion.

Ruby – Richly red, rubies symbolize passion, courage, love, and confidence.

Sapphire – Often associated with royalty, sapphires mean loyalty, purity, trust, focus, and honesty.

Garnet – Red with different undertones, garnets signify travel, tranquility, devotion, and protection.

Pearl – Timelessly elegant, pearls are perfect to represent tears of joy, gentleness, and intimate nurturing.

Aquamarine – Aquamarines have light tones that signify tranquility, calm, and relaxation.

Citrine – The bold bursts of color in citrines symbolize optimism, prosperity, endurance, and new challenges.

Opal – With fiery glitter, opals represent love, passion, imagination, and spontaneity.

Tanzanite – A relatively new gem, tanzanite symbolizes wholeness of heart and mind, newness, and healing.

Regardless of the meaning you want to embody with an engagement ring, the center stone can set the tone for that symbolism. Birthstones are also popular options to represent the month a couple first met, began dating, or kissed, or could represent the date of the proposal or wedding. Different stones can also be connected to chakra energies or other spiritual meanings.


 emerald engagement ring

Diamond Shape Meanings

Beyond just the type of engagement stone, the shape of that stone can be beautifully meaningful. The most popular engagement stone shape meanings include…

Round – One of the most popular but relatively conservative shapes, round stones symbolize purity, eternity, wholeness, and unity with their timeless elegance.

Oval – Similar to round stones but pushing boundaries at the same time, ovals represent uniqueness, individuality, fertility, rebirth, harmony, and creativity.

Princess – The square shape of a princess cut stone represents not only the royalty it is named for, but also strength, stability, and security.

Emerald Cut – A longer stone shape, emerald cuts showcase traditional elegance while representing openness, clarity, and refinement with their deep steps and internal views.

Pear – A pear-shaped stone symbolizes the freshness of nature and indicates a trend-setting personality.

Marquise – The sharpness of the marquise shape signifies a strong will but with both elegance and opulence, as well as a hint of glamor.

Trilliant – The triangle-shaped trilliant shape symbolizes protection and the connection of the heavenly trinity.

Cushion – An older cut with a vintage feel, the cushion shape represents gentleness, femininity, and timelessness.

Heart – An obvious romantic shape to demonstrate love and passion, the heart also shows a connection to innocence and sentiment.

Many couples will incorporate more than one engagement stone shape into their overall ring design. While the center stone may be one shape, for example, side stones or accents can be different shapes for even more symbolic richness.

antique engagement ring

Engagement Ring Meanings

How stones are arranged in an engagement ring can add significant meaning to the ring’s design. Whether a couple prefers an engagement ring with just one stone or a design with multiple accents, the overall ring design can have wonderful meanings.

Solitaire – The single, bold stone signifies one heart, one love, and the simplicity and innocence of a true passion.

Three-Stone – A slightly larger center stone flanked with two prominent side stones represents a couple’s past, present, and future together.

Halo – A center stone surrounded by an even border of accents symbolizes protection, eternity, and heavenly associations.

Channels – Channel-set engagement rings symbolize protection and eternal love because of the solidity and stability of these firm settings.

Infinity – An engagement ring with a twisted shank that forms an infinity symbol represents a couple’s intertwined hearts and eternal commitment.

Celtic – Stones with Celtic knots and weaving show family heritage and ethnicity in elegant ways, and the knots themselves can also have individual meanings.

In addition to the specialized meanings of different engagement ring designs, antique and vintage engagement rings also bring with them all the wonderful symbolism of their respective eras, from the flash and glitter of the roaring 1920s to the elegance of the Edwardian era to the innocence of Victorian engagement rings to the bold proclamations of Art Deco engagement rings. No matter what a couple wants their ring to say, there is a design that can help them say it.

The Most Important Meaning

Above all, the most important meaning and symbolism of a couple’s engagement ring is that is shows the love they have for each other. No matter what stone type, shape, or overall design they choose, if the ring is thoughtfully chosen with their preferences and history in mind, it will perfectly symbolize their relationship.

Antique Rings For Everyone:

No matter which era is your favorite, these time-honored rings have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations.

Find The Perfect Engagement Ring:

Antique diamond rings are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and design. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of vintage engagement rings today.


Suzanne Sachs

Suzanne has always believed vintage rings can change lives. She's been in the jewelry industry for over 35 years, working with vintage jewelers, diamond dealers, diamond cutters, and gemologists. Suzanne started Artdecodiamonds in 2000 and understood the demand for vintage rings throughout the world. She ultimately started VintageDiamondRing.com in 2014, and understands each vintage ring is a reflection of you – your history, your relationships, your style, your elegance and is honored to have the opportunity to help you showcase your flair in a unique and exquisite way.


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