Any jewelry lover knows the allure of cluster rings. They are beautiful works of art that have been around for centuries. Today, the cluster ring is famous as an engagement ring, but that wasn't always so. The ring first made its appearance during the Georgian era and was heavier in design than newer, trendier styles. Over the centuries, the metals and settings have changed to be heavier or more delicate than at other times, as well as being more and sometimes less ornate in design.
Below, our passionate jewelry artisans and experts from LaCkore Couture will explore the essentials that every ring-lover should know about cluster rings, their history, their symbolism, and much more.
Read on for essential information, and also consider reading through our wide selection of other great jewelry resources.
WHAT IS A CLUSTER RING?
A cluster ring has a primary, round diamond (or other gems) in the center and then is surrounded by smaller gems. This style has variations, but the main idea is that the surrounding diamonds give the center one a much larger appearance. So, any ring designed in this halo style with the smaller diamonds closely following the outline of the larger one can be considered a cluster ring.
The primary goal of the cluster ring designs is to leverage small, surrounding gemstones to make it appear that they are part of the center stone. These rings offer the impression of a single, large gem that can provide a heightened sense of class and luxury compared to many other types of less eye-catching rings.
This style is mainly reserved for engagement rings, but they can also be cocktail rings.
Cluster Ring Symbolism and Meaning
Here is some of the symbolism and meaning around the styles of cluster rings.
Different eras had their own ways of crafting the cluster ring. So, when you're choosing an engagement ring, consider the era your ring was created. For instance, the Victorian era favored rose and yellow gold, but the Art Deco period used platinum.
Most cluster rings have the appearance of a flower. This center stone surrounded by smaller stones also symbolizes heaven and perfection.
For some, having a ring that's similar to that of a Hollywood celebrity enhances the value and charm of a cluster ring. A cluster ring can mean Hollywood glamor to some soon-to-be brides.
The cluster ring is an elegant symbol of lifelong commitment when you find that special someone. The ring represents centuries of love and romance.
Are you looking for a source of gorgeous, handcrafted jewelry for every occasion? Explore the wide range of stunning pieces proudly designed and made by LaCkore Couture today.
4 Main Eras of Cluster Rings
Following are the characteristics of the main eras of the cluster ring.
Georgian (1714 - 1837)
Cluster rings from this era had rose-like designs. The centerpiece was round, and the metal was blackened to contrast the gems. The rings of this period looked heavy because there were few gemstones but plenty of metalwork. So, these were the most basic of all cluster rings.
Victorian (1837 - 1901)
This is the era that hosted the Industrial Revolution, along with many new, life-changing inventions. The jewelry industry was not left behind. The metalwork for the cluster ring became delicate, with lighter prongs, and the gems were set closer together than in the previous era. The gentle elegance of the Victorian style of cluster ring became the new standard for those that followed.
Edwardian (1901 - 1910)
During the Edwardian period, cluster rings became even more exquisite and graceful. Queen Alexandra loved flowers which caused a rise in jewelry made with floral motifs, like the Edwardian daisy ring. The daisy ring consists of equally-sized gems, with one in the center and the rest surrounding it. It is still a classic design.
During this time, jewelers began to experiment with platinum as a metal for jewelry. Platinum is strong and durable and lends itself nicely to more intricate designs.
Art Deco (1913 - 1930)
Instead of traditional floral shapes, jewelers experimented with unique geometric shapes during the Art Deco period. This was a time of evolution that extended to jewelry design. The cluster ring became bold and abstract with asymmetric patterns, angular gemstones, half-halos, and closer settings.
Diamonds and Other Gems Used in Cluster Rings
Diamonds, of course, are the traditional stones used in cluster rings, but other precious or bright stones like emeralds or rubies have also had their times of being most popular. Diamonds set around any of these bright stones have a stunning effect. This is clearly seen in Princess Diana's (now Kate Middleton's) engagement ring consisting of a mega blue sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds. As elegant as this and ring's like it appear, the all-diamond cluster ring is still also a thing of beauty.
CLUSTER RING SETTINGS
It's interesting to note that while cluster rings look larger and sometimes more expensive than single or solitaire rings, they may actually be less expensive. Not only are solitaire rings more work to create, but the stone must usually be more significant to make an impression. On the other hand, cluster rings are made of smaller diamonds and are generally easier to create. This shouldn't minimize the uniqueness or high quality of a cluster ring.
Following are some pros and cons of the cluster ring setting:
- They make a great impression! Cluster settings look larger and are attention-getting because they sparkle and shimmer constantly.
- They have a timeless elegance.
- They're adaptable. You can swap out stones and change sizes and arrangements.
- They have a unique appearance and a vintage flair full of dimension and texture that most other types of rings lack.
- They’re often less expensive than other kinds of rings that feature larger gemstones.
- Cluster rings can be easily custom-designed to be highly sentimental. For example, they can be made to include different diamonds or other gemstones to represent various family members.
- Cluster settings are bulky by nature, and it may be hard to find a wedding band that will sit well with it.
- They can be challenging to resize when necessary, and diamonds may break or chip during the process.
- The cluster ring has a multitude of crevices for dust and dirt to hide. These rings are notoriously difficult to keep clean and polished. They have to be cleaned often and examined regularly for bits of debris hiding in the setting.
- Because they are so small, clustered diamonds and other gemstones can easily loosen and fall out of their settings if the ring isn’t adequately maintained.
- Cluster rings aren’t as popular as other types of rings, so you’ll need to be sure your future partner likes the style before using one during a proposal.
TIPS FOR BUYING CLUSTER RINGS
Alongside the pros and cons above, there is also a relatively wide range of other factors people should keep in mind if they purchase a cluster ring, especially if they intend to use it as an engagement ring. If you want to purchase one of these gorgeous accessories for your future spouse, please keep the following two tips in mind to ensure you’re getting the best possible product for the best price.
1. CHECK CARAT WEIGHT CALCULATIONS
Before buying a cluster ring, check how the jeweler calculates the carat weight of the ring. While many reputable and transparent jewelry sellers will be honest about the carat weight of their rings, other unscrupulous sellers will often include the cluster diamond weight into the total carat weight to charge more for the piece.
2. EXAMINE THE RING THOROUGHLY BEFORE PURCHASE
Sometimes cluster rings are not well-made, and the smaller stones aren’t set in their mountings correctly. If you buy a ring like this, there’s a good chance that many of the smaller gems will fall out and become lost after a few bumps or sudden movements. The last thing you want to do is propose to your special someone with a ring missing several of its gemstones!
Before buying the ring, hold it up to your ear and gently shake it to check for any rattling sounds. If you hear rattling, one or more of the stones aren’t adequately fixed into the ring’s setting. At this point, you’ll either want to look at a different ring or ask the jeweler if they can secure the gemstones more effectively into their setting.
That said, if a jeweler is willing to let a potentially defective piece hit the shop floor for purchase, it may also be a good sign that it’s time to try a different jeweler to locate your perfect engagement ring.
Final Thoughts on Cluster Rings
Cluster rings say elegance and beauty whether they're large, small, all diamonds, or a combination of other gemstones. These rings have gone through a lovely evolution since their first appearance in the early 1800s. Today, you can find an antique cluster ring for your collection or choose a more modern style, but they are all exquisite. Whether your ring is a symbol of pending marriage or a gorgeous cocktail ring for entertaining, a cluster ring will look fabulous on any hand.
Do you love artisan-crafted jewelry based on exotic designs to express your inner style and true essence? Check out the wide selection of quality necklaces and other gorgeous jewelry at LaCkore Couture today.