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a close up of a man putting a solitaire engagement on a womans hand

If a deck of cards is the only thing that springs to mind when you hear the word “solitaire,” then you’ve got some catching up to do when it comes to the symbolism of the setting. We’re happy to oblige.

First of all, you’re probably more familiar with solitaire ring settings than you think. You might not think of an engagement ring when you hear the word “solitaire” but you probably imagine a solitaire setting when someone asks you to picture an engagement ring.

A diamond engagement ring is the most iconic solitaire engagement ring out there and an incredibly popular style. In fact, it’s far and away the most popular of all engagement ring styles due to its classic and flattering look. Also, being that “solitaire” simply denotes the number of stones on the ring, there are several solitaire ring designs available, like oval cut, emerald cut and round cut.

What makes it a solitaire?  That’s not hard to figure out either — it’s the single, solitary stone.  Unlike other engagement ring settings, a solitaire setting features a center stone that sits atop the band all by itself. Technically, any piece of jewelry with a single stone setting is a solitaire, including earrings and necklaces. But usually when the term comes up in conversation, people love unique solitaire engagement rings.  

How did solitaire rings claim their solitary throne atop the engagement ring visibility rankings? And what kind of symbolism has clung to this setting on its long journey to timeless icon status?

Read on.

Discover All the Different Types of Engagement Rings

a woman wearing a solitaire engagement ring

There are two reasons why a solitaire diamond would be your first choice to draw in Pictionary.  The first is that it is the most recognizable. That makes it easy to guess. The second is its simplicity. That makes it easy to draw.

At the most basic level, the game of Pictionary shares a bond with jewelry because it is about communication through symbols. And simplicity and recognizability are trump cards in communication

That kind of elegant efficiency is part of the solitaire ring's symbolism. And it is a welcome bit of minimalism in a world full of oversharing and noisy messaging. It says “already engaged” in the simplest, politest way possible. Now, the precise meaning of that arrangement might vary from couple to couple — solitaire diamond rings are also popular as pre-engagement rings and promise rings — but the gist is pretty clear.

Now you might think the form of the setting is a bit lonely looking to be the symbol of a relationship. But that’s where you’re wrong. The solitaire suggests the importance of that singularly significant other. “There’s only one person in the world for me, and it’s you,” the stone whispers softly. 

A solitaire doesn’t have side stones to amplify its sparkle like other types of rings, but the lack of ornamentation means that less of the stone itself is hidden. Even when a solitaire setting is raised, the prongs are usually exceedingly thin, so you can see exactly what it is. That’s why solitaire rings are symbols of vulnerability and sincerity.

a woman wearing a solitaire engagement ring and a diamond wedding band

And that’s why so much craft goes into a solitaire stone because so much of it is under scrutiny. And also why it is a showcase for such a marvelous variety of shapes. The solitaire style works equally well for unique pear-shaped engagement rings as it does for independent pieces of princess cut perfection like The Olivia.

Who Are Solitaire Rings for?

Anyone can wear a solitaire ring, of course. The classic look of a solitaire ring, like a simple black dress or a pair of aviator sunglasses, makes it easy for anyone to look good wearing it. You can even find solitaire rings with a rose gold or yellow gold metal band to fit your personal preferences. However, solitaire rings do tend to flatter certain hand types more than others: 

People with Smaller Hands

While solitaire rings flatter all hand sizes and shapes, they’re especially stylish if you have smaller hands. Smaller hand sizes benefit from simpler, more classic solitaire designs. It’s easier to stylistically overwhelm small hands than larger ones, so people with smaller hands tend to look best in more minimalist stylings.

Classic Tastes

If you love timeless looks, there are few things more timeless than a solitaire ring. While unique engagement rings can be trendy, your solitaire ring will look as good in 30 years as it does today. While not the flashiest choice, the simpler stylings give this ring-staying power that very few rings have. You can always add a wedding band if you want to add visual depth.

If You Want a More Adventurous Setting...

The classic six-prong setting on a solitaire stone is great and it’ll always look great. However, if you want to get a bit more adventurous with your wedding ring styling, a simple solitaire stone complements that well. The more minimalist stone will give way to a more creative setting and add balance, whereas a three stone ring wouldn’t allow for the same creativity in your setting.

Of course, even though it is timeless and popular, a single diamond isn’t always for everyone. But if you hear its whisper, it might be calling to you. You can trust that kind of call. Solitaires have a way of telling the truth. 

Browse Our Collection of Single Stone Engagement Rings