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 solitaire is the most iconic engagement ring out there.
What makes it a solitaire? That’s not hard to figure out either — it’s the single, solitary stone. Unlike a halo setting, which puts a constellation of smaller gemstones in orbit around a larger centerstone, or a pavé setting that lines the band of the ring with a series of little sparklers, a solitaire stone perches atop the band all by itself. Technically, any 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 setting on its long journey to timeless icon status?
There are two reasons why a solitaire setting 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 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 the other side stones to amplify its sparkle, 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.
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. Solitaire style works equally well for unique pear-shaped engagement rings as it does for independent pieces of princess cut perfection like The Olivia.
Of course, even though it is timeless and popular, the solitaire isn’t 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.