What is a Cluster Ring?

January 17, 2017 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

Are you interested in a cluster ring? Find out what makes diamond cluster rings so unique and why they’ve been so treasured over the past few hundred years.

Origins of the Cluster Ring

Victorian Style Cluster Engagement Ring

Cluster rings have been about for as long as craftsmen have been setting precious stones in metal or other materials. Their use as the official engagement ring is a more recent phenomenon.

Many attribute the rise in popularity of cluster rings to the fact that William gave Kate his mother’s cluster ring for their engagement. They believe that the royal family was the ones who kick-started the engagement cluster trend. This is not entirely true.

Engagement rings have been in common use for centuries. The earliest origins go back to pre-roman times when men would put a ring on a woman’s finger to indicate “ownership”.

As the jewelry skills developed enough to create gemstones rings, the more gems that were shown, the more prestigious the ring. A single stone ring would have been uncommon.

It was really only when the Tiffany Setting style of diamond rings was launched with huge success that we saw solitaire rings become the accepted norm as a signal of intent to marry, and the cluster style became a more niche choice among discerning buyers.

What Is A Cluster Ring?

Floral Halo Cluster Ring

A cluster ring is a ring that features a primary diamond in the center and is surrounded by a circular halo of smaller diamonds. The cluster surrounding the center diamond gives an allusion that all the diamonds are really one very large diamond.

Technically, any ring with a halo of diamonds can be classed as a cluster but, traditionally, the outer edges need to follow the exact shape of the smaller diamonds in the halo in order to truly be a cluster ring.

Although in recent times the cluster ring is meant to describe only engagement rings, it can technically refer to cocktail rings as well.

Cluster Diamond Rings and Other Gems

Cluster Diamond Engagement Ring

In ages past, each culture would use stones relevant to their beliefs to decorate the rings, with emphasis placed on precious and bright stones such as rubies or emeralds, and diamonds took more of a back seat, being seen as a sparkling addition rather than being the star of the piece.

Indeed, it was only in the late 1930s when De Beers launched its famous advertising campaign, that the engagement ring as we know it today took shape.

It’s fair to say that most colored stones look amazing with diamonds as part of a cluster arrangement, which may be why Princess Diana’s ring on Kate’s finger was an instant hit. Put a beautiful ring on a beautiful woman and there’s no end to the impact it can have.

For most of the cluster ring renaissance, though, the clusters themselves have predominantly been entirely diamond-based. This is not just because of the obvious beauty a diamond cluster has, but also for more pragmatic reasons.

In regards to comparing diamond cluster rings vs solitaire rings, it will come down to your personal style and taste.

Tips for Engagement Ring Cluster Rings

As mentioned earlier, diamond engagement ring cluster rings are very popular. There are many tips and tricks that we can give you based on our 40+ years of selling engagement rings.

  • Firstly, follow all the regular tips that we have for buying an engagement ring.
  • Check carefully to see how the carat weight is calculated before purchasing. Many times, jewelry sellers will include the cluster diamond weight into the total carat weight. We have a policy of transparency, but many companies will try and trick you that way.
  • Examine the cluster very carefully before leaving the store. Many times, the smaller stones aren’t properly connected to the mounting. Shake the ring near your ear and listen out for a shaking sound. If you hear a rattling, one (or more) of the stones isn’t tightly fixed inside the setting.
  • Decide if you want the edges of the halo to have milgrain on them. If you decide that you want the milgrain later on, it will probably cost you extra.

Shop Diamond Cluster Rings

Diamond Cluster Ring
An example of a vintage diamond cluster ring. Available for purchase here.

In solitaire rings, it will take a very special stone to bring gasps of admiration for anybody who sees it. With cluster rings, the headliner needn’t necessarily be as big or as expensive. The added stones play the role of supporting artists and do wonders for the general beauty of the ring.

This doesn’t mean that vintage diamond cluster rings are inferior in any way, of course. Most clusters will have a total carat weight well in excess of most solitaire rings. The cost is tempered, however, in comparison to what is charged for a single diamond.

To understand more about carat weight works, click here.

  • Wentworth ring old European cut diamond ring 14709-TV-1000PX
    Wentworth Ring. Circa 1900 (Antique, Edwardian Era)
  • Cushion and Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring - Leiria Ring 14508 TV
    Leiria Ring. Circa 1900 (Antique, Edwardian Era)
  • Old European Cut Diamond And Floral Motif Diamond Halo Engagement Ring 14248-TV-1000PX
    Pomona Ring
  • Floral Motif Diamond and Ruby Ring - Floral Ruby Ring 13438 TV
    Ruby Floral Ring
  • 1.36ct Old European Cut Diamond Cluster Ring - Fairfield Ring 14098 TV
    Fairfield Ring
  • Antique Edwardian Diamond Halo Engagement Ring - Lagos Ring 14089 TV
    Lagos Ring. Circa 1910
  • Cushion Cut Cluster Ring Manchester Ring Top View
    Manchester Ring
  • Antique Edwardian Ruby Diamond and Gold Ring - Lorraine Ring
    Lorraine Ring. Circa 1905 (Antique, Edwardian Era)
  • Sapphire and Diamond Cluster Ring Wharton Ring
    Wharton Ring
  • Sapphire and diamond cluster ring Edgewater Ring
    Edgewater Ring
  • Platinum And Diamond Cluster Ring Eura Ring Top View
    Eura Ring
  • Platinum and Old European cut diamond Ring Madrid Ring Top View
    Madrid Ring

Final Thoughts

Cluster halo

Jewelry, like many aspects of the fashion world, goes in cycles, and we’re seeing this with cluster rings today and the fact that neither diamond nor multi-stone rings really dominate.

The benefit for us all is that we’re not restricted to any one particular style or influence in any defined period. We get the best of all worlds. Designers can dare to be different knowing that they have a global marketplace with global advertising at their disposal.

Cluster rings are truly beautiful things. Add a dash of color with a ruby or sapphire and it can go to yet a whole new level. Find an Art Deco Cluster Ring, and you may be looking at a ring that will appreciate in value.

Cluster rings are truly for the ages.