Atop a slender band are three gemstones side-by-side. Secured in claw settings, they’re arranged in a ‘graduated’ formation wherein the centrepiece is roughly double the carat weight of those flanking it and elevated a little higher than them, too. This quintessential formula is timeless and iconic – but it’s not the bottom line. Today, we’re exploring the deeply romantic symbolism of the trilogy engagement ring and the various ways in which it can be reinvented to suit your tastes.
In its Modern English form, the word ‘trilogy’ derives from the Greek tri-(‘three times’) and –logia(‘story’).
The most widely regarded symbolism of the trilogy ring is the concept of eternity, with its three stones representing the past, the present and the future. This celebration of shared memories and promise of lifelong commitment is what makes the trilogy design so apt for an engagement ring marking the beginning of forever.
The trilogy ring’s three stones are also thought to reference the vow to ‘love, honour and cherish’ made during Western wedding ceremonies, and sometimes – though less commonly - the grounding concepts of ‘friendship’, ‘love’ and ‘devotion’.
The Victorian era saw the introduction of proper etiquette among society’s upper echelons, with a number of new rules prohibiting outright flirtations between individuals. It’s no surprise, then, that the trilogy ring was one of a variety of symbolic jewels to emerge from this era, conveying tender emotions that couldn’t be addressed out loud.
It has since remained a consistent go-to for the romantics among us, donned recently by stars like Miranda Kerr and Nicole Kidman. When Harry popped the question to Meghan in 2017 with an engagement ring crowned with a trio of large diamonds, we saw this time-honoured style rise once again through the ranks, with many jewellers reporting spikes in sales and searches of the trilogy ring nature.
But if the trilogy ring’s fundamental purpose is to tell three stories – those of the past, present and future – who’s to say there’s only one means of doing so?
Perhaps our favourite reinvention of the trilogy blueprint is the deconstructing of the ring itself, challenging the notion that a trilogy may only present itself as a trio of gemstones.
Gone are the days when convention deemed that an engagement ring may only be purchased by a suitor in private, costing the equivalent to three months’ salary, then followed in a timely fashion by a pair of plain and understated matching wedding bands for ‘her’ and ‘him’. Today, we’re seeing an increasing number of couples embrace the notions of engagement rings, wedding bands and commitment rings combined into one all-encompassing jewel, or a meaningful stack of rings that don’t strictly conform to any of those traditional ‘engagement,’ ‘wedding’ or ‘commitment’ pigeonholes but exist simply as a celebration of love.
Our Freedom Collection, for example, consists of combinable components. Our clients are invited to mix and match these rings - which vary in colour, texture, shape and width – then have them soldered together in unique, self-curated stacks. With each section of the stack representing a particular aspect of life or moment in time, a three-part Freedom ring is a contemporary take on the trilogy ring that allows plenty of room for expression and personal significance.
Likewise, when our client was enamoured by the concept of the trilogy but not the design elements of a typical trilogy engagement ring, we designed and crafted her three complimentary stacking rings. Though each autonomous jewel bears its own symbolism and can be worn independently whenever desired, the harmonious interlocking system makes for an effortless union of the three jewels; a trilogy of tokens.
For a fresh take on the more conventional version of the trilogy engagement ring, you might wish to enhance your side stones with some additional detail.
For example, Alex’s bespoke engagement ring, modelled on the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter, sees a 0.96ct recycled pear-cut diamond flanked by hand-engraved wings, each set with an understated 0.025ct cognac diamond for additional, albeit subtle, sparkle.
Meanwhile, Oli’s bespoke engagement ring is a detailed homage to Mother Nature, a refurbished vintage diamond bound by two hand-engraved roses and leaves. In the centre of each rose, a 0.075ct Montana sapphires, their forest green hue befitting of the nature-inspired concept.
An engagement ring is arguably one of the most emotionally charged pieces of jewellery a person will ever wear. Understandably, most of our clients are keen to instil theirs, in some way, with a touch of ‘self’. A nuance that we love here at Lebrusan Studio is the incorporation of a birthstone. Choosing a gemstone that celebrates your partner’s birth month is a sweet gesture of careful consideration and a subtle way to imbue their special jewel with a sense of uniqueness.
Though the gemstones in a traditional trilogy engagement ring are usually diamonds - or a central diamond flanked by two cardinal gemstones like rubies or sapphires – the trilogy design may lend itself nicely to other gemstones that aren’t usually considered resilient enough to take centre-stage. Softer birthstones like aquamarine, tourmaline and garnet are more vulnerable to scratches and chips than diamonds, sapphires and rubies, but the smaller and more deep-set a gemstone, the lower the risk of damage. Adding a small birthstone to each shoulder of your partner’s engagement ring is a personalised take on a design classic, enabling your partner to enjoy the romantic timelessness of a sparkling central diamond whilst also embracing additional colour and symbolism that’s true to them.