Cover Tom Hiddleston and Zawe Ashton at the Baftas in March 2022 (Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Halo rings have been seen on royal brides and Hollywood elites. What are they, and what’s so special about them?

Zawe Ashton caused a stir on the red carpet at the Baftas in March with a diamond on her ring finger.

The actress and director is now confirmed to be engaged to actor Tom Hiddleston. A media frenzy surrounding the couple’s wedding plans followed—but it was her beautiful halo engagement ring that caught the attention of style watchers.

Ashton’s engagement ring features a large oval diamond surrounded by a halo of pavé diamonds, and is set on a gold band.

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A halo ring refers to a setting where a collection of smaller pavé or micro-pavé diamonds surround a larger stone in the centre. The stone in the middle can be the same as its surrounding ones—or they can be different, both in gem and shape. It’s believed that this setting can sometimes make the centre stone appear larger than it is.

Before Ashton showed off her rock on the red carpet, halo engagement rings had already gained traction for some time.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton and wife of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has possibly one of the best-known halo rings in the world on her ring finger. Made by luxury jeweller Garrard, it features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds, with a 18K white gold band.

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The ring famously belonged to her mother-in-law, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. It stunned the world when Diana and Prince Charles announced their engagement in 1981, then again in 2010 when the Cambridges did the same.

Prince William’s cousin, Princess Eugenie, also has a halo engagement ring. It consists of an oval-shaped and coral-coloured padparadscha sapphire—estimated to be around three carats—surrounded by ten round and two pear-cut diamonds and set on a yellow gold band.

Halo rings can come in all shapes and sizes, allowing for greater personalisation. Variations include the double floating halo setting, in which the central stone is bordered by two circles of smaller stones. Its versatility means it is a popular choice not just among celebrities and royals—but also couples around the world.

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