Past, Present, Future: Three Stone Engagement Rings

“I have loved you, I still love you, I will always love you.” The words are romantic enough to make anyone swoon. That’s the sentiment behind trilogy rings, sometimes called trinity rings or “past, present, future” (PPF) rings. A ring with three stones set horizontally in a row, they’re the perfect ring for just about any occasion, including anniversary and engagement rings.

3 Stone Diamond Ring
3 Stone Diamond Ring

Stone Selection

By virtue of the fact that there are three settings, trilogy rings lend themselves to customization. Some people choose to have diamonds in all three settings. The trend right now is to have a larger stone in the center with a smaller diamond to either side, but any size gemstone and any cut can be used. You can choose all diamonds for a uniform look, a colored gemstone in the center flanked by diamonds, or any variation you can imagine. With past, present, future rings, your creativity is the only limit when it comes to picking the perfect three stones.

Symbolism of Trinity Rings

Three stone rings are rich with symbolism, and the meaning is as unique as the ring itself. Some couples view their three stone rings as a reminder that they’ve been together in the past, and they’ll be together in the future, but being together in the present moment is the most important thing (hence the largest stone in the center of some designs).

Some couples choose to celebrate the birth of their first child with a trilogy ring – with one diamond each representing the mother and father, perhaps with the birthstone of the child in the center. Others who give three stone rings as an anniversary gift choose to give them on their third year of marriage – ensuring that the year will be one that isn’t forgotten.

Still others ascribe religious symbolism to the rings – which is why the pieces are sometimes called Trinity rings – with each of the three stones representing a facet of the couple’s divine entity.

The list of possible reasons people would choose a three stone ring is nearly endless. Because three stone rings are so customizable, each piece is as personal as the meaning behind it. The fact that the inside of the band can be engraved to explain the symbolism or hold a message close to the wearer further adds to the personalized nature of these pieces.

Setting Types for PPF Rings

A traditional graduated setting is the most popular type of PPF ring on the market. This type of ring has a center diamond that’s equal in carat weight to the outer two stones. So, for example, if you wanted a half carat diamond in the center of the ring, the outer two diamonds would each weigh a quarter carat.

Equally sized diamonds are fairly self explanatory – each diamond in the ring weighs approximately the same as the others. If you were to choose princess cut diamonds, for example, the ring would give the appearance of a rectangular bar of diamonds across your finger.

Still another option, the slightly graduated three stone ring, has a center diamond that’s much larger than the two outer stones.

With trilogy rings, you can vary the cut of the stones. An emerald cut diamond in the center with two trilliant cut diamonds on the side, for example. Again, the possibilities are almost endless.

3 stone engagement ring
3 stone engagement ring

Band Selection for Trilogy Rings

The diamonds and gemstones used in three stone rings aren’t the only thing that’s customizable – the band is, as well. Available in a broad array of designs from classic to modern, the style of the band itself is just as important in showcasing your stones as the placement and cut of the stones themselves.

The first consideration you should make is the type of metal: do you want gold, platinum, sterling silver or another metal entirely? Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Platinum is a naturally white metal and is considered stronger and more durable than both gold and sterling silver. Despite this, it also scratches easier than gold and silver – but when it scratches, it develops a bold patina that makes it look worn and loved. Some people love this, some don’t. As an added bonus, platinum is considered hypoallergenic, meaning even those who experience contact dermatitis allergic reactions to gold and silver can safely wear platinum rings.

Gold is, by far, the most customizable of the three metals available for past, present, future rings. You can select 10k, 14k, or 18k gold. The different karat (not carat!) value expresses how pure the ring is – the higher the number, the more gold (and not filler metals) the ring contains. Filler metals aren’t necessarily a bad thing – they give strength and durability to the ring. They’re also what allows you to choose different colors, including yellow, white and rose gold, or even two-tone or tri-tone rings – all of which are possible on a trilogy ring.

Sterling silver is a silver alloy metal – 92.5 percent silver by mass, mixed with another metal (usually copper). Again, the fact that it’s an alloyed metal isn’t bad – a pure silver ring would never hold up to the rigors of everyday life and your three stones could be gone with the wind before you ever got out the door in the morning. Sterling is valued for the patina it shows as it ages, and its metallic color that offsets the fire in most gemstones.

Other types of metals have their own unique properties and benefits when it comes to jewelry design. A jeweler that’s well-versed in custom designs can help you select just the right one to meet your needs.

Complementary Jewelry For Three Stone Rings

The past, present, future ring is just one of any number of jewelry pieces incorporating the three stone design. Those interested in matched sets can also purchase necklaces, bracelets and earrings with three stones set into the design.

Just like trinity rings, the cut, setting, style and type of gemstones available to place in matched sets are entirely customizable. For example, you could have the birthstone of each of your children placed in a separate piece of jewelry, offset by sparkling diamonds to catch the eye. Or treat yourself or the one you love to an elegant set of diamond earrings to match the past, present, future ring.

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