You have probably heard about the classic four C’s when it comes to picking out a diamond. Cut, color, clarity and carat weight are all essential pieces to consider when it comes to selecting a diamond engagement or wedding ring. A diamond’s cost is based on each of these elements’ quality as these characteristics are graded and categorized by the diamond industry as a whole. The higher the quality, the rarer the diamond and therefore more expensive. However, equally important to these factors is the feeling that takes over when you are wearing it. We understand that shopping for your engagement and wedding rings can sometimes seem overwhelming when considering the four C’s, price, as well as your emotions. Let us guide you through the basics so that when it’s time to make the final decision, it will be a comfortable one for you and your fiancé.
There are numerous trends and styles available in engagement and wedding rings, and some of the most popular have real staying power. If you are not sure where to start, consider whether any of the current styles reflect your own personal tastes.
One extremely popular and truly timeless trend is vintage-inspired rings. Vintage or antique-inspired rings usually feature intricate details, such as gemstone baguettes or floral accents. A vintage ring will never become outdated because of its timeless character and the nostalgic sentiment it provides whenever someone is wearing it.
Classic rings are still all the rage, and for good reason—they can withstand the test of time. While white gold is increasing in popularity, yellow gold still remains a highly-popular characteristic of a classic ring. A simple round or square-cut solitaire diamond with a simple metal band conveys a very classic feel.
Emerald-cut diamonds are a striking, more unusual cut. Selecting an emerald-cut diamond will set you apart from the crowd, as it is not as widely chosen for engagement and wedding rings. Since these stones are also more affordable, you can usually purchase a larger stone for the same price as a smaller stone in another cut. However, take note that flaws are more visible in an emerald-cut diamond, so it is important to pick a top-quality gem when selecting this cut.
Selecting a colored stone for your engagement ring is another way to showcase your personal style. Considering a colored stone certainly broadens your options. While many brides opt for a colored diamond, it is completely acceptable to choose another gem for your ring. Brides are choosing anything from rubies to sapphires to opals as either their primary stone or as accents. Anything is possible, and a unique gem will draw attention to your distinctive sense of style.
While solitaire settings are still enormously popular, many brides are choosing a large diamond framed by tiny ones. This style gives a nod to vintage styling while also creating the illusion of a larger stone. Brides also love the look of either three-stone or five-stone settings, which provide a traditional yet glamorous quality. There is also a broader range of design options available when using multiple diamonds.
Modern trends lean toward a look that is clean and simple, usually in platinum or white-gold settings. They also have a sleek appearance that borders on plain but works well for everyday wear. If you desire something cutting-edge, a modern design might be the right style for you.
An emerging trend in the jewelry industry that has appeal for younger generations is man-made, lab-grown diamonds. Rather than being formed by nature, these lab-grown diamonds alleviate concerns for those worried about the ethical and environmental consequences of the global market. As a bonus, these stones cost roughly 30 percent less than the traditionally mined diamonds. Not only will these stones provide peace of mind as to their origins, but they’ll give your pocketbook a break too.
Once you have settled on your dream engagement ring, you and your fiancé should shop together for wedding bands. While engagement rings are still an ideal way to show off your individual style, wedding bands are becoming more personalized as well. Here are some tips to keep in mind when making your selections.
Mix it up. Do you and your fiancé have different tastes and styles? No problem. A matching set is not necessary. However, you may be able to save some money if your jeweler offers a package discount on matching sets. These rings are a lifetime investment that you will wear every single day, so each of you needs to select a band that you absolutely love.
Another trend that is appearing in the jewelry industry is the use of mixed metals. Gold, silver, platinum, rose-gold: the options are endless. This technique allows brides and grooms the opportunity to incorporate unique materials into their accessories. Have fun mixing it up. Other materials that can be utilized include wood, certain minerals, and even meteorite.
Be sure to incorporate your personality with whichever design you may come up with. Perhaps a special engraving is the key to the ideal wedding band. Today, designers can do just about anything you can think of to make your ring more personal.
Think about what you will be doing day-to-day as you wear your ring over the years. Remember that certain stones or softer metals combined with an active lifestyle can diminish the beauty of your ring over time, or even cause damage.
Plan your budget before you even walk into a jewelry store. Decide on the maximum amount you can spend, and don’t sway from that amount. It is easy to be tempted when you see the vast selection of top-dollar rings, so it is important that you and your fiancé hold one another accountable on price. While a common rule-of-thumb is that the wedding rings should account for about 3% of your budget, it is up to you and your fiancé to decide what the right budget is for you.
Take your time. Visit several jewelers and never feel pressured to buy anything until you are certain it is the right investment.
Plan accordingly. To allow for sizing, engraving or any other modifications that will need to be made, it is essential to purchase your rings two to three months prior to your wedding date.
The best advice when shopping for your rings is to always keep in mind that they are an important symbol of the commitment between you and your partner. Long after your flowers have wilted, and the music has faded, your rings will still be on your fingers as reminders of the vows you made. Remembering their significance during the selection process will help you make the best possible decision.
Photos: Ashley Nicole Photography, Amanda Leise Photography