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More Than An Accessory

You have probably heard that it is important to consider the 4 Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat weight –  when it comes to selecting a diamond engagement or wedding ring. A diamond’s cost is based on these elements of quality as these four characteristics are graded and categorized by the diamond industry. The higher the grade, the rarer the diamond and the more expensive it will be. However, equally important to these factors is how it makes you feel when you are wearing it. This is not something measurable and can only be determined by you. We understand that shopping for your engagement and wedding rings can sometimes seem overwhelming when considering the 4 Cs, the price, as well as your emotions.
 
Let us guide you through the basics so when it is 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 sets have real staying power. If you are not sure where to start, consider whether any of the current trends reflect your own personal style.

VINTAGE RINGS
One extremely popular and 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 A vintage ring will never become outdated simply because of its timeless character and, often times, the nostalgic sentiment it provides the person wearing it.

CLASSIC RINGS
Classic rings are still all the rage and for good reason – they stand the test of time. While white gold is increasing in popularity, yellow gold remains a highly-popular characteristic of a classic ring. A simple round-cut solitaire diamond conveys a very classic feel.

EMERALD-CUT STONES
Emerald-cut diamonds are more unusual than the ever-popular princess-cut diamond. Selecting an emerald-cut diamond for your engagement ring will set you apart from the crowd. Since these stones are also more affordable than other shapes, you can generally 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.

COLORED STONES
Selecting a colored stone for your engagement ring is another way to showcase your personal style. While colored stones have been a celebrity trend for years, it is growing in popularity among the general public. Considering a colored stone also broadens your options. While many brides opt for a colored diamond, it is now totally acceptable to choose an entirely different gem for your ring. Brides are choosing anything from rubies to sapphires to opals as either the primary stone or as accent stones. Anything is possible, and a unique gem will definitely draw attention to your unique sense of style.

MULTIPLE DIAMONDS
While solitaire settings are still enormously popular, many brides are choosing a large diamond framed by tiny diamonds. Such a design 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. The broader range of design options available with multiple diamonds adds to the appeal of choosing this style of ring.

MODERN STYLES
Think clean and simple, usually in platinum or white gold settings. Tension-set diamonds are characteristic of this look. Modern rings have a sleek appearance that border on plain, but work well for everyday wear. If you desire something cutting edge, a modern design might be the right style for you.

PLATINUM
Platinum is still the precious metal choice of many brides. Platinum is much stronger than gold, which makes it a better investment in the long run. It is pricier than gold, which is why some brides who are attracted to the silver color of platinum end up choosing white gold. White gold offers the look of platinum without the higher price tag. However, if durability is very important to you, it is probably worth the added expense of platinum.

Once you have settled on your dream engagement ring, you and your fiancé should go shopping 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 when making your selections.

Mix it up. It is not a problem if you and your fiancé have different tastes in wedding bands. A matching his-and-her set is not necessary—although you may save money by selecting a matching set. Each of you should be able to wear what you love, whether it matches one another or not. 

Incorporate your personality into your selection. Consider including a special engraving on the ring or adding another meaningful detail. Designers today can do just about anything you can think of to make your ring more personal. For instance, you can have the jeweler design a ring with stones from your great-grandmother’s ring. 

Think about what you will be doing day-to-day as you wear your ring across the years. Consider that certain stones or softer metals combined with an active lifestyle can diminish the beauty of your ring over time. If your fiancé is in construction, simple is probably better because the ring will endure significant wear and tear.

Stick to your budget. Decide on the maximum amount you can spend before you go shopping and don’t sway from that amount. It is easy to be tempted when you see the vast offerings, 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.

Think long term. When narrowing the choices, a key question to ask yourself is if you will love it as much in thirty years. If not, continue your search.

Take your time. Visit several jewelers and never feel pressured to buy anything until you are certain it is a good match.

Plan accordingly. To allow for sizing, engraving or any other modifications that will need to be made, purchase your rings two to three months before your wedding date. Don’t wait until the eleventh hour and risk not having a wedding band to slip on your finger for your big day!

Find inspiration online. Viewing ring options online can still be a special time with your fiancé by scheduling it as a date. Cook dinner, pour some wine and settle down in front of the computer for a romantic night of perusing.

The best advice when shopping for your rings is to always keep in mind that your engagement and wedding rings are an important symbol of the commitment between you and your husband. Long after your flowers have wilted and the music has faded, your rings will still be on your fingers as constant reminders of the vows you made to one another. Remembering their significance during the selection process will help you make the best possible decision. |NWD|