Engagement Rings

What’s hot for summer engagement rings

Antique Styles
For people who are not fortunate enough to have heirloom engagement rings in their family, pieces that are handmade using styles from generations past also provide historic  reverence.  A vintage ring is sometimes made with filigree designs, highlighting a period’s characteristics (Edwardian, for example), and have attention to detail that one would find more often when these styles were contemporary.

 

Bezel Settings
A lipped metallic ring keeps a diamond safely in place on bezel rings and make sense for women that are on the go.  An added bonus is that the setting makes  the stone look larger, while also holding it firmly in place.

Engagement & Wedding ring combination
Often these rings have many small diamonds which sparkle brightly around a platinum or gold band.  With the emphasis on more stones, they are higher on glitter and lower on cost than the traditional separate engagement ring with a large stone.

Personalized Engravings
This can be as simple as the date of a wedding or as detailed as a phrase from a song or poem.  If you intend to have a ring engraved by hand, do so weeks in advance.

Colored Diamonds
We’ve mentioned before on The Top Shelf that color is very in with all types of jewelry this year.  Expect to pay a significant premium on colored diamonds due to their scarcity.  These are favorites with celebrities.

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Basic engagement ring etiquette for men

Do not give a “secondhand” engagement ring to someone! If it was a family heirloom that’s different of course. If you’ve given that heirloom to numerous wives from numerous prior marriages, and your soon to be fiancé will probably guess that, think twice. Engagement rings have far more meaning to most women than wedding rings. Remember that, as girls, diamond rings stand along-side princes in storybooks and represent all that is love.

No one wants to think about the history a ring had on the finger of a former fiancé or wife.

Educate yourself about ring styles and fashion on at least a simple level. “American consumers favor the largest rocks possible, as demonstrated by Hollywood starlets,” Ruth Donaldson, the UK manager of Platinum Guild International says. “British consumers are still living up to their more austere reputation. Ladies like a better class of diamond and lean towards the best metals being used to secure their jewels. It is strongly felt by brides that their fiancés are getting it wrong if they are just selecting the biggest rock.”

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Brief History of the Diamond Engagement Ring

In 1993, a National Jeweler’s study discovered that over forty percent of consumers planned to buy a diamond that was at least one carat.  A year later, a large study sponsored by Conde Naste showed the average cost of a wedding ring was $3,576, amounting to sixteen percent of what an average couple spent on their wedding.  More recently, DeBeers’ found that four of five brides are given diamond engagement rings.

The diamond engagement ring finds its origins with the marriage of Maximilian I to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. In modern time, It was unusual to find diamond rings prior to 1870.  From that point on, and initially because of large discoveries in South African mines, diamond jewels became increasingly popular until the Great Depression caused a huge drop in the numbers of marriages.  DeBeers was the driving force in making diamonds hugely popular, and their success landed just after the end of World War II.  Their moto, “A Diamond Is Forever” is still a mantra for why diamonds are such an important part of a marriage as we move beyond 2008.

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