On the whole, it seems women are sticklers for tradition when it comes to the design of their rings. That age-old frontrunner of all diamonds — the round brilliant-cut solitaire — is still the most popular rock for engagement rings. However, when we get down to the fi ner details of ring design and ring-buying behaviour, jewellers have noticed some distinct trends occurring that could distinguish this decade’s ring wearers from past generations.
While there was a time when square princess-cut diamonds were the fashionable choice, brilliant diamonds are now well and truly leading the charge for the most popular engagement ring stone. There’s a reason women are in love with this type of stone: the lustre and sparkle of the round-cut style is the best out of any diamond in the market. The round rock is closely followed in popularity by princesscut and cushion-cut stones.
In these unstable economic times, couples are concerned about getting value for money from such a large purchase as a ring, and as a result are becoming better educated about diamond and ring quality. The four Cs are as easy as ABC for many men and women making ring purchases nowadays, and buyers are more likely to know exactly what they want. The more educated you are, the easier it is for the jeweller to fi nd you exactly what you want and to provide you with the right stone.
Platinum used to be the premium choice of metal for an engagement or wedding ring above 18-carat white gold due to its slightly more durable qualities. Today, with the soaring prices of gold, it’s a more level playing fi eld. At the time of writing, 18-carat white gold was more expensive than platinum. If you’re interested in buying a platinum ring, now is the time!
What Women Want
No longer does the responsibility of buying a diamond engagement ring rest with the man. More often, couples are designing the engagement ring together either after or before the proposal. “Women these days are very specific about what they want, so they’re happy to make the purchasing of a diamond a mutual choice,” says Antonio.
On the other hand, jewellery designer Bill Hicks has noticed more men coming in to buy the diamond ring, although he adds there’s no doubt they have been briefed by their girlfriends and have some idea of the style or cut. Bringing in photos of styles of jewellery is helpful in recognising a recurrent theme or stylistic choice, again making it easier for the designer.
Another recent trend has been a resurgence of the desire for colour. Customers are becoming more adventurous with colour and are choosing intense yellow diamonds, cognac diamonds, black onyx diamonds and orange and blue sapphires, as well as green African tourmalines.
Classic Wedding Bands
Not so long ago, the line between wedding bands and everyday dress rings was beginning to blur, especially for men who would experiment with engravings, bevelled edges or criss-cross patterns. While this is still sometimes the case, couples are gravitating back to more classic styles of fl at or half-round wedding bands. Increasingly, simplicity is the key with wedding bands. Rather than falling into the trap of what looks good now, consider how the style will age, as well as whether it will be something you’ll be comfortable wearing every day.
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