To some people it's the most important moment of their lives while others consider it a reason to lose 10 pounds.
Regardless of the category you belong to, weddings are fun. They are about families bonding, feasting on sumptuous buffets, dancing with cousins, sentimental toasts, tears of joy, and, of course, the wedding rings.
Wedding rings represent the seal of commitment in a marriage. They are cherished, respected and paraded before many an envious eye on some occasions - which is also why couples put in a lot of time and money selecting them. Picking the right ring - both an engagement and a wedding ring - for your loved one can be a challenge, especially if your partner has specific tastes, or wants something trendy. Your quest to find the perfect ring, to fit the occasion and your partner's personality, could get simpler with a little help from experts in the jewellery business. Here's what they have to say.
According to Asprey's Jewellery Category Manager, "Trends for engagement rings show customers looking for classic, minimal settings, mostly in platinum. The solitaire (single stone) is the most popular. Precious coloured stones such as ruby and sapphire, together with diamonds, are also in demand as engagement rings. However, most couples appear to favour the wearable neutrality of diamonds without other stones. Three-stone or 'Trilogy' rings are also often requested, our most popular being in the more contemporary, square 'princess' cut or rectangular 'emerald' cut."
"At Asprey we gently point out that a lady's hand is often not quite large enough to cope with a large stone, and indeed that as the ring will be worn everyday, it needs to be practical as well as beautiful. Furthermore, a simpler setting will stand the test of time and will never date. A beautiful stone does not need an Eiffel Tower of metal around it to convey its meaning or beauty," says the brand's jewellery category Manager.
Because Asprey settings are refined and subtle, wedding bands should complement the engagement rings so they do not clash or overpower the latter. Wedding bands would normally have the same setting metal - which is most often platinum among Asprey's clients. If the engagement ring is not going to be worn often, then a more substantial wedding ring is sometimes chosen, for example, with the addition of brilliants, to make a stronger impression.
Men - who are often unaccustomed to wearing jewellery - find the classic, rounded platinum or yellow gold wedding rings a good and comfortable choice. Platinum again is the most requested metal, which ties in with the trend for large sporty watches in steel, white gold or platinum. According to Asprey's spokesperson, there has also been a recent increase in enquiries for gentleman's bands with some form of subtle diamond accent. The Asprey square section band with single emerald cut diamond is a response to this trend.
Diamonds, even different coloured ones, are the most popular as they have for years both in engagement and wedding jewellery. The most common settings for these precious stones, among others, include the prong, bexel, channel, pave and invisible setting.
"Diamonds," says Pegah Goldooz, GM, Tiffany & Co. Division (Damas Jewellery), "have been, and are, the most requested stones for the occasion. When it comes to metal, white gold or platinum is favoured widely." These trends are apparent in the popularity of Tiffany's styles such as Lucida, Etoile, Atlas, Legacy and Victoria, which have been a favourite with young couples. The16- stone Jean Schlumberger ring and the Celebration rings are also popular.
According to Tamjid Abdullah, Deputy Managing Director, Damas, round-shaped diamonds are the most popular stones in rings with other favoured shapes such as square, rectangular and oval diamonds. "Unless there is a specific setting that you've fallen in love with, it is probably best to start narrowing down your choices by thinking about the shape of the diamond you prefer.
There are seven principal diamond shapes: round, marquise, emerald, princess, pear, oval and heart.
Designs set in both white and yellow gold have always been popular to the extent that they can easily be termed classics."
Abduallah says that Dibla and Solitaire have been Damas's fastest-selling engagement and wedding ring designs primarily due to their classic and contemporary styles and wide design range. The Dibla collection comprises of three distinct designs - Classic, Premium and Floral.
A lot of couples also look at designing their own rings. You can get his and her wedding bands that complement each other. They can even be engraved with a message to add more meaning to them. Some women may want to reset stones in a ring handed down through generations. Women who want their rings to have an antique look can have a design reproduced by their jeweller. Art Deco and Edwardian designs are popular as is filigree work for such rings.
Goldooz advises that if you are looking to buy a diamond ring, a basic knowledge of diamonds and their characteristics, including their cut, colour, clarity and carat, will help you determine the right choice for an engagement or a wedding band.
She explains why these elements are important. "A diamond 'cut' refers to the facet proportions on the surface of a stone, more than any other factor the precision of these facets determines the beauty of the stone. The colour of the diamond is also very important as well, engagement rings should either be colourless or nearly colourless, this factor establishes the value of the diamond."
"A diamond's clarity rating," says Goldooz, "has a direct effect on its price and beauty. All diamonds have imperfections, but some of them cannot be observed even under '10 power' magnification. Such stones are called internally flawless (IF). All gem-grade diamonds could receive a rating based on a standard scale (for example, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1). The weight of diamonds is measured in carats, but carats alone will not determine the value. Two stones with an equal carat can vary widely in price due to difference in quality. There are also other important factors every prospective buyer should consider. These include elements such as extra facets, off-center culet, laser drill holes, surface inclusions and scratches."
However, if you are buying a diamond ring, buy a certified diamond. The International Gemological Institute (IGI) certifies diamonds in the UAE. All rings should also be stamped with a Hallmark (for example: 18K or 22K) indicating the purity of the metal used. Insuring your rings is also important.
Ring around the world
The Claddagh ring has traditional relevance in Irish culture. It can be worn as a friendship and a wedding ring. Its design has two hands clasping a heart adorned with a crown. Claddagh rings are often passed down from mother to daughter.
Engaged or a married women or men wear the ring with the tips of the crown facing towards their fingertips. This indicates that the heart of the person wearing the ring has been claimed. Single men or women wear the ring with the tips of the crown facing towards their wrist, which indicates that they are looking for companionship.
The Luckenbooth (two intertwined hearts with a crown) is a Scottish symbol of love, dating back to the 17th century and often given as a token of betrothal, affection and friendship. It is usually of engraved silver in the shape of a heart or two hearts with a crown set on them.
In some areas in Northern Mexico, a ring 'of promise' is given before the ring of commitment. This is a common practice where it involves a long engagement.
While ring finger on the left hand in countries such as the UK, the US and France, it is worn on the right ring finger in places such as Spain Bulgaria, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland or Russia. Greek people, many being Orthodox Christians, also wear the wedding rings on the right hand in keeping with Greek tradition.
In France, wedding ring sets often include three interwoven rings representing faith, hope and love. Men in some European cultures also receive puzzle rings that contain several interlocking bands that must be set in the correct pattern to form one ring. These wedding ring sets were given as a test of fidelity and commitment, because mastering the puzzle takes time and it takes longer to remove the ring from the ring finger.
Women also wear eternity rings to symbolise the endurance of their marriage. It is often presented to a woman after the birth of the first child. A diamond trilogy ring is also worn to represent the past, present and future of a relationship. The ring has three brilliant-cut round diamonds each, in turn, representing the past, present and future of a relationship.
Check-list for buying a ring
The size of the ring – An important factor to be considered because nothing is more embarrassing than an engagement or wedding ring that doesn't fit.
Lifestyle: You have to consider the lifestyle of the person. If the lady is working in a profession where bold designs look out of place, you should consider buying a more subtle design.
Shape and size of the finger: An area of critical importance. Bold, large designs look good on slender, long fingers. If the finger is short, its better to go for smaller designs.
Metal and stone preferences: Likes and dislikes for cuts, stones, colours and metal - white or yellow gold or platinum - should be kept in mind when selecting the ring.
Trends: Stay tuned to the latest trends in rings. Also do research on the best jewellery brands and visit jewellery stores before you make a purchase.
Budget: Look for rings that suit your budget.
Courtesy: Tamjid Abdullah, Deputy Managing Director, Damas