Photo By: COURTESY of Smythe & Cross
The tradition of rings and marriage dates as far back as the early Egyptians, when the circular shape of the ring symbolized an unending cycle. Today, the engagement ring has come to symbolize love, tradition, a promise and family, among many other things. Each ring also reflects the individual style and taste of the person whose hand it adorns.
With hundreds of designs and options available, following are the latest trends in the world of engagement rings.
The new color palette
For the past 15-20 years, the most popular metal color for engagement rings and wedding bands has been white, represented by either white gold or platinum.
More recently, however, shoppers have returned to the classic yellow gold or a mix of both yellow and white. And with the popularity of rose gold on the rise, others have opted for this warmer, reddish-colored metal.
As metal-color preferences have changed, so too have center-stone selections. Traditionally, white diamonds have been the focal point of most engagement rings.
Lately, however, couples are opting for a splash of color with sapphires, rubies or other colorful stones. Even celebrities are going for color in their ring choices. Actress Penelope Cruz wears a blue sapphire engagement ring; and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg proposed to his wife, Priscilla, with a classic three-stone ring featuring a 3.00-carat ruby, set in yellow gold.
And don’t forget colored diamonds, which have become more popular and more readily available over the years. Many designers have introduced colored diamond rings to meet the increased demand for these rare gems. Darker colors like brown or black may be on the lower end of the pricing scale, while yellows, pinks or blues can fetch a hefty price.
Through the generations
Another trend that has gained momentum is using antique and estate (previously owned) jewelry. Many couples have opted for a ring once worn by a family member as a symbol of love that has lasted through generations.
What better example than Prince William proposing to Catherine Middleton with a beautiful sapphire and diamond engagement ring, once worn by his mother, Princess Diana?
Some couples simply appreciate older designs and search for jewelry stores with estate jewelry collections. Others have used a single stone from an older ring, melding appreciation for the traditions of the past with a newer setting to reflect their own tastes.
Round and round
Diamonds, the most popular stone for engagement rings, come in a variety of shapes (not to be confused with the “cut” of the stone, which refers to the diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish). The most desirable shape is the Round Brilliant Cut diamond. With 57-58 individual facets, this shape of diamond tends to retain its value better than other fancy-shaped diamonds.
The Princess Cut is the second most popular shape. It faces up in the shape of a square or rectangular with the profile of an inverted pyramid. Keep in mind, however, that a Princess Cut diamond has four corners with sharp points that can easily chip. Therefore, many jewelers will often recommend Radiant or Cushion-shaped diamonds (also square or rectangular in shape) as options.
Shopping for an engagement ring is a subjective process. To learn more, visit your local jewelry store and take time to research the options. Find a sales professional you feel comfortable with, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Khatchig Jingirian is owner of Smythe & Cross Fine Jewelry, 350 Main St., Los Altos. For more information, call 383-5426 or visit www.smytheandcross.com.