Ringing True
Personalization tops the list of desires as brides search for the perfect ring
Throw away the cookie cutter. Today’s brides shun the ordinary, looking to a variety of places for inspiration. Though there will always be a place for the traditional, the latest tradition is to blaze your own wedding trail and make the day, and the rings that go with it, one that’s truly a reflection of you.

Signature Looks
When it comes to bridal ring design it seems there is no one-size-fits-all. As couples get more creative, so do the stones and settings they choose to honor their commitment. While most designers agree the quality, size and shape of a stone still tops the list of priorities for couples in search of the perfect ring, most also have noted the design and style of the setting now plays a very close second. In fact, some say the setting is giving the stone a run for its money.

“Brides-to-be are looking for something different,” says Designer Rhonda Faber Green. “Something that helps them stand out from their friends.”

That has translated to an increased popularity in personalized ring designs. More and more brides are choosing their own ring/stone combinations to set their style apart from other brides. Engraving a special note inside both the bride’s and groom’s rings is another great way to reinforce the sentimental value.

Designer Evelyn Huang, of evelynH. Jewelry, stresses with her clients the importance of a balance between size and quality. Huang says, once it’s understood that design is just as important, sometimes even more important, than the center stone, “almost anything can be created to their individuality. It opens the door to many options they never thought of before. The process becomes very exciting and fun for them,” she says.

Designer Erica Courtney stresses what a bride really wants, and should always get, is a “conversation piece.” Courtney also pointed to personalized touches, “like our paved initials and colored stones,” as trending well.

The Colors of Romance
The wedding of a certain Prince to a certain not-so-commoner created quite a stir in bridal trends and fostered interest among brides-to-be in alternative and colored gemstones as well as color diamonds. Stones beyond the time-honored white diamond are a great source of personalization and allow brides to collaborate on ring designs that say as much about themselves as they do the institution of marriage itself.

One stone whose popularity is on the rise is Zultanite, a color-changing stone that provides an intriguing edge to a ring design. Zultanite is mined only in one place, high in Turkey’s Anatolian mountain range. The stone’s ability to change from kiwi greens to canary yellows then on to rich champagnes and shades of ginger, cognac and raspberry has attracted designers like Rhonda Faber Green, Erica Courtney and Evelyn H, to name just a few, and Zultanite’s unique and ever-changing presentation has captured the eyes of brides looking for something extraordinary.

“It’s a beautiful complement to a classic look and another way to set a bride apart,” says Faber Green, who chose the chameleon-like stone for the bride’s half of her You Complete Me wedding set design. The setting delivers a further source of personalization with its male/female band design. Both the bride’s and groom’s ring feature one half of a design that, when placed together, forms a complete heart. “When she looks at her ring she knows that he is wearing an element that completes her heart,” says the designer.

Male Matters
While Platinum has held true as the metal of choice for brides, contemporary and alternative metals and materials, such as titanium, tungsten carbide and ceramic are attracting more male attention due to their sleek appearance, durability and, perhaps especially after purchasing that engagement ring, their affordability.

In fact, according to Craig MacBean, president of fine jewelry company Ostbye, “couples are allowing more room in the budget for the brides’ wedding ring and band by opting for less expensive, alternative metal wedding bands for the groom.”

Luckily for the future grooms of the world, companies like Edward Mirell and Etienne Perret, that specialize in contemporary metals and alternative materials offer options to suit any style and budget and manage to infuse a bit more of the groom’s personality than a plain metal band might.

Hooked on a Feeling
Despite changing trends and fluctuating economies, one thing will always ring true for brides: the rings simply have to feel right, look right, suit their personalities and lifestyles.

“It’s how a woman feels when she wears the ring that means the most,” says Faber Green. “Of course they still want people to notice their engagement rings. If there is something a little bit different or special about the ring it makes the bride feel special for a lifetime.”

In fact, some say with wedding ceremonies deviating so drastically from what once was considered the norm, the ring is the one part of the nuptials that has remained timeless. “The dream of someday being a bride is a classic one,” says Faber Green. “I think every little girl still dreams the dream regardless of the economy.”
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