Center of Attention
The stone you select as your centerpiece is a unique reflection of you
It’s a story most men know: If you’re going to get married, first you need a diamond. Well, okay, first you need a girl, the right girl, then you need to give that girl the right diamond. It’s a challenging right of passage and one that, for the most part, has stood the test of time. While couples do still typically seal the deal with a ring, the stone options that exist today can make a modern-day groom long for the days when you simply needed a diamond.

A Cut Above
Grooms take note, designers widely agree that most brides have their hearts set on a specific shape for their center stone so be sure to ask around before making your big purchase. Still, despite the natural fluctuation of trends, a few points of style seem to always hold true.

One cut that has stood the test of time and continues to stand out among brides is round. Bridal designers refer to it as a staple, a traditional choice, one that transcends time. “Round Brilliant is still King and Cushion Cut is Queen,” says Wendy Adeler of Adeler Jewelers. Part of the appeal of these time-honored cuts is tradition and part of the reason they became traditional choices is their ability to truly shine and make each diamond read as a specimen of perfection.

While each couple is unique, chances are what constitutes perfection for that stone will differ between you with brides tending to be more concerned with the size of a ring’s center stone and grooms more concerned with the stone’s perfection. It’s a contrast that makes sense: as a bride, you want your ring to stand up in comparison to those of friends and family and, as the groom, you want to know you’ve made a sound investment and given your bride “the best.”

Uniquely Yours
While there will always be room for the bride who desires that perfect solitaire, uncomplicated by accents or adornment of any kind, designers today are pleased to see brides who desire something beyond the single stone, designs that are truly unique expressions of their individual styles, backgrounds, experiences and travels. In other words, something they won’t see on the ring finger of every other bride they meet.

In fact, some designers say brides are increasingly more concerned with the uniqueness of the overall design then how the size and perfection of the center stone play into the aesthetic.

Pratima Sethi, owner and designer for Sethi Couture, has noted an increasing penchant for rose cut center stones and believes the trend “indicates an appeal for an Old world charm” and a sentimental feeling toward “family heirlooms and things passed down through the generations.”

A reflection of family heritage and more vintage design is also a surefire way to know your ring’s design will stand the test of time instead of being a stylistic nod to the very specific time in which you were married.

Sparkling Celebrity
While cost and personal style will always go into a ring choice, there is one element, one style influencer that outweighs even the opinions of a bride’s best friends: Celebrity. Year after year, the fashion that graces the red carpet turns into that year’s top trends and engagement rings are no different. So, what’s hot in Hollywood?

The biggest style influencers heading into 2012 were Anne Hathaway with her classic solitaire diamond on a simple platinum band, Reese Witherspoon’s modern Ashoka cut diamond with pave accents, and Penelope Cruz, Elizabeth Hurley, Carey Mulligan and, of course, Kate Middleton with their blue sapphire rings.

“Colored stones have a vintage and heirloom quality, which make them appear pricier, but in reality they can be much less expensive than diamonds,” says jewelry and style expert Michael O’Connor. “Colored gems are also a romantic way to personalize a ring.” O’Connor suggests selecting the birthstone of the bride or groom or the stone that symbolizes the month in which a couple met.

Roughing It
One more big trend today isn’t for a cut at all but for a stone that is purposely uncut. At Diamond in the Rough, for example, all engagement rings feature rough diamonds, in other words diamonds that are not cut, polished or otherwise altered by human hands.

This is another trend with ties to the celebrity circuit. Stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt and Julianne Hough are routinely photographed wearing their rough diamond rings and showcasing how easily they can be worn as fashion pieces.

The unique nature of these stones has really been drawing attention and the options seem to be endless. While Diamond in the Rough has indeed found diamonds that are relatively round, others come in the form of hexagons, squares and other less-than-typical shapes. They’ve even found one rough diamond resembling a heart and another The Star of David.

If you’re looking for something that will stand out as unique even among a sea of custom designs, this may just be the option for you. The fact that the natural diamonds are completely untouched means no two could ever possibly be the same and your ring will be anything but cookie cutter.
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