Professional Jeweler Archive: Beautiful Bridal

February 2001

Feature


Beautiful Bridal

Trends in bridal jewelry focus on updated and high-quality classics


‘Two torches in one ring of burning fire. Two wills, two hearts, two passions are bonded in marriage.” This inscription in the Sforza marriage ring from the 15th century represents the passion a couple feels pledging their lives to each other. To represent that passion, they choose engagement and wedding rings, depending on you for advice.

First, help them understand the meaning of each ring. The engagement ring is a symbol of strength and commitment, two qualities a relationship must possess. The wedding ring symbolizes love, understanding and the eternity of wedding vows.

Second, be prepared with a wide selection of rings to suit the varied tastes of your customers. Because bridal rings come in innumerable variations, we’ve surveyed what’s available and identified the latest trends in style, metal, stone, cut and setting.

Style

The more that sophisticated customers are exposed to innovative styles, the more they crave them. They’re buying architecturally interesting homes, decorating them with fine art and seeking fashions designed with style and built with integrity. It’s fitting they want their jewelry to reflect this lifestyle.

The nation’s strong economy has provided the means for many couples to look beyond the basics. So if you have customers who appreciate antique jewelry, tempt them with hand-chiseled or hand-engraved rings. For customers who prefer modern styles, stock sleek designer rings that blend with the understated apparel they wear. For the traditional crowd, offer three-stone rings and eternity bands, says Mehran Hakimian, president of American Jewelry Designs, New York City.

And always check trade magazines and trade shows for the latest styles so you keep ahead of the curve. “New alloy combinations such as platinum with titanium and platinum with pink gold give sophisticated customers what they desire,” says Gerwin R. Platz Jr., U.S. national sales manager for Coge Design Group, Dallas, TX.

Metals

White metals continue to make news in bridal jewelry. The white wave began in the mid-’90s in Europe and spread quickly. Today, platinum and white gold have earned the reputation of sophistication and timelessness – important features for jewelry worn every day.

In addition, yellow gold remains a classic. “Within the next few years, there will be an even bigger resurgence of yellow gold,” predicts Rebecca Foerster, vice president of marketing at Frederick Goldman, New York City.

And for customers not married to one color, two-tone is an option. “Two-tone is like the perfect pair of black pants: it goes with everything and every mood,” says Sarah Graham of Sarah Graham Metalsmithing, Portland, OR. To keep ahead of the two-tone curve, stock white with pink gold as well as the more traditional yellow with white.

Stones

Engagement and wedding rings suffer the hardest wear of any jewelry because they’re often worn all day every day. Diamonds (the hardest gem at 10 on the Mohs hardness scale) are a natural for bridal jewelry. Sapphires (9 on the Mohs scale) are another good choice. “A Ceylon sapphire set in platinum is a fantastic look, partly because the cool white of platinum and cool blue of sapphire blend so well,” says Hakimian. Point out to customers the sapphire can be repolished periodically if it starts to show wear.

If you want to push the envelope with color, our experts say colored diamonds are the next step because they radiate like no colored gem. “Rarely would even the most untrained eye mistake a brilliant cognac diamond for a topaz or an icy blue diamond for an aquamarine,” says Graham.

Cuts

Retailers and designers alike say they’ve had an overwhelming number of requests for fancy-shaped diamonds in bridal jewelry in the past year. Most popular are princess, emerald, radiant and oval cuts, thanks in no small part to De Beers and Tiffany & Co. ad campaigns featuring fancy cuts. For this year, the prediction is for heart- and pear-shaped diamonds to join the fancy brigade.

Settings

Prong settings, because they show off diamonds to their fullest, remain the top choice in bridal jewelry. Buying a diamond is a major investment, and many customers don’t want it hidden by metal. But bezel setting is popular also. “I have reset several prong-set diamonds into bezels due to customer complaints about their prongs from a comfort and safety standpoint,” says Graham. To satisfy customers who prefer bezel settings but don’t want to hide their diamonds, bezel walls are being made thinner. “A thin-walled bezel lets each stone speak for itself,” says Platz.

On the Horizon

Here are some future trends our experts share:

  • “Statements will be made with knockout wedding bands worn by themselves. For example, an anniversary band full of detail, design and diamonds.” – Sarah Graham, Sarah Graham Metalsmithing, Portland, OR.
  • “More new fancy cuts such as the Lucida by Tiffany ... Also, higher-quality diamonds – F/G or better – as customers compromise size for quality.” – Mehran Hakimian, American Jewelry Designs, New York City.
  • “Platinum will increase its overall share. There will be an increase in thin-walled bezels and square-cut diamonds.” – Gerwin R. Platz Jr., Coge Design Group, Dallas, TX.
  • “Gold will swing back. Three-stone rings will become the mainstay with diamonds at 1 carat and up. And there will be a push for clean, traditional, simple looks that enhance the demand for large center diamonds.” – Rebecca Foerster, Frederick Goldman, New York City.

– Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.


The platinum ring on the left is a replica of Princess Diana’s engagement ring, set with a 2.53-ct. Ceylon sapphire and 1.08 carats of G/VS diamonds. Suggested retail, $12,000. The handmade platinum eternity band has 4.84 carats of G/VS diamonds ($17,500). The platinum and 18k gold engagement ring features a 3.18-ct. fancy intense yellow/VVS1 radiant-cut diamond flanked by 0.96 carat of G/VS half-moon diamonds ($76,845).

American Jewelry Designs Inc., New York City; (212) 575-2100, fax (212) 768-0601.

18k white gold and diamond bands retail for $1,100-$5,800.

Doris Panos Designs, New York City; (212) 768-8600, fax (212) 768-7764.

Five styles of platinum and diamond rings are from the Greg Nichols Collection. Suggested retail, $1,000-$10,000.

Mr. Baguette, New York City; (212) 758-1300, fax (212) 758-1573.

Three-stone platinum anniversary bands feature different shapes of diamonds.

Diana Classic, New York City; (877) 87-DIANA.

Handmade 18k gold rings have a high-polished hammered finish. The top ring has a 0.91-ct. G/VS2 center diamond and 26 0.01-ct. of F/VS accent diamonds. Suggested retail, $9,000. The middle ring features a 0.90-ct. H/SI1 center diamond and 20 0.01-ct. F/VS diamonds ($5,500). The bottom ring is circled with 66 0.01-ct. F/VS bead-set diamonds ($2,400).

Houman Jewelry Design, San Diego, CA; (619) 239-2323, fax (619) 239-2636, www.houman.com.

14k gold and sterling silver wedding band is $220 suggested retail.

Ed Levin Jewelry, Cambridge, NY; (518) 677-8595, fax (518) 677-8597.

From the Two Become One™ line, this engagement ring is designed in yellow and white gold. The ring is stamped with a 2B1 symbol.

Kirchner Corp., Minneapolis, MN; (800) 328-5637 or (612) 546-5440, fax (612) 546-3858.

Six styles of platinum and 18k yellow and white gold engagement rings retail for $8,850-$18,075. Prices are for semimounts.

M.K. Diamonds, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 629-0038, fax (213) 629-5587.

14k white and yellow gold semimount is set with 0.60 carat of princess-cut diamonds and is shown with a marquise center. Suggested retail, $260 for the semimount.

Overnight Mountings, Long Island City, NY; (718) 472-1212, fax (718) 784-2200.

Crafted in 950 platinum and 18k gold, these interlocking engagement and wedding rings feature a 0.10-ct. baguette diamond. Suggested retail, $2,650.

Jeannette Fossas Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico; (787) 722-4154, fax (787) 722-3858, jffj@coqui.net.

Titanium and 18k gold men’s bands are from the Titanium collection.

ArtCarved, New York City; www.artcarvedbridal.com.

Women’s platinum mounting is set with 0.40 carat of tapered baguette diamonds.

Leo Ingwer Inc., New York City; (800) 992-4344 or (212) 719-1342.

Pebble diamond rings are crafted in 18k white and yellow gold.

Sarah Graham Metalsmithing, Portland, OR; (503) 481-5562, fax (503) 513-6038, sarah@sarahgraham.com.

The Bonsoir ring has a 1-ct. brilliant-cut center diamond and brilliant-cut side diamonds.

Keepsake Diamond Jewelry, New York City; (888) 4KEEPSAKE, www.keepsake.com.

Diamond melee surrounds each center diamond in these chubby bezel platinum rings.

Jane Taylor, South Hadley, MA; (413) 535-1574, fax (413) 535-5138, jtaylor@javanet.com.

Handcrafted platinum ring is set with 9 carats of G/VS emerald-cut diamonds.

Daniel K, New York City; (888) 841-7576 or (212) 759-7604, fax (212) 759-7606.

Platinum engagement ring holds a 0.93-ct. G/VS1 diamond flanked by two 0.25-ct. G/VS1 flush-set diamonds. Suggested retail, $8,000.

MD Jewels, Rochester, NY; (716) 271-4386, fax (716) 442-9487, mdjewels@rochester.rr.com.

6mm brushed platinum band features a high-polish stripe. Suggested retail, $2,090. When set with a 0.10-ct. G/SI round brilliant diamond, the band retails for $2,156.

Coge Design Group, Dallas, TX; (972) 713-9927, fax (972) 713-9928.

14k yellow and white gold men’s wedding band features four square diamonds.

Berco Co., Chicago, IL; (312) 782-1050, fax (312) 782-4441.

Rings from the Antique collection feature ruby, sapphire or diamonds in various settings.

Somos Creations, Valley Cottage, NY; (845) 268-4004, fax (845) 268-0634.

10k gold engagement rings are trimmed in 12k Black Hills gold. Diamond centers are available in 0.25-ct. or 0.50-ct. round brilliant or marquise cuts. Retail, $595 and up.

South Dakota Gold Co., Rapid City, SD; (800) 523-4209, fax (800) 348-7087.

18k gold or platinum eternity rings are bar-set with yellow, blue or pink sapphires or green tsavorite. Suggested retail, $1,640-$1,860.

Gemveto Jewelry Co., New York City; (800) 221-4438 or (212) 755-2522, fax (212) 755-2027.

Platinum wedding band is set with 1.50 carats of brilliant diamond pavé. Suggested retail, $5,000. Platinum and 18k gold wedding band has 0.97 carat of brilliant-cut diamonds ($4,800).

Kimberley Diamond Co., New York City; (800) 223-4104, fax (212) 791-7731.

Platinum and yellow gold band is set with five princess-cut diamonds totaling 1.0 carat and features a scroll design on each side.

EVLT Inc., Houston, TX; (713) 524-2018, fax (713) 524-2129.

10k gold wedding sets are embellished with 12k rose and green gold leaves. The left set has a 0.10-ct. center diamond and four 0.02-ct. channel-set diamonds. Suggested retail, $645. The right set has a 0.10-ct. diamond ($465).

Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman, Rapid City, SD; (800) 874-9926, fax (605) 394-5752.

Contemporary engagement rings are crafted in platinum. The ring standing up has a 1.25-ct. green diamond and 10 0.01-ct. G/VS diamonds. It retails for $7,950. The other ring features an 0.87-ct. green diamond and eight 0.01-ct. G/VS diamonds ($6,875).

Etienne Perret, Camden, ME; (877) ETIENNE, fax (207) 236-9698.

Platinum and 18k gold wedding bands feature the Greek key design.

Benchmark, Tuscaloosa, AL; (800) 633-5950, fax (205) 752-8322.

Platinum rings showcase Tycoon-cut diamonds. The top one has a 0.75-ct. center diamond and 1.05 carats of side diamonds surrounded by 0.55 carat of round diamonds. Suggested retail, $14,000. The left ring has a 1-ct. center and 1.80 carats of side diamonds ($24,000). The right ring has a 1-ct. center and 1 carat of side diamonds ($20,000).

Tycoon, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 689-0204, fax (213) 622-2430.

Antique-inspired platinum semimounts are set with E-F/ VS diamonds. The left ring has 0.30 carat of diamonds and is designed for a round center stone. The right ring has 0.75 carat of trillion diamonds and can hold a square diamond. The eternity ring is set with 1.35 carats of round diamonds. The semimounts retail for $3,000-$6,000.

Jack Kelege, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 622-1290, fax (213) 622-0363.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications