By Misty Milioto
Your engagement and wedding rings are cherished pieces of jewelry. Besides symbolizing your love and commitment to your partner, wedding rings speak to your own personal style. The important thing is to choose jewelry that will remain timelessly beautiful.
In addition to the four Cs (cut, color, carat and clarity), there are several things to consider when choosing your bridal jewelry. Raz Gnat, co-owner of Gnat Jewelers, says “You also want to think about how practical the design is, and how it will suit your lifestyle and your budget. When finalizing a budget, I always advise my clients to find the best quality at the look that suits their vision of the perfect ring.”
Jeremy Oster, president and CEO of Oster Jewelers, tends to consider quality—especially in the cut of the diamond—as the first priority. “It’s best to buy a diamond that will be loved and kept forever,” he says. “Once you have seen the difference an exceptional cut offers, it is easy to see why a diamond is such an object of historical beauty and desire. ”
According to Susi Altman, general manager of Hyde Park Jewelers, it’s crucial to purchase from a reputable and trustworthy source. “No two diamonds are identical, so when you are comparing stones, be sure that you understand the various grading criteria so that you can make an informed decision,” she says.
Tiffany & Co., a respected jeweler that has been renowned for more than eight generations, is a sure bet when it comes to wedding rings. Plus, a Tiffany Diamond Certificate, with grading and gemological information specific to the diamond, accompanies every ring. “All Tiffany diamonds are set within customized mountings to accommodate the specific size and shape of the diamond,” says Chad McKeehan, store director at Tiffany & Co. in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
In regard to the choice of metal, platinum is preferred because it is more durable than gold. “White metal (14k or 18k platinum) is still a strong trend,” says Yong Ferguson, manager at the Ben Bridge Jeweler Lone Tree store. “You will never experience a loss of metal over the years” she says. “White gold (14k or 18k) won’t show scratches easily, but it requires more maintenance over the life of the ring.” Another option is to go with 18K rose gold, which is a unique and highly desirable look.
Altman says that more couples are now making ring decisions together rather than leaving it up to the man’s discretion. Along with this trend, many couples are now choosing matching designs. “Many of the designers that we carry in our store have picked up on this and are now offering complementary men’s bands that echo the same design elements of the bride’s ring,” Altman says.
Round cuts are by far the most popular diamond shape for center stones. However, some of the lesser-known shapes, such as cushion, radiant and Asscher, are also becoming more prominent. “Many women are also going back to the Audrey Hepburn/Grace Kelly era with that iconic setting of a round center stone with various fancy shaped side stones,” Altman says. “In terms of mountings, the brand that we get the most requests for is Tacori (characterized by intricate, heirloom-style settings), which indicates that vintage-inspired designs are among the hottest trends in engagement rings and wedding bands.”
Oster agrees with this observation. “We are also seeing great success in antique-style settings, and a number of younger couples are enjoying the individuality of older stones, such as Old European-cut diamonds,” Oster says. “In addition to diamonds, we also offer amazing gemstones. We recently created a stunning engagement ring with a 6K plum-colored sapphire as the centerpiece.”
The halo (diamond bezel) setting is very popular. With this design, the diamond is illuminated by a halo of smaller diamonds. “This is a very elegant look and has been really popular with brides,” McKeehan says. “Yellow diamond engagement rings have also been highly sought after.”
Some Colorado brides prefer to take the simple approach. “Many women are deciding to forego the traditional engagement ring and instead focus on a stunning band,” Oster says. “The Wellendorff collection of spinning rings with enamel and diamonds has been extremely successful. We are also seeing unique stacked sets of bands, including cognac diamonds mixed with platinum and rose gold.”
Another trend, according to Gnat, is that couples are choosing to design rings that are exclusively their own. At Gnat Jewelers, every design is made to order. So, couples can request changes to the design, such as size and shape of the center diamond, addition or subtraction of the side diamonds, and the option to have the ring cast in the precious metal of choice. Hyde Park Jewelers also offers custom designs.
“Couples like to incorporate their own ideas and design into the rings that will become so symbolic and sentimental,” Gnat says. “The traditional designs with the micro pavé and detailed work are still very strong, as are white precious metals.”
For men, the trend still seems to be simple and conservative. However, some fashion-forward men are choosing to incorporate additional details such as repoussé (hammered) bands or a few small black diamonds, as accents. In addition, alternative metals are very popular right now. John Buchholz, owner of Denver Diamonds & Jewelry explains, “For men, alternate metals such as white and black cobalt, tungsten and titanium are popular for bands; however karat gold and platinum have proven staying power.”
Many brides also choose to wear additional jewelry for the big day, with pearls being the most popular. “Other popular wedding day jewelry includes feminine, vintage-inspired designs, such as those from designers like Penny Preville and Jude Frances,” Altman says.
Ben Bridge Jewelers
Opened: 1912 in Seattle
This family-operated jewelry store was opened more than 90 years ago by Samuel Silverman—a fine guild watchmaker. After marrying Silverman’s daughter Sally in 1922, Ben Bridge joined the firm as a partner. When his father-in-law moved to California in 1927, Ben purchased Sam’s interest and renamed the store Ben Bridge Jeweler. Under the leadership of Ben’s sons; Herb and Bob, the company expanded and experienced tremendous growth in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Today, this nationally renowned jeweler operates more than 70 retail stores in 12 states offering a wide selection, great value, diamond certificates and a Limited Lifetime Warranty on its diamond jewelry. benbridge.com
Denver Diamonds & Jewelry
Opened: 1976 in Denver’s Golden Triangle
This Denver-based jeweler offers fine jewelry including engagement and wedding rings, bracelets, necklaces and much more in designer lines including Pandora Jewelry, Hidalgo, Lorenzo, Rochet, Caroline Ballou, Valina Bridal and Leddel Designs. denverdiamondsandjewelry.com
Opened: 1982 in Cherry Creek North
This mom-and-pop shop manufactures much of its bridal jewelry, allowing the company to offer competitive prices. The company also has close family ties to Israel, which again helps with product availability and pricing. Gnat Jewelers sells all of its certified center diamonds loose and independent of the wedding ring set. This way, couples can get the exact stone that they desire. Gnat also offers a trade-in policy where couples can trade any diamond previously purchased at Gnat for 100 percent of its original selling price towards another bigger, nicer or different shaped diamond. gnatjewelers.com
Hyde Park Jewelers
Opened: 1976 in Cherry Creek North
This exquisite shop offers an amazing selection of engagement rings, wedding bands and wedding day jewelry. The company also offers a dedicated team of experts to assist clients in the purchasing process. Hyde Park Jewelers recently introduced Forevermark, an extension of the De Beers group of companies. Each Forevermark diamond includes a unique inscription (invisible to the naked eye) promising that it is beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced. The jeweler also offers a trade-in program allowing couples to apply the purchase price of their original diamond toward the purchase of a larger stone. hydeparkjewelers.com
Opened: 2002 in Cherry Creek North
Oster Jewelers offers numerous styles, ranging from ultra-contemporary to new romantic as well as classic designs – such as Louis Glick (one of the world’s foremost diamond cutters famous for the Starburst diamond). The jeweler also offers hand-crafted works by Katharine James and just recently introduced an amazing Parisienne bridal jeweler, Sébastien Barier, who trained with Van Cleef & Arpels. The Barier rings feature antique-style settings with very fine detail work. osterjewelers.com
Tiffany & Co.
Opened: 1837 in New York
Tiffany & Co. offers many different styles of bridal jewelry, most of which is exclusive to the company. Tiffany also offers very rare and spectacular colored diamonds. In 1886, the company introduced the Tiffany® Setting for diamond solitaire rings. This innovative design sets the diamond away from the band with six platinum prongs, permitting a more complete return of light through the diamond to maximize its natural brilliance. Meanwhile, Lucida® is a masterpiece of modern design, with a square mixed-cut shape and a setting of clean, sensuous curves. Tiffany Legacy® captures the opulence of the Edwardian period with a cushion-shaped center stone and a lavish setting with handcrafted milgraining. Tiffany Novo® is inspired by the brilliant faceting and cushion shape of the Tiffany diamond. And, Tiffany Bezet is based on the traditional bezel setting that follows the contours of round, princess-cut and heart- and pear-shaped diamonds. Couples may also choose from three-stone rings with their preferred combination of sapphires, emeralds and diamonds; Tiffany Celebration® rings; or the Sixteen Stone ring by legendary Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger. tiffany.com
In a new and unique partnership, brides who choose to have their wedding ceremony or reception at Four Seasons Denver can now borrow jewelry from Hyde Park Jewelers. Brides are free to choose any combination of a necklace and a pair of earrings – up to $10,000 – excluding pearls (due to their delicate nature).