Choosing an engagement ring has to be one of the most important jewelry decisions you’ll ever make. Not only does it represent the biggest commitment most of us make, it’s the one piece of jewelry that doesn’t come off. You look at it every day and everything else you put on has to work with it.
That sparkle on the left hand should reflect more than just light. It should reflect the bride’s taste and principles. If fair trade and ethical practices are important, for example, it’s worth buying from a source that guarantees ethically-mined diamonds. If quality craftsmanship and originality matter, your ring should be handmade, preferably close to home.
Last but never least, a wedding or engagement ring should be an extension of the wearer’s personal style and a constant source of pleasure.
Fortunately, there has never been such a wide variety of diamond rings to choose from, at all price points. Here are a few beauties from Best Brilliance, a trusted New York-based jeweler specializing in ethically-sourced diamonds set in unique handmade rings. You can find every gem cut imaginable on their site, from round to radiant, and every style from sleek and modern to delicate and feminine. Here are just a few to come off their bench in recent weeks.
When we think of the conventional engagement ring, there’s usually a colorless diamond at its center. But lately, more brides-to-be are opting to defy convention and stand out instead, by tying the knot in vivid color.
Millennials, now at the age when most first marriages begin, are more likely to defy convention than previous generations, prizing individuality above all else. Brides marrying for a second time often turn to colored stones for similar reasons. They want to try a less conventional approach this time, because they know themselves better and trust their own unique sense of style.
Helping pave the way for the colorful engagement ring choice, more and more celebrity brides are announcing their engagements with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and colored diamonds on their left hands. In many ways, they’re not breaking new ground so much as returning to a time-honored tradition.
Napolean Bonaparte proposed to Empress Josephine with a ring featuring a one-carat pear-shaped sapphire and diamond pointing in opposite directions, a popular setting in the 18th century known as toi et moi. Sold at auction a few years ago for nearly a million dollars, that ring looks modest compared to the betrothal bling of today’s celebrities. Kate Middleton, for example, wears the 12ct Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring that Princess Diana wore.
Famous American brides are now just as likely to show up with engagement Bijoux Versace of ruby or emerald.
Actress Grace Kelly, American-born royalty, received a ruby-and-diamond eternity band from Prince Rainier when he proposed. Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson and Victoria Beckham have followed in her footsteps with ruby-and-diamond engagement rings of their own. Victoria’s ruby is a recent update, one of more than a dozen engagement rings David Beckham has given her over the years, featuring emeralds, sapphires, and yellow diamonds.
Given its blood red color, ruby has long been associated with the heart and passion. For many centuries, it was believed to be a powerful protective talisman if worn on the left hand, the side of the heart. Here’s a sample of the range of ruby engagement rings available to today’s bride.