With this ring...

From the dress to the décor, couples today are infusing their unique personalities into every detail of the wedding day – all the way down to the finger. So what about the ring? From custom designs to colorful stones, the choices today in engagement and wedding rings are as varied as couples themselves. We asked local jewelers to share their thoughts on what’s hot when tying the knot.

What is old is new again

More and more couples are going back in time. Heather Robuck of 5th Avenue Jewelers in Anchorage says vintage-inspired pieces are hits in her store. Couples are embracing new styles that imitate the old.

“What’s hot is a return to elegance,” says Omar Torres, the chief creative director at Passman, an international jewelry company with a location in Ketchikan. For many years, the look has been somewhat “glitzy and gaudy,” he says. But, that’s changing. “I think now, maybe because of the economy, people are returning to basics.” They’re looking for “classic, elegant, simple and lasting styles,” he adds.

‘I can see your halo’

The “Halo” style ring, with a center stone surrounded or “haloed” by smaller diamonds has been trendy the past few years. Glenn Taylor of Taylor’s Gold-n-Stones, Inc. in Fairbanks says that the halo appearance “has quite an effect and gives the ring an ethereal look.” Not only do the extra diamonds add tons of sparkle, but they also make the center diamond appear larger than it really is, maximizing the wattage of a top-quality but modest stone.

Robuck says that round and princess cut diamonds in the halo style have been popular in her Anchorage store. “A classic would be, of course, a three-stone ring,” she adds. For many, setting three stones jointly is a romantic way to symbolize a couple’s past, present and future – each one filled with love.

Simon GVerragio
Fit for a princess

All eyes were on the United Kingdom and the royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William. Kate’s ring made of rare Welsh gold, sapphiresand diamonds sparked a frenzy among brides wanting to fulfill their own – and every little girl’s – dream of becoming a princess, or at least looking like one. Torres says the idea of a colored stone dates back 2000 years ago in Rome. And while the concept is not so new, blue sapphires are poised to stage a major comeback. It goes to show: Diamonds may be forever, but they’re also not for everyone. A favorite precious colored stone, such as a ruby, emerald or sapphire, may be closer to the bride’s heart or personal style. Brides might even opt for a setting that incorporates her and her intended’s birthstones.

All that glitters is not (necessarily) gold

While the royal ring was made of gold, Taylor says white metal is the top choice. He says, “If you can afford it, platinum still reigns supreme. If you like the platinum but can’t quite swing the cost, then palladium would be an excellent second choice.” Palladium is a white color metal and costs about the same as 14-karat gold, but with more wear resistance and rarity.

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Mix and match

The idea to mix and match is gaining popularity. What once was a faux pas is now nouveau, like combining rose gold and white gold. At Passman, they use 18k white gold and black coral with a solitaire to create a ring called “The Duchess.” Torres describes the look: “In a sense we are playing with the very classic look of black and white, like the old 1930s Chanel.”

Simon G

5th Avenue Jewelers has its own signature piece using gold quartz and diamonds in the center, for Alaskans searching for that unique look. It’s mined with white quartz and yellow gold coming through it. Robuck says brides love it because “it’s from nature. There’s no two stones that are exactly the same. So they have their own one-of-a-kind piece.”

Another kind of nature-inspired ring is popular at Taylor’s Gold-n-Stones. Taylor describes the Simon G ring as a “large center stone with two marquise side diamonds that angle out and upwards toward the center making you think they are like the wings of a butterfly; a very beautiful engagement ring, this has been a perennial favorite.” He says couples can customize the ring by using colored diamonds and stones, or change the metal to make it one of a kind.

Go beyond trendy; think timeless

Wedding rings should reflect your personality and unique union but must also pass the 25-year test: Will you love this ring in 25 years as much as you do today? Torres says to look beyond what’s hot and remember the ring is a symbol of eternal love, “My advice to young people who are going through this is to find something near that has meaning to you instead of buying something that is trendy now, because hopefully you’ll live with this for the rest of your life.”