Time to Shine

JEWELLERY

While a brilliant white solitaire is a popular choice for many brides, today the array of unique and non-traditional engagement and wedding rings is simply dazzling!

Colourful diamonds remain big news, from fancy pinks and yellows, to dramatic chocolate and black diamonds. Brides are also free to choose other precious stones, such as a rubies, emeralds or sapphires for a vintage effect. This vibrant trend echoes the move away from the traditional white wedding dress towards a rainbow spectrum of hues.

For 2017 and 2018, jewellery designers also predict a return to simplicity, with stand-out gems in understated settings reminiscent of a bygone era. While the halo style is still a favourite, the emphasis has moved to side details, with smaller diamonds flanking instead of encircling the centre stone. Add another dimension to a classic ring with a signature twist. Styles featuring coiled bands, slightly rotated prong placements, and rows of diamonds which twist around the band rather than sitting in a straight line will complement a simple setting. Position an oval-cut gem in an east-west, horizontal setting to make it truly distinctive.

Gold will never go out of style, and the pink, feminine glow of rose gold has made a beautiful comeback. Mixed metals add an element of interest. Combine a white gold band with a yellow gold setting, or match prongs to the colour of the stone – rose gold for a pink gem, yellow gold for champagne-coloured diamonds.

Naturalistic bridal jewellery, decorated with flower, petal, leaf or vine motifs, is a hugely popular look for necklaces and earrings as well as engagement rings and wedding bands. So too is the elaborate filigree work typical of the 1920s, when the Art Deco movement was all the rage. And vintage jewellery isn’t just adorning the bride and her entourage, it’s also being used in place of flowers to decorate the cake!

Styles, stones and settings

Engagement rings come in different styles and settings, from solitaire to multi-stone, cluster and random-set. While a modern look might call for a tension setting, a four-prong setting is a timeless classic, and a vintage ring would shine in an intricately wrought setting. The thickness and height of the band depends on the stone size and setting, and should be in proportion to your finger size. The latest innovation is the square-shaped band, which is reputed to be even more comfortable than a round band.

After the ever-fashionable diamond, sapphires and rubies are the next most popular choice because they are harder than other precious stones. Semi-precious gems tend to be softer and are more prone to damage. Shapes include brilliant (round), pear (tear-shaped), princess (square), emerald (rectangular) and marquise (an elongated oval), as well as oval and heart-shaped. An emerald or marquise shaped stone looks lovely on a long-fingered bride, while the brilliant or princess shape suits those with shorter fingers.

As a general rule, white gold or platinum is a very flattering setting for diamonds or sapphires, making them look even brighter, while yellow gold settings are best for emeralds, rubies and opals. Also consider your skin tone. Brides with dark or olive complexions can wear yellow or white gold, those with fairer skin might prefer white gold, and red-heads could opt for white gold or the ever-feminine rose gold.

Pure, rare and low maintenance too, platinum is the strongest and most durable of the precious metals, and provides an ultra-secure setting for a gemstone. The naturally white colour of platinum won’t tarnish or fade, and its 95 percent purity makes it the only truly hypoallergenic precious metal.

When it comes to bridal jewellery, choose your gown first, then the jewellery to complement it. This might consist of a necklace with matching bracelet, or a choker and earrings. While chokers look elegant on brides with long necks, a strand of pearls or a longer chain might better suit a broader neck. Short hair or an up-do lends itself to drop earrings, and a pair of sparkling diamond studs complement any look.