Big girls need diamonds. ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Bridal jewellery is perfectly in sync with colour schemes for 2016, which highlight a range of shimmering metallics, particularly that most beautiful of metals – gold. Timelessly elegant, gold has never gone out of style, and its lustrous sheen is presently being seen everywhere; from headpieces, necklaces, bracelets and earrings to shoes, stationery and wedding cakes.

Coloured stones are also very much in vogue. Instead of brilliant white diamonds, a growing number of brides are choosing fancy pink, red and purple gems, as well as natural shades of green and blue, or even an ultra-modern chocolate or black diamond! In addition to coloured diamonds, sapphires, zirconia and topaz are favourite choices, while rubies and emeralds create an engagement ring with heirloom quality. This colourful trend echoes the move away from the traditional white wedding dress towards a rainbow of pastel-shaded gowns.

Naturalistic bridal jewellery, adorned 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. Dramatic costume jewellery is another trend that’s gaining traction, as is jewellery for the groom!

Select a style of ring to complement your personality and interests. Romantic brides could choose a pink-toned heart-shaped diamond set in rose or white gold, while active brides might prefer a practical, flush-mount setting that will protect the gem and prevent snagging. An exotic rose-cut diamond set in yellow gold could be perfect for a Bohemian bride. Trendy brides can add some bling to their look with a fancy yellow diamond surrounded by a multitude of smaller sparklers and set in a diamond-covered band. A platinum band with a lustrous bezel-set stone is a minimalist, modern classic.

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.