Engagement Ring Trends—The Hot Trends for 2011
From the elegance of the princess cut stone to the glamour of pavé, design trends in engagement ring and wedding band settings are changing, reflecting today’s lifestyles and trends. Environmentally conscious designs reign supreme in today’s growing market, as does a growing interest in personalization and creativity in every element of the wedding. Pure carat wattage is no longer the only factor in determining what design leads to “I Do”.
“Some brides prefer a natural design that can comfortably be worn day in and day out,” says Debi Wexler, CEO of Whiteflash.com. “Others look for added style in an intricate or trendy setting; which, unfortunately, can be limiting when it comes to everyday wear,” adds Wexler. Whiteflash.com is an online jewelry boutique specializing in A Cut Above ® Hearts & Arrows diamonds and custom-designed engagement rings.
Here’s just a few of the hottest up-and-coming trends in engagement ring design according to the boutique’s diamond experts jewelry designers:
“I Can See Your Halo”: Halos make a comeback
The likely reason for that comeback is that the halo-style ring setting makes the center diamond appear larger than it really is. It’s a great way to maximize the wattage of a top-quality but modest stone. The appearance of a high carat weight in the center stone is extremely important for many who are headed to the altar. Whiteflash.com has introduced several halo designs to its line of engagement rings in the past year, including one with beaded diamonds along the shank as well as around the center stone. Increased sales prove the design’s resurgence and staying power. In the past few years, halo designs have become more popular, at all points along the engagement ring price spectrum.
Wexler points to one of the most popular halo ring designs—the Lotus Halo, an exclusive Leon Mege design available only at Whiteflash. “Leon Mege is one of the top designers of the century,” says Wexler, “and we felt it was an honor for him to design a halo version of the popular Lotus ring that would enhance our A Cut AboveÒ hearts and arrows diamond.”
When it comes to wedding bands, simple gold bands are giving way to more elaborate and intricate designs, even for men. Chief among these wedding band innovations is the scattered diamond band, a stunning style in which small diamonds are imbedded throughout the ring band, creating sparks of light and brilliance.
Scattered diamond bands are popular for both men and women because they are a reasonably priced, but still gorgeous, alternative to the eternity band. The melee diamonds are scattered across the band, instead of being set close together as in a pave setting, so fewer diamonds are needed to create that glittering look. Plus, the scattered diamonds band coordinates with any simple solitaire engagement ring. The current preference among consumers is for stark solitaires paired withmore interesting wedding bands.
Once upon a time, the diamond solitaire sat high above the finger, creating a dramatic visual impact but also running the risk of snagging on clothes or hair. Not true of today’s diamond solitaire settings. Solitaire settings were traditionally always upswept, raising the diamond to make a very bold statement. However, in recent years, people are also opting for settings where the center stone sits down low, creating a look that is extremely elegant and also ergonomic and comfortable.
With the diamond down in the setting, brides-to-be are able to wear the engagement ring in everyday work and play situations long after they say their “I Do”s. The lower setting styles are sleek and elegant, and remain durable and wear well for years. One terrific example of the new “wearability” of diamond engagement rings is the Cameron solitaire. Sleek and even, the Cameron features a cool metal bezel setting that sits snugly around the center stone, contrasting its shiny luster with the diamond’s brilliance and fire, as well as giving the entire ring a snag-free silhouette.
Pile on the Pavé
Engagement ring design has always swung between two extremes: the ornate and complex versus the simple and delicate. According to the designers at Whiteflash, for 2011 the dominant engagement ring style leans more towards delicacy rather than complexity.
The diamond pave setting is widely admired for its delicacy and refinement. To give the setting its uncomplicated, yet exquisite appearance, beads of metal are raised to create secure channels where the diamonds sit securely in the ring. According to the craftsmen at Whiteflash , the raised metal of the band itself is used to create the tiny prongs that hold the petite diamonds in place, creating a secure and almost invisible fit.
Especially popular now are split-shank pave bands, which create a dramatic visual impact due to their two diamond-encrusted bands that meet at the center stone. The Katie split-shank engagement ring setting, introduced just this year at Whiteflash, has already rocketed to the head of the class—becoming one of the most popular settings of the year.
You Want the U-Prong
Eternity bands have become more and more popular recently, as wedding bands, anniversary gifts, and gifts for any occasion. There are dozens of elegant and unique styles for the eternity band, but one of the most popular and stylish new additions to the eternity band sector are the Annette U-Prong eternity band. In addition to its row of sparkling A Cut Above® stones, the u-prong setting creates a unique look for the ring. When viewed from the side profile, the u-prong setting creates a dynamic visual illusion in which the stunning diamonds are nestled in the bright white gold setting.
Eternity bands are the ultimate luxury that anyone can get. More and more brides are looking at eternity bands as wedding band options, while people who have been married for years are using eternity bands to celebrate anniversaries. Wexler believes that the eternity band, especially the U-Prong style, has made such an impact, she explains, “it’s really about the symbolism of the style-it’s not just a pretty ring; it’s a strong symbol of eternity and commitment.”
The ‘trading-up’ trend will never fade into obscurity. We’ve found that it makes a difference in the design process if the bride-to-be is involved up front. If the groom chooses to go it alone, he typically gravitates toward a simple design with a smaller-than-desired diamond. And what happens next? The bride-to-be upgrades the size of her diamonds, even adding side stones, and looks for a setting more suited to their tastes.
‘Trading up’ does not always need to be done immediately. Many couples consider upgrades for important milestones like anniversaries, birthdays and holidays; many husbands consider an upgrade to be a perfect gift. While her engagement ring was current as a newlywed, many years later she might change or modify her setting to reflect transition in her own life or to keep up with current jewelry trends. Even if she keeps the setting forever, there is a chance that down the road she may require a larger diamond. We have many repeat customers who upgrade their diamonds with us.
Whiteflash anticipates change as a constant and has made it simple for customers to upgrade with a unique guarantee: Every A CUT ABOVE diamond sold at Whiteflash. comes with a lifetime trade-up option. The company will accept the return of any original purchase and extend full credit in the amount of the original purchase price. The credit can be used to purchase another A CUT ABOVE diamond or their Expert Selection brand.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment. When you choose Whiteflash, we’ll be there for a lifetime with you.
Whiteflash.com is the first company in the U.S. to offer an exclusive brand of Hearts & Arrows diamond and bring the sheer beauty of “super ideal cut” to the Internet. It’s the only company who offers a 30 day return policy on their branded hearts and arrows diamonds with a life time upgrade benefit. Debi Wexler, a computer entrepreneur, founded Whiteflash.com in 2000 bringing an expansive selection of loose diamonds to the Internet, including an exclusive brand of Hearts & Arrows diamonds. ‘A Cut Above®’ (ACA is unmatched in its brilliance, fire and sparkle and remains the only Hearts & Arrows diamond sold online with advertised standards and a “true patterning” guarantee. Whiteflash also offers original, handcrafted platinum and gold settings, diamond engagement rings and wedding bands, custom diamond ring designs and specialty jewelry.
For more information, visit http://www.whiteflash.com or call 877.612.6770.