Buying An Engagement Ring

A new life begins with the gift of a ring. Jewelry has been the most sentimental, long-lasting and universal symbol of love and marriage for centuries. In an effort to please today's sophisticated, individualistic bride, fine jewelry designers are utilizing new technology, making use of nontraditional metals and incorporating interesting gemstones when designing wedding bands and engagement rings. The process of choosing an engagement ring has become collaboration between couples, much like the marriage itself. Here are a few of the hottest trends today in engagement rings to help pick the perfect one:

New And Improved

Occasionally, designers will reinvent the classics to be better than the original. This is the case with Amy Levine's bezel set diamond engagement rings. Instead of the thin metal border which typically surrounds a diamond in a bezel setting, Levine's whimsical take has two slightly curved Vs that hold the diamond securely, yet dip down to show the beauty of a diamond's sides. Diamonds and pearls are both prized parts of wedding jewelry. Designer Galatea nestles pristine white diamonds into the center of white pearls to create the "Diamond in a Pearl" collection of engagement rings and wedding day jewelry. Combining several metals together is also a fresh way to update the classics. Claudia Endler's modern geometric rings combine three shades of gold- white, yellow, and rose- in a stackable wedding and engagement rings collection that adds up to triple the beauty.

Precious Metal

Platinum and gold are the precious metals of choice for most engagement rings and wedding bands. Platinum, the heaviest of the precious metals, is loved for its strength and hypoallergenic properties. Gold, also highly desirable, has a sultry hue that is ideal to craft into interesting shapes with outstanding finishes. A new alternative, titanium is a popular choice for men's wedding bands, since it is lightweight and modern looking with a shiny steel grey hue. It is quite affordable and strong, making it a choice for men on the go.

Love Rocks

It is a fact that women still love the classic round "Tiffany setting," with 33% of brides opting for the round solitaire. At its coattails is the second runner up, the Princess cut. According to a survey by National Jeweler magazine, 24% of all new brides are choosing this brilliant style shape, which has sharp uncut corners. A new clan of shapes making their debut, offer options for brides seeking a snazzy alternative to the traditional cuts. The Lady Heart diamond by David Arabov & Sons, is comprised of three half moon shaped gems placed together to form a heart. A Lady Heart is a great alternative to the heart shaped diamond, arguably the most romantic shape, which can be labor intensive to cut and therefore more expensive. Rose Cut diamonds, a style that dates back to the Georgian and Victorian Eras, are seeing a revival. A Rose Cut diamond has a flat bottom with a dome face cut with petal like triangular facets (or plains) for subtle brilliance and reflection. Trendsetting designers like Coomi are using these unpretentious gems as centers to ethnic rings with scrollwork detailing, resulting in new rings with an Old World feel.

Whether shopping for an engagement ring or wedding day jewels, the most important step is to purchase from a reputable jeweler. Look for a retailer who is a member of a professional trade association, such as Jewelers of America (JA). Jewelers of America, requires members to maintain high ethical standards and provides retailers with ongoing education.

This information provided by: Jewelers of America.