The Most Beautiful Engagement Rings: Styles, Advice, and Photographs
The Most Beautiful Engagement Rings
The most beautiful engagement rings are the most obvious symbols of a couple's commitment to each other. It is an extremely personal display of affection, and your rings should be or represent something you find beautiful, and want to associate with your significant other.
Usually the woman's engagement ring is the more expensive and flashy of the two, but of course both men and women can have beautiful wedding rings, also.
Whether you are looking for traditional diamond rings or are considering venturing out into the wide world of wedding ring styles, from simple platinum bands to elaborate and sentimental old-fashioned or heirloom rings, this guide will show you some of the many ring options you have, as well as things to consider about each style of wedding ring.
Update: March 11, 2010
I have added even more information on titanium and tungsten wedding and engagement rings. The pictures and advice are near the bottom of this article. Check it out!
Traditional Diamond Rings
Diamonds are a girl's best friend...Right? Well, sometimes. It's true that many women can only fathom a beautiful diamond ring, the bigger the better, on their ring finger. Diamonds are lovely, of course, but they are also the most expensive option. My biggest advice on this matter if you have your heart set on a diamond engagement or wedding ring? Take a step back and try to figure out how much of that desire is what you really want, and how much is what society thinks you should have. Or your friends. Remember, it's your wedding, not your friends', mother's, or relatives'.
Prospective fiances are advised to spend at least a couple months' salary on an engagement ring. Be aware, however, that it is largely the jewelry distributors who are giving us this advice. Diamond rings can get very expensive very fast, but the range is so great that it's difficult to give a price estimate. CNNMoney states that the 2005 engagement ring average price was $4,146.
To get an even better idea of how much money your dream ring will cost, I recommend Amazon.com's Create Your Own Ring feature. It's extremely extensive and can really help you get a feel for cut options and prices. You may able to buy a size you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford if you work with the jewel-setter to craft an engagement ring with any flaws concealed. There are many tricks of the trade to make a diamond look shinier, bigger, and better than it actually is. Talk to a jeweler you can trust to make your engagment or wedding ring perfect for you.
For a more modern twist on the engagement ring, consider a tension ring. Instead of being held in place by clasps and prongs, these elegant alternatives stay in place by the sheer pressure of each end of the ring.
Nothing says they have to be diamond, either. Why not consider getting your birth stone in it, instead, or another gem that means something to you and your betrothed? Because of the high tension involved, however, you will need to make sure your jewel can withstand the pressure, or it might need to be attached with hidden prongs or fasteners for a faux-tension look.
Such a classy look comes with a high price tag, however. Your tension ring will need to be custom made, partly because everyone's tension levels will differ, but mostly because you need a perfect fit. Because of the physics involved, you're never going to be able to resize a tension ring without destroying the band.
Prices for tension rings at TitaniumJewelry.com hover around $800. They have a unique look and some beautiful choices.
Meant to symbolize life commitment, these are rings that have a continuous stream of precious gems, usually diamonds, around the band. Instead of one gem being the centerpiece, the emphasis is on a smoothness and harmony.
Some women choose to have an eternity ring instead of a more traditional engagement or wedding ring, but some will wear all three rings.
Sizing the gems and having them placed carefully side-by-side can get expensive quickly. As with tension rings, resizing and editing the ring after it is made is not a feasible option, so custom fitting is the best approach. For many people, though, the stunning end result is well worth the price.
Also called vintage rings, this is jewelry passed down from you or your fiance's family. It has a great deal of emotional significance, and can be a wonderful way of showing how importance familial connections are to you, but they can also be a guilty drain if you don't love the ring.
Many women feel guilty for not adoring their vintage ring, but the problems are understandable. The rings might be old and worn looking, lacking in the precious gem department, or just plain outdated. Fortunately, though, there are some simple ways to turn an old ring into a new treasure.
- Get a new band for it. The problem is probably not that you think the diamond is ugly, but that the band is the problem. Get a sleek new band in your looking, and have Gramma's diamond placed in it. Voila, something old and something new, combined to make everyone happy.
- If it's possible, reuse the plain band, also. Maybe as the wedding ring? It can be a simple reminder of your family and your heritage.
- Upgrade the ring. Pick out some new gems, and have them arranged aesthetically around the original diamond. That way, you've personalized the ring without harming it in any way.
Family rings can be a deeply meaningful adornment, as long as they are worn with the right attitude. Wearing something you hate will only cause resentment and tension down the line.
Obviously outside the borders of traditional rings, tattoos are a permanent way to mark your commitment to another person. They are an edgier way to celebrate marriage, and are a common choice by people who have other tattoos and body modifications. ModBlog has a great post on lots of different types of commitment tattoos, including tattooed rings.
However, a tattooed ring is much more permanent than a diamond ring, and for this reason there can be a much greater cause for emotional distress if the relationship does not work out.
For an added twist, corporate America employees can wear a normal ring over their tattoo during the workday, and take it off to fully express themselves on their own time.
One of the biggest advantages to this wedding ring approach is the price. Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a well-done tattoo ring.
The design of Celtic rings is very carefully thought out. If you or your significant other's heritage is Celtic, you may already have a traditional family knot that you can use in designing your ring. If not, however, there are many designs to choose from, and many couples engrave symbols, dates, and words that are significant to them in their Celtic knot rings.
The bands are wide and thin, shaped like an elaborate braid or merely engraved to look like one. The one thing that all Celtic rings hold in common, though, is that their knots are eternal, representing a forever relationship and fidelity.
If your choice is Celtic, it's best for the two of you to choose the knot styles, as well as any engravings or gems, together. There are many other design elements, including pentacles, crosses, or friendship symbols, that you could incorporate into your ring. Whatever your personal preference, a lifetime commitment should begin with the perfect Celtic knot band.
Intricately carved metal designs create the surface of filigree wedding and engagement rings. The elaborateness of the engravings prove the quality of the filigree ring, and offer the wearer a comfortably traditional, yet still unique, wedding ring.
Often these rings are at least of medium thickness, without the ornamentation of gemstones, because a thinner band or jewels could compromise the stability of this ring style. Filigree-style rings were popular centuries ago, before precious jewels were readily available to attach to rings. And how refreshing would it be for someone to admire your ring for its quality and workmanship, rather than the size of the stone?
The filigree pattern can cover the entire ring or only part. Increasing in popularity is the multi-tone filigree ring, made of several different types of metals, such as gold and silver. The contrasting metals make the filigree pattern even more visible and beautiful.
The best filigree rings will be custom-made with a pattern uniquely designed to your specifications. Be sure it fits perfectly; you probably will not be able to return it. The price should not cost much more than the price of a similar plan wedding band, if you decide not to have jewels in your filigree wedding or engagement ring.
Titanium Wedding Rings
Titanium and tungsten rings have exploded in popularity within the past decade - titanium is extremely hard, resistant to scratches, and naturally hypoallergenic. These rings are very solid, elegant in a simple way, and surprisingly affordable.
Without embellishment, they tend to look masculine, but recent advances in ring technology have allowed jewelers to set precious gems and create more delicate designs with their titanium rings. Jewels cannot be set into prongs as with normal gold and silver wedding bands; instead, the gems are inlaid into the structure of the band itself.
Titanium wedding rings are a great choice if you want an eternity band, also, and to place the emphasis on the precious gems running all the way around the ring.
Where to go next?
- Wedding Ring Tattoos: Best Modern, Celtic, Religious
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There are many, many variations on the average wedding gown. Girls, this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, so find the wedding dress that best fits your personality and your desires, and look like the princess/rock star/fairy/model/wha
So Many Options!
It's your engagement, it's your relationship, and I believe it's important to absolutely love the most obvious symbol of the man or women you adore.
Hopefully this guide helped you realize that there are many paths to engagement ring happiness, and yours might just be the path less traveled by.
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