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Congratulations on your engagement! Now the fun – and, yes, the hard work and planning – begins. There’s a lot to think about in the run-up to your wedding day. The flowers, the cake, the guest list, the all-important wedding dress.
And, of course, there’s the wedding jewellery to consider.
Wedding jewellery is a special part of the biggest celebration of your life and, here at Fraser Hart, we want to be at the very heart of your celebration. That’s why we’ve created this wedding jewellery guide. It’s designed to provide you with all the information and guidance you need to choose the right wedding jewellery for you, and a wealth of inspiration to ensure you dazzle on your big day.
Your engagement ring is the sparkling start of your wedding jewellery story. It’s probably one of the more expensive items of jewellery you’ll ever buy so it’s important to take your time and do some research before you splash out.
To surprise or not to surprise
Surprising your loved one with an engagement ring is the most romantic of gestures. But it can be a nerve-wracking thing for any man to do. After all, most women have been dreaming of their perfect engagement ring for years and you want to get it right. Take your cue from the jewellery she already wears; does she wear modern or traditional jewellery in white or yellow metal? Take notice of the types of rings she admires on friends, celebrities, in jewellers’ windows. Ask her friends. But if you don’t get the engagement ring just right, at Fraser Hart we’ll exchange it for something she loves. And remember, today, many couples choose the engagement ring together so she won’t necessarily be expecting you to present her with a ring when you pop the question.
Diamond engagement rings
When you’re choosing a diamond engagement ring the first thing you need to do is to learn about the 4 Cs – carat, colour, cut and clarity of diamonds.These are the characteristics that determine a diamond’s beauty and its value.
Next, think about the shape of the diamond, particularly if your heart’s set on a solitaire engagement ring. There are many different diamond shapes available, each with their own history and characteristics. The most popular diamond shape for an engagement ring is round brilliant. Any diamond shapes which aren’t round brilliant are known as fancy shapes. These include princess cut, emerald cut, pear and marquise and are perfect for those who want a diamond engagement ring that is slightly different.
Diamond engagement rings: which style?
The style of the diamond engagement ring you choose is all-important. There are three traditional styles of diamond engagement rings.
Today, however, there is a huge range of non-traditional engagement ring styles available. Vintage-inspired diamond engagement rings are very much in vogue. These are diamond rings with distinct antique styling and offer a breath-taking alternative to the diamond cluster ring. If you love a lot of sparkle, why not choose a stunning diamond engagement ring with diamond-set shoulders?
Our key advice here is to take time to look around. Try on rings in a range of different styles and you will find a diamond engagement ring that’s just right for your love story.
Read our Diamond Buyer’s Guide to learn more about diamonds and choosing your perfect diamond engagement ring.
Diamond engagement rings: which metal?
Engagement rings are usually made in either platinum, yellow gold or white gold. Platinum is the rarest, strongest and most precious metal. Resistant to knocks and scratches, platinum’s radiant beauty is enduring and is the ideal backdrop for diamond engagement rings. A yellow gold engagement ring is a traditional choice which will always look timeless. Yellow gold has been used engagement rings for centuries and adds a warm glow to diamonds. White gold engagement rings are a beautiful but less expensive alternative to platinum engagement rings and have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Gemstone engagement rings
With a myriad of colourful gemstones available, many brides-to-be choose to deviate from the diamond engagement ring tradition. Sapphire, known as the gem of monarchs looks stunning surrounded by diamonds to form a glorious cluster and, since the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton, sapphire engagement rings have made comeback. Engagement rings set with rubies or emeralds can be equally dramatic. Or for something a little more unusual and incredibly poignant, why not choose a birthstone engagement ring. This is an engagement ring set with her birthstone, the gemstone that is traditionally associated to her birth month.
Your wedding rings are your most powerful and important piece of wedding jewellery, symbolising the joining of two people in marriage.
It isn’t known exactly when the wedding ring custom came about but it is thought that the tradition dates back to at least ancient Rome where brides wore a band of iron for its strength and believing the never-ending circle of the ring symbolised eternal love. Over the centuries, the custom of brides wearing wedding rings was adopted throughout the western world and, today, it is not only the brides who wear a ring; many men now choose to wear a wedding band as a symbol of their commitment.
Wedding bands have been worn on different fingers of the left and right hand in different eras and cultures. Most commonly, though, a wedding ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand, a tradition that dates back to the ancient times where people believed a vein – the vena amoris – connected it to the heart.
Choosing your wedding rings
Choosing a wedding ring is an exciting important decision. After all, it’s the one piece of wedding jewellery you’ll both be wearing forever so you need to get it just right. While the traditional plain band of gold is still the most popular choice for a wedding ring, brides and grooms today have the luxury of choosing from a wide range of styles and metal types. Long gone are the days when a bride’s and groom’s wedding bands had to match in terms of metal or style. The most important thing is to choose a wedding ring that suits you individually.
Wedding rings : which metal?
The choice of metal for the bride’s wedding ring tends to be dictated by her engagement ring. It is advisable – although not essential – to choose the same metal and carat as the engagement ring as different metals can scratch either and may have slight colour variations.
Wedding rings: which style?
While plain wedding rings are the traditional choice, today you’ll find a large range of wedding ring styles. Patterned wedding rings usually have engraved detailing around the band or a millgrain edging – a teeny beaded design. A popular pattern for a men’s wedding band is a central groove around the ring. For women, a fashionable wedding ring pattern is a diamond cut effect. This style gives a fabulous sparkling effect to a wedding ring and these rings are therefore also known as sparkle cut wedding rings.
Diamond-set wedding rings are very beautiful and have an advantage over plain bands which may lose a little of their lustre over time. Choose an elegant band set with a row of diamonds fitted closely together. Or if you prefer just a small touch of sparkle, opt for a wedding ring studded with a couple of diamonds. Diamond-set wedding rings aren’t just for women; there are plenty of men’s diamond-set wedding bands in masculine design. If you like the idea of having a touch of colour in your wedding band, we’d suggest that you choose a ring set with a semi-precious gem such as ruby, sapphire or emerald which are harder stones and suitable for everyday wear.
Wedding rings: which shape?
A key consideration for a bride’s wedding band is how it sits against her engagement ring. If your engagement ring is straight-edged, you’ll want a wedding ring that is also straight-edged. If your engagement ring isn’t straight-edged, you may need a fitted wedding ring, known as a shaped wedding ring, which will sit snugly against the contours of your engagement ring. At Fraser Hart, we offer a wide range of shaped wedding rings.
Wedding rings: which band style?
Band style refers to the profile of your wedding ring when it’s turned on its side. Again, for a bride’s wedding ring, it is advisable to have a band style which matches your engagement ring. Here are the most common band styles:
Design your own Wedding Rings
So, when you’re choosing your wedding rings, there is quite a lot to think about. At Fraser Hart we recommend that you take your time and start looking for your rings at least three months ahead of your wedding. This will give you time to try on different styles and ensure that your wedding rings are the perfect fit – for your finger and for your lifestyle.
You’ve spent ages choosing your wedding dress but no bridal outfit is complete without wedding jewellery. Bridal jewellery personalises a bride’s look and add an essential finishing touch. And remember that, while you’ll only wear your wedding dress once, your wedding jewellery can be worn time and time again, and will hold sentimental value for you. So it’s important to take your time and choose your wedding jewellery carefully.
Be traditional in pearls
From a simple pearl pendant to a classic stringed pearl necklace, from pearl stud earrings to delicate drops, pearl jewellery adds elegant, lustrous style to your wedding look.
Pearl jewellery has been synonymous with weddings for centuries. Traditionally presented by the father of the bride, pearls are said to symbolise love, virtue and prosperity. This tradition is thought to have originated in India thousands of years ago, when a father would collect pearls from the sea to present to his beloved daughter on her wedding day. Today, of course, brides tend to choose their wedding jewellery themselves and have a fabulous choice of pearl wedding jewellery.
Diamonds are a bride’s best friend
Diamond wedding jewellery is a classic, and a glamorous alternative to pearl jewellery. While a dainty diamond solitaire pendant, stud earrings and a diamond tennis bracelet are a “can’t go wrong” combination, there are a lot of exquisitely exciting diamond designs available. Every diamond is as unique as you are, so choose diamond jewellery that suits your personality and your wedding style.
It’s an old age tradition that every bride should wear something blue. Blue is said to represent purity and is the colour of the Virgin Mary’s robe. Often the “something blue” is the garter a bride traditionally wears. But why not opt for a piece of wedding jewellery set with a blue gemstone? Go for classic sapphire jewellery, aquamarine jewellery with its delicate blue hues, pretty blue topaz jewellery or vibrantly coloured tanzanite jewellery.
Choosing your wedding jewellery: hints and tips
Start with your wedding dress. There is no point in choosing your wedding jewellery until you’ve found the dress of your dreams.
Less is often more when it comes to wedding jewellery. Don’t go over the top, particularly if you’re wearing a tiara or a dress with a lot of detail. You don’t necessarily need earrings, a necklace and a bracelet.
Match the metal colour of your wedding jewellery with that of your wedding ring. If your wedding ring is platinum or white gold, choose wedding jewellery in a white metal.
The neckline of your wedding dress will dictate your choice of necklace. If you’re wearing a strapless dress, a necklace is almost essential. If you’re wearing a halter neck wedding dress, a necklace could look too fussy. V-necked dresses look fabulous when teamed with a pendant while round necklines work beautifully with a necklet or single strand necklace.
Heart jewellery tends to perfectly complement sweetheart necklines.
Think about how you’ll be wearing your hair. Drop earrings look stunning with hair in an up-do but might be too busy with loose, long flowing locks. If you’re wearing your hair down, opt for a simple pair of stud earrings.
Wearing a watch on your wedding day has traditionally been a “no-no” for women. However, with today’s cocktail-style watches in smaller, elegant designs, it isn’t unusual to see a bride in a watch. But a more common type of bridal wristwear is a bracelet. You don’t want to detract from your new wedding ring so go for something dainty. You won’t go wrong with a classic pearl bracelet or a sparkling diamond bracelet. If you want a more affordable alternative, choose a bracelet set with cubic zirconia or crystals.
Harmonise the gems in your jewellery with those on your dress and headdress. Pearls look breath-taking alongside beaded bridal gowns whereas diamonds work better with dresses detailed with crystals.
If you want to add a hint of colour to your wedding style, think about gemstone jewellery set with a light-coloured, subtle stone such as aquamarine or citrine. Deep rich rubies, emeralds and sapphires may be too bold and detract from the dress you’ve spent so much time choosing unless you are looking for a dramatic result.
While diamonds and pearls are wedding jewellery classics, they’re not the only option. It’s your day and your style so choose the wedding jewellery that’s just right for you.
P.S. Don’t forget the bridesmaids
You’re the star of the day but you still want your bridesmaids to sparkle. There are no rules to say that you have to buy the bridesmaids any or all of the jewellery they wear for your big day but you can help them select some pieces to wear. However, you may want to give your bridesmaids a gift of jewellery they can wear on your day as wedding party thank you? The key is to choose jewellery that enhances their dresses but doesn’t overpower them – or you. And those younger bridesmaids don’t need to miss out; at Fraser Hart we have a fabulous range of pretty children’s jewellery that’s perfect for young bridesmaids and flower girls.
Becoming engaged and getting married are huge milestones in your life so why not celebrate by exchanging presents with your future spouse? Indulge in something special that will evoke memories for years to come.
Wedding presents for your bride
For the bride, a piece of precious jewellery is the perfect gift. Go for something timeless – an elegant diamond solitaire pendant or diamond stud earrings. Traditionally, the groom gives his beloved the gift on the day of the wedding or just before, but if you think she might want to wear the piece of jewellery on the day, there is no reason why you can’t present it to her ahead of the wedding. A whimsical charm bracelet is a great idea for a bride’s wedding gift– start it off with a charm that’s meaningful to you both and you can add to it at special life events over the years.
Wedding presents for your groom
Traditionally, the bride gives her husband-to-be a wedding gift around the time of the engagement. However there is no reason why you can’t wait until your wedding day to present him with his precious gift. A watch is always the ideal present to give a groom. Choose a classic timepiece he can wear every day but is smart enough for formalwear. Or think about buying a pair of cufflinks which will take him through special occasions for years to come. Why not see if you can get your gift engraved with the date of the wedding and his name or initials. At Fraser Hart we can arrange engraving for a range of selected watches and cufflinks in any of our stores.
They’ve been with you every step of the way. They’ve helped you plan your special day, accompanied you on numerous wedding dress shopping trips, listened to your speech too many times to remember, they’re there by your side on your special day. So now it’s time to say thank you to your wedding party – your bridesmaids, maid of honour, flower girls, best man and ushers. And what better way to show your appreciation than with a special keepsake they’ll hold dear forever?
Gifts for the bridesmaids and maid of honour
As a bridal party thank you, many brides choose to give their bridesmaids a gift of precious jewellery. Buy them a timeless piece that will last for years to come. A diamond pendant, a pair of pearl stud earrings, a gold bracelet, a silver necklace. You may want to present them with the gift before the wedding so that they can accessorise with something you’ve chosen especially to suit your big day.
Traditionally, the bride gives bridesmaids identical gifts but why not take one idea and tweak it according to the bridesmaid? Think about a charm bracelet – the perfect reminder of a special time – and start it off with one charm that suits each bridesmaid’s personality. Or a piece of jewellery set with their birthstone. Try to spend around the same on each gift, although you may want to spend more on your maid or matron of honour. If you do, it’s nice to keep it in the theme of the bridesmaids gifts, but consider adding an extra item, for example, the matching earrings to the pendant you give her and the other bridesmaids.
Gifts for younger bridesmaids and flower girls
Younger girls needn’t miss out on a piece of jewellery. At Fraser Hart we have a wide range of children’s jewellery including D for Diamond, a darling collection of diamond-set jewellery designed just for the little ‘uns.
Thank you gifts for your best man and ushers
Say thank you to the men who have been your rock with something masculine and classic. A pair of stylish cufflinks for the ushers. An elegant watch for your best man. You don’t need to spend a fortune but do choose something that will never go out of style. For an extra personal and special touch, why not see if you can have your thank you gift engraved with a personal message. At Fraser Hart, we can arrange engraving on a range of items including selected watches, cufflinks and jewellery in any of our stores.
An eternity ring is often the final chapter of your wedding jewellery story. Epitomising eternal love, an eternity ring is traditionally presented by a man to his beloved as an anniversary gift or to mark the birth of a child. There is no right or wrong time to give an eternity ring however; an eternity ring is simply the ultimate symbol of your everlasting love.