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Traditionally, a band was worn to complement an engagement ring's shape and style. Today's bands are so creative and detailed in their own right -- with floral motifs or bold geometrics -- that many brides prefer a band as their engagement ring. "You can design a band that will exceed the sparkle of a large single-diamond ring -- and at less cost," says Matthew Bogosian, vice president of Michael B., a jewelry firm. Styles vary widely, but a few are particularly popular: In an eternity band, the stones are set in an unbroken circle all around the ring. A pave setting features many small diamonds placed so closely together that the metal is barely visible. Left column, top to bottom: Rings by Martin Katz, Peter Storm, Lady Heart Collection, Precision Set, Damiani, Rina Limor, Christopher Designs, Michael B., Daniel K; right column, top to bottom: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels; Cathy Waterman; Memoire; Benchmark.
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Bold Diamond Rings
We're sweet on these bold, statement-making rings that aren't afraid to show a little personality. First column from top to bottom: Semi-mount with round diamonds, Peter Storm; Square-cut diamond, Cartier; Round Crisscut center surrounded by round diamonds, Christopher Designs; Oval-cut solitaire, De Beers; Emerald-cut diamond with pink-diamond pave band, Graff, 212-355-9292. Second column top to bottom: "Flora" wedding set from Reale Collection, Varna; Purity Collection pure-platinum semi-mount, Memoire; Round in Tiffany setting, Tiffany & Co., 800-843-3269; Carmella Collection accented with round brilliants, Kirk Kara. Third column top to bottom: Four-prong High Jewelry Collection, Bulgari; "Belle Epoque" band, Damiani Round brilliant-cut center stone surrounded by baguette and round pave-set diamonds, Tacori.
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A Diamond Glow
Find your perfect diamond, and you'll feel its reflective glow for a lifetime. Top row left to right: "Classic" band with emerald-cut diamonds, A. Jaffe; White gold, Claude Thibaudeau, 877-397-9411; Hand engraving and princess-cut stones, Coast Diamond; Wheat band with princess-cut diamond, by Cathy Waterman, from twistonline.com; "Classic Nouveau" Stardust Diamonds. Second row left to right: White gold with six-prong setting, Stuart Jewelry Designs, 212-966-4833; Diamond flower cluster, Arezzo; Band with round and marquise diamonds, Simon G. Jewelry, 800-627-2661. Third row left to right: Diamond with pear-shaped accents and graduated round diamond sides, OGI Ltd. ogi-ltd.com; "Swan Collection" with diamond pave, Mauboussin, mauboussin.com; Emerald-cut center diamond, Penny Preville, pennypreville.com; Art Deco ring, Stephen Russell New York, 212-570-6900. Bottom row left to right: "Repertoire Select Dream Diamond Solitaire" square brilliant-cut diamond, Hearst on Fire, 877-737-3328; Handmade with cushion-cut diamond, London Jewelers, 516-627-7475; Band with baguette and round diamonds, Gottlieb & Sons, gottlieb-sons.com; Cushion cut, Harry Winston, harrywinston.com; "Bellport," Michael Bondanza; "Juliet's Court Open Fleur de Lis," Katharine James, katharinejames.com.
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Top row left to right: Oval cut with accent diamonds, Fortunoff Collection; Pear-shaped diamond with pear-shaped diamond sides, Graff; Asscher cut with round brilliant diamonds, Kwiat. Second row left to right: "Solitaire 1895" three-diamond cushion cut, Cartier; Semi-mount accented with diamonds, Rina Limor; White gold, Ritani. Bottom row left to right: "Love Me Knot" stackable bands with pave setting, Dana Michele; "Link" diamond lattice band with round and Asscher-cut diamonds, A. Link; "Old Mine" diamond-cluster ring, Fred Leighton, 212-288-1872.
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Wedding Rings that Make a Statement
Rules, what rules? Say "Yes," "I Do," or both with a versatile, supersize, statement-making sparkler. 1. Get the luxe, layered look of stacked bands with just one row of baguettes flanked by rounds. $6,800, Rina Limor Bridal Collection, rinallimor.com. 2. With this band of lyrical leaves, nature is at your fingertips. "Leaf," $10,600, Jack Kelege, 877-653-5343. 3. Modern yet fanciful, this band's bezel setting guarantees a snag-free surface. "Endless Love," $4,752, Ritani, ritani.com. 4. This endless infinity design sets your love in stone. "Loop" ring, $15,500, Harry Winston, harry winston.com. 5. Clearly gorgeous, these teardrop-shaped diamonds put the spotlight where it belongs: on your finger. Kwiat, kwiat.com. 6. Delicately clustered baguette and round diamonds create a brilliant circle of blooms. $11,490, Tacori, tacori.com. 7. "Oui" love! Why simply say it when you can spell it out and display it with this cheeky, charming stunner? "Oui" ring, $2,580, Dior Fine Jewelry, diorjoaillerie.com. 8. This side diamond dazzler makes a statement, but its floral flourish keeps things soft. $2,850, Chad Allison, chadallison.com. 9. This chain-link diamond band is sleek, simple, and symmetrical -- it's a modernist's dream. Varna, varna.com.
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Engagement and Wedding Ring Pairs
Just like Romeo and Juliet, these rings were simply meant to be together -- even if you don't buy them that way. 1. The look is simple -- with an understated twist. "Aphrodite" ring, $4,785, and band, $1,585, Penny Preville, pennypreville.com. 2. It doesn't get much more contemporary than pairing two solitaires. Rose-cut diamond rings in pear, $7,600, and marquis, $5,475, Conroy & Wilcox, conroywilcox.com. 3. It's the classic set: a bold solitaire with a twinkling band. Princess-cut diamond ring, $115,000, and "DB Classic" band, $3,200, De Beers, debeers.com. 4. The cusion-cut center stone and stunning round accents are a match made in heaven. Ring, $12,950, and band $1,570, Christopher Designs, christopherdesigns.com. 5. They're not matchy matchy, but this golden couple are perfect together. Ring, by Michael B. from Michael C. Fina, michaelcfina.com. Band, $5,300, Furrer-Jacot, furrer-jacot.ch. 6. This sleek and modern twosome steals the spotlight with blinding bling. ring, from $5,000, and "Bezet" band, from $1,900, Tiffany & Co., 800-526-0649. 7. With its petal-pink diamonds and delicate band, this duo has a distinctly feminine touch. Ring, $25,000, and band, $3,000, Fred Leighton, 212-288-1872. 8. Channel 1940s glamour with this rose-cut diamond. Vintage stone reset in gold and silver, $7,000, Single Stone, singlestone.com. Band, $2,750, by Zoe, from Barneys New York, barneys.com.
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Gold Wedding Bands
Look on the bright side! The warmer metal -- with its sunny finish -- is back. 1. Put two bands together -- one rose gold, one yellow gold -- for a dazzling duo. $1,520 and $1,650, Christopher Designs, christopherdesigns.com.. 2. This extra-wide knockout mixes round and baguette shapes. $35,400, David Webb, davidwebb.com. 3. Word alone or together, these fabulous fluted bands stack up brilliantly. Gold, $2,800, and platinum, $3,200, McTeigue & McClelland, mc2jewels.com. 4. This Milky Way-inspired blins is about as magical as it gets. $1,500, Nina Basharova, ninabasharova.com. 5. The folded gold and see-through setting makes this band stand out, $725, Doyle & Doyle, doyledoyle.com. 6. These raw, textured circles look like diamond-dusted rose petals. "Ashley," $2,900, Melinda Maria, melindamaria.com. 7. Want a fresh take on an antique style? Try this scroll ring on for size. $5,910, by Cathy Waterman, from Barneys New York, barneys.com.
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A Boxful of Engagement Rings
What you settle on is a matter of taste (and budget). You might crave a prong-held solitaire or flashing sand-fine pave diamonds. Or maybe a ring with streamlined, Art Deco-like side stones is more your style. First row: Tacori. Second row, from left to right: Kirk Kara; Christopher Designs. Third row, from left to right: Rina Limor Designs; Stephen Russell; Tacori; Kwiat; Tiffany & Co. Fourth row, from left: Christopher Designs; Tiffany & Co.; De Beers; Penny Preville. Fifth row, from left to right: Bulgari; Cartier; Kwiat; Christopher Designs; Chad Allison. Sixth row, from left to right: Stephen Russell; Christopher Designs; Rina Limor Designs; Ritani. Seventh row, from left: Hearts on Fire; Harry Winston; De Beers.
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Affordable Wedding Bling
Do you love the look of a large stone but can't bring in the bling under budget? Why not go with a ring that's set with a colored semi-precious gemstone instead? Cool blue aquamarines, pretty pink tourmalines, a hunk of honey quartz in cocktail-ring dimensions -- all make a bold, brightly hued statement and deliver an of-the-moment look that's all yours. It's definitely a trend that's big in every way but the price tag. Clockwise from top: Padparadsha sapphire from Fred Leighton, pink tourmaline by Verdura, aquamarine from Fred Leighton, honey quartz by Mish New York.