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.
Do you want an engagement ring as multifaceted as you are? Design your own bauble that both celebrates your love and reflects your creative streak. Many jewelers will work with you to fashion a unique setting: At Cartier, you can pair loose stones with one of four classic settings; at Leviev, choose from different shapes and sizes to find the diamond that suits you best; Varna, Graff, and Katharine James can customize your ring's band and setting; and Royal Asscher lets you have your wedding date or a private sentiment laser-inscribed on your diamond. 1. Cartier 1895 Solitaire in Platinum. 2. Brilliant-Cut D Diamond with Pear-Shaped Diamonds, Leviev. 3. Contessa ring set in platinum, Varna. 4. Cushion-cut diamond with pav band set in platinum, Graff. 5. Juliets maiden ring set in platinum, Katharine James, $6,700. 6. Harry Winston, Harry Winston. 7. Royal Asscher deco three-stone engagement ring, Royal Asscher, from $17,000.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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