Titanium Finds a Home – Again

A few years ago, companies started offering men’s wedding bands made of alternative metals—titanium, tungsten and stainless steel. These metals are not considered “precious” (not rare) and manufacturers figured that if they advertised their rings as tougher and more rugged they would appeal to men who wanted something different, and get the cash registers ringing. Since all the metals are more scratch resistant than any precious metal, it wasn’t too hard a sell to get men to bite. Also, even at 300% to 500% markups for the jeweler, the rings were in many cases one fourth the price of platinum or gold. Men ate them up, at first, until they started looking around and noticed that since the price point was so cheap, any Tom, Dick or Harry could afford one…and did! The bag-boy at the supermarket could have one; the janitor that cleaned his office; and the caddy that carried his golf clubs (all probably made of titanium). Understandable, a wedding band is a very personal purchase and most of us like to have something unique and special and even a little expensive, so we won’t see the same ring on all our buddies. Quite simply, it turned out that quite a few men take great pride in their wedding bands and what they signify. So, what happened to the alternative metal wedding band business? It collapsed quicker than an air bag after a head on collision. The sad part was (with the exception of stainless steel and tungsten) titanium actually made for a pretty cool wedding band; gun-metal in color, matte finishes as well as gold inlays and light as a feather! (See photos.)
Titanium Ring 1
Titanium Ring 2
Titanium Ring 3
Titanium Ring 4
Titanium Ring 5
Titanium Ring 6

Within five minutes you’ll actually forget you have it on! Note: I’ve never liked stainless steel because it sounds and looks common and has a high mirror finish which I think looks too flashy. My problem with tungsten is that the metal is just too damn hard! Its melting point is over 1700 degrees Celsius. If your finger was ever hurt and swelled up, the ring could not be cut off. The only way to get it off would be with large vice grip locking pliers that could crack your bones at the same time they’re trying to break the ring. No ring is worth losing a finger over. Anyway, titanium really wasn’t such a bad idea, but died off with the rest of the alternatives a couple of years ago.

Like the phoenix that rose from the ashes, companies like Benchmark (big company) realized that titanium was a good product but just marketed wrong. A titanium men’s wedding band never should have been marketed as the new Rolls Royce band for a man with discerning taste; it should have been marketed as a back-up ring–“work-out ring” if you will. A man shouldn’t have just the one spectacular, platinum, hand-made wedding band, but a titanium band as well that he can wear when he’s tinkering on the car, working out at the gym or even swimming. Titanium should never have been marketed as the #1 ring but the ring you don’t care if you mess up. A fun, comfortable ring that lets your wife and everyone else know you are “taken” but feels like you have nothing on! I’ve even talked to guys who golf and say it didn’t affect their grip on the club. At an average cost of $100, compared to a top, hand-made, platinum, comfort fit band that can run north of $2000, titanium has finally found a home as “the work-out ring.” A light-weight, hypo-allergenic, durable ring a guy puts on when he doesn’t want to hurt his prized platinum wedding band.
About Titanium
Titanium is the ninth most common element in the Earth’s crust. It is also found in meteorites, the moon and the sun. It is hard, resistant to corrosion, has a high melting temperature and is lightweight. Its strength is similar to steel, but is 45% lighter. Because of its incredible strength, it is used to make armor plated vehicles for the military. Titanium has been found to be quite compatible with the human body, thus is often used in surgical instruments and medical implants. Titanium was named by M.H. Klaproth after the Titans, the giant sons of Uranus and Gaea. Greek Mythology has it that they set out to rule Heaven, but were defeated by Zeus.
Written by Fred Cuellar
Research by Rachel Richards
(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

Rebirth

New Arrivals

This summer is no different than last summer in respect to how I spent it. Each year, in July, August and September, I scan the country-side for the hot-off-the-castings men’s wedding bands. As usual, I looked over 600 new entries to pick the handful I predict have a chance to make it into next year’s top ten men’s wedding band list. As I predicted last season, gold has infiltrated the ranks to comprise over 50% of the hopefuls. During the next quarter, as the sales figures come in, we’ll see if any of these rookies have the right stuff. Be sure to look at E-motion 1 and 2 to see the wildest ring probably ever designed. It literally looks like a slinky is rolling around on your finger with every movement of your hand. Also, the new tempered gold and platinum slide is spectacular; as well as three new Upperclassmen rings (Two-gether, Diamond Streamline, and G.Q.) that are beyond cool!

by Fred Cuellar

Tempered Gold and Platinum
Streamline 1
Two Tone Streamline 2
Streamline 3
Honeycomb
E-Motion 1
E-Motion 2
Polar
Reflection
Two-gether
Diamond Streamline
Click image to enlarge

(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

The Upperclassmen

Super-elite Men’s Wedding Bands

When I was a kid, I loved to watch “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” I found it fascinating how the super-wealthy lived and spent their money. Even now, I must admit, when my wife has finished reading US Weekly, I can’t help but sneak a peek at what celebrities and pseudo-celebrities are up to.

That said, what I now present, I know, are not for everyone. In fact, for years I have not even acknowledged this niche market because there were too few people who could afford these upper-echelon rings. But, month after month, year after year, I’ve been bombarded with mail asking me to do a feature on men’s diamond accented precious metal wedding bands. If you’re prone to sticker shock, you can beg off now. If you’re just curious how millionaires and billionaires decorate the fourth finger of their left hand, then read on. I present to you: The Upperclassmen.

Unity

Unity™ is a representation of two that have become one; one life, one love, one soul. Starting with a single diamond (size of your choice) set in an imaginary box with no boundaries, Unity™ distinguishes itself from the pack. Constructed from a heavy, hand-rolled tube of platinum then hand tooled with two precisely placed parallel lines, this commanding tempered band takes center stage and never relinquishes it.

Infinity I
Infinity II
Infinity III

Infinity IV
Infinity V
Infinity VI
Infinity VII

The Infinity™ Collection contains some of the most sought-after men’s diamond wedding bands on the planet. By strategically placing diamonds (size of your choice) evenly around the band, the wearer is always guaranteed to get a blaze of sparkle, no matter how the band turns. The diamonds symbolize an everlasting life and union. A bond never broken, a promise always kept.
Odyssey


Odyssey™ starts with a hand-made, high polished, comfort fit track of platinum. The diamonds seem to be carving an orbit on to this exquisite masterpiece, giving the illusion of a journey etched in time.
Trinity


Trinity™ represents the mind, body and soul of two that have come together. Available in any precious metal, your choice of width, and always heavy comfort fit. Trinity™ is tempered for scratch resistance and hand-engraved.
Pillars

Pillars™: For any marriage to succeed, it must have a solid foundation of trust, love and friendship. These diamond pillars are a daily reminder of the ideals we hold true.
Lineage

Lineage™: The lessons of love handed down from generation to generation—Grandfather to Father to Son. Show the world that you come from a long line of love…a line that will continue for generations to come. Available in any precious metal, your choice of width, and always heavy comfort fit.

Excelsior


Excelsior™:
Inspired by the romance and gallantry of the 15th century—a time when knights courted maidens; the age when true romance was born. This artistic creation, with two braided cords of platinum surrounded by two diamond eternity bands represents nobility, honor, loyalty and chivalry.

All the rings are Novell™ creations; the Rolls Royce of wedding bands. The featured rings range in price from $5000.00 to over $100,000.00 retail.
(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

Men’s Wedding Bands 3

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

The wedding band sector has gone through a lot of turmoil the last couple of years. Spiking platinum and gold prices are creating tough choices for consumers. Do I get my #1 choice wedding band or the honeymoon to Hawaii? It was one thing when a basic platinum band could be garnered for less than a grand but with a basic band starting at 2K these days, a whole new set of options have to be considered.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

Most men are opting for white gold (200% increase since 2004) and others are buying a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde concoction of palladium, platinum, cobalt and copper to try to save a few bucks. In the past, there were clear cut favorite bands that allowed me to rank them 1-10, but now there are no clear cut winners. The #1 selling band one month becomes the lowest selling band the month after.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain
Some people are buying two-tone bands (which I’m showing) and the old classic 6mm yellow gold, half-round, high polish band. Men are choosing a white gold band 61% of the time versus 29% for platinum.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

Here’s what everyone is buying in no particular order. Please note that these styles have become so popular that they are now available through all major manufacturers even though Benchmark and Novell (hands down) make a better product. Benchmark and Novell are still the only manufacturers in the U.S. with a lifetime sizing guarantee.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

Men’s Wedding Bands 2

In July of 2003, I completed an 18 month study on men’s wedding bands, (see the article “The Top 10 Men’s Wedding Bands.”) In that study, I reviewed over 600 bands from 30 different companies. At the conclusion of the study it became plainly obvious to me that while there are many good wedding band companies, only two of them are elite: Novell Wedding Bands and Benchmark. Not only are they the only wedding band companies to have life-time sizing guarantees, but their customer service and attention to detail are unrivaled. This year I asked only ten manufacturers to submit their wedding bands and, once again, Novell and Benchmark were the last two standing. (If I were to give honorable mentions, Artcarved and Scott Kay would make the list—Artcarved for a consistently good product but lack of originality, and Scott Kay with a handsome product, but in the end, way over-priced because of their designer label.

If you’re familiar with last year’s top ten, you’ll recognize a few of the old faces, (Classic, Classic Millgrain, Tempered, etc.) but there are some new categories that are going to really turn some heads. Without further ado, the top ten men’s wedding band list for 2004…

#10 A Tie: The Classic and Classic Millgrain: If the sole job of the ring is to just announce you’re “off the market” then it’s hard to beat the old Classic. The Classic comes in any width, is half round (curved on top) and is generally preferred comfort fit™ (inside round not flat). The most popular width for a man is 6mm (about 1/4 inch) and most men prefer the heavy comfort fit. ™ (Comfort fit™ is offered in ranges from light to heavy).

The Classic Millgrain is perfect for the man who feels like the engine on the moped of the Classic needs a little tweaking. The beaded edge isn’t just decorative. If the ring slips out of your hand (what the heck were you taking your ring off for anyway?) and hits a hard surface it’s less likely to dent the metal.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

#9 Gold Tempered and Patterned: For the first time in years, gold has made a comeback. From the very attractive satin to the chalkboard finishes of the tempered bands to the Cubic, In Line and mesh styles of the patterned bands, gold is showing that it’s tired of taking second place to platinum. With the meteoric rise of gold prices in the last year, gold is getting back the respect of old. I won’t be surprised if by next year five of the ten spots will go to the gold.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#8 Edwardian:
Distinguished by the hand-engraved scrolled and leaf patterns, these bands aren’t for everyone. The typical guy has more of a minimalist attitude when it comes to a wedding band—less is more. The Edwardian customer is more an aficionado of detail than comfort; style than function. A popular design of royalty, its origin, these 100% hand-engraved DaVinci’s are for the connoisseur of fine things.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#7 The Slides:
Up a slot from last year, the slides refuse to get knocked out of the count down. If you can’t decide between platinum and yellow gold then the Slide is right up your alley. Constructed in two pieces (inner tube and outer shell) then soldered together, the wearer gets the benefit of platinum or a white gold ring with a touch of yellow or vice versa. You’ll notice that this year’s pictorial includes two new slides: the Hand Tooled Tempered Slide (7C) and the Classic Millgrain Slide (7D).

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

#6 Tempered: The Tempered bands are offered by all manufacturers. The idea behind them is to place a satin like finish on the rings to make them more scratch resistant. Does it work? It sure does! Plus, when you do eventually get a scratch on it, the scratch blends in so the ring looks newer longer!

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#5 Dual Lines:
The symbolism behind the Dual Lines collection is simple yet beautiful. Two dual lines (representing life lines) are placed on the top surface of the ring. Each goes in the same direction but each following its own path. The lines are there to remind us that when we marry we should not give up our own individuality even though we are going on a life time adventure with the one we love. Dual Lines are a Novell inspired creation.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#4 The Interwovens:
As their title intimates, the Interwovens are a weaving of precious metal. The most complicated and most expensive (way over $2K) they are not only time consuming to make (in some cases months) but a labor of love. Created to symbolize the strength in unity when a couple comes together and invincibility should anyone try to pry them apart. Once again, if you’re Donald Trump or have someone give you a lot of money, you can’t go wrong with these magnificent Novell rings. 4B, 4C, and 4D are brand new interwovens for 2004. Interwoven 4D’s nickname is Michelin for it’s resemblance to a tire tread. The designers of this new ring say they created the interwoven tire tread design to symbolize the idea that a man should “tread softly, but carry a big stick.”

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#3 Lava:
Think you’re too much to handle? Real “hot stuff?” Then the brand new Lavas are for you. Patterned after old volcanic eruption flows and prehistoric cave drawings, the unfinished yet completed original works of art seem to be a favorite for the caveman that dwells in all of us—raw, yet refined. The Lavas are a Novell inspired creation.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

#2 A Tie: The Forever and The Inverted Wedding Band: A Novell creation.
Each Forever ring comes out of a super-sized hand rolled pipe of platinum (over 30 percent thicker than any other platinum ring made) and then each ring is hand engraved with an ancient Greek X over and over on to its surface. The Greek X represents 1,000 years and the symbol for Chronos the God of Time. The meaning is “I will love you for over 1,000 years; till the end of time.

Touted as the world’s most comfortable wedding band, last year’s #1 drops to a tie for #2. Years in development, Benchmark has always sought to make a men’s wedding ring more comfortable. (Men’s #1 complaint is that their wedding ring quite simply is uncomfortable to wear). If comfort is your #1 concern than the inverted wedding band is the answer! By contouring the outer body of the ring to two small aerodynamic curves, perspiration is allowed to roll through the canal allowing the webbing on either side of your ring finger to breath. It also makes it lighter. Within just a few days you’ll forget you have it on! Not just comfortable but a beauty to behold. When I first held it I wasn’t sure if I was holding a ring or something that belonged in The Museum of Modern Art.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#1 Chiseled, AKA “Self Made Man”:
Looks like a throwback to the old hammered style wedding bands till you take a good close look. Each of the centers of the chiseled collection look like the artist took a hammer and chisel to a circular pipe of platinum to give it its masculine finish. Each band is then hand turned to produce its distinctive side wall trim. Only Novell with their painstaking attention to detail (3 weeks to hand make each ring) could come up with such a masterpiece. If price is no object then Novell is the only way to go. They are the best among the best.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

Men’s Wedding Bands

I’ve scoured manufacturer after manufacturer in search of the top ten men’s wedding bands on the planet. The bands were judged on price, quality, popularity and ingenuity. It comes as no surprise to me that all ten winners come from only two companies–Novell, who has probably single- handedly revolutionized the way a men’s wedding band can be custom made and Benchmark (the Mercedes Benz of wedding bands) who invented the comfort fit™ phenomena. While there are many ring companies that have similar, if not copy-cat designs, they lacked the consistency in quality, customer service and warranties. (Click on any of the images to view a larger version — May take some time to load on slower modem connections. Please use your browser’s ‘Back’ button to return to this page once you have viewed the wedding band.)

#10 The Classic: If the sole job of the ring is to just announce you’re “off the market” then it’s hard to beat the old Classic. The Classic comes in any width, is half round (curved on top) and is generally preferred comfort fit™ (inside round not flat). The most popular width for a man is 6mm (about _ inch) and most men prefer the heavy comfort fit. ™ (Comfort fit™ is offered in ranges from light to heavy).

 

 


#9 The Classic Millgrain:
The C.M. is perfect for the man who feels like the engine on the moped of the Classic needs a little tweaking.

The beaded edge isn’t just decorative. If the ring slips out of your hand (what the heck were you taking your ring off for anyway?) and hits a hard surface it’s less likely to dent the metal.

 


#8 The Slides:
If you can’t decide between platinum and yellow gold then the Slide is right up your alley. Constructed in two pieces (inner tube and outer shell) then soldered together the wearer gets the benefit of platinum or a white gold ring with a touch of yellow or vice versa. Overwhelmingly popular in the late 90’s (Prior #1) its current popularity has dropped it to 8th place.

 


#7 Nephis:
Strictly a Benchmark product that never entirely caught on but still makes the top ten for its ingenuity. If two tone, expensive and unique are what you are looking for then the Nephis is for you. Instead of casting two rings and then sliding them together, the yellow gold is poured into already cooled platinum to create a unique blended metal design. It’s like the inventors over at Benchmark have gotten oil and water to mix! A tremendous work of art!

 

#6 Chiseled: A.K.A “Self-made man.” Looks like a throwback to the old hammered style wedding bands till you take a good close look. Each of the centers of the chiseled collection look like the artist took a hammer and chisel to a circular pipe of platinum to give it its masculine finish. Each band is then hand turned to produce its distinctive side wall trim. Only Novell with their painstaking attention to detail (3 weeks to hand make each ring) could come up with such a masterpiece. If price is no object then Novell is the only way to go. They are the best among the best.

 

 

#5 Tempered: The Tempered bands are offered by all manufacturer. The idea behind them is to place a satin like finish on the rings to make them more scratch resistant. Does it work? It sure does! Plus, when you do eventually get a scratch on it, the scratch blends in so the ring looks newer longer!

 

 

#4 Dual Lines: The symbolism behind the Dual Lines collection is simple yet beautiful. Two dual lines (representing life lines) are placed on the top surface of the ring. Each goes in the same direction but each following its own path. The lines are there to remind us that when we marry we should not give up our own individuality even though we are going on a life time adventure with the one we love. Dual Lines are a Novell inspired creation.

 

#3 The Interwovens: As their title intimates, the Interwovens are a weaving of precious metal. The most complicated and most expensive (way over $2K) they are not only time consuming to make (in some cases months) but a labor of love. Created to symbolize the strength in unity when a couple comes together and invincibility should anyone try to pry them apart. Once again, if you’re Donald Trump or have someone to give you a lot of money, you can’t go wrong with these magnificent Novell rings.

 

 

#2 The Forever: A Novell creation. This was a tough choice; I went back and forth on whether or not “The Forever” should be #1. Each Forever ring comes out of a super-sized hand rolled pipe of platinum (over 30 percent thicker than any other platinum ring made) and then each ring is hand engraved with an ancient Greek X over and over on to its surface. The Greek X represents 1,000 years and the symbol for Chronos the God of Time. The meaning is “I will love you for over 1,000 years; till the end of time.

 

#1 The Inverted Wedding Band: Touted as the world’s most comfortable wedding band I eventually could not deny Benchmark the top slot! Years in development, Benchmark has always sought to make a men’s wedding ring more comfortable. (Men’s #1 complaint is that their wedding ring quite simply is uncomfortable to wear). If comfort is your #1 concern than the inverted wedding band is the answer! By contouring the outer body of the ring to two small aerodynamic curves, perspiration is allowed to roll through the canal allowing the webbing on either side of your ring finger to breath. It also makes it lighter. Within just a few days you’ll forget you have it on! Not just comfortable but a beauty to behold. When I first held it I wasn’t sure if I was holding a ring or something that belonged in The Museum of Modern Art.

 

 


Kudos Benchmark!
Kudos Novell!

You guys are the leaders of the pack!
(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

Ladies Diamond Wedding Bands

Take a look at jewelry that adorns women’s fingers these days. “Everything old is new again.” From Edwardian and Art Deco knock-offs to refurbished 1920’s bridal sets, women are finding comfort in styles that date back over 100 years. It seems women want to capture a bit of the magic that their great-grandmothers had in a simpler time, in a simpler place. A time when we weren’t counting how many soldiers were dying every day or wondering if Tom Ridge was going to turn our terror threat warning level to Mocha or Chartreuse. The purpose of this article is to give you a very broad look at ladies diamond wedding bands that have been popular over the years. What worked; what failed; was re-invented and what remains timeless.

A Short History

In the late 1800’s more and more women were looking for a wedding band that would compliment their engagement ring (no different than now). One of the first on the scene was the “High Prong Five Diamond Wedding Band,” featured in photographs 1A and 1B.

The idea seemed simple enough; if an engagement ring looked good set up in prongs, then the wedding band will look good with smaller versions of the center stone also set up high in prongs. What no one took into account was that smaller diamonds couldn’t have heavy prongs. So while a four or six prong head could hold an engagement diamond fairly well, small little fish hook prongs could be easily damaged allowing the diamonds in the wedding band to fall out!

While jewelers liked replacing small diamonds that fell out of wedding bands, the women were frustrated each time they had to visit the family jeweler to replace another lost stone. Eventually, it dawned on diamond setters that the diamonds on the wedding band didn’t have to be mounted high. In fact, if they mounted them lower and closer to the band and shortened the length of the prongs, the diamonds would be more secure. See photos 2A and 2B.

While the new “Pinch Set” diamond bands were more durable, they weren’t well received by everyone. Quite a few women found the new wedding bands unattractive and didn’t want to sacrifice beauty for durability (a battle we still fight today).

The solution seemed to pop up in the form of an improvement, not a replacement, of the original High Prong Settings–by adding a support bridge (like a trellis) between the prongs for support. See photos 3A and 3B. Neither beauty nor durability was sacrificed.

The world of ladies wedding bands seemed to be pleased but that would all change when the “bead set” bands hit the market; pictured in photo 4A.

The “bead set” (named after the tiny beads of metal that held in the diamonds) Wedding Bands attempted to do something that hadn’t been done before—set the diamonds in the band with high polished beads of white gold or platinum that couldn’t be distinguished from the diamonds. The effect was that it would end up looking like a very petite, feminine, micro-thin row of diamonds. Something so delicate and tasteful did not steal any thunder from the engagement ring but could still look wonderful as a stand-alone. These were a huge hit and came back on the scene when they were featured in US Magazine in 2002. The “bead set” Micro Diamond Wedding Band was, is and will always be an icon of class and sophistication. The only negative review it ever received was that it was too inexpensive (from socialites) since it doesn’t require large diamonds to be beautiful. They, of course, were easily appeased with wider bead set wedding bands, later called “Pave” Wedding Bands. See photo 5.

Through the late 1940’s post-war era, women were happy with the choices available, but that would all change with Rock and Roll and the 1950’s. During the Cold War, women were striving for ways to be more unique; different. While in the past, they didn’t mind having a standard issue wedding band that was identical to their friends’, they now were looking for more individuality. It was during these times that Channel Set Wedding Bands became the rage. From the heavy-duty donut shaped round diamond bands (see photo 6), to the baguette eternity band (see photo 7) that Marilyn Monroe wore when she married Joe DiMaggio in 1954, women wanted to have what other women didn’t. They wanted their own style (still no different today).

The Channel Set Wedding Band proved to be a big hit. They didn’t have any prongs to catch on clothing and made it almost impossible for the diamond to fall out. One down side to the Channel Set Bands was the heavy metal needed on each side to keep the channel from opening up. This would be fixed decades later with the new Micro-Wall Wedding Bands, in which the platinum was poured into a vacuum and compressed to make a very fine “micro” thin wall that was just as durable as the old donut bands. See photo 8.



Today we see bands that run the gamut from Tiffany’s Etoille ring (photo 9), to individual channels (photo 10), to even common prong rings (photo 11).

But, far and away, the #1 biggest seller is the previously mentioned Micro-Wall Diamond Wedding Band (photo 12). They are available with any size diamonds, half way or all the way around. They can be stacked, worn alone, and are practically indestructible. Since princess cut diamonds are used in the channel instead of rounds, there are no gaps for hand lotion, soap or dirt to get trapped, making them much easier to clean. Their only down side is they must be custom made to order and are the priciest of all the bands ranging from 5K to over 100K. But price aside, they are the most comfortable for the wearer and can be worn alone during Pilates, Yoga or running to the grocery store when you don’t want to wear the solitaire. These bands are a favorite for anybody who is active and doesn’t have time to worry about hurting their ring but still wants a touch of class.

(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)

Beyond the Tiffany – PART IV

Photos courtesy of Inside Weddings, “Fall 2008 edition of INSIDE Weddings”

INSIDE Weddings continued its spectacular tradition of presenting the most popular and beautiful engagement rings every year. I strongly suggest anyone looking for a setting buy this Fall 2008 edition of INSIDE Weddings.

set1set2set3set4set5set6set7set8
set9set10set11set12set13set14set15set16
set17set18set19set20set21set22set23

Beyond the Tiffany – PART III

Photos courtesy of Inside Weddings, “1000+ Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands

My occupation keeps me constantly skimming through countless magazines on a daily basis. Who knows? My next muse may be lurking behind an article hidden in some trendy magazine. Luckily, I came across the Winter 2007 issue of Inside Weddings Magazine. They have really done it this time. I must admit this is the most abundant magazine collection of modern engagement ring styles! Great job Inside Weddings Magazine! This article includes most, if not all, the popular settings today. If you are in search of a setting for that special diamond, this is it. You’ve it the jackpot! Please note that I have included all designers except for De Beers. I have no relations in any shape or form with this company. You may see the complete article in the magazine itself.


COVER

Set 1
Set 2
Set 2
Set 3
Set 3
Set 4
Set 4
Set 5
Set 5
Set 6
Set 6
Set 7
Set 7
Set 8
Set 8
Set 9
Set 9
Set 10
Set 10
Set 11
Set 11
Set 12
Set 12
Set 13
Set 13
Set 14
Set 14
Set 15
Set 15
Set 16
Set 16
Set 17
Set 17

Set 18
Set 18
Set 19
Set 19
Set 20
Set 20
Set 21
Set 21
Set 22
Set 22
Set 23
Set 23
Set 24
Set 24
Set 25
Set 25
Set 26
Set 26
Set 27
Set 27
Set 28
Set 28
Set 29
Set 29
Set 30
Set 30
Set 31
Set 31
Set 32
Set 32
Set 34
Set 33

Set 34
Set 34

Beyond the Tiffany – PART II

In “Beyond the Tiffany,” I showed you some examples of how variances in diamond shape, metal color, side stones, accent stone color and shape and pure imagination can result in a beautiful work of art. Although the classic Tiffany will always be a beautiful and popular choice for many women, it’s important to remember that the possibilities are literally endless when it comes to adorning the fourth finger of your left hand. Here are some more examples of designs that have come across my desk over the last year that have peaked my interest. (Throughout this article you may click on any of the images to enlarge.)

Photographs 1 through 12 show diamond wedding rings with main accent stones. These rings are designed so that they can stand alone without a wedding band if desired; two rings in one, if you will. You’ll see how the use of side-stones to accent the center stone can add a remarkable flair. Unique shapes and/or colored stones make these truly unique.

In photographs 13 through 22 are more diamond wedding rings, but the main accent stones have been replaced with smaller melee that is pave, channel or prong-set.

Of course, “less” is still definitely more for most women—making the classic knife-edge Tiffany (photograph 23) the biggest seller. Cradle cathedrals (photograph 24), pipe-shanks (photograph 25), and rounded shoulder solitaires (photograph 26) are also in high demand.

Note: All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez

Beyond the Tiffany

If you’re counting how many popular diamond shapes are out there, your list would include the following usual suspects–round, marquise, pear, oval, emerald, asscher, box radiant, standard radiant, etc. Its a short list and any woman looking to express her individuality through shape will have her desires dampened by the limited choices. However, that is not the case when it comes to dressing the rock up or down with a setting of your choice. Two people may have the same shape, size and quality diamond but the end product looks entirely different because of the semi-mount (setting) that was chosen. Take a look in photographs 1, 2 & 3 and see how a diamond’s entire look is changed just by the way its held. (Throughout this article you may click on any of the images to enlarge.)

In photographs 4, 5 & 6 see how just changing the width of the metal can alter the appearance dramatically.

Photographs 7 & 8 show what an interesting Art Deco look can be created by hand-engraving an embroidered pattern into the shank.

So many different looks are possible and we have done nothing more than manipulate the metal holding the stone! Look how the ring reaches another galaxy when we add a couple of side stones in photographs 9 thru 17 (also known as the past, present and future rings).

The minute we increase the number of accent stones (photographs 18 thru 35) the possibilities become endless. Here are a few of my favorites.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the first installment of settings that are “Beyond the Tiffany”. In future months I’ll be showing you other gorgeous award winning designs as they come across my desk. In closing I’d like to show you one more setting that I’m very proud of. It’s the latest bauble I made for my wife.

Note: All photographs were taken by world renowned designer and photographer Jose Garcia

Intro to Solitaires

Once you’ve found your perfect diamond you need to find the right setting. For many people the solitaire is the obvious choice. Clean, sleek and non-imposing, the solitaire lets the rock do all the talking.

Featured here in our #1 and #2 photographs are the classics, the four-prong and six-prong tiffany settings. The six-prong tiffany was introduced by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1886. It was revolutionary because for the first time the diamond was raised up from the band allowing light to enter from all sides.

In photos #3 and #4 we see the introduction of two-tone classic tiffanys.

When a bride-to-be prefers to wear yellow gold versus platinum or white gold notice only the shank (the circular ring part) not the head (Part holding in the diamond) changes color. This is due to the fact that yellow prongs reflect a yellow cast onto the stone.

In photos #5 and #6 we see the introduction of the heavy duties. In these spin-offs of the classic tiffany the shanks are beefed up. They’re wider (generally 3mm versus a classic tiffany being 2 – 2.5mm) and thicker. The heavy duties are a popular choice for a multitude of reasons.

1.) Being thicker and heavier they serve as more of an anchor to keep the rock centered on the top of the hand.

2.) If the wearer is planning to ever add a wedding band with diamonds, the thicker band on the heavy duty will fit flush to the wedding band.

3.) On women with long fingers and rings with large diamonds (2ct +) heavy duties are more in proportion to the hand.

In photos #7 and #8 we see the introduction of the airline solitaires.

The airlines (The predecessors to the cathedrals up next) was a further attempt by the jeweler to raise the diamond even higher off the band. The theory goes and it is correct, that the further the diamond is away from the finger the larger the diamond appears to the eye as well as allowing for more light return. The only down side to these baby-ramped wonders is if the diamond sits too high the probability of flopping over more easily increases ten fold. Note: With a few exceptions, those being fingers that are carrot shaped (very rare), all solitaires flop to some degree.

The airlines are believed to have received their names due to the air underneath the ramping lines of the side of the shank shaped like a triangle. Others believe that the triangular openings on either side of the head look like the wings of an airline. The reason metal on airlines and cathedrals ramps up is to disguise the oversized tall heads and give the illusion the diamond isn’t setting so precariously up high. The most popular types of airlines are the ones shown. In photo #7 we see a standard airline where the top of the shank is rounded and in photo #8 we see the knife-edge airline for a more minimalist type customer.

Finally we come to cathedrals, given their name due to the fact it sets the diamond up higher than any other setting (like the steeple of a church cathedral).

In photos #9, #10, and #11 we see higher ramps and larger "V" openings to set the diamond over 20% higher than an airline and over 50% higher than a classic tiffany.

Photo #9 is a classic cathedral that could be used for a princess cut diamond. Note the "V" shaped prongs on the head to protect the corners of a princess cut diamond.

Photo #10 is also a classic cathedral but with a support prong between the prongs for added durability.

Photo #11 is a classic six prong cathedral.

Cathedrals are great to make small diamonds look big but become too top heavy in diamonds over 2cts unless the shank is made heavier.

Photos: Courtesy Leo Ingwer