Precious metals still rule, especially white gold, when it comes to the ring the bride wants to wear forever.
But there are varieties that allow women to express their undying love with a different hue.
White metals — white gold and platinum — still dominate the women’s wedding and engagement rings, says Donny Boudreaux, co-owner of Boudreaux’s Fine Jewelers in Baton Rouge.
“We have seen a little bit of interest in more of the traditional yellow gold,” Boudreaux says. “Also, which is kind of newer, is rose gold, which has its own unique characteristics. It has a softer kind of character, has a pinkish color to it.”
When it comes to diamonds, the four Cs — cut, color, carat weight and clarity — remain the benchmarks.
Boudreaux says if the jeweler knows what the customer wants, something can be designed that will be pleasing within their budget.
As for the budget, the “month’s salary for the engagement ring” rule created years ago by the De Beers diamond company doesn’t necessarily apply, says Richard Busceme, manager at Anton’s Fine Jewelry.
“People buy what they can afford,” he says. “I think what we’re seeing is people are getting engaged and married a little later, so at that point one and/or both are established in a career, so the dollars have a tendency to be a little higher because he’s not 21 and still in college and can’t afford anything. He’s 26 and has been out of college for four years, and he’s an established attorney, a doctor, an architect, an accountant. So, the money changes because he’s more established and can afford to spend more money.”
All that glitters is not gold, or so the saying goes. And it’s certainly true concerning men’s wedding rings.
That has been the trend in men’s rings for several years, since a spike in gold prices — from about $1,200 now to as much as $1,800 at its apex — created an incentive for bands that wouldn’t set the man back $1,000 or more.
“So they came out with alternative metals, which would include cobalt and chrome and tungsten carbide or woven tungsten carbide where a guy could buy a wedding band for $300 or $350,” Busceme says. “That became very, very popular, and they’re scratch resistant. They won’t scratch, and they won’t dent.”
They also created a look men like. Now that gold has fallen in price, alternative metals are still 80 percent of the market, Busceme says, with tungsten carbide the most popular. Some men still prefer the half-round, yellow gold band their fathers wore, but they’ve become a minority.
“I think most guys who have never worn a piece of jewelry, to put a big, bright, gold wedding band on their finger just kind of freaks them out,” he says. “They like that darker-looking, more masculine-looking kind of ring.”