Unconventional E-rings

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and it’s a popular time to pop the question. But do you have a yes-worthy ring to go along with your proposal?

The tradition of giving your loved one a diamond engagement ring is quite new, and didn’t originate from romantic intentions, but a marketing ploy. While betrothed couples have been giving each other rings to symbolize their union for millennia, it was the De Beers diamond company that started the “a diamond is forever” advertising campaign in the 1940s.

Before the Second World War, only 10 per cent of American engagement rings contained diamonds and they were typically only worn among the nobility and aristocracy.

De Beers also created the notion that an appropriate ring should cost two months worth of the groom’s salary. Yet, ironically, studies have shown that expensive engagement rings are associated with early divorce, while couples that spend less on their rings and ceremony tend to have longer marriages.

Thankfully, there are now more choices than ever when it comes to bridal jewelry and many wives-to-be are favouring uniques stones and styles.

For those who love the look of diamonds, current technology allows lab-created stones to mimic all the characteristics of mined diamonds at a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, lab-grown diamonds are sustainable, eco-conscious and create minimal environmental impact.

Well-established brands of lab-created diamond engagement rings are Canada-based Diamanti company, Diamond Nexus, and Charles and Colvard moissanite.

Since Princess Diana’s son used her famous sapphire ring to propose to Kate Middleton, rings with coloured-gem-centre stones are again becoming popular. Sapphires and topaz are almost as hard as diamonds for longevity, and come in an array of gorgeous hues.

Morganite is a pinky peach gemstone that has surged in popularity recently as it pairs so well with on-trend rose gold, and is much more affordable than diamond.

Some brides are preferring to use their birthstone as the central gem in their rings. Canadian company Jewlr.ca allows you to custom-create all kinds of rings using genuine or synthetic stones set into silver or gold.

Pearls and opals are also gaining attention as centre stones, however due to their delicate structure, they may need to be replaced periodically or only worn for special occasions.

Another eco-aware option is choosing an heirloom or vintage ring. If you’re lucky, there may be gemstones in your family that can be re-worked into an engagement ring.

Or browse estate jewelry at the Canadian Jewelry Exchange on KLO Road. Brilliant Earth also has an extensive online selection of vintage diamond and gemstone rings.

The stacked band style is all the rage for rings, and now some brides are choosing to create a wedding stack rather than wear a ring featuring a large central stone. Meghan Markle’s favourite jeweller, Birks, has created the Iconic collection of rings in a variety of metals and shapes that perfectly snug together for a unique look.

Finally, your beloved may want real diamonds, but in a different colour. Yellow and pink diamonds feature prominently in famed jeweller Tiffany’s engagement lookbook.

Black and grey diamonds are also becoming popular among today’s unconventional brides. Karen Karch  makes edgy dramatic styles using dark diamonds, while designer Jason Alto has literally turned diamonds on their heads and created pointy-side up bands, which could perform double duty as a weapon should you and your betrothed have a disagreement.


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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