A perfect gift for your life partner

YOU have found that special person to share the rest of your life with and now you need to find the perfect wedding ring that will last a lifetime.

Choosing wedding bands is one of the most important aspects of the wedding and it is a decision that should not be made lightly.

Wedding rings are not ordinary rings. They should reflect your individuality and style. There is arguably no single jewelry item that gets more attention than the wedding ring.

So what are the latest trends?

Margot Rudolph, marketing director at American Swiss, says this season is all about splurging.

She says in engagement rings solitaires are increasingly popular, with vintage milgrain styling in white gold coupled with delicate side details.

"The stacking of multiple anniversary rings is another must-have look. The statement ring is still a hot item and can be found in various executions like big stones, micro pavé settings and organic looks in diamonds as well as a more affordable sterling silver," she says.

She adds that gold wedding rings are just as popular and will continue to be so this year.

"Buying rings in gold is an investment, as the value of gold will always increase. Some of the hot trends in 2010 in gold ring would be 14K Gold Tri-Colour wedding bands in comfort fit, 14k Gold Designer wedding bands and 14k Gold Celtic Comfort Fit wedding bands."

Rudolph says Celtic wedding bands are currently hot favourites among young brides and grooms. She says these rings are handcrafted and are considered pieces of art.

So if you are planning to pop the question, here are a few pointers to help you find a stylish engagement ring.

  • Browse through bridal magazines to get ideas.
  • Ask friends and family for recommended jewellers to make your bands. This method is usually less expensive and more personal.
  • Select a band that goes with the bride's engagement ring so they can be worn together.
  • Ask family members for heirlooms. There just might be an ideal band from a great-grandparent tucked into your mom's jewelry box.
  • Try on different widths to see what looks best on your hand.

Once you have chosen the bands, have the wedding date engraved on the inside. Other sentiments may be added if there's space.

Other considerations for buying a wedding ring include:

  • Your lifestyle. If you or your spouse are athletic, outdoor types or work with your hands, pure gold (24 karat) probably is not the choice for you because it scratches and shows wear easily due to its softness;
  • Existing jewelry. Look at the kind of jewelry and watches you already wear, and consider how your wedding band will look next to them.

A bride-to-be also needs to consider whether she'll wear her wedding band and engagement ring on the same finger, or if she will move her engagement ring to her right hand and just wear the band on her left.

If she plans to wear them together, she will need to choose a wedding band that matches the engagement ring and sits comfortably against it.

  • Establish a budget. Plain gold bands can be bought for less than R2000, but fashion comes with a price.

High-fashion bands with diamonds or other gemstones can cost hundreds or even thousands of rands, depending on the size and quality of the stones and the workmanship of the piece.

Also keep in mind that a men's band tends to be more expensive than a woman's, because it tends to be larger, wider and denser.

- Additional information from www.howto.com