When it comes to wedding bands, one size definitely doesn’t fit all — and neither does one color, metal or stone. And while there are as many variations on the classic symbol of sanctification as there are tastes, of-the-moment trends play a big part in the bands couples choose, too.
In recent years, that’s meant a rise in the sales of rose-gold wedding bands. The Washington area “is a pretty conservative community” so the elegant-hued metal — now popular with celebrities such as Lauren Conrad and Blake Lively — has been a prime seller over the past few years, said Jim Rosenheim, CEO of Washington jewelry institution Tiny Jewel Box.
But in metals, platinum is still king, said Jonathan Mervis of Rockville-based Mervis Diamond Importers. “It’s naturally white and brides like that it will remain white, unlike white gold which starts to show yellow after about a year,” Mervis said. “You can always refurbish a white-gold ring and have it dipped in rhodium to look new again, but our clientele seem to prefer the platinum option.”
At Tiny Jewel Box, too, “platinum predominates” in wedding-band sales, Rosenheim said, adding that this metal choice is a departure from years past, when gold ruled.
Of course, that’s not the case everywhere. At Boone & Sons in Chevy Chase, “yellow gold and rose gold have gained a tremendous amount of popularity, with much of fashion jewelry moving away from platinum and into the warmer, more traditional metals,” said Nellie Benhard of Boone & Sons.
But couples who can’t decide on a single metal need not worry. Mixed-metal bands are now popular in their own right, according to Rosenheim. And at Boone & Sons, “brides are having fun mixing metals, textures, diamond shapes and ring styles,” Benhard said. Indeed, Mervis Diamond Importers’ customers are increasingly looking for customized, unique bands, Mervis said.
For men’s bands in particular, there’s been both a return to the traditional and a breakaway into new metals altogether. These days, “a simple, gold five-millimeter band is the choice for many” men, Benhard said. But Boone & Sons also gets quite a few requests for men’s bands in non-traditional metals, including tungsten and cobalt, which the store doesn’t carry, Benhard said.
In another departure from tradition, many customers are now seeking bands set with stones. “For women, [bands] set partway with diamonds has been a trend” for several years now, Rosenheim said.
Increasingly, brides want wedding rings they can incorporate into the rest of their jewelry collection. For many brides this means “stackability,” how well the band stacks with other rings the wearer owns or may acquire, Mervis said. This has led some couples to choose thinner, more delicate bands, said Benhard, who has seen the same stacking trend at Boone & Sons. “They are hoping to add additional bands to celebrate special occasions such as anniversaries and the birth of a child,” she said.
No matter which style or metal a customer wants, jewelers urge them to pick what they truly want, not what tastes of the day dictate. “This is something you’re going to be wearing for decades,” Rosenheim said. “We counsel people to approach the purchase of something like this not as a fashion trend, but as something your heart loves.”
Anath Hartmann is a Washington-area writer.