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The wish of couples to cement their commitment to each other through engagement rings and wedding rings is as strong as ever, even when economic times are tough.
It's the way its been for centuries; it's the way it will continue to be into the foreseeable future.
Decisions on the style of ring may be made in light of the available budget, but couples continue to place significance on both the engagement and wedding rings and what they represent.
How they go about selecting rings varies. Many plan the bride's engagement ring design and purchase in advance, and may make the selection of wedding rings at the same time. But there are also those fiances who enjoy a touch of intrigue and romance who choose, purchase and then present the ring in the right place at the right time, out of the blue, to their intended. A word of advice here. This should not done without some oblique questions inserted in day-to-day-conversation and other surreptitious research!
While sapphires, emeralds, pink diamonds and other coloured stones remain popular, the top player continues to be the white diamond. Of the many cuts available, the round 57-faceted brilliant cut is a major player. The square princess cut remains popular, as do the square or rectangular-shaped aleya. The baguette and emerald cuts are also among the top 10.
Clusters have lined up alongside stunning solitaires, in round, square and assymetrical shapes to suit any hand.
Diamonds are not only beautiful but their toughness is ideal for New Zealand women who, with busy lives, tend to wear their rings for much of the time.
While the engagement ring symbolises romance, wedding rings, often worn by both bride and groom, are seals of a long-lasting relationship.
Yellow and white gold remain popular. Interestingly, the low-maintenance palladium - also a white metal - is returning to the spotlight, while the world's most expensive metal, platinum, continues to have a large following.
CANADIAN FIRE DIAMONDS
Canada is a main source of diamonds now, its stones being desirable as they are among the most naturally clean and white diamonds in the world, with no treatment required to improve their colour. ``Canadian Fire'' diamonds have a history of their own. Their production involves strict quality control procedures along with environmentally friendly mining and refining practices which follow the Kimberley Process, each diamond being able to be traced back to its origins using a unique serial number laser-inscribed on its girdle.
RIGHT HERE IN OTAGO
The many top manufacturing jewellers living and working in Otago are invaluable. These men and women operating from small studios in Dunedin and other centres are the talents who can create individuality in rings for couples seeking a point of difference.
Today's heightened awareness of fashion is also resulting in vintage engagement rings being revamped into stunning contemporary styles.
To find out more about wedding and engagement ring businesses in Otago click here.