How to accessorize six brides (and one groom) in modern takes on an ancient tradition
STORY BY BETH BERNSTEIN
Today’s world may be hurtling forward at breakneck speed, but two traditions remain rock-solid: marriage and the engagement ring. No matter their age or generation, modern bridal clients want to stamp their own personalities on their wedding jewelry. That includes millennial brides and grooms, LGBTQ soon-to-be spouses and the second-time-around (or late-blooming) brides of Gen X.
By definition, a bride or groom who wants a unique style all their own cannot be neatly defined ahead of time, even by the three esteemed jewelry fashion experts we’ve recruited to write this story. But what our fashionistas can do is help us to understand the mentality of the modern bridal consumer and open our minds to the possibilities available to them as clients and to you as jewelry salespeople. For only when you understand the client can you sell them the jewelry that will make their wedding day as special as it can possibly be.
THE VINTAGE ROMANTIC
Her “something new” is based on something old or borrowed. She reads Jane Austen novels and looks to films such as Shakespeare In Love and Young Victoria for inspiration. Her idea of the perfect wedding is expressing her love by writing her own vows with a few quotes by Keats thrown in for good measure. Her gown is the finest of French or Italian embroidered lace, which shows just enough décolletage so that she can wear her most prized possessions—her antique and vintage-inspired jewelry. Story by Beth Bernstein
1. Ileana Makri
When it comes to necklaces to accent her intricate lace bodice gown, The Vintage Romantic chooses styles that are simple, feminine and inspired by past eras.
$10,245 18K yellow gold necklace with dangle baguette diamonds. ileanamakri.com
2. Jade Trau
Single drop earrings with an antique-inspired starburst pattern will add just that bit of sparkle around the face without detracting from the bride’s own beauty on her wedding day. The Vintage Romantic bride loves the bygone era of the subtle shimmer of diamonds by candlelight.
$5,700 18K and diamond single drop starburst motif earrings. jadetrau.com
3. Gigi Ferranti
Not every Vintage Romantic opts for a center stone engagement ring. Some prefer an art deco-inspired wide eternity or half eternity band with colored gemstones. It has the more streamlined modernity for which jewelry of the late 1920s and early 1930s was known.
$3,750 14K yellow gold, diamond and pink sapphire Gianna ring. gigiferranti.com
4. Megan Thorne
When the Vintage Romantic looks for an engagement ring, she is searching for something that is reminiscent of old world craftsmanship and diamond or gemstone cuts of the past.
Price on request. 18K yellow gold scalloped bezel Prima ring with cushion-cut diamond. meganthorne.com
THE LATE BLOOMER
She’s independent and self-aware. She’s had significant long-term relationships but had never found a man she wanted to “put a ring on it” until her later 40s/early 50s. Her dress is streamlined simplicity to allow her jewelry to shine. Her bridal pieces will evoke the meaning behind the commitment of sharing the rest of her life with her true love.
Story by Beth Bernstein
1. Ruta Reifen
There is nothing like double drop earrings to wear with the femininity of a tea length dress with a lace embroidered caplet or the subtle sophistication of a pair of wide white trousers and shimmering top on this bride’s wedding day.
$1,220 14K blue topaz, pale green sapphire and morganite. rutareifen.com
2. Polly Wales
A modern take on antique chains with padlocks, this necklace radiates an exuberance similar to the joy that the Late Bloomer feels.
$25,300 Couer De Fantaisie padlock and handmade gold chain, both with rainbow sapphires. pollywales.com
This is the ring that says it all with a little humor and some sparkle. It looks equally beautiful alone or stacked with other bands.
$1,995 18K gold and blush champlevé enamel “If Not Now Then When” band ring with baguette diamond center. foundrae.com
4. Erica Molinari
If you don’t get married until your 40s or 50s, you might prefer to stack two or more meaningful bands rather than invest in an engagement ring. Or the Late Bloomer might choose to wear this thin floral band, which is leaning against the stack, with her other ring. It features an Oscar Wilde quote: “Who, being loved, is poor?”
$1,025-$1,595 Rings in 18K gold with Italian or Latin phrases and quotes enameled on the inside. ericamolinari.com
THE EDGY BRIDE
Expression through outward appearance has always been important to her, but she never connected with traditional fashion norms, especially when imagining her wedding day. She wants to be true to herself but also a bit experimental when it comes to her style. She connects with unexpected pieces that have an edgy vibe.
Story BY LIZ KANTNER
1. Little H
Pearls may be commonly worn by brides, but this pendant is anything but ordinary.
$2,700 Tahitian Grotto pendant with black diamonds (2.70 TCW) and Tahitian keshi and drop pearl in 14K white gold. littlehjewelry.com
2. Melissa Kaye
Black diamonds are not common when it comes to wedding day style, so the Edgy Bride is drawn to them. These earrings are sleek and add some surprising sparkle.
$7,700 18K gold and pavé earrings with black and white diamonds (2.22 TCW). melissakayejewelry.com
3. Anthony Lent
For the Edgy Bride, the engagement ring needs to be distinctive. This ring is extra special because the skulls represent an artistic reminder of mortality and the promise of ‘‘Til Death Do Us Part.”
$2,600 Memento Mori engagement ring in 18K yellow gold and platinum with diamonds. anthonylent.com
4. Spinelli Kilcollin
Not your typical wedding band, this ring is actually three rings connected as one and can be worn in different ways to create a truly original look.
$1,200 Sterling silver, black rhodium-plated silver and 18K yellow gold with gray diamonds. spinellikilcollin.com
THE MODERN GROOM
When it comes to the Modern Groom’s wedding day look, the details are what make it unique. He is inspired by his father or grandfather and their timeless accessories, yet he wants to add his own flair. He wants to feel comfortable, but he knows that since this is a big day, he needs to add simple yet special pieces to complete his style.
Story BY LIZ KANTNER
1. Furrer Jacot
The most important decision a Modern Groom will make is his wedding band because it will be worn daily. He wants one that is simple but has some unique details and a sleek, contemporary look.
$3,060 18K white gold and carbon ring. furrer-jacot.com
Cufflinks are a detail to the Modern Groom’s look that might seem dated, but they are important to making the suit feel personalized. They pull the whole look together!
$295 Sterling silver cufflinks with tiger’s eye inlay. tateossian.com
A watch is a staple to the Modern Groom’s look. It’s also an important purchase because he will wear it time and time again to future special events.
$1,750 Big Crown ProPilot watch in stainless steel with brown leather strap. oris.ch
4. Todd Reed
Adding a bracelet is the flair that will set the Modern Groom apart from his father and grandfather. This unique touch will make him feel like he’s owning his look.
$1,850 Sterling silver bracelet with patina and raw diamond bead (0.35 TCW). toddreed.com
THE PRIDE BRIDES
The number of same-sex cohabiting couples in the U.S. who are married has nearly doubled since the U.S. Supreme Court granted them that constitutional right. Many Pride Brides have different fashion styles but will often incorporate both an LGBTQ symbol as well as something of their partner’s — be it initials, birthstone, name, or otherwise — into their wedding day jewelry, giving their marriage a little added color. story by BARBARA PALUMBO
1. My Story Fine Jewelry
As a symbol of the union that this bride and her significant other are about to make permanent, she’ll be wearing a gold pendant engraved with both of their initials and birthstones.
$5,250 14K yellow gold customized diamond, citrine, and peridot dog tag initial pendant (chain not included). mystoryfinejewelry.com
2. Temple St. Clair
This bride has dreamed of walking down the aisle, and now she intends to dress up her gown with some sass.
$5,200 18K gold triple drop Tolomeo earrings with diamonds, rubies, tsavorites, and sapphires. templestclair.com
3. Erika Winters
She defines a new age of traditionalism by wearing a classically-styled diamond ring given to her by her beloved as a wedding gift.
Price on request. Handcrafted Caroline halo ring with round diamond center made in 18K soft-finished yellow gold. erikawinters.com
Because traditional rings aren’t her thing, this bride-to-be instead wears a whopper of an engagement watch adorned in the colors of the rainbow as a representation of her dedication to both the woman she loves and the person she is.
$580,000 18K rose gold Imperiale Joaillerie timepiece with 581 rainbow-hued sapphires (47.98 TCW). chopard.com
THE SECOND TIMER
Having already experienced what she refers to as her “trial marriage,” the Second Timer bride knows exactly what she doesn’t want when it comes to her relationships and her wedding day fashion. She is relaxed, confident, and excited about the chance to have fun this time around, but don’t be fooled: she still fully intends on being the belle of the ball.
STORY BY BARBARA PALUMBO
1. Erica Courtney
Now that she’s a little older and a lot wiser, the Second Timer wants a ring that will represent her lust for life.
Price on request. 18K yellow gold Nirvana ring with a 6.34-carat rose cut diamond center accented with diamonds (3.34 TCW). ericacourtney.com
2. Buddha Mama
The Second Timer bride feels strongly that getting another chance at “happily ever after” is both rewarding and liberating, and the earrings she’s chosen to wear on the day she takes her vows are ones she purchased for herself as an act of that belief.
$18,700 Twirling 20K yellow gold dangle earrings with diamonds (3.90 TCW) from the Auspicious collection. buddhamama.com
3. Gabriel & Co.
On the eve of her nuptials, the Second Timer’s soon-to-be stepson (whom she adores) presented her with a gift she could wear on the day of her wedding: a diamond bracelet.
$2,265 14K yellow gold bezel style tennis bracelet with diamonds (0.71 TCW) from the Hampton collection. gabrielny.com
4. Penny Preville
Opting to wear her engagement ring on her right hand after the ceremony, this experienced bride has chosen a more traditionally-styled wedding band for her left, because she believes both rings — which tell different stories — should stand on their own.
$3,185 18K yellow gold En Pointe stacking band with round brilliant-cut diamonds. pennypreville.com
Latest Products Stories
- Educational Video on Yellow Diamonds, New Training from Lashbrook and More Service News for September
- Luxe Pet Bowls, Instant Ring Re-Sizers and More Jewelry Pro Gear for October
- Here Is August's List of Top Selling Jewelry, According to Our Brain Squad
- This Customer Type Loves Layering Her Jewelry
- East-West Tacori, Gurhan-Varvatos Man-Bling and More New Collections Announced
Forget Postcards ... This Jeweler's 2-Page Letter Brought $80K in Business
Jim Ackerman explains how it worked.