» Learn About Wedding Jewelry Trends

Learn About Wedding Jewelry Trends

Learn About Wedding Jewelry Trends

Mary of Burgundy famously wore the world’s first known diamond engagement ring in 1477, and it’s been treasured bridal jewelry ever since. But what about the rest of the wedding jewelry, such as the rings exchanged at the altar and the gems worn with the dress?

Wedding bands, bridal jewelry and wedding party gifts also have a storied tradition and can be traced much, much farther back in human history.

Origins of Wedding Jewelry

Wedding rings, those enduring symbols of everlasting love, are a relic of ancient customs that often had little to do with romance. In fact, the ring exchange didn’t even apply to American men until the 1940’s, when jewelry manufacturers borrowed from international traditions and introduced the notion of his-and-hers rings with sentimental value.

Prior to that time, the Western purpose of a wedding ring was to prove the groom could afford precious metal. After couples wed, this valuable possession was then a financial security blanket for the bride.

Rings have symbolized partnership throughout human history, but they haven’t always been made of metal. Ancient Egyptian scrolls include evidence of couples exchanging woven hemp rings.

Later, Celtic wedding rituals revolved around the practice of handfasting, in which the couple’s hands are bound together with rings of ribbon. Medieval pagans revived the practice, believing the binding ritual was permanent and valuable enough to forego “official”, church-sanctioned ceremonies.

Today’s bridal jewelry is both decorative and symbolic, trendy and timeless. It’s hard to escape the sentimental value of any bridal jewelry, but some vintage and custom pieces are especially precious to the brides, grooms and wedding party members who wear them.

Wedding Jewelry Trends (2014-2015)

A Carl Blackburn floral wedding band being meticulously handcrafted.
A Carl Blackburn floral wedding band being meticulously handcrafted by Dikran Nodznaia.

Modern brides can show their fashion savvy, grace, and individuality by wearing a ring that has either a contemporary flare or a timeless vintage elegance.

Engagement ring trends are currently dominated by antique rings, floral rings, colored gems and angular diamond cuts, such as emerald and Asscher.

However, the engagement ring is just one of many pieces of bridal and wedding jewelry that you may wish to purchase in celebration of your love.

The following wedding jewelry continue to be showcased at fine jewelry stores and are popular at wedding parties across the country.

Pavé and Micro-pavé Engagement Rings

The pavé diamond setting has been a popular engagement ring trend for quite some time. Now, pavé and its even daintier sister have crossed gender lines to become the top choices for modern wedding bands.

Both brides and grooms opt for wedding rings with pavé or micro-pavé settings, where dozens of tiny diamonds are cut with extreme precision and arranged in sparkling rows.

Stacked Wedding Rings

Stacked rings originated as a way to bridge the engagement ring and wedding band. Designed to fit together or stand alone, these rings were usually pairs or trios of rings with the same metals and settings. However, as trends evolve and brides strive for individuality, some are starting to stack extra rings on top of that.

For women who don’t mind three or four rings on the same finger, this trend is an opportunity to collect new rings for different marital milestones. Some spouses exchange new rings on special anniversaries, but exercise the freedom to opt for new metals, settings and stones each time. If each band is thin enough, the overall effect is a unique set of jewelry that tells a real-life love story.

Pearls as Wedding Jewelry

Ethical concerns and customization technology continue to shift the direction of current wedding jewelry trends. However, some 21st century traditions have very old roots.

For example, ancient Greeks bestowed pearls on newlywed brides, believing them to be a symbol of love that could keep the marital peace. The virginal white color, dazzling iridescence, symbolic meaning and value of rare pearls have attracted many brides in the centuries since.

Today’s brides continue to complement their wedding day attire with pearl earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Some pearl pieces are customized to match the pearl buttons and other accents in brides’ actual gowns, while others are passed down or given as gifts on the wedding day.

Borrowed Heirlooms as Wedding Jewelry

When the world watched Kate Middleton wed Prince William in 2011, she was wearing his grandmother’s tiara and his mother’s sapphire engagement ring. The fashion icon may have just been following royal protocol, but that didn’t stop women across the world from readjusting their own wedding plans as a result.

Today, the “something old” superstition is alive and well, as couples continue to breathe new life into bridal pieces with family history. Some brides opt to set heirloom gems in newer bands, or wear rings on thin chains tucked beneath their dress.

Others wear the same studs and necklaces that other female relatives wore down the aisle, and pass them down again when it’s time for the next wedding.

Your Bridal Jewelry Options 

If you’re planning a wedding — or sizing up the appeal of your old wedding jewelry for a possible sale — it helps to know which pieces are in demand today. The most common bridal jewelry falls into the following three categories, and the options continue to evolve as new trends and customization techniques emerge.

Wedding Earrings

Custom earring and necklace sets are popular ways to accessorize wedding gowns and give them unique flair. However, others choose the pieces separately or skip the necklace altogether.

When the dress is especially detailed or the neckline is high, the ears do double duty and even the simplest diamond studs can become show-stoppers. Meanwhile, elaborate chandelier earrings complement gowns with simple silhouettes.

Wedding Necklaces

As long as strapless dresses remain wildly popular among brides of every demographic, chunky statement necklaces will stay on top too. Some brides drape or layer strands of different lengths, while others opt for attached and intertwined sets that include rhinestones, pearls and/or beads. These necklaces stand out against a bare collarbone and balance the bride’s look from head to toe.

Wedding Tiaras and Halos

Tiaras were once reserved for the royal and the wealthy, but modern brides can choose from a variety of sparkling headpieces in any price range. They’re often semi-circular rather than complete rings, allowing brides to pin each end into their hair or attach a veil to the top.

However, some down-to-earth brides are letting their hair down and foregoing crystal crowns for halos made of flowers, vines, and other natural beauties.

Jewelry for the Wedding Party

Wedding party norms have been shifting for years, so you don’t have to follow the same stale recipe that strips all individuality from the altar. Instead of sticking everyone in the same dress, modern brides often select a color or cut and let the bridesmaids choose the rest.

Meanwhile, more grooms are opting for the unconventional, wearing sneakers and mix-and-match neckties, making ceremonies more interesting in general. However, many non-traditional couples are still sticking to one wedding party tradition: jewelry gifts.

One popular custom is a rehearsal dinner gift exchange, in which the bride and groom pass out matching accessories to their closest friends and family members. Common bridesmaid gifts include pendant necklaces and solitaire earrings, while groomsmen receive cuff links or watches, depending how big the wedding budget is.

These keepsakes aren’t always worn during the ceremony itself, but they do give the happy couple a chance to express their gratitude for the support of all their loved ones. What better purpose could jewelry serve?

—————

Be sure to visit us again soon for the launch of the Carl Blackburn’s 10th Anniversary Collection (2015), “The Roman Garden,” which will feature handcrafted eternity rings, engagement rings, and wedding bands inspired by the sublime artistry and aesthetics of the Renaissance.

Up