A look at what's hot in the world of wedding bands

CTW Features

Wedding bling is big business.

Last year, couples spent $9.64 billion on engagement rings and wedding bands, according to the Engagement and Wedding Ring Report 2011 released this week by The Wedding Report, a Tucson, Ariz.-based wedding market-research company.

As part of the purchase process, more than a quarter of couples personalize their bands, according to the study. Popular methods include engraving the bands with the wedding date, the couple’s initials, or messages to one another, according to Helena Krodel, director of media and special events at Jewelers of America. Lovey-dovey messages aside, that doesn’t mean the rings are all matchy-matchy. “More commonly women will have the wedding ring match the engagement ring and the man will have something completely different,” she says. But there can still be some components that match. Krodel says couples might have one element, like the metal or jewel that compliment each other for sentimental reasons.

Diamonds in the groom’s band was noted as having a large in-demand increase. “Some men today are opting to add diamonds or black diamonds, but they tend to be pretty straightforward,” Krodel says. “[Women] care about the visual and they care about the comfort,” Men tend to look for the simple details in a ring, where women tend to want special details like a row of diamonds around the ring, Krodel says. She suggests incorporating colored gemstones in both the engagement ring and wedding band. Many designers create band sets for convenience, she adds. Here are a few more wedding-band trends the Jewelry Information Center spots for 2011:

Colorful Bands

For wedding bands, color gemstones and even color diamonds are available in every color in the rainbow and make wedding bands personal. Think eternity bands of colored gemstones such as rubies, blue sapphires, yellow sapphires, and pink sapphires.

Diamonds Galore

Men and women alike are choosing to add some sparkle to their wedding bands. For women, eternity bands (a narrow band with diamonds set all around it) are the ultimate choice because they provide the maximum amount of shine and can be worn together with the engagement ring or alone.

Vintage Inspirations

Vintage wedding bands are romantic and ornately crafted. However, you don’t have to scour estate sales to find vintage design. New, vintage inspired rings are meticulously designed to be just as beautiful as their predecessors. Platinum is reigning as the metal of choice for vintage styles but white gold and palladium are options as well.

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