When it comes to your wedding, picking out the perfect dress often takes top priority; multiple boutique visits, dozens of dresses to try on and conflicting opinions from your mum and bridesmaids. Just don’t forget to consider the other all-important items you’ll wear on the big day – the jewellery! Oonagh Turner talks to London jewellers about modern wedding trends, from unisex rings to remodelling vintage pieces.
Words by Oonagh Turner. This article appeared in The London Magazine’s May edition.
The modern bride certainly knows what she wants. And the jewels she selects to adorn herself with on her big day are a crucial part of the celebrations, up there with the dress, the flowers and the venue.
From pieces that can be easily converted to wear every day, to sentimental keepsakes with a new lease of life, we ask top London jewellers for the top wedding style trends.
Modern Wedding Jewellery Trends
Vintage Style Bridal Jewellery
Marrying the old with the new, heirloom jewellery still has its place at a modern wedding. Increasingly, brides are looking to take a precious stone from a sentimental piece, and adding it to a new design to be reborn.
“Traditions such as initials or family crests can also be woven in too, either as the focal point of a ring or as part of a charm on a bracelet,” says Loveness Lee of the eponymous jewellery house in the Oxo Tower.
At SAMHAM Design in Farringdon there is a popular bespoke service where a 3D scan is taken of an heirloom ring, and then – using a 3D modelling program – the designer creates a number of different style wedding bands for the client to consider.
Meanwhile at Jessica McCormack, the Mayfair-based brand is currently remodelling a client’s inherited diamond ring into a beautiful pair of Gypset earrings that she can wear on her wedding day. “It’s the perfect way to honour tradition and family but in a modern way,” says McCormack.
At Stephen Webster, the Mount Street jewellery house offers a recycling jewellery initiative. “RESET is all about making something new and relevant, using what you already have, each piece of jewellery we work with has intrinsic value laden with emotional connections and memories,” says Webster.
A modern vintage look will always reign popular too. The Vintage Palace collection is the most popular option in terms of wedding jewellery from Boodles. With its open framework of diamonds that quietly highlights the exceptional stones at the heart of the design, it provides for a timeless and elegant feel. While at Graff, the Classic Graff jewels are the perfect vintage complement to a chic white gown.
Bridal Jewellery: Personalisation
At the family luxury jewellery house Boodles, a spokesperson from the senior design team says that today’s brides are looking for something that is individual to them. “Choosing wedding jewellery is very personal and every bride is different. More people are opting for an alternative engagement ring design instead.
“Some contemporary collections that are popular include The Knot collection, Raindance, Waterfall, Mosaic and any pieces with Ashoka cut diamonds.”
At Graff, design director Anne-Eva Geffroy agrees that brides are looking for versatile jewels that reflect their character. “A little colour will add charm and vibrancy to your wedding day. Some of our most beautiful engagement rings showcase rare coloured diamonds, including Fancy yellow stones and pink diamonds which are precious and inherently feminine.”
For fine jeweller Tomasz Donocik, modern wedding jewellery is all about an expression of individuality. “Colour is one of the most important tools to express emotions and personality and more of our clients love to set their stones in rose gold, and opt for centre stones that are green, red or light pink,” says Donocik.
At Graff, the latest collection, Wild Flower, is designed as a cluster of intricate flowers.
“Freed from tradition and bursting with life, the design of each Wild Flower jewel places
strong emphasis on the diamonds,” says Geffroy.
“Blooming with beauty and a contemporary spirit, the pendants and earrings featuring single diamond flowers are crafted with such delicacy that they will complement every type of dress.”
Men’s Wedding Jewellery
Men’s wedding jewellery is also having a moment, as is specific jewellery designs for same-sex marriages which is becoming a growing jewellery market. At SAMHAM, half signet wedding bands focus on equal partnerships and the idea that “two halves make a whole”.
The two rings fit together to make a signet ring, and when you open it up there is a small bright diamond in one that slots into the other.
“It appeals to those who are not looking for a traditional looking wedding set but love the tradition itself of exchanging rings,” says Sam Hamilton, founder of SAMHAM.
At Stephen Webster, the brand launched its new bridal collection, the No Regrets Chapel, created for couples who want to celebrate their commitment in an non- sectarian and inclusive way. “It’s a place where everyone is welcome and includes unisex collections,” says Webster.
Bridal Jewellery: Wearability
“Your wedding day diamonds should feel special, but you should be able to wear them to breakfast the next day,” says Jessica McCormack. The designer recently launched new pieces in the signature collection – from delicate bracelets and wearable earrings that are intended to be worn beyond the wedding itself.
Boodles’ senior designer encourages brides to layer antique heirloom jewellery with more current pieces.
“Layer-ability is a big factor for the modern bride,” agrees Loveness Lee, “with necklaces draped over one another and earrings matched with multiple ear cuffs.” These modern jewellery choices, reflected in the brand’s new Prémice collection, are an ensemble of pieces you can dress up or down within your daily wardrobe.
This article appeared in The London Magazine’s May edition.
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Jewellery to Wear on Your Wedding Day
Getting the dress right is obviously a priority, but your wedding ring lasts as a daily reminder of your wedding day (aside from the memories) so get it right. It should always be a considered purchase; after all, when you consider cost-per-wear; it’s got to be the best value item from the whole day!
Think about your engagement ring; do you have one that requires a particular matching wedding band? Whether it’s diamond set, plain or wishbone, look for a band that suits the style of your existing ring.
If you’re looking for a plain wedding ring – the most traditional style – opt for a band that matches the shape of your engagement ring so they sit perfectly together. The standard options are ‘court’ which has a slight curvature, ‘flat’ which is a more contemporary finish or ‘d-shape’ if your ring is more rounded.
Increasing in popularity is the use of eternity ring styles as a wedding band, especially if your engagement ring has extra diamonds set in the band. If a diamond set wedding ring is for you, then try to match it with the correct claw or channel set diamonds of your engagement ring.
If your engagement ring is a unique shape or quite detailed, you’ll often find that a standard shape wedding ring will not sit flush alongside it. If this is the case, a wishbone wedding ring will work best; made with a small curvature to the band, this will enable your two rings to snugly fit together.
Earrings are a great subtle addition to your wedding ensemble. Chances are you’ll be busy deliberating whether you want your hair up or hair down, so when it comes to earrings, we suggest going relatively simple and classic in style.
Whether it’s classic diamond studs or even the addition of luxurious pearls, remember to pair them with your wedding dress and overall look for the day.
Necklaces and pendants are not always needed on a wedding day as dress necklines and details need to be seen in all their glory, but in a similar vein to earrings, it’s best to keep it simple.
Necklaces should exude delicate sparkle to add to your look, but if diamonds aren’t for you, then opt for pearls, as they represent both purity and wisdom – a beautiful sentiment for your special day.