Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thurs, Feb 21, 2013
www.times.co.nz A Times Newspapers Supplement --- Strictly Bridal 2013 --- 3 98 PICTON STREET, HOWICK, AUCKLAND TELEPHONE 09 534 7404 EMAIL INFO@HVJ.CO.NZ WWW.HVJ.CO.NZ HOWICK VILLAGE JEWELLER 208205 WITH THIS RING, I THEE Wed... The exchange of rings is pretty much an integral part of today's modern marriage ceremonies but the custom is not entirely new. In fact, there is a fascinating history intertwined in these two bands of love. Betrothal rings were worn by the ancient Greeks but were not always a prerequisite for marriage. Instead, they were usually viewed as friendship rings. The first recorded exchange of wedding rings was about 5000 years ago in Egypt where they were regarded as a never-ending circle of eternal love. The hole in the centre symbolised a gateway leading to new and unknown experiences. The Egyptians believed that the fourth finger of the hand contained a special vein that led directly to the heart so this finger became the official "ring" finger still used today. Rings were also adopted by the Romans who took a woman's acceptance of a ring to be a binding legal agreement. This meant other suitors had to "shove off". Much later, Europe saw the introduction of the Poesy Ring given as a promise signifying love and fidelity. However, in the USA, early colonists scorned the promisory ring as 'moral worthlessness'. Instead, men gave their prospective wives a practical thimble as a token of love but even these austere women still coveted attractive accessories. So, on marriage, many cut out the bottom of the thimble to form a ring. In the 9th century, Pope Nicolas 1 gave the 'thumbs up' to engagement rings by making a gold ring a betrothal requirement to demonstrate a groom's wealth and ability to care for a wife but it wasn't until the 14th and 15th centuries that the forerunner to today's engagement rings emerged. Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave the first diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. At about that time royals and noblemen also began giving exquisite jewelled rings as a token of their love. It was only the very wealthy that could afford to do this although where there's a will there's a way. The lower classes soon learned to make rings from metal, grasses and twine. Today's tradition of engagement rings crafted from mostly gold and precious gems, worn with a second gold wedding band, has evolved in much more recent times, signifying sentiments such as truth, faith and eternal love. So once the all-important "will you marry me?" proposal has been accepted most couples go shopping for an engagement ring; that is if the prospective groom hasn't already bought the ring. However, the latter is a waning custom. Most women have set ideas about design, the type of stone and what style best suits them. Designed for you For today's modern bride the engagement ring remains a symbol of never-ending love and once on her finger signifies that the lady in question is 'taken'. Naturally, every bride-to-be just loves the sparkle and beauty of a ring that suits her hand and her personality. Award-winning jeweller, Chris Schweder from Howick Village Jeweller is renowned for beautifully crafted, original jewellery, in particular engagement and wedding rings. He says new ideas and trends are constantly emerging and it is likely the modern bride and groom will plan their wedding rings at the same time they buy an engagement ring. "The bride will want her two rings to sit well together and will need to take into account the proportion of the ring to the size of the hand and the shape of the fingers. Sometimes couples will compromise on practicality and have a design which exposes the attributes of the stone and allows it to better reflect light." With many couples now opting to have their rings individually designed and made, there is scope for the design to have personal significance and to encompass a special interest or cultural theme. Chris says women are presently seeking fine, delicate and detailed engagement rings with white gold the most popular although yellow gold is making a comeback. "Some prefer a mass of small diamonds for texture and sparkle but the classic solitaire still remains the number one choice." Adventurous couples are also exploring new options such as: ♥ The Ascher -- a traditional emerald cut with a longer, more octagonal shape and more facets for extra sparkle. ♥ The Radiant -- a princess cut but with hexagonal corners. ♥ The Baguette -- a longer, more rectangular stone once used on either side of a main stone but now coming into its own as a central stone. ♥ Coloured stones -- aquamarines, emeralds and sapphires -- are also popular and there is more working of metals to provide added detail to mountings. Chris adds that today's man seems to favour white metals with a textured or satin, non- shine finish. "Many choose titanium, especially where durability is a prerequisite, although there has been a resurgence in the use of platinum due to its favourable price especially with the price of gold at a premium." Chris adds that men are again opting for classic shaped rings with very little embellishment. "For second time marriages, a single ring rather than the traditional engagement and wedding ring is popular, however, the tendency is to make it wider and possibly incorporate a number of stones." Chris says when shopping for an engagement ring, ask about the clarity, colour and grade of stones. He says it is important to understand that two stones can be the same size and weight yet due to the difference in grade, they may be vastly different in price. "For example, an excellent quality stone could be double the price of a middling quality stone and while for many years the gold for wedding bands and engagement rings was usually 18 or 22 carat today some people are opting for 9 carat gold to help reduce the overall cost." Like everything, buying rings should not be done in haste. Take time to look around, seek advice and remember there are beautiful rings to suit every budget. "You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry the person who you cannot live without."
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