Emerging Trends for Engagement Rings in South Africa
Although wedding bands symbolise the bond between a husband and wife, it is invariably the more eye-catching engagement rings that capture most of the attention and provide the wow factor, not just in South Africa, but all over the world. The earliest record of them given to indicate the intention to marry dates from 1477, when the Austrian Archduke of the time presented his intended with a diamond ring set in the shape of her initial – M for Mary. However, some anthropologists suggest that, although they were attached to keys as a means to declare the male’s ownership and not worn on the finger, the custom may have originated far earlier, during Roman times. Even before that, it appears that cavemen tied grass cords around the waists, ankles, and wrists of their mates for the same purpose.
Over time, however, the role of the engagement ring has changed and is now seen as a token of love and betrothal – a symbolism that some of the more talented jewellery designers in South Africa (given the abundance of quality diamonds and other precious stones at their disposal) have found many innovative and beautiful ways to express. In fact, it was the discovery of vast deposits of diamonds in the Cape Colony that led to the De Beers mining company becoming responsible for 99% of the world’s stones and the dawn of an age in which many more people would now have access to them.
Just as clothing manufacturers must adjust to the changing trends in fashion, so too must manufacturing jewellers. Possibly one of the most successful developments of past times was the Tiffany setting in which a circle of six prongs was used to raise the stones above the supporting band, thus serving to maximise their brilliance. For many years, solitaires and clusters assembled in this manner dominated the market.
Today, new trends in the design of engagement rings by craftsmen both in South Africa and internationally are providing many new and exciting choices for the modern bride-to-be. Given that the average future husband is now called upon to invest at least two monthly salary cheques to cover the purchase price, it is important to make the selection with care. Some retail jewellers apply high mark-ups that can range from 300% to as much as 600%. Many couples, however, now choose an alternative option that ensures not just a more affordable product but an item of beautiful jewellery together with the guarantee of far greater value for the amount spent.
Rather than an off-the-shelf creation, they are opting for a bespoke design, purchasing good quality stones and having them set to their requirements. Given this freedom of choice, among current trends when purchasing engagement rings in South Africa, is an open setting that serves to better display the sparkle of a solitaire. For those seeking a clean-cut, modern look that will really showcase a stone, the so-called “over-under” style is rapidly gaining popularity.
Colour has always been part of the fashion statement and rose gold is now becoming a frequent replacement for its yellow and white relatives, as well as for platinum. Other colour trends are to be found among the stones themselves with a move to classics like rubies, emeralds and blue sapphires, and also to canary and black diamonds, morganite, and pink sapphires.
Needless to say, to be sure that trends such as these are successfully incorporated into your design, you will need to identify a master craftsman with the necessary skills and experience, and who can source the stones at competitive prices. Ticking both of these boxes, and with access to more than 10 000 high-quality, certified diamonds of between 0,3 and 5,0 carats, where better in South Africa than Naturally Diamonds to commission the engagement ring of your dreams at a price you can afford?