Falling in love doesn’t follow strict guidelines — and likewise, there are no rules for matching a wedding band and engagement ring. When it comes to finding the jewelry you wear to celebrate the rest of your life with someone, you can mix white metals and yellow gold, or diamonds and colored gemstones. Wear a classic gold band and nothing else, or a statement ring that dances alone. Personalize a ring stack with heirloom stones from family jewelry passed down to you. Wear three or four wedding rings together all at once, or slip one or two onto this finger and another onto that one. In other words: Get creative and trust your gut to find the perfect wedding jewelry.
Danielle Miele, a gemologist and collector who founded jewelry site Gem Gossip, has journeyed to visit jewelry stores and designers across the United States (her travel stops include the Bario Neal showroom in Philadelphia) — and she believes choosing a wedding or engagement ring that speaks to your personality is more important than keeping up old traditions or chasing today’s trends.
“I have an engagement ring that is a Victorian piece, from the late 1800s, because I love antique jewelry,” Danielle says. “My ring is 14kt yellow gold and it’s a bypass style, so there’s two diamonds. I feel like the two diamonds reflect myself and my husband. And my mom’s engagement ring is a bypass style as well, so it ties that aspect into it.”
She says that while a solitaire diamond is a classic choice that never goes out of style, “if it doesn't reflect the person wearing it, it doesn't seem right to me. If a person is very colorful, they might choose to have several different colored gemstones in a wedding ring. An engagement ring definitely doesn’t have to be a diamond.”
Bario Neal Sales Coordinator Kelsey Cunningham says “diamond engagement ring” is just one “rule” that she and the Bario Neal team love to break. “When clients ask us, ‘Do people do that?’ or ‘Is that odd?’ — for example when mixing metals or varying the widths of bands — we always reply: You can do whatever you want!” she says. “I see many clients wearing wedding jewelry that departs from tradition.”
You Can Perfectly Match an Engagement Ring with a Wedding Band
“We have engagement rings that are designed to go with certain bands. Our Allium Diamond Ring with Notch has a notch at the base so that a band can fit right up against it, for people who want that perfect alignment,” Kelsey says, adding that pairing the Allium ring with the Eternity Half Diamond Band is a classic Bario Neal set. “My personal favorite match-up is the Linear Diamond Ring with Milla Shoulder Narrow Band. I like the chunkier look of those two together.”
Kelsey notes that Bario Neal also has a lot of curved designs for wedding bands, with and without gemstones, for an exact fit that reads as a perfectly meant-to-be set.
Even if you’re certain you want a matching pair, Kelsey says, you don't have to pick them out at the same time. “We suggest clients wear an engagement ring for a little bit first,” she says. You may find that every time you look down at your hand, you wish there was more sparkle or a bolder look. “You could then choose a band that’s wider so your pair has a stronger look overall, or you could do a band with all diamonds to add sparkle.” She notes that Bario Neal also custom designs rings for clients who don’t see exactly what they are looking for in the collection.
One Ring or Band for Wedding Jewelry
“There are clients who don’t wear a lot of jewelry and they know coming into their appointment that one ring is enough,” Kelsey says. “Some clients, after trying on different engagement rings, find they prefer a ring by itself.
She recalls a client who lost her ring set and arrived at Bario Neal looking for a replacement engagement ring and wedding band. But she had realized she really wanted to wear one ring. She bought the Burst Cluster Diamond Band, which is designed to go with the Burst Cluster Diamond Ring, but she loved the playful shape of the band just as it was by itself, according to Kelsey.
Life isn’t static, and over time, many people change up rings and bands or don’t wear a set exactly as they did on their wedding day.
“I understand why people might just go with one ring from the start. I’ve been married for four years now, and sometimes I don't even wear anything, and for me that’s OK,” Danielle says. “I have a wedding band, a thin Victorian band, that we used when we exchanged vows but I hardly ever wear that because my bypass-style ring doesn't fit well with it.”
Danielle says she loves the idea of a colorful enamel ring as singular wedding jewelry. “I know Bario Neal does a great job with enamel rings,” she says, “and I think you can make a big statement with enamel.”
Stacking Wedding Rings
Stacking is becoming more popular, according to Kelsey, in part because people want day-to-day design flexibility. “You can wear one stack all at once on one finger. You can spread them out over several fingers,” she says. “You can add texture, or diamonds for a bigger look. I've had two clients recently who came in engagement ring shopping, and ended up getting a wedding ring stack.”
One client, she says, loved Bario Neal’s solitaire Kalmia Rose Cut Morganite Ring, and started there. To create a nestled three-ring stack with the Kalmia ring at the center, she chose two curved bands, putting the Nikko Curved Band on top, and setting the foundation with the Arco Curved Diamond Band.
Another client wanted a stack of bands that she could switch around depending on the day. “I pulled out a lot of band options, some with texture, some smooth, some with gems and some without,” Kelsey says. “She played around with them to see which rings she loved the most and what order she liked best.” Eventually the client built a wedding ring stack of different metals — rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold — with Bario Neal's Crescent Band, the Dais Diamond Narrow Band, the Arc Band, and the Milla Shoulder Hammered Narrow Band.
Many Bario Neal clients, Kelsey says, return for years after buying their “first” wedding rings to add to their stacks—some just for fun and others to commemorate big life events such as an anniversary or the birth of a child.
When it comes to stacking three (or more) wedding rings, Danielle advises sizing up. “Once you stack several rings together it’s typically more comfortable to wear a slightly larger size,” she says. “Try on stacks and make sure they fit for style and feel.”
Kelsey says that Bario Neal works with clients around the world — through showroom appointments or long-distance — to guide them through matching engagement rings and wedding bands, creating wedding ring stacks, or finding the perfect solo “I Do” ring. “The most important thing to us is that you love whatever you wear,” she says, “and you feel comfortable in your jewelry.”