If you're shopping for an engagement ring, one great source of inspiration is the amazing rings on the fingers of movie stars and music artists. Celebrity-inspired platinum engagement rings are a popular trend that non-celebrity couples can easily emulate for their own distinctive style. In this exclusive interview, Michael O'Connor, a jewelry and style expert who has personal experience working with celebrity engagement rings, shares his tips for regular people who hope to emulate the styles of the stars.
Expert Advice on Celebrity-Style Rings
LoveToKnow (LTK): It seems like a lot of stars are choose platinum instead of gold. Why is platinum particularly hot for celebrity engagement rings right now?
Michael O'Connor (MO): Celebrities, like the vast majority of all couples, look to celebrate their unions and commitments in platinum. Platinum is universally known to be "the best" when it comes to jewelry. There are several reasons why platinum is often considered the best choice when it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands specifically:
- Platinum is one of the most durable metals and is extremely resistant to corrosion and wear.
- A platinum piece of jewelry that will be worn daily, like an engagement ring or wedding band, will not wear down as quickly as other metals.
- Patterns and engravings will last longer.
- Because of its durability, diamonds mounted in platinum will be held securely.
Let's face it, with the size and value of some of the engagement rings these days, that extra assurance of holding those diamonds securely gives a celebrity a good deal of peace of mind.
LTK: It sounds like durability is an important factor. What else makes platinum a better choice than gold?
MO: Platinum is not only a more durable metal, but it's also an important choice when setting diamonds. Part of a diamond's value is derived from its color. Diamonds act like prisms, reflecting and refracting the light and colors and come into them.
Platinum is a naturally white metal and, therefore, won't cast a yellow color into the diamond. Gold is mined from the ground and its natural color is a warm yellow. Designers and manufacturers create the appearance of whiteness by mixing other "whitening" metals with gold in order to dilute or camouflage the yellow appearance. To enhance its whiter look, white gold is usually rhodium-plated over the top. Over time, the rhodium will wear off and the piece will resume its less-than-white appearance. In order to keep a white gold piece extremely white over time it will often have to be re-plated with rhodium. Platinum is a natural white metal and, therefore, won't cast a yellow color into the diamond. Platinum, being naturally white, should not be rhodium plated.
LTK: Is any special care needed to keep platinum looking its best?
MO: Like all metals, platinum will get tiny scratches over time (this is called a patina). For me, the patina that develops over time gives a piece of jewelry a warmer charm and a feeling of heritage. Therefore I advise not to polish this out, but merely to keep platinum, and other metals, clean with a regular washing in a mild soapy solution and drying with a soft cloth.
Popular Celebrity Designs
LTK: It sounds like platinum is popular with celebrities for a reason. Which platinum ring designs are most popular with stars?
MO: Some of the most popular ring designs chosen by celebrities today are classic platinum and diamond solitaires, like Fergie's choice. Some celebrities like Jennifer Hudson and Eva Longoria-Parker have gone for a more romantic style. They've chosen platinum settings that have a technique called micro-pave applied where tiny diamonds are set all over to create a shimmering effect.
- Jennifer Hudson's platinum engagement ring highlights the center round diamond with an outer collar of small white diamonds encircling it.
- Eva Longoria-Parker chose a square center diamond set into a platinum micro-pave setting.
- Beyonce's engagement ring by designer Lorraine Schwartz features a wonderful new romantic style partnering some micro-pave work on the sides with a "split-shank" where the shoulders of the ring (the pieces directly on either side of the center diamond are open) create a delicate open work.
LTK: What other ring trends are currently popular with celebrities?
- Many celebrities are moving away from the typical round diamond and choosing squares or rectangles for their center diamonds.
- For those who wish to create a longer, leaner appearance to their hands, rings designed on a "north-south" orientation (longer from the knuckle to the tip of the finger) seem to be popular.
- Colored diamonds seem to be very popular for celebrities these days.
LTK: Which gemstones or diamond colors are most popular with platinum?
MO: Currently in engagement rings the most popular gemstone is still diamond, with a white (or colorless) diamond still reigning supreme, but things are slowly changing. Since the days of Jennifer Lopez's pink diamond ring (to Ben Affleck) and now Mariah Carey's pink diamond there has been a lot of interest in pink diamonds.
Additionally, Brooke Mueller's yellow diamond ring from Charlie Sheen has sparked interest in yellow diamonds, and more recently, Carmen Electra's black diamond engagement ring has brought about awareness of black diamonds. In all cases, the neutral whiteness that platinum provides to any diamond or gemstone will make that stone look great while protecting it for life.
Platinum Engagement Rings for Regular People
LTK: Do you have any advice for a regular woman who'd like to emulate celebrity style?
MO: People often look to their favorite celebrity to emulate their style choices. While it's great to see what they are wearing, it's more important to think of how you're going to be using and wearing your engagement ring and what styles might be most appropriate for your particular hand shape. If you like a celebrity's style and seek to emulate it, look for a few of the details that you think are the most exciting and see that those details are present in the rings you try on.
LTK: How can a couple mimic a celebrity-style platinum ring for a more affordable price?
MO: A couple should determine what design elements they really love about a ring and look for a ring with similar details. A couple should focus on buying the best quality that they can get for their budget and they should focus on the ring holistically. A ring is not just about the diamond, it's about the quality of the entire piece and the durability that platinum will provide. The metal matters too.
If you're inspired by the style of your favorite singer or actress, you may be able to find a celebrity-inspired ring. However, according to Michael O'Connor, it's best not to skimp on the precious metal, since platinum offers real-world durability to celebrity designs.