Engagement Rings

David Yurman on Engagement Rings

Fine-jewelry icon David Yurman shares his thoughts on wedding rings

After the guests go home, the gown slips off and the hair comes down, the ring stays put, as a lasting symbol of a married couple's big day. This importance is what attracted David Yurman to the bridal world after 25 years of designing his eponymous line of jewelry and timepieces. "There's no question that the engagement ring and wedding band are the most significant jewelry purchases anyone will ever make," he says. And his clients—an impressive roster that includes Selma Blair and Sienna Miller—were constantly begging for custom engagement and wedding rings. Not willing to add just any diamond to one of the cable designs he's known for, he wanted to do it right. On Yurman's terms, that meant a signature diamond two and a half years in the making. The result: the patent-pending "Hearts and Arrows" cushion cut—"brighter than the brightest non-round diamond out there," he says—that only a few diamond cutters in the world are skilled enough to tackle.

Yurman feels an intense emotional responsibility to his bridal line. "Bridal is different: It's a moment that commemorates commitment," he says. "There's a realm of perfection that ratchets up quite significantly." The result of that extra effort: beautiful, timeless engagement and wedding rings, in the distinctive classic-meets-contemporary Yurman aesthetic. The line also includes a necklace with the signature diamond front and center and cable detail, dangle-drop diamond-and-pearl earrings and dainty pink and canary-yellow diamond eternity bands, sold exclusively at the nine David Yurman boutiques nationwide.

It's fitting that Yurman is designing wedding jewelry; his company got its start thanks to a necklace he created for his girlfriend, Sybil—now his wife of 26 years—the year they got married. She wore it to a gallery opening on Madison Avenue, and when the gallery owner asked if it was for sale, Yurman said, "No," and Sybil said, "Yes!"

Now, with Sybil acting as official advisor, and his son, Evan, overseeing the men's collection, Yurman still makes decisions family-style, especially with new lines like bridal. "My staff helps me to not lose sense of our DNA. I literally have to present my designs," he says. "I'll hear, 'That's not Yurman enough.' And I say, 'But I am Yurman,'" he laughs.

Yurman's Diamond Shopping Tips:

- Go to a jeweler you know and trust, or one recommended by friends.

- Always ask for a Diamond Grading Report of the stone's measurements, weight, cut and quality. Reports by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) are the most highly regarded in the industry.

- Of the "four Cs" of diamond-buying—carat, clarity, color and cut—consider cut the most important because it determines the scintillation, the diamond's light return or sparkle.

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