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Planning a Valentine Engagement? We've Got Your Ring

It's important to know, gentlemen, that today's bride is an independent-minded gal. In choosing her engagement ring, be aware she is less interested in following fashion's latest dictates or imitating the newest celebrity bride than she is in finding the engagement ring that best suits her own individual style and aesthetic.

That said, here are some noteworthy trends currently dominating the engagement-ring category. Perhaps most important is the continuing popularity of platinum and white-gold ring styles. Interestingly, while some of today's brides choose white metals because they view them as more sleekly contemporary, other young women seem to fall in love with them because they have fond memories of the engagement rings worn by their grandmothers, who were brides in the 1950s, another period in which white metals were all the rage.

Although solitaires will never be out of style, more brides are choosing rings with multiple diamonds ? usually a centerstone and two smaller side stones, but sometimes a centerstone surrounded by an array of smaller stones. In many cases, these multiple-gem rings are inspired by antique designs and tend to feature other earmarks of historical styles: filigree designs, pavé diamonds, bezel settings, emerald cuts and lower-set prong settings.Another trend: brides are no longer afraid of color. At the highest end of the market, pink, yellow and blue diamond center stones are finding adherents among trend-setting brides looking for a unique, high-fashion look.

Colored gems ? most often rubies and sapphires ? are also being seen more often as side stones. This is another look inspired by styles of the past ? in this case the Art Deco jewelry styles of the early 20th century. Today's brides are fortunate in that there have never been more designs to choose from and there have never been fewer fashion ?rules? to follow. Today, truly there is a perfect ring for every bride.