Ian Douglas of The Village Goldsmith  [and The Inspired Collective] has designed and crafted beautiful, unique engagement and wedding rings for decades. He offers you some guidance to help decide on which wedding ring style to choose - advice you should take into account from as early as the engagement ring purchase.

With the fast and ever-changing design of engagement rings, the choice of wedding rings becomes a more difficult decision by the day. These days, what constitutes an engagement ring is not just the design but simply the finger on which you wear it.

Never before, in 35 years of business, have we made such a diverse range of styles for engagement rings. As people more freely express themselves, we are presented with and given the opportunity to design a greater variety of styles...long may that continue.

However with that diversity comes a host of other challenges, of which the main issue is: what should I choose as a wedding ring?

There is an increasingly popular trend to circumvent that dilemma - more and more people are choosing a ring that serves as both an engagement ring and a wedding ring. This preserves the integrity of the original design and is also a practical option. It is a bit tricky for general jewellers, but as a designer and goldsmith, it is a choice I applaud.

For those of you who would like a wedding band to compliment your engagement ring, there have never been so many choices. Would you like diamonds inset in the band? Do you want to keep it plain? Or would you prefer a band that is shaped to fit your engagement ring? These are all sensible questions, and all ones to consider when you choose your engagement ring.

Think carefully when you do, for the ring of your dreams may start to look a little forlorn when you find that nothing you try on sits nicely against it.

We often meet brides who dislike the idea of a shaped or fitted wedding band; they are disappointed when we explain that there is really no alternative, as their engagement ring's style dictates this wedding band shape. Remember to remain open-minded though, as the fitted wedding ring can certainly look lovely.

So, when you're trying on an engagement ring, ask the store if you can try on a wedding ring with it. This can alter your perception of the engagement ring, and possibly change your mind as to your final choice.

There is a lot a wonderful variety out there, so shop around and find out what's right for you. Don't limit yourself to the chain stores as well. There are a lot of beautiful handcrafted items that look beautiful, will last longer and could be more competitively priced than you realise. Speak to jewellers who have a passion, love and respect for their product and who will sell you a ring that works for you and your budget.

Happy choosing...

- Ian Douglas

Extract from the website: The Big Step,194