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Wedding Essentials

Invest in that wedding band

Instead of splurging on a grand wedding, buy wedding rings that will last you a lifetime
The Straits Times - November 11, 2011
By: Ong Soh Chin
| More
Invest in that wedding band

You can-t hurry love, says the song. By the same token, you should not compromise on the quality of your wedding bands either.

However, this is not often the case, says Mr Sandro Erl (inset), the chief executive of Swiss luxury wedding band maker, Furrer-Jacot.

'Many couples spend a lot of time, attention and money on the wedding itself- on the cake, the ceremony and the gown, for example. But they usually leave the wedding bands to the last minute,' he tells Urban in an exclusive interview at the company-s headquarters in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Mr Erl, understandably, has done the maths. He has been with Furrer-Jacot, one of the world-s few luxury wedding ringmakers, for 14 years. And he is a firm advocate of putting your money and time where they count most- on the symbol of your eternal love, rather than on the fleetingly beautiful ephemera of a wedding day.

'Assuming one marries at 30 and dies at 80, that-s a good 50 years of marriage. That works out to 18,250 days of marriage,' he reasons.

Divide that number by the amount of money you are willing to pay for your wedding bands, versus the cost of a designer wedding gown which will be worn for only a few hours and you will have a clear indicator of how distorted one-s priorities can be, he adds.

Taking into consideration today-s high divorce rates, Mr Erl has also recalibrated his calculations, only to arrive at the same conclusion.

'Even if one was married for seven years, that-s still 2,555 days.'

No matter how you slice it, therefore, it makes sense to invest in solid, well-made, handcrafted and beautifully designed wedding bands.

In his mind, of course, there can only be one choice. Unlike other luxury jewellers, Furrer-Jacot, which was established in 1858, specialises in wedding bands only.

The company produces about 20,000 pieces a year and they are sold only through exclusive retailers such as Michael C Fina in New York. In Singapore, they are available at Lee Hwa Jewellery stores and cost from $2,300 for a simple gold pair to $19,000 for a more elaborate pair with diamonds.

Every year, it launches 15 to 20 new designs. Head designer Lucas Ruppli, who crafts beautiful creations inspired by anything from wheat shafts and ibises to cherry blossom blooms and folded paper, always manages to conjure up sublime artistry in each piece, despite facing the obvious design restrictions inherent in a wedding band.

Each piece is handcrafted from scratch and customers can request small modifications as well as personal hand-engraved messages.

Despite the highly personalised nature of the orders, Furrer-Jacot produces and delivers its rings in three weeks, compared to the industry average of eight weeks. And as proof of its faith in its product, it is the only wedding band maker to offer a lifetime warranty for its rings.

'Our rings last longer than some marriages,' says Mr Erl with a smile.

Furrer-Jacot will also resize rings for free one year from the date of purchase. Size adjustments are also free when the ring is passed on to a direct heir. Lost diamonds of up to 0.05 carats will also be replaced gratis.

Crafted from scratch and from highly compressed yellow, rose or white gold, as well as platinum or palladium, each ring feels substantial yet sits comfortably on one-s finger due to its rounded internal cutting.

This 'comfort fit' is a vital detail as wedding bands are to be worn always, even if one is not used to jewellery. In addition, all diamonds used, including the smallest pave-set ones, are of excellent F or G colour and VS clarity.

(On the colour scale for diamonds, the best possible rating is D, with each progressive letter indicating a shade further from white. In terms of clarity, flawless diamonds are classified as IF or Internally Flawless. The next notch is VVS, for Very Very Small inclusions, followed by VS for Very Small inclusions.)

Most importantly, says Mr Erl, is the company-s willingness to go the extra mile. Some years ago, the wedding bands of a client in Singapore were unexpectedly held up at Customs. With only two days to go before the wedding, a new set of bands was swiftly created and Mr Ruppli was despatched on the next available plane to Singapore.

He managed to hand-deliver the wedding bands to the delighted (and much relieved) couple hours before the wedding ceremony. The original pair was retrieved eventually and returned to the company. As gold can be melted down and diamonds can be extracted for future use, there was no wastage.

If that isn-t commitment, we don-t know what is.

The writer-s trip was sponsored by Lee Hwa Jewellery.

HOW TO CHOOSE WEDDING BANDS

Ms Elaine Ng, senior brand manager of Lee Hwa Jewellery, tells Urban the key factors that couples should consider when they go shopping for their wedding bands.

1. Style

Couples have to pick a design that they like and which looks good on their fingers.

A good jeweller would be able to guide the couple through a variety of styles to aid them in their selection process.

Ultimately, it is a choice that has to suit the style of both the man and the woman.

2. Comfort

The bride needs to consider whether she will wear her wedding band and engagement ring on the same finger.

If so, she would need to choose a wedding band that matches the engagement ring and sits comfortably against it.

The band of the wedding ring may need to be streamlined to accommodate an engagement ring with a large solitaire diamond, for example.

Also, as wedding bands are rarely removed, one should ensure that they fit comfortably and do not chafe the skin.

The ring has to be sized properly and only quality craftsmanship can ensure that it is cut properly so as to fit snugly yet not cut into the skin.

Men, especially, should take note of this factor, as most of them are not accustomed to wearing jewellery.

3. Lifestyle

If a person uses the keyboard at work or is active in sports, he or she may want to select a ring that is of a simple design so that it complements the lifestyle and does not obstruct his or her movement.

A very active sportswoman should opt for simple bands without diamonds, as the stones may fall off due to wear and tear.

4. Quality

A wedding band is forever, says Ms Ng, and is a symbol of your love for your partner and your eternal bond. As such, you should select a ring that is durable and of good quality.

 

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