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10:40 AM Mon, Nov. 12th

Wedding Rings: Close-up and personal is best way to buy

The "halo look" is what brides and grooms are looking for today when they set out to choose bridal engagement rings, Greg Raskin, owner of Raskin's Jewelers in downtown Prescott said.

This "in vogue" selection is made up of small diamonds that surround a main center diamond. The popular shape of that center gem is square, ranging from one-quarter carat in size to 4.5 carats, Raskin said, adding prices for this ring range from $700 to $45,000.

Other "trendy" stones are colored diamonds. "Black is hot, yellow is hot and brown diamonds called "cognac' in the industry" are popular choices, he said.

Rose gold for the band is popular, but white gold is still the most favored, along with platinum, as well, Raskin said.

For the groom's wedding band, alternative metals, such as titanium, tungsten and black cobalt, are selling well and inexpensive, Raskin said. Prices range from $200 to $400, as opposed to a man's platinum ring, which would sell for a minimum of $1,000. Men like these metals because they are durable and light-weight, he said, and they can have more than one - a stylish one for work and one for dress-up, without the expense.

"We like the element of surprise" when the groom chooses an engagement ring for his intended, Raskin said. "We like the groom to choose the center diamond, a solitaire diamond, and use that as the engagement ring to maintain the element of surprise" he said. "Then they would come in together and choose the mounting" for her permanent ring and pick out his at the same time. Besides alternative metals, "men's diamond bands are still very popular," he said.

Raskin recommends shopping for wedding jewelry in person.

"There's a misconception that prices are better on the Internet and at national retailers. That's just not true," he said. "It's better to be able to look, touch and feel and look at a stone under a microscope rather than buy it based only on a description or a simple picture."

Submitted by: Raskin's Jewelers, 110 W. Gurley St., 445-6120.