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Burlington, N.C., Times-News

Bridal Guide

Sunday, January 23, 2005

New book offers plenty of information on diamonds
GUIDE TO WEDDING JEWELRY,” by Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel. Bullfinch Press, 173 pages. $24.95. Reviewed by Brian Rose Times-News “With this ring, I thee wed.” That simple sentence is repeated at many a wedding, and the wedding ring itself has long been a symbol that a man and woman have devoted themselves solely to one another. But do you know why? That and many other questions are answered in “With This Ring: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Jewelry,” a new book by Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel. “Jewelry begins and ends it all,” write Proddow and Fasel. “A ring officially announces you are engaged. Another ring says you are married. In other words, getting married means at least two new jewels in your life.” Geared primarily toward females, “With This Ring” takes a historical, humorous and matter-of-fact look at all sorts of wedding jewelry: how it has evolved across time and what brides-tobe (and grooms-to-be, for that matter) should look for when making that allimportant purchase. The book even has a special section on celebrities and the diamonds they wear. No one is sure exactly when the ring became a token of marriage, who thought of it or where the custom originated, the authors write. In ancient Rome, many people believed the ring symbolized eternal love. Designs have changed dramatically throughout the years. Early rings were simple bands of iron. Only later, in the 15th century, did gold rings appear. Countless jewels adorned the rings, symbolizing various things. For instance, rubies signified exalted love, while emeralds signified hope. Diamonds stood for the purity of fidelity and durability. But according to the authors, it wasn’t until the 18th century that diamonds became prominent in engagement rings in Europe. “(Its) ascendancy came from many things: sheer beauty, status, the tradition of sentiments attached to the stone (fidelity and durability) and the


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Need help looking for the right kind of wedding ring? This new book by Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel might help. steady supply of gems from newly discovered mines in Brazil.” The history goes on to explore traditions in several other countries from as far back as records exist. Proddow and Fasel do a nice job of presenting it in an easy-to-read fashion, and it makes for one of the most interesting portions of the book. Of course, all that history is nice, but brides (and grooms) today want to get down to the nitty-gritty: What do I need to know about purchasing the diamond ring that best fits me? The authors say it’s best to begin with the four C’s: carat weight, clarity, cut and color. The book goes on to discuss each in detail, as well as offering pictures of various shapes of rings and diamonds. Throw that in with an easy-to-use glossary of terms and nearly 200 helpful diagrams and illustrations, and “With This Ring” comes over as a helpful guide for anyone looking to broaden their knowledge of wedding jewelry. In fact, the history of wedding jewelry was an interesting enough read to fascinate me — an already-married man who took a year to find the right ring for his bride. If only I had had this book seven years ago. Check your local bookstore for availability, or visit www.bullfinchpress.com.

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The Times-News offers both free and paid engagement and wedding announcements. Forms are available at our office at 707 S. Main St. in downtown Burlington. Call the Accent department at (336) 227-0131 for more information.


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