Long after the thrill of the wedding day has passed, there’s one tangible symbol that’ll be a constant, wearable reminder of your partner’s love.

It’s a purchase not to be taken lightly.

“Become an intelligent shopper. Before you open your pocket book or pay cash, be a smart shopper when it comes to comparing and then buying,” said Joe Orszulak, co-owner of Kathryn’s Jewelry in Connellsville.

Over the years, a number of trends have come and gone when it comes to color and design.

“We have noticed an uptick in both rose gold and yellow gold for ladies wedding bands and engagement rings,” said John Carom, co-owner of Abby’s Gold & Gems in Uniontown. “In comparison to all rings sold, it’s not too high, but five years ago it was zero. Who knows, it may continue to increase.”

Carom added that 95 percent of rings sold are white gold.

A consistent hallmark for soon-to-be-brides coming to Abby’s Gold & Gems in Uniontown, though, is diamonds.

Carom said about 99 out of 100 women who shop for there for their wedding band decide on a diamond band.

“When a woman comes in with an engagement ring and tries it with the plain band, they might think it’s outdated,” Carom said. “They generally go with the diamond bands.”

At Kathryn’s Jewelry, though, Orszulak said a lot of folks are opting for bands in lieu of buying a diamond.

“We applaud that,” he said.

And for those who do go the way of a diamond, Orszulak offered these words of advice: A big diamond does not make a big marriage.

“There are more important things for youngsters to spend money on in taking their first steps into a new life together,” he said.

That being said, though, Orszulak advised prospective ring buyers to steer clear of tiny diamonds.

“They’re practically worthless,” he said, adding that they’re typically “those little specks you see surrounding various designs.”

The tiny diamonds often fall out and get lost, which forces the original buyer to go back to the jeweler, who might “leap on you like a leach and try to sell you something new or have an exorbitant repair fee.”

Instead, Orszulak recommended taking your money and buying the largest single diamond you can afford.

Carom also noted that couples shopping for their perfect bands should avoid sterling silver.

“They won’t hold up for a lifetime,” Carom said.

In terms of the future husband, men in this area don’t want diamonds in their wedding bands, he added.

“An exception would be men with white collar jobs in sales or finance, or those in Pittsburgh,” he said. “Or perhaps other major cities. But it seems that Fayette County, gold wedding bands are the number one choice for men.”

Abby’s also sells alternative metals like tungsten or titanium — Carom has even sold several camouflage bands.

With those metals, though, Carom said they should be purchased with the understanding that the likely can never be sized up or down, and may be impossible to repair if damaged.

“Whereas if it’s gold, it can be repaired, resized, engraved, etc. It can be retained for the life of the marriage,” Carom added.

This March, Joe and his wife Kathryn will celebrate 30 years in their Connellsville location.

The wedding industry continues to thrive as indicated by statistics from the CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System.

Their data, tracking 2000 through 2016, indicated that the number of marriages in the U.S. each year has always been above 2 million.

In 2001, there were 2,326,000 marriages — the highest number in the last 16 years. That dipped to 2,080,000 marriages in 2009 after the recession, marking the lowest number. It’s been a steady increase since then, and in 2016, there were 2,245,404 marriages nationwide.

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