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Wedding Jewelry Chat with Irene Barbieri, Thursday, February 21 at 11 AM

Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.

Published February 15, 2008
Jewelry has always been Irene Barbieri’s thing, but she spent 20 years in the corporate world before she decided to take the plunge and start Mia Gemma jewelry store, which opened in Alexandria about three years ago and moved to its new (and very cute) F Street digs last month. All the store’s merchandise is artist-created and one-of-a-kind or limited edition. “I’m somebody who looks for the unique,” Irene says.Thanks for all the great questions! Check back next week for a live chat on wedding flowers.

Washington, DC
It's my second wedding, so I chose a short dress. I want to look pretty casual, do you think I should wear jewelry at all?
I can't imagine a wedding dress without jewelry even if it is casual. Jewelry ties your look together and adds your own personality. If you want to go minimalist then wear earrings and a bracelet and forgo a necklace. In any event do wear something that makes your personality shine through.
Washington, DC
Hi, Irene! I'm getting married in June and my grandma is letting me borrow her beautiful pearl earrings. (the "something borrowed") Is a pearl necklace too old fashioned? If so, what else would match?
Hi there! Pearls are never out of style and today there are so many interesting shapes, sizes and colors of pearls to choose from. It really depends on the type and style of pearl earrings you are wearing as to what type of pearl necklace to wear. I would need to see the earrings in order to recommend a necklace that would compliment it. Remember that you don't have to have jewelry that matches perfectly but it does need to blend well.
Alexandria, VA
I don't have pierced ears. Do you think I should get them pierced for the wedding? Or are there cute clip earrings out there? If so, I can't find them! Help!
First of all, relax and enjoy the planning and preparation for your great day! Almost any earring can be made into a clip by bringing it to a jewelry repair shop. At Mia Gemma we don't do repairs such as this but we do make custom earrings and of course a clip could be made and there are many options here. If you do decide to pierce your ears you will have many more options for earrings that are ready made - and not just for your wedding. You may enjoy wearing pierced earrings to dress up many of your outfits. I hope this helps.
Arlington, VA
We're not engaged yet, but we've been looking at rings, and I love one that is a thick band with diamonds. But it doesn't seem like a wedding band would work with it. Is it OK to just have one ring? And if so, would I wear it all through our engagement, or wait until the wedding day for him to give it to me?
An engagement ring is worn when you become engaged. If it looks like  a wedding band more than an engagement ring because of its width then let it be whatever you want it to be. Today your personal style and preferences really dictate what you wear. Some women wear a wedding band and not necessarily their engagement ring with it all the time. Many women have multiple wedding bands and they wear whichever one goes with their outfit or personal style. Women today stack wedding bands as well. Do whatever you are comfortable with and choose a ring that you will enjoy wearing. Good luck!
washington, dc
i'm not very traditional and i don't want a diamond. (i've been trying to hint this to my boyfriend!) do you ever see people buy engagement rings that aren't diamond? what do they look like?
Many people choose different gems other than diamonds. In fact we have done this many times for our clients here at Mia Gemma. You can choose a gem in any color that  you fancy. It really depends on your preferences. As for the styles, they vary and you can figure out your style by looking in shops and in magazines. At Mia Gemma all of our rings are handcrafted by artists from across the country - the styles are as varied as the artists who make them. Have fun looking!
Dupont Circle, DC
I'm not traditional at all, and I don't think I even want an engagement ring...at all! I want just a slim wedding band for when we get married. But my boyfriend wants to get me an engagement ring, I know—maybe there is some sort of unique piece of jewelry he could buy me in lieu of a ring? Any ideas?
Wow! What an opening to ask you and your boyfriend come to Mia Gemma. Everything here is  unique one- of-a-kind and limited edition pieces. Come by and see the possibilities.
Arlington, VA
I really ilke the way platinum looks for rings, but I'm worried it's just a fad and in 10 years I'll wish I had a gold wedding band. What do you think?
Choose a ring that looks good on your hand and with your skin tone. If gold looks better then stick to gold. Don't worry so much about trends. The ring symbolizes your commitment and so you want to enjoy wearing and looking at it on your hand. If down the road you want to change to a different metal ring then do so. There are no hard and fast rules here. Good luck!
Washington, DC
My fiancée doesn't like to wear jewelry so it doesn't make sense for me to buy her an expensive necklace or earrings which she would only wear once. We are having an ultra formal evening wedding. Are there any jewelry stores that rent jewelry for special occasions?
I think you may find some rental stores on the web. Another thought is to not buy something so expensive and so fancy. I would need to see the dress to help further.
Washington, DC
My bridesmaids are wearing strapless dresses. Is there a certain style of necklace that would look best?
Usually a 16" necklace  that sits at the nape of the neck looks best but the style, weight and color of necklace may make longer an option. It is best to bring a picture of the dresses with you when shopping for jewelry to help the sales folks help you!
Arlington, VA
My guy and I are attracted to totally different ring styles (he likes platinum, I want traditional gold). Do our wedding rings have to match?
I am frequently asked this question and the answer is no they do not have to match. Since your styles are so different choose what you each like so that you are happy wearing the rings.

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