Wedding Rings: All you need to know
Types of wedding ring metals and gemstones
Platinum: When it comes to the type of material a ring is made of, the harder metals are best. This is because your wedding rings need to last a lifetime. One of the most popular metals is Platinum. Platinum is known for its extreme hardness and beautiful white colour that never fades. The only snag is that Platinum comes with a hefty price tag.
Gold: The three most popular shades of gold are Yellow Gold, White Gold, and Rose Gold. The more traditional bride will love Yellow Gold, but Rose Gold is currently very trendy and popular. White Gold wedding rings are usually plated and therefore, it can lose its white colour over time. Whichever metal you choose for your wedding ring, make sure it matches the engagement ring.
Silver: Silver is also a favourite metal for wedding rings because it is inexpensive and beautiful. But it is important to know that Silver can easily scratch.
Titanium: Good news if you have a sensitive skin. You can consider Titanium because it is hypo-allergenic. Titanium is a darker metal but it is super strong and durable even though it has a lighter weight.
Stainless Steel: When it comes to picking the perfect metal for the Groom’s wedding ring we would recommend the good old faithful Stainless Steel because it is inexpensive, strong, durable, hypo-allergenic and scratch resistant.
And what about the Gemstones?
The gemstone is the most important feature on an engagement ring, whereas on a wedding ring there are fewer gemstones or even none. Either way, it is important that you consider what type of gemstone you want for both of your rings.
Diamonds: So obviously Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right? Diamonds are famous because of their beautiful appearance and are known for being the hardest substance on earth. Did you know that the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond? But, make no mistake, diamonds are pricey.
When choosing a diamond, you should give attention to the 4 C’s, which are Colour, Cut, Clarity, Carats. On wedding rings, these gems are usually quite small and paved into the band, so they should be cheaper than the large gems used for engagement rings.
Coloured Gemstones for Wedding Rings?
Tanzanite: If blue is your colour, then you will love a Tanzanite stone. This vibrant blue coloured stone is extremely rare and can only be found near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Buying a Tanzanite stone for your bride-to-be will not only win her heart over but it is also a great financial investment because of the stone’s rarity.
Morganite: The pretty pink Morganite is a favourite. This rare semi-precious gemstone is known for its excellent durability. Morganites are also found in larger sizes which make gorgeous wedding rings.
Emerald: The unique bride will love the lush green emerald gemstone. The emerald is not as hard as a diamond and should be cleaned often using only warm water.
Ruby: Rubies are also a very popular Gemstone because of their deep red tone and extreme hardness.
How to choose your wedding rings
- Narrow down your choices – Whether it is diamonds or gemstones, platinum or gold, narrowing down your ring options may seem overwhelming, but do not panic. Just take it one step at a time.
Start with style. Are you envisioning a simple band or one with embellishments? Do you want your wedding ring to be the same metal as your engagement ring? Do you think you and your partner’s rings should match? Work out these kinds of questions beforehand so you can zero in on exactly what you are looking for, then start shopping around.
- Consider buying your ring and your bands together – If you prefer to be surprised by the engagement ring, this may not work. But knowing what bands go with the engagement ring can help you make a decision. For example, if you have a unique engagement ring, you may want a simple, no-fuss band, whereas a simple engagement ring may call for the added sparkle of a diamond pavé band. Also think about how the rings fit together. If you are planning on wearing your engagement and wedding ring side by side, as a set, then look for a contour or shadow band designed to interlock with the matching engagement ring. If you are planning on wearing your wedding ring alone, you may want a more intricate style that will look great with or without your engagement ring. Talk to your jeweler about finding a band that works with your ring. Or have them both custom made.
- Start your ring search early – Once you have a basic idea of what kind of ring you would like, it is time for the fun part, trying them on. Give yourselves at least two to three months before the wedding date to ring shop. You will need this time to browse designs or styles, research prices and revisit rings that catch your eye. If you have your heart set on a custom ring, you will probably need even more time. And keep in mind extras, like engraving, which can take longer.
- Mix it up – Do not fret if you like platinum and your partner likes yellow gold. There is no rule that says you have to choose the same metal or even style. You could compromise with braided bands that blend the two metals together or just be totally different. The key to finding something you both love, is choosing wedding bands that reflect your individual styles.
- Set a budget – When shopping for wedding rings, assume that you will spend about 3 percent of your total wedding budget. Embellishments, like diamonds or engraving, will quickly add to the cost, so factor that into your budget if you plan to personalize your rings with any of these extras. The price of engraving is usually based on the number of characters, the font used and whether it’s engraved by hand or machine (hand is usually pricier).
- Keep your lifestyle in mind – Remember, you are going to wear your wedding rings every day, so the goal is to choose something that seamlessly becomes a part of your life. If you play sports or an instrument, a slimmer ring with rounded edges may make the most sense (this is called the “comfort fit”). If you work with your hands, you may want to search for a simple, solid metal ring and avoid gemstones that can come loose or carvings, which can trap dirt. If you are super active, go for platinum, which is extra durable and when scratched, the metal is merely displaced and does not actually wear away.
- Try something different –You may love the idea of a braided rose gold ring or a diamond eternity band, but once you get to the store, try some rings that aren’t on your inspiration board. Chat with the jeweler, then let them make suggestions based on what you like and do not rule anything out. Just like with wedding dresses, you may end up loving something you never thought you would. Wear it around the store for a few minutes and while you have it on, try writing and texting as a comfort test.
- Think long term – While you should not be afraid of being trendy, make sure the style you choose is something you will want to wear for the next 40 years. Just do not stress too much, you can always make changes to your wedding rings.
- Consider the maintenance – To keep wedding rings with stones clean and sparkling, you will need to soak and wash it in warm sudsy water, then gently brush it with a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush. Do not apply too much pressure as it can loosen the stones from their setting. Rinse your wedding rings and pat it dry with a soft lint-free cloth. If this sounds like too much upkeep, you may want to opt for a fuss-free gold or platinum ring—simply rub it with a soft, lint-free cloth and you are good to go.
- Size It Right – Most people rarely take off their wedding rings. They wear them through summers, winters, exercise, pregnancies—all times when your fingers swell and contract from heat, cold, water retention or weight gain. To find the right size that will best weather all of those changes, schedule your final ring fitting at a time when you are calm and your body temperature is normal. That means you should never finalize first thing in the morning (you retain water from the night before), right after you have exercised (fingers swell) or when you’re extremely hot or cold (which can cause your hands to expand and shrink).
- Check for Quality– Quality control applies to all rings, not just your wedding bands. Make sure the ring has two marks inside the band: the manufacturer’s trademark (this proves they stand behind their work) and the quality mark, 24K or PLAT, for example (this proves the metal quality is what the retailer says it is).
How to Care for your wedding rings
Your wedding rings are made to be enjoyed, and a little extra care will help extend the enjoyment for a lifetime.
Use these expert care tips to extend the shine and sparkle, and keep your stones safely in their settings.
- Get checkups. At least once a year, take your engagement ring and wedding bands to a jeweler for inspection and cleaning. They will check for loose settings, worn prongs and other potential problems.
- Clean regularly. Clean your wedding rings at home to avoid dirt buildup that can increase wear, but use caution. It is always best to use warm water and a baby soft toothbrush. Stay away from sinks and drains.
- Do not wait. If you see a loose stone or a prong that is worn or catches on fabric, it could lead to a lost stone. Take the piece to your jeweler and have it checked immediately.
- Store gently. When you are not wearing your wedding rings, place each item in a separate soft compartment or container. Storing jewelry cluttered together can cause scratches. Be careful when using ring holders or jewelry dishes as these tend to stack rings on top of each other, which can cause damage.
- Go easy. Diamonds are among the hardest materials on earth, but they can chip if struck at the right angle. Do not risk a damaged engagement ring. For any potentially high-impact activity, store your ring safely on the sidelines.
- Insure it. Be sure to get insurance coverage that is right for you, so if you do experience theft, loss or damage, you are covered. You can rest assured knowing that you have the extra security set up for your wedding rings.
Your peace of mind is worth it.
An interesting read on the origin of Wedding Rings
Wedding rings are a sentiment of love, but no one can really say for sure when this tradition actually started. Some believe that the oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from ancient Egypt, about 4800 years ago. Back then, rushes and reeds, growing alongside the well-known papyrus, were twisted and braided into rings for fingers and other decorative ornaments worn by the women.
The circle was the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end, not only to the Egyptians, but many other ancient cultures. The hole in the center of the ring also had significance, as it wasn’t just considered a space, but rather a gateway, or door; leading to things and events both known and unknown. To give a woman a ring signifies never-ending and immortal love.
Because the materials that these rings were made of didn’t last very long, they were soon substituted with rings made of leather, bone or ivory. The more expensive the material, the more love shown to the receiver. The value of the ring also demonstrated the wealth of the giver.
The Romans also eventually adopted this tradition but with their own twist. Rather than offering a ring to a woman as a symbol of love, they awarded them a ring as a symbol of ownership. Roman men would “claim” their woman with the giving of a ring. Roman betrothal rings were later made of iron which symbolized strength and permanence. These were called “Anulus Pronubus.” It is also believed that the Romans were the first to engrave their rings.
It was not until about 860 that the Christians used the ring in wedding ceremonies; even then, it was not the simple plain band we know today. It usually was highly decorated with engraved doves, lyres, or two linked hands. The Church discouraged such rings as ‘heathenish’ and, around the 13th century, wedding and betrothal rings were considerably simplified, and given a more spiritual look which was very aptly expressed by a Bishop when he dubbed it a “symbol of the union of hearts.”
Through different stages in history wedding rings have been worn on different fingers, including the thumb, and on both the left and right hands. According to a tradition which is believed to have been derived from the Romans, wedding rings are worn on the left hand ring finger because there was thought to be a vein in that finger, that was directly connected to the heart. This is referred to as the ‘Vena Amoris’ or the ‘Vein of Love’. However, scientists have shown this is actually false. Despite this, the myth still remains regarded by many (hopeless romantics) as the number one reason rings are worn on the fourth finger.
Another theory thought to be behind the ring being placed on the left hand by Christians seems a little more plausible. Early Christian marriages had a ritual to wear the wedding ring in the third finger. As the priest recited during the binding ,”In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, he would take the ring and touch the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger; then, while uttering “Amen”, he would place the ring on the ring finger, which sealed the marriage.
A more practically based theory is that the soft metal (traditionally gold for wedding rings) is less worn or injured on the finger of the left hand, due to most of the world being right handed. Further, the fourth finger on the left hand is probably the second to the least used finger on a person’s hands outside of the pinkie finger. With pinkie fingers being small, making a ring with little surface area to decorate perhaps motivated people to then place it on the next least used finger, namely the fourth finger on the left hand, this is roughly the size of the other fingers.