Viewed as a symbol of eternity and a statement of marriage worldwide, the wedding ring is believed to date back over 6000 years ago to ancient Egypt, where bands of reeds or braids were exchanged by wedding couples. Today the trend expands to solid bands of precious metal. From 2012 onwards the office for national statistics stated that weddings in England and Wales has increased each year with 2012 recording 262,240 weddings & Civil Ceremonies. This accounts for a staggering 1 Billion pound Industry in the UK alone for wedding ring sales.
Choosing the right wedding ring can be a confusing process with questions such as what metal?, what colour?, what width?, what style?, personalised options and engraving?, plain or diamond set? designer or standard?; it seems such a lot of information for something so small and so simple. So we went out and asked the experts for their thoughts and advice when choosing a wedding ring and put a handy guide below to give you some information and places to consider when planning your special day.
1. Choosing the Right Profile
Wedding rings come in a variety of different profiles. This is the shape of the ring if cut through the middle and they each have a different look, style and comfort factor for your finger. Designer Jewellery Specialist Sanjay Pattni Owner of Mayfair Jewellers suggests “For men the right profile will depend on your lifestyle, personality and personal taste. If you tend not to wear much jewellery a light to medium weight ring should be fine. However, if you are accustomed to wearing rings, consider medium to heavy. For Ladies it’s always best to choose the same profile as your engagement ring as you are used to wearing this style; it will feel comfortable and match your engagement ring that much more.”
Vineet Khandelwal owner of online Jewellery Diamond Rocks “Selecting the right profile is an important factor to determine the correct comfort and look you want to achieve for your wedding ring. Traditional Court is the most popular shape and has been around the longest. This is curved on the outside and inside. This will still be chosen in 100 years!
Slight Court is a slighter flatter but more contemporary version of the Traditional Court. It still maintains some curves and has become very popular over the last several years.
D-Shape is totally flat in the inside and heavily rounded on the outside which looks high on the finger. This is more popular with gents compared to ladies.
Flat Court is the opposite of D-Shape – flat on the top and rounded on the inside for complete comfort but still giving a contemporary look with the flat surface.
Flat profile is totally flat on all sides with 90 degree angles. It gives quite a heavy appearance but is quite a specific choice in our experience.”
2. Choosing the Right Metal
The traditional choice for wedding rings has been White and Yellow Gold. The popularity and trends of white metals has meant that more affordable metals such as Palladium, albeit slightly lighter than gold, is gaining popularity and Platinum once the more expensive option is now seeing similar costs to White Gold gram for gram. See Palladium vs Platinum for more info. You can track the prices of metals online to see what the most affordable option is for your investment. Mark Johnson, owner of online Jewellers Serendipity Diamonds notes that “by choosing Palladium and you can have a very affordable luxury wedding ring starting from around £200.00. Choose an ethically sourced wedding ring with full customisation from as little as £300.00 in Fairtrade 18ct Gold.”
Rose gold is a beautiful addition to the wedding ring family with its copper content giving the lustrous pink/red hue. Although not Hypoallergenic and widely available like its white and yellow counterparts it can be more durable and offers an eye catching alternative with a vintage appeal.
3. Choosing the Right Width
The width and depth of your wedding ring will determine it’s weight and more importantly it’s cost. Thinner rings are often worn by women due to the smaller finger sizes, with men being in favour of the wider ring covering more of the finger and offering a more comfortable fit. Wedding ring specialist Allan Sholem of Jewellery Design Centre notes “The width and depth of your wedding ring is ultimately down to personal preference. The wider the ring the more aware you will be of its presence. The thicker the wedding ring the more hard wearing it will be. Thinner rings are harder to engrave with deep patterns or set with precious stones. The width of a ring is the measurement from one side to the other, however the weight of the ring can also be determined by its depth. Deeper rings will often weigh more as it uses more metal.
When ordering your ring you need to check if the jeweller uses a standard blank ring as if it is resized this can have a considerably different depth than the one you originally chose. All of our rings are pre-made in the selected sizes, profiles, weights and depths and so the figures you read on the website are exactly what you are receiving. Other jewellers may often provide a ‘cheaper price’ for what appears to be the same ring when in fact the weight of a light, medium or heavy wedding ring could be very different from that of their competitors. After you have chosen your preference of either light, medium of heavy remember to check the weight of the ring in grams.”
4. Engraving Options and Patterns
There are a number of ways that your wedding ring can be personalised to make it eye catching, unique and interesting. Options such as metal finish e.g polished or brushed can have a dramatic effect along with patterns and personalised engraving to make it truly special or an added surprise. Mark Johnson, a specialist in finger print wedding rings at Serendipity Diamonds adds “Radically transform a plain wedding ring into a uniquely personalised design by adding a customised finish. There is a small, additional cost on the basic price of any of our rings. Add a fingerprint engraving, a matte texture or a machined pattern. This is an effective way to personalise a wedding ring without it costing the earth. ”
5. Adding Diamonds and Accents
Diamonds are a perfect way of enhancing your wedding ring to provide that added sparkle and add a stunning frame to your engagement ring. Siobhan Maher – Senior Designer at Domino Jewellery explains that “More than ever, we find customers of both genders eschewing a plain wedding band for one that has as many design-led details as their carefully chosen engagement ring.
Diamond detail is a beautiful way for both brides and grooms to add personality to their set, and there’s again so many choices for all lifestyles and tastes. Channel set or rubover designs are perfect for customers who want a sleek look, while we find our pretty tiara or ribbon styles are often picked by brides wanting something a little different to pair with their engagement ring.
Textured rings have proved hugely popular in anything from a simple satin finish to more adventurous patterned designs. We’ve also found our new sparkle-cut pattern has been embraced by customers who want a little glitter in their ring but can’t wear a diamond-set band for lifestyle reasons. We are finding vintage style patterns, such as milgrain are still going strong, and these can be a beautiful option for people who want a balance of romantic and classic style.”
6. Bespoke & Designer Wedding Rings
If you want that truly bespoke feeling, or a ring set that has been designed to fit perfectly together, then working with a designer or specialist in designer engagement ring sets is a great option for those that want to stand out from the crowd. Maeve Gillies, Jewellery Designer at MaeVona states “We offer ‘dedicated’ wedding bands – unique styles that flush-fit our engagement rings and feature design details that perfectly match the engagement ring. Every ring is also comfort fit – rounded on the inside – which can really help your ring stay comfortable for a lifetime.
When designing wedding rings, I always think about how the complete set will look when worn together. The wedding ring can change the look of your engagement ring, changing the set from vintage to modern or delicate to chunky. The perfect wedding ring in my opinion is the right ‘visual weight’ to compliment and enhance yet not overpower the engagement ring.
I’m also a believer in being able to wear your wedding ring alone for travel, gardening, sports etc – so I always make the band practical (no scratchy claws or tiny diamonds around the back to get knocked out!), and make sure it looks just as elegant by itself.
If you are involved in the process of choosing your engagement ring, and you intend to wear a wedding band next to your engagement ring, it can help to try both before you choose either, as the way the set looks together can change how you feel about the choices available for both rings. Often you might not feel ready to do this though, and that’s fine too. There’s a perfect wedding ring for every engagement ring!”
So there you have it, enough insight to whet your appetite and help you choose something perfect for your big day, and remember, the above information is provided as a guide only. If in doubt speak to your jeweller or contact any of the specialists mentioned here. They know their craft and have helped thousands of happy couples find the perfect ring to last a lifetime.
With thanks to www.jewellerygraphics.net, Maevona LLC and Serendipity Diamonds for providing the wedding ring photographs used above.
Further reading: 19 Facts about Engagement Rings you didn’t know