Wedding Ring Guide
Choosing a wedding ring can be difficult, with all the options available on the market. Our complete wedding ring guide covers all the basics you require when shopping for a wedding ring. From settings and styles to metals and embellishments, here’s what you need to know.
Settings and Styles
Begin with an idea of what wedding ring setting or style you prefer. While the classic gold or platinum band is among the most popular options, eternity rings are also a favorite if you like the sparkle or color of diamonds and gemstones.
- Eternity Wedding Ring
This setting consists of a row of small diamonds set into a ‘channel’ or groove in the band of the ring. Also known as channel set rings, these can have either the entire band set with diamonds or just half.
- Pave Wedding Ring
One of the most popular styles of wedding ring, the pave setting offers sparkle and a chic, sophisticated look. It features tiny diamonds set onto the band of the ring, creating a ‘paved’ look.
- Comfort Fit Wedding Ring
Comfort fit wedding bands are domed on the inner edge of the band, which makes the ring snugger and sits more comfortably on your finger. They’re usually a lot easier to remove and put back on.
- Half-Round Wedding Ring
A half-round wedding band is a more traditional and classic type of wedding band with a basic design. The outer edge of the ring is domed whereas the inner edge sits flat or comfort fit against your finger.
- Pipe Wedding Ring
With perfectly straight edges and a flat external edge, like a cut piece of pipe, pipe wedding bands are popular for men. When wearing a pipe band, you can feel the entire width of the ring around your finger.
- Wedding Ring Wraps and Guards
This is a practical option, where the wedding ring acts as a guard, protecting and complementing the engagement ring. The ring guard wraps the engagement ring, and appears like two wedding rings, on either side of the engagement ring.
Wedding Ring Metals
The most common metals for wedding rings are the precious metals, platinum and gold. However, there are other metals to choose from as well.
One of the most durable metals used in jewelry, platinum has a ‘fluid surface’ which means that when it gets scratched, the metal is displaced instead of removed. After many years of wear, a gold ring will weigh less than when you first bought it since the metal is removed every time the ring is scratched or knocked. However, a platinum ring will weigh the same, but it will exhibit a patina.
Platinum has low density, which makes it a lightweight metal and it’s also hypoallergenic, meaning that it’s safe for people with metal allergies. That being said, this is one of the most expensive metals for wedding rings which is why many people choose white gold or silver instead.
The purity of gold is measured in karats which are divided into 24 separate parts. 24K gold is too soft to be used for wedding rings. It’s typically alloyed with other metals to increase its strength. For a gold wedding band, the best choice would be 14K or 18K gold, offering the best balance between value and durability.
Gold is available in three main colors:
- Yellow gold – The natural color of gold. Alloys are created by mixing pure gold with metals like copper and silver.
- Pink and rose gold – Created by alloying pure gold with copper. The higher the copper content, the stronger the red color.
- White gold – Made by combining pure gold with various other metals, including palladium, silver, copper, zinc and nickel. It’s plated with rhodium to improve its durability and shine.
- Sterling Silver
Sterling silver contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals. While it’s affordable and beautiful, sterling silver tarnishes over time and requires regular maintenance and polishing. When choosing a sterling silver ring, the ideal band thickness should be at least 1.5-2mm. Anything thinner than that, and you run the risk of the ring getting bent or losing shape.
Gemstones for Wedding Rings
If you prefer to have gemstones on your wedding ring, opt for a stone that ranges at least 7-9 on the Mohs’ scale of hardness, since anything less can damage over time. Some of the best gemstones for wedding rings include diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, tourmalines and garnets.
Diamonds are the most popular gemstones for both men and women’s wedding rings because of their brilliance, reputation, and hardness. While colorless diamonds are the most popular, diamonds also come in other colors.
The 4 C’s
The 4 C’s (cut, clarity, color and carat) are used to assess the value of any gemstone, colored or colorless. It’s something to keep in mind when purchasing wedding bands with gemstones.
- Cut: Diamonds and gemstones are cut to enhance brilliance, sparkle, and color. Eternity wedding bands typically feature round gemstones, but princess, cushion, baguette and marquise are some other unique options.
- Clarity: Almost all natural gemstones and diamonds have inclusions, which affect their appearance and value. However, clarity is not usually an issue for stones featured in wedding rings since these are usually very small accent stones or melee diamonds.
- Color: When assessing the color of a gemstone, there are three factors to consideration: tone (darkness or lightness of the color), hue (the actual color of the stone) and saturation (how much of the color there is). In eternity or pave settings, look for uniformity in the stone’s color.
- Carat: A carat is a unit of measurement of a gemstone’s weight. A single carat is equal to .20 grams and the price of a gemstone is calculated by multiplying the carat weight of the stone by the price of a single carat. If your wedding ring has small gemstones, the Total Carat Weight (TCW) of all the stones will be measured.
For more information, check out our guide on the 4’Cs.
Durability of Wedding Rings
It’s important to consider the durability of your wedding ring, taking your lifestyle into account. Ensure that the ring setting and metal suits your lifestyle. For example, a classic platinum band would suit someone who works with their hands and engages in vigorous physical activity on a daily basis, rather than a pave setting.
Sizing Your Wedding Ring
Sizing your wedding ring correctly is important to avoid having to resize it later. Some rings designs can be resized easily, whereas others, like eternity bands, cannot. Before purchasing your wedding ring, check if the retailer has a free resizing policy. Some may exchange the ring for another that fits, while others may resize it free of charge.
For information on how to find the right size for your wedding ring, check our guide here.
Some brides tend to match their wedding and engagement rings whereas others choose to have two completely different rings. If you prefer to match your rings, consider a wedding ring set or a bridal set.
Wedding ring sets consist of an engagement ring and a matching wedding ring for the bride, as well as a wedding band for the groom. A bridal set, on the other hand, only includes the engagement and wedding rings for the bride but does not have a band for the groom.
Wedding Ring Symbolism
A wedding ring is a symbol of love, devotion and the promise to cherish and love one another forever. It’s also a way to let the rest of the world know that you’re in a serious and committed relationship. While the engagement ring signifies the promise that you and your partner have made to one another, your wedding band is what makes your marriage official.