A Complete Guide To Buying Wedding Rings
A guide to everything that you need to know about mens and womens wedding rings before making that all important purchase.
Introduction To Buying a Wedding Ring
Wedding rings represent your love for one another. Shopping for wedding rings should be an enjoyable once in a life time experience. However, because of the amount of styles and designs of rings that are available to buy, the selection process can be very confusing. You will obviously want to make the correct choice because whichever ring you choose you are going to be wearing it for a long time to come.
Don't be tempted to rush and buy a wedding ring that you might later regret because it is unsuitable for one reason or another. With a little preparation and knowledge about the various aspects of wedding ring designs, the selection process is much easier and as you will know everything you need to know in order find the perfect wedding ring that you can proudly wear for the rest of your life.
Women are usually better informed when it comes to wedding jewellery and so they might find the whole decision process a lot less complicated and also more enjoyable. For men, there might not be as many things to take in to consideration when shopping for their ring because mens wedding rings are tend to be less complicated in design. Typically men are also less informed (and less enthusiastic) about jewellery in general so buying a mens wedding ring can be even more of a tricky task for them.
Because of these various different aspects that exist between buying mens and ladies wedding rings, this guide will separate the the process of buying wedding rings for men and women in to separate sections within this wedding ring guide.
Ladies Wedding Rings
The big difference that the bride-to-be is faced with when it comes to buying a ladies wedding ring compared to a when a man buys his ring, is that the woman also has to take her engagement ring in to consideration when choosing the design of her wedding ring. In fact this should be the primary consideration, the wedding ring that she chooses should compliment her engagement in all aspects. The wedding ring should of course be attractive but its design should not overpower the engagement ring. The wedding and engagement rings should look like they were made for one another.
What Shape of Wedding Ring Should You Buy?
This might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but if your engagement ring does not have a straight edge or it has a gemstones that are set low on the ring's band then this could rule out a lot of wedding ring designs which won't be compatible with your engagement ring.
Choosing a wedding ring that isn't physically compatible with your wedding ring will either result in situation where your rings don't sit well next to each other and / or could end up being uncomfortable to wear together. Also it is possible that any protruding gemstones on your engagement ring could scratch your wedding ring if your rings don't fit well together.
If you find yourself in this situation where your engagement ring isn't compatible with a straight edged wedding ring, then it would make more sense to buy a curved wedding ring. You might have you eye on a particular design of wedding that you find particularly attractive, but if its not compatible with the design of your engagement ring then you might be better off giving it a miss. You shouldn't compromise, you want to get all aspects of your wedding ring right and not end up regretting your choice because you was a bit over-eager.
Curved Wedding Rings
Curved Wedding Rings
The first thing that you need to consider when you buy a curved wedding ring is the size and the shape of the curve. The purpose of the curve is to accommodate the physical design of the engagement ring. How wide and exaggerated the curve should be depends on the shape of the engagement ring and its gemstone setting. The larger and / or lower the gemstone settings on the engagement ring the bigger and more exaggerated the curve needs to be on the wedding ring.
The perfect curved wedding ring should be able to sit up against your engagement ring perfectly without any gaps between the rings bands or around the curve in your wedding ring.
What Shape Wedding Ring Should You Buy?
Something you may not be aware of is that the bands of wedding rings can have different profiles or shapes. If you were to cut through the band of a wedding ring and look at the shape of the cross section, you would see what shape or profile the ring band has (see images below).
Sticking with the advice mentioned earlier you should look to choose a wedding ring that has a similar profile and also the thickness of the band compared to your engagement ring. A flat wide wedding ring will not be a particularly good match along side a narrow rounded profile engagement ring. So, put a little thought into this aspect of wedding ring design when choosing your wedding ring and avoid making a bad decision.
Flat Court Profile ...
D-Shaped Profile We...
Flat Profile Wedding Ring
Wedding Ring Profile Shapes
Court Ring Profile - This type of ring profile is often referred to as 'courting' or the comfort fit. It is probably the most common profile used for wedding rings. It has a traditional appearance. The shape of this ring profile is rounded on both the inside and the outside of the ring. This not only gives it a softer appearance but it also it means that it is comfortable to wear because the rounded edges.
Flat Court Ring Profile - Like the 'Court Profile' the flat court has a rounded inner surface that gives it a comfortable fit. Because of its shape it is also frequently referred to a the 'reverse D' profile. However the outside surface of the ring is flat, this gives it a contemporary modern look. This profile of ring is very popular because it offers both comfort along with a lower profile.
D Shaped Ring Profile - This shape of wedding ring is the opposite of the flat court. It is not as popular as both of the previous profiles but it offers an alternative for people who prefer a ring that has a rounded contemporary appearance but with a flat inner surface. This ring profile can still have a comfortable fit especially if the inner edges of the band have a rounded finish.
Flat Ring Profile - For people who like a modern sleek appearance then a flat profile ring might be an option. Because neither the inner or outer surfaces are rounded it can have a flat low profile. Like with the the D Shaped profile above it still can have rounded edges to prevent it from causing discomfort.
How Wide Should Your Wedding Ring Be?
Obviously wedding rings come in different sizes and widths. So what width is ideal for you?
The first thing you should know is that the wedding ring width is measured at the point of the ring which would sit on the inside of your hand (palm side). If the wedding ring has a uniform thickness across its full circumference then this is not so relevant. But if either your engagement or wedding ring has a gemstone setting then it may be thicker in width around the top of the ring where the gems are mounted and so the width should be measured at the base of the finger instead.
Knowing this, the simple answer to this issue is that you should choose a wedding ring that is at least as wide as your engagement ring or possibly a bit wider. Back to the original requirement, the wedding ring should compliment the engagement ring and the width should remain in proportion to the engagement ring. The one thing that you should keep in mind is that when combined together the width of both the wedding ring and engagement ring should not be so wide that there is no room for any movement of the rings on the finger. If this occurs the rings will become uncomfortable to wear.
Gold, Two Tone and Platinum Ladies Wedding Rings
What Metal and Design of Wedding Ring Is right For You?
The general guidance relating to which metals to choose for your wedding ring design would be to stick with the same metals as used in the design of your engagement ring. If your engagement ring is made from rose gold then this should certainly feature in the design of your wedding ring also.
There is room for manoeuvre here. You could pair a two tone gold wedding ring with either a white or yellow gold engagement ring without a problem. Also if you had a platinum engagement ring then a white gold or palladium wedding ring would also work, (and this might be necessary if your wedding budget won't stretch to a platinum wedding ring).
In an ideal world you should also try to match the carat rating of the gold used in the design of both your rings. 18ct gold is harder than 9ct gold. A 9ct gold ring will wear quicker when worn with a 18ct ring. 18ct gold will also age better than 9ct gold, the colours of both will change differently over time.
Should You Buy a Diamond Wedding Ring?
This depends your tastes and the budget you have at your disposal.
The precious stones that are traditionally used in wedding rings are diamonds, sapphires and rubies. These are the most durable gems and should last a lifetime.
If you have the budget to incorporate precious gems in to the design of your wedding ring then once again you should consider the design of your engagement ring. Compliment any gems included in the design of your engagement ring by selecting compatible gems and arrangements for your wedding ring design.
The gems can be incorporated in many different arrangements. The most common arrangement is called a channel set ring, where the gems are set in a line. Obviously the type, number and size of stones can vary. A sensible guideline is that the gems should span the same distance across the ring, and the gems on the wedding ring should not be as large as those included in the design of the engagement ring (you want the engagement ring to remain the centre of attention).
Including diamonds in the design of your wedding ring will bring some sparkle to the appearance of your rings. Even when your rings are in need of a clean and a polish after years of wearing them the diamonds will always sparkle.
What About Matching Wedding Rings?
Despite being less popular than they once were, there is still a demand for matching wedding rings. The difficulty in choosing matching wedding rings is that it becomes difficult to find a design that suits the groom and the bride at the same time as matching the design of the brides engagement ring also.
However, by choosing matching wedding rings that are of a similar design rather than being identical, it is possible to keep everyone happy. By incorporating the same basic design concepts in both rings it is possible to match the rings designs. For instance by choosing the same metals and gemstones and then perhaps by including matching inscriptions or engravings both rings can be made to match but leave enough flexibility to find a design that suits both parties.
Mens Wedding Ring Guide
For men the task of buying a wedding ring can be more of a headache. Typically men are less informed about the subject of wedding rings and the many choices or mens wedding ring designs that awaits them.
As well as finding an attractive wedding ring design the groom also needs to build the more practical aspects of wedding ring design in to the equation. Men tend to have more physical jobs and hobbies and so their choice of wedding ring should also suit their lifestyles by taking durability and practicality in to consideration.
Because wedding jewellery is a subject which might not prove to be the most interesting, a man is more likely to end up rushing in to their purchase and so end up buying a wedding ring that might not be totally suitable, resulting in them regretting their purchase.
So as to better prepare yourself for buying a wedding ring, take a few minutes to read the rest of this mens wedding ring guide and make the job a whole lot easier.
Choosing a Mens Wedding Ring – Lifestyle Considerations
When deciding what wedding ring to buy, the practicality of the wedding ring design is likely to appear higher on their list of requirements than it will when his future wife is choosing her ring. Though the following considerations are not exclusive to the male, they probably have a greater relevance for a man than the bride-to-be.
Do you do a physical job where you hands come into contact with abrasive materials that could cause wear or damage to your wedding ring? Do you intend to remove your wedding ring whilst doing your work? Both of these are two very valid questions that you must ask your self before buying your wedding ring.
By the same token do you have some physical hobbies which could cause damage to your wedding ring. Perhaps you like tinkering with engines, working on home improvements, gardening or swimming. Over-time all of these could cause problems with a wedding ring such as scratches, scuffs, stains and discolouration.
If you have a desk job and do origami as a hobby then you don't have much to worry about. But if you are a construction worker whose favourite hobby is working on cars and motorbikes, then you should give some careful consideration to choosing a suitable wedding ring design for your lifestyle.
Choosing a Wedding Ring That Fits Your Personality
Obviously a wedding ring is a token of marriage, but for some people it is also a fashion statement. Its likely that you are getting married for the first (and hopefully the only) time. For this reason you are probably not too familiar with the current trends in wedding jewellery. Once your start your search to find your perfect wedding ring you might be overwhelmed at the sheer quantity of wedding ring designs that exist.
For this reason finding a mens wedding ring that not only fits with your lifestyle but also meets your design tastes can be a complex process.
Traditional gold mens wedding rings are still the most popular designs. Classic designs tend to be simpler compared to some of the more modern designs that are available. With traditional mens wedding bands you can't go wrong, and this is why they remain so popular. You don't have to worry about buying a wedding ring that might go out of fashion leaving you regretting your purchase.
If a simple traditional gold wedding band is a bit too plain for your liking, it is possible to introduce some more attractive and sophisticated elements in to the design of your wedding ring whilst still retaining a traditional appeal. This can be done by selecting a two-tone mens wedding ring or by selecting a ring which includes gemstones, engravings or a patterned / textured design.
Another traditional style of wedding ring that has seen a surge in popularity recently and so might appeal to you is the Celtic wedding ring. If you have some Scottish or Irish blood flowing through your family tree, then this might be especially appealing to you.
For the more experimental or fashion conscious male there are now so many other different designs of wedding rings. They include many new and interesting materials in their design, many of which you are probably unaware of. The various qualities of these different materials is expanded upon late in this guide.
The thing to keep in mind here is that you are buying a wedding ring which you will be wearing for the rest of your life. Is the wedding ring that you buy today still going to be fashionable and appropriate in 10,20....50 years time! The design of your wedding ring should be able to stand the test of time, if its design is a passing fashion statement then you might be better off giving it a miss.
What Makes a Comfortable Mens Wedding Ring?
Selecting a wedding ring that is a comfortable fit is essential. You should make sure that you get this right from the start. With traditional gold and platinum wedding rings it is easier to have the ring resized or adjusted. However patterned designs and modern materials are more difficult and sometimes impossible to correct. So to save yourself any future headaches try to get it right the first time.
When deciding upon the size of your wedding ring you must remember that the size of your fingers can vary by a considerable amount over the course of an average day. Temperature and activity can cause your finger to expand. If you have your fingers measured, or try on a wedding ring when your fingers are cold then you might find that the ring is too tight when your hands are hotter or when you've been doing physical activity.
Another thing to consider is that if you select a wedding ring that has a wide band, then you may have to increase the ring size by half a ring size or so. This is because your fingers vary in thickness , they are typically thicker towards the knuckles. If you select a ring with a wide band then you might need a bigger ring because it must fit more of your finger.
The final thing to consider is the profile or shape of the wedding band. This process is the same as was included in the earlier section of the ladies wedding ring guide, so refer to this for information about wedding ring profiles.
Which Metal Should You Choose For Your Mens Wedding Ring?
There are now a lot more types of precious metals used in the construction of wedding rings. They have different properties in terms of their appearance, weight, durability and price. The rest of this guide will set out the qualities of the most common metals used in the designs of mens wedding rings.
Mens Gold Wedding Rings
This is the most common precious metal used in the design of mens wedding rings. There are many different variations of gold, each has different characteristics.
Gold comes with different carat ratings, the higher the carat rating the purer the gold. 9ct and 18ct gold are the most common varieties, 9ct gold contains 37.5% gold and 18ct contains 75% gold. The first way in which the carat rating affects things is that a 18ct wedding ring will be considerably more expensive than a 9ct wedding ring.
Because it contains more gold, an 18ct gold ring will also be physically harder and more durable than a 9ct ring. 18ct gold will also retain its yellow colour better than 9ct gold which may tarnish over time.
Regardless of whether the gold is 9ct or 18ct, it is mixed with other metals which cause it's appearance to vary. Here are the most common variations of gold that you will see used in gold wedding rings.
White Gold Wedding Rings – In the past it was common for gold to be mixed with nickel to produce white gold. However this is no longer a regular practice because nickel can cause an allergic reaction for some wearers. Rather than risk any problems, it is best to stay away from nickel based white gold. Modern white gold rings typically mix gold with palladium or silver which doesn't cause any allergic reactions like nickel can.
Rhodium is also commonly used to coat white gold wedding rings. It comes from the same group of metal alloys as platinum and palladium. Rhodium is used because it is very hard and has a brilliant white finish. But one disadvantage that you should be aware of is that the rhodium coating will be affected over time by general wear-and-tear. Having your wedding ring re-coated with Rhodium is not a big deal, it is a fairly easy and inexpensive process that can be done by most jewellers.
Rose Gold Wedding Rings - are another popular variation. By mixing copper with gold, the ring can be given a reddish appearance, this is particularly popular for use in ladies wedding rings. The more copper that is mixed with the gold the redder the appearance. A 9ct rose gold wedding ring would tend to have a more pronounced red tint due to the fact it contains less yellow gold than a 18ct ring.
Platinum, Titanium and Tungsten Wedding Rings
Platinum Wedding Rings - Another traditional precious metal that is regularly used in wedding ring designs is platinum. Because a platinum wedding ring is about twice as expensive as a gold ring they tend not to be as popular. However, if you budget can stretch to a platinum wedding ring then you will benefit from its many advantages.
Platinum is a very hard alloy, it is much harder than gold and it is used in an almost pure form to produce jewellery. Also it has a natural white appearance, it doesn't have to be coated in any other metals for it to have a brilliant white appearance. For these reasons, a platinum wedding ring will wear very well, it is not prone to scratches or discolouration, it doesn't need re-coating and you won't suffer from allergic reactions from wearing it.
Titanium Wedding Rings - Another white / silver coloured metal that is becoming increasingly popular is titanium. Titanium is the most common and hardest naturally occurring metal that exists. It is much harder and stronger than platinum, gold and silver but rather conversely it is also much lighter. The colour of titanium can vary greatly so the designs of titanium can vary a lot.
All of these qualities combine to give it many advantages over more traditional gold, silver and platinum wedding rings. Titanium wedding rings are very light, they wear very well and are inexpensive.
On the negative side, titanium wedding rings cannot be resized because titanium cannot be cut and re-soldered.
Tungsten Wedding Rings - Tungsten Carbide is another metal that is becoming popular for use in the construction of modern wedding rings. Tungsten has similar qualities to Titanium. It has a similar appearance to white gold, it is a very hard metal and light in weight. It is also and inexpensive material and so Tungsten wedding rings are much cheaper than gold or platinum wedding rings.
Final Advice When Buying A Wedding Ring
When ever you buy any jewellery you should ideally use a jeweller that is a member of a professional trade association such as the BJA (British Jewellers Association). This is especially true when buying a wedding ring because this one of the most important and precious items of jewellery you will buy. By dealing with a BJA jeweller you reduce the chance of any problems occurring to a minimum when buying your wedding ring.