How to choose a wedding ring that will stand the test of time
Shopping for a wedding ring? Choosing and wearing a piece of jewellery, particularly when it is something that is usually never taken off and is a visual reminder of the commitment you have made to your life partner, has to be chosen with care. It has to be an item that you feel comfortable wearing, that complements your other jewellery, and that doesn’t detract from anything else you will wear. For women, you will usually want something that will match your engagement ring for both practical and aesthetic reasons as well. So, keeping these requirements in mind, here are a number of points to consider.
Choose your metal and carat
This is a really good place to start for most people and there are a number of choices, from gold with its shades of rose, white and yellow through to platinum, and titanium. Remember that you need a ring that will not scratch or wear easily, so 22 carat yellow gold, for example, is going to be too soft for everyday use. If you are also wearing your wedding ring next to an engagement ring then you do need to choose the same metal and carat as otherwise the harder metal will wear away at the softer one. Choosing gold means selecting 18 or 9 carat -14 carat is available but less common in Australia than America- will be more practical and you can also make a choice according to your budget.
If you are going to choose a white gold wedding ring, check with the jeweller to see if it has been plated with rhodium which is usually the case. Over time this sort of plating can wear off but it is relatively easy to reapply giving you a new looking ring once more. The toughest choice in the precious metals is platinum – with its crisp, silvery appearance it is becoming very popular with modern couples. It does come with a more expensive price tag as it is a pure metal, not an alloy, & wears much better than softer metals often reducing the amount of maintenance required.
Make the link with the engagement ring
Visually the wedding band should complement your engagement ring if you are going to be wearing these two together for the rest of your married life. Consider the style of your engagement ring and if it is a simple solitaire you can wear it with a more elaborate wedding ring with engraving or diamond pave band perhaps. If your engagement ring is more intricate, then a plain wedding band will usually be more suitable. Jewellers are also able to design interlocking rings, which if you intend on wearing both together all the time, does look very classy.
Be aware of the different shape of the rings because if your engagement ring has a pronounced setting rather than straight edge, you might want to think about a curved wedding ring. Think about the width of the ring because larger bands were popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s so the ring may look dated today. A slimmer band helps to elongate the look of your finger, as well as being a classic style that will not go out of fashion.
You may be someone who works with their hands or whose occupation means you have to remove jewellery for hygiene or safety reasons. If you are a musician or play a lot of sports you may want to consider the comfort option and go for a ring with rounded edges and a more durable metal. This is why many “tradies” are selecting a titanium wedding and for its robustness. Over time you are going to get dirt or soap residue trapped under the ring so choose one that you can keep clean, and that is made of solid metal (not intricate lacework designs) because it will not keep its good looks as easily and require more cleaning.
Use a reputable jeweller
Make sure that you use a jeweller of repute and ensure that when you are looking at rings, they are properly hallmarked. Setting yourself a budget is really important but a quality ring that will stand the test of time is only going to increase in value.
Avoid chain stores as they tend to import cheap poor quality jewellery. Check out the testimonials of jewellers and make a list of those who offer quality items with excellent customer service. When you start to visit a jeweller, take along a list of your wants and requirements, so that they can show you a selection of rings.
Don’t be in a hurry to purchase the first one that you really like because you need to give your choice sometimes (remember, you are going to be looking at this ring for quite a while). A good jeweller will respect your decisions but also be able to offer their expertise when it comes to what suits you and your partner, and what will work for both of you. They will also be able to size the ring properly for you because you want one that will fit comfortably and not swing or hang from your finger, as this is both uncomfortable and a safety hazard. Don’t forget that your fingers will tend to swell at different times of the day and in different climates, so several fittings may be required until you get it right (especially in sunny Melbourne!).
Walking into a jeweller’s with all that sparkle and glitter can be a little overwhelming at first and it is very tempting to go for the brightest and most glittering ring you first see. Try it on and then picture yourself five, ten or twenty years in the future, is it a ring that will require a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good? Will you need to keep taking it off to clean it? Is it going to lose its finish too easily (bear in mind your lifestyle here) and therefore would it be better to review another style and metal? Is it going to fit in with everything that you wear? It does not have to match your partner’s ring although many couples do choose their rings with this in mind, but if you can picture yourself still wearing the ring as you celebrate a future special anniversary then this is going to be the one for you.
About the author
Paul Rubinstein is a qualified jeweller and the owner of Engage Jewellery. With 19 years of experience in jewellery sales, manufacturing, diamond grading and jewellery design, he is passionate about making tomorrow’s heirlooms today. When it comes to wedding rings, he is a strong advocate of not only understanding his customers’ exact needs and requirements, but also creating something that is high quality and timeless enough to last throughout the many years to come!