QUICK LINKS: Wedding ring buying guide: things to consider | 1. Choosing the perfect metal: What metal is right for a wedding ring? | 2. Why ring size is important: Let’s look at width, depth and size of your wedding band | 3. Popular diamond wedding band styles: how to bling your ring | 4. Exploring wedding ring designs: your Cinderella story | 5. Special considerations for wearing wedding rings |
Wedding rings are the ultimate symbol of love between two people. They are also the physical symbol of commitment during the ceremony. With so many options, how do you choose? Our complete wedding ring guide will help make your choices easy and find you the perfect pair of rings to match your perfect partner.
Before getting into the technical aspects of the ring, let’s look at some common wedding ring questions.
What does a wedding ring symbolise?
Wedding rings are the perfect symbol of your commitment. The never-ending circle represents your love; unbroken, with no beginning and no end.
Traditionally the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand as the early Romans believed this finger had a vein connected directly to the heart and therefore wedded hearts would be connected by their rings.
Even in our modern times, the wedding band is conventionally placed before the engagement ring to sit closest to the heart.
What is the difference between a wedding ring and a wedding band?
These are two terms to describe the same thing. Wedding band is typically used as a term to describe a gold band without any gemstones added, while the term wedding ring can be used to describe a ring set with diamonds or gemstones.
How much should you spend on a wedding ring?
Wedding bands are the only keepsake you get to enjoy every day after the wedding. Purchasing a custom hand crafted ring can be more expensive than the mass produced cast rings found by the dozen at retail jewellery stores.
Depending on what you decide is right for you, plain bands can start around $1000, but diamonds and dimensions can change the final price.
Wedding ring buying guide: things to consider
- Choosing the perfect metal type & colour
- Finding your ring size: width, thickness & profile
- Popular diamond wedding ring setting styles
- Exploring wedding ring designs
- Special considerations for wearing wedding rings
1. Choosing the perfect metal: What metal is right for a wedding ring?
The first step in finding the perfect wedding ring is to find the right metal composition.
Whether you work with your hands, work out at the gym or worry about wearing rings our guide below will give you an in depth insight to what metals are commonly used in wedding bands.
Gold - 18ct or 9ct?
Gold as a metal is soft as a substance, but its luxury and lustre are highly prized for wedding bands. 18ct gold is composed of 75% pure gold and 25% is a combination of high-quality metals to increase the strength of your ring.
This small mixture of metals is also used to create other colours of 18ct gold like romantic rose gold and cool white gold.
The percentage of gold within a 9ct gold piece is considerably lower. At only 37.5% of gold and the majority made up of other metals, this can affect the colour and durability of the ring.
9ct yellow gold rings are paler in colour and with such a low gold content, can have issues with brittleness and cracking. 9ct white gold rings are yellower in colour and can have issues with denting.
How much gold is used in an average wedding ring?
Hand crafting wedding rings means we use more metal to make your ring. We start with a solid bar and carve it down to your design, rather than pouring gold into a mass produced mold.
This means we can start with an average of 8-15 grams of metal when crafting men’s rings and 4-8 grams when creating women’s rings.
Obviously the bigger the finger size, the more metal is used and therefore it can be surprisingly heavy as a final product.
For the puritans of the world, Platinum is perfect. Compared to gold, Platinum is rare and also much denser, resulting in a very strong and very durable ring.
Naturally a white metal, it also has a higher platinum content in your ring with a 95% ratio of platinum with a small 5% mix of other metals to assist in making it malleable.
You’ll still need to maintain Platinum with a yearly jeweller service to keep your wedding ring white and clean. But even a complimentary polish by our expert jewellers will make it shine like new again.
With such a high percentage of pure platinum in your ring, this is also a great choice if you suffer from common metal hypersensitivities to nickel and iron.
Platinum vs white gold: which to choose?
18ct White Gold & Platinum are very similar in colour and it comes down to personal preferences and lifestyle choices when picking what’s best for you. If you want durability, Platinum is the one to go for. If you want intricate detailing in design and easy to wear all day metal, then white gold is your pick.
18ct white gold
Zirconium, Carbon Fibre and Titanium
Newer metals on the scene are these lightweight offerings. Much lighter in weight but still relatively strong, these can be an option for a cheaper alternative to gold and platinum.
Titanium is a dark grey tone, similar to gunmetal grey. Zirconium is similar and often goes through a heat treatment that causes the surface to oxidise and blacken. Carbon Fibre, the product known for racing bikes, also has an appearance of dark grey or black.
These choices are limited for a lifetime of wear, so buyers must beware – these metals cannot be resized as we age and change, or even adjusted or polished. They cannot be repaired if damaged, and can cause issues with removal if you injure yourself and need your wedding band cut off. This type of wedding ring is not recommended by Bell & Brunt, as we want your wedding ring to last a lifetime.
This mysterious metal mix is a traditional Japanese technique that fuses different metals in the smelting process to create a marbled pattern to your wedding band. Using sterling silver and gold, these unique patterns are as individual to each ring and unique as a fingerprint.
If you’re looking for something truly unique, this is the style for you. This will also limit the resizing of your ring, as a piece of plain metal will need to be added to increase your size, or a piece cut from your ring resulting in a disrupted marble pattern.
Picking the metal colour for your wedding ring
Gold in its purest form is a luxurious golden lustre, rich in yellow hue. This warm colour palate has been widely desired in all cultures and generations of wedding rings. As we mentioned earlier, you can also choose rose or white gold to tailor your ring to your style.
Yellow gold and rose gold both are low maintenance options, as a proper polish by our professional jewellers will remove the tiny scratches on the surface of your ring caused by simple day to day wear. This will make your ring shine like new again.
White gold is a very popular choice and a modern crisp look. It is a beautiful accompaniment to diamond wedding rings, as it allows your high-quality diamonds to reveal their white brilliance without being overshadowed by colour. We only use the highest quality metals to assist the pure gold content to achieve the colour of white gold, yet in the rough form it still will look light grey in tone.
Rhodium, a mineral derived from the platinum family, is the final touch to add the high silver shine to white gold. This means that white gold requires more maintenance with a rhodium plating needed every 12 months or so, to make it new and shiny again.
Do wedding rings have to match in colour?
Simple answer is: No!
You can have any colour combinations of gold, in fact you can have all three in one ring! You also don’t have to match the colour to your engagement ring or even your partner’s choice of wedding ring. It really is a personal choice for what you love the look of. The only thing you need to match is the metal type. Gold with gold and platinum with platinum. Because they have different densities and strengths, platinum and gold will wear each other down differently if worn together.
2. Why ring size is important: Let’s look at width, depth and size of your wedding band
As the old saying goes, size really does matter! It is also the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking about a ring. Considering a ring is three dimensional, the width and depth will also be a factor when choosing what fits you best.
This is the way the ring will look across your finger length while looking down at your ring. This means how wide it will look.
Ladies, a simple guideline will be to align the width to the engagement ring. Factors that will change the width will be if you want diamonds, different setting styles or intricate gold work. We have high-quality control standards when it comes to creating a wedding band to ensure longevity and last the test of time. This means we recommend you don’t go below a minimum width as delicate rings will suffer wear and tear, and this may cause thin rings to bend and break with the loss of structural integrity.
For the men’s ring, width is usually much wider and is a personal preference to how it looks on your finger. It’s all a balance of proportion for the space and shape of your ring finger.
The depth is the thickness of the ring. The easiest way to see this is placing a ring on a flat surface, and looking at the side profile. Once again, this affects the structural integrity if this is too thin, it will bend or break over time. More importantly, we will not go below our high-quality standards of depth to ensure the durability of your ring.
Remember that the depth is the three-dimensional way to imagine your ring, and this is also a factor when considering setting diamonds into your band.
When we discuss the profile, we are considering the shape of the ring from its outer appearance. For instance, what does it look like? Is it flat, is it curved high or low, is it completely rounded or does it come up to a peak in the centre which is known as a knife edge? Does it have grooves to change the design, or bevelled edges to add a modern minimalist look to the width?
Profiles are a good way to personalise your band. The shape you choose will compliment your hand and reflect your personal style.
Inside your band, the profile can also be chosen. It traditionally will be a flat profile, but you can choose a comfort fit. This is a slight curve of added gold to the inside profile of your ring, and as the name suggests, it is more comfortable to slide over your knuckle smoothly as well as feeling a little less restrictive.
Finishing Touches: What does jewellery finish mean?
The finish indicates how the jeweller has custom finished the surface of your ring on the jeweller bench. The different options will change how the light will play off the surface of your ring.
Types of jewellery finish
- Polish finish – this is the highly reflective surface that makes the shine on your ring
- Matte finish – this is a softer finish, that doesn’t reflect light and is achieved by the jeweller using an emery tool by hand to gently matte the surface
- Satin/Brushed finish – similar to the matte finish, our expert jewellers will emery a slightly deeper lined finish, soft like satin and will look beautiful as it diffuses light
Over time the finish will show signs of simple everyday wear and tear, and tiny scratches will form. This will mean the polished finish won’t look as polished, and the matte/satin finish will look not as beautifully finished. An easy visit to our store can easily refinish your beautiful ring to be brand new!
Engravings, carvings, patterns and more
The joy of custom made rings means you can add all your special and significant touches. If it is a name, or a date, or a treasured family crest, even a finger print it all can be added to your wedding ring. Remember that the width and depth need to be accommodated to ensure that you have your perfect ring design.
3. Popular diamond wedding band styles: how to bling your ring
We have covered all the different ways you can craft your metal component but what if you want to add some sparkle? Traditionally women like to add diamonds or gemstones to their wedding ring, but more and more men are customising their choices and adding their personal flair to their bespoke ring.
What are the most popular women’s wedding rings?
The winner is the claw set diamond ring. This style allows maximum amount of light into the diamonds while giving the minimal metal look from the top view. This design will make the diamonds the centre of attention. Options for claw settings are a shared claw setting or a four claw setting. Shared claw setting will be a single claw in between each diamond, so it is ‘shared’ between two diamonds along the top of the ring. Four claw settings will have four individual claws per diamond.
What are the most popular men's wedding rings?
Generally speaking, gentlemen prefer lower settings and sleek lines as a choice. This is usually for better day to day wear without the fuss of a setting that may catch on clothing or get knocked about. Pressure set or tension set diamonds are the most popular designs. The pressure setting is where the gemstone is crafted into the metal, so it’s top surface is level with the profile of the ring. Tension set has a similar look, as the diamond doesn’t protrude above the metal, but it looks like it is floating between the shoulders of the ring.
Are there other setting styles?
Other popular setting styles are the bead set and the channel set. The bead setting (as the name suggests) are little tiny beads of gold holding the diamonds in place. This is a delicate look and is popular with different bezel shapes to add a personal touch.
Popular with bead setting is a milgrain edging to add a sweet vintage look. Milgrain edging are tiny little dots of gold hand rolled along the edge of the gold, which gives a lacy romantic finish.
Channel setting is also an excellent option for both men and women. It has a lower profile and protects the gemstones better from general wear and tear. The diamonds are set into a channel of gold, so the gold is visible from each side of the setting. This has a more contemporary modern look.
4. Exploring wedding ring designs: your Cinderella story
Just like Cinderella’s glass slipper, finding the perfect fit for your fairytale wedding ring is definitely not a one-size-fits all scenario. The custom made ring experience is where you get to choose how you want to symbolise your love.
Fitted and curved hand crafted wedding rings are the perfect example of creating a wedding ring to compliment your engagement ring. Like two pieces of a puzzle, a fitted wedding ring is made to nestle together with your engagement ring perfectly.
Unusual designs are becoming more popular, with the resurgence of bespoke craftsmanship. You can have all the bells and whistles (literally, if that’s your thing) and couples want to express themselves with their symbol of love.
Alternating diamond shapes along the setting, like princess cut and baguette cut diamonds or marquise cut and pear cut diamonds, give a dramatic look.
Or adding a twist across the whole setting, and setting diamonds across one side of the twist – or both, is a way to add interest and lightness to the look.
5. Special considerations for wearing wedding rings:
Like your love story, we want your rings to last a lifetime. Choosing the right design, setting and metal will be crucial to the longevity of your wedding ring.
Like sand through an hourglass, time can wear away even the strongest of rings. Over time the settings can wear down and must be maintained to avoid your precious diamonds from falling out. As part of our devoted after care service, we offer free clean and polish for our rings. This also gives our qualified jewellers a chance to inspect your piece and to advise if any maintenance needs to be undertaken.
From an insurance aspect, this is crucial in the event of a stone falling out, as most companies will not cover wear and tear in your claim.
Expert Jeweller Tips:
Regularly removing your rings will also give you the first indications of when you may need to resize. Our fingers grow up with us, and as we age our rings will need to be adjusted accordingly. This is a normal part of your jewellery journey.
If ever the unfortunate event occurs where you are unable to remove your rings, don’t panic! We have specialised tools to remove your ring pain-free and are highly trained in ensuring the least amount of damage is done to the ring so we can repair it easily and hassle free. Contact us or get a quote for any ring removal or repair.