Wedding rings have been a part of western culture for hundreds of years. Initially only the bride would be presented with a ring during the ceremony but with the emergence of the post-WWII marketing industry, jewelers began promoting wedding rings for both the bride and groom in the 1950's. Since that time it has been a standard practice for husbands and wives to both exchange rings during the wedding ceremony.
Wedding rings are symbolic and speak to the value of the commitment being made in marriage. Many wedding ministers make the connection between a ring's unbroken and unending circle as related to the love and commitment required to make a marriage last.
Wedding rings for the bride are often included with the engagement ring as a set. Wedding rings for the groom come in many styles. Usually one will be chosen that is similar to the brides.
What width should the rings be?:
Women usually prefer thinner bands ranging in size from 2mm to 6mm and remember to factor in if it will be worn with the engagement ring. Mens widths generally range from 5mm to 8mm or even 10mm for larger hands. The ring should always complement the size of the hand and finger so start trying some different sizes on and see what looks and feels right for you.
Yellow Gold: 14 or 18 carat is the standard wedding ring metal but there are other options to choose from. Normally, wedding rings will match the engagement rings' metal.
White Gold: Yellow Gold mixed with nickel or zinc and often plated with rhodium which gives is a brighter look. Women with dark hair or pink undertones to their skin like the contrast white gold gives them.
Rose Gold: Yellow Gold mixed with copper and a little silver or zinc can have a wonderful rose or red tint. This can look wonderful when set against fair skin tones.
Platinum: Platinum is the most durable of all precious metals and was the setting of choice for wedding rings during the early 1900s. Platinum is heavier than gold , it’s harder and more dense so even after years of daily wear, it will show few signs of age. Because it’s more rare, platinum is significantly more expensive than gold.
Palladium: In the same group as Platinum, Palladium one of the rarest metals in the world. It is extremely durable, hypoallergenic and will never tarnish.
Titanium: Famous for its use in the aircraft and space industries, Titanium is also a popular choice in wedding rings. Titanium is light metallic gray in color and is very durable. Its finish can be anodized but will wear faster than an anodized Tungsten ring. Lightweight and strong, titanium is more comfortable to wear for some and it is also hypoallergenic.
Tungsten: Tungsten is a forged metal with unsurpassed durability. Many jewelers offer unique styles and finishes in tungsten and with Gold at record high prices tungsten can offer substantial savings. Tungsten is exceptionally strong, hypoallergenic, highly scratch-resistant, and tarnish-resistant with a substantial feel in weight. It is ideally suited for someone with an active lifestyle.
Wedding Ring Styles:
Wedding Bands (without diamonds) can be plain or have an intricate design. There are many available styles or you can design your own (most jewelers can create custom rings in 3 to 6 weeks depending on their workload and the complexity of your design). Engagement rings often come as a set with a matching wedding ring which fits perfectly against the engagement ring on the finger.
Diamond Wedding Rings as opposed to wedding bands, will contain diamonds, usually inlaid. The brides ring should complement her engagement ring (if not already a part of a set). The grooms ring would normally be of the same metal as the brides and contain diamonds of similar cut.
Information about Diamonds:
When considering the purchase of a diamond, the '4 Cs' are the common guides lines: Clarity, Cut, Carat and Color. (download the GIA 4 C's Brochure)
Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections (blemishes, inclusions) that occur in almost all diamonds. Many of these are too small to see with the naked eye and do not effect the diamonds beauty in any way. The vast majority of diamonds have these in varying degrees, except for diamonds classified as: Flawless. These are exceedingly rare and exceedingly expensive.
Clarity Grading Scale:
FL, IF: Flawless, Internally Flawless: No internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. Very rare.
VVS1, VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
VS1, VS2: Very Slightly Included: Imperfections are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
SI1, SI2: Slightly Included: Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
I1, I2, I3: Included: Imperfections are easily visible to the naked eye.
A diamond's cut grade is an objective measure of a diamond's light performance, or, what we generally think of as its sparkle. When a diamond is cut using the proper proportions (and polished correctly), light is returned out of the top of the diamond, that is its 'brilliance'. If it is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it leaks out of the side. 'Scintillation' is the sparkle seen when the diamond moves and the 'fire' is the spectral colors generated by light reflecting between properly cut facets. Diamond shapes also effect the amount of sparkle a diamond can produce. The Round Brilliant shape is the best choice for sparkle. There is no standard industry-wide Diamond Cut Grading system yet. Most jewelers will subscribe to one or the other or even develop their own. For the consumer the important issue is how the diamond looks when worn, and at 10x magnification. Compare different stones in different settings and don't be in a hurry. There are so many factors in selecting the perfect diamond and remember, even if the stone is certified and graded well, you have to be pleased with how it looks.
Carat: This is simply the measure of weight used for diamonds and other precious stones. 1 carat is equal to 200mg. A Carat is divisible into 100 Points, each equal to 2mg. A diamond's weight is only one factor in selecting your stone. Most jewelers recommend you select the Carat of your stone after you have decided on the Clarity, Cut, and Color.
Color: The purest diamonds are virtually transparent, totally colorless and appear bright white. Diamonds can have a whole range of colors and their value depends on rarity, depth of tint or popularity. White diamonds are graded on an alphabetical scale from D: transparent, to Z: light yellow or light brown. Diamonds with colors other than light yellow or light brown use a different scale which defines the hue ie: Light blue, Redish-Purple.. and then its intensity: Faint, Very Light, Light, etc...
Now that you have a little wedding ring information here's the Bottom Line: Take your time when shopping for your Wedding Rings. Find reputable jewlers and compare prices, and most of all... Buy the rings (and diamonds) THAT YOU LIKE!