Your Guide to the Perfect Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands
Getting married is one of the biggest events in a person’s life. It’s a testament to a bond forged through love and commitment, and it’s the beginning of a couple’s journey together.
In this guide to wedding rings, we will walk you through wedding rings and all the hidden details and special significance of each one plus sharing some useful questions to ask yourself before making your wedding band purchase.
How to Choose a Wedding Ring
What type of wedding band am I looking for? (narrowing down the choices)
Deciding what you’re looking for in wedding rings doesn’t mean you have to be a diamond expert. However, there are a few details you need to know about wedding rings before buying. This is about visual preference and what catches your eye, which brings us to what needs to be done: Research, research, research!
In this wedding rings buying guide, we will explore what different engagement rings and wedding bands can look like and give you a very good idea of your choices. You might have already found a certain piece of fine jewelry appealing but still have no idea what size you want your diamond to be, the color you prefer or even if you want yellow gold or white gold wedding rings. All of these options are important to consider when you are selecting the wedding band you want to see on your significant other’s finger.
This guide is designed to provide essential tips to help you in choosing a wedding band that is a perfect match for you. It will assist you in figuring out the ring profile, size, style, color, cost, carat, and other important details.
Take your time, do the research, study the tips, and decide at your own pace what kind of wedding rings you want. Write down your style preferences, and revisit them later, put them in order in terms of appeal, or ask your significant other for some extra input. Do all of this before even heading to jewelry stores to ensure you are prepared when you go shopping for two rings because there are many wedding ring styles available.
What should I know before getting diamond rings?
Diamonds hold a special place among precious stones that have extreme beauty and are scratch resistant. Their value and meaning make them a perfect choice for wedding rings because they are a symbol for strong relationships and a serious commitment compared to other gemstones.
The special significance of a diamond is why it is the traditional wedding ring stone. It can be found in engagement rings and is often incorporated in wedding rings too and can be used for everyday wear.
A diamond’s value depends entirely on its quality, which in itself can be judged through various aspects and important details. Before buying a diamond, here are some things you should know.
- Diamond quality impacts cost – The better the quality of the diamond, the more it costs. The fewer the flaws in the stone, the higher the price. Other factors like diamond shape, clarity, and color also impact value when you shop. Diamonds are a purchase that lasts a lifetime making the investment worth the costs.
- Diamond alternatives – There are other gems like Cubic Zirconia which have a similar beauty and look to diamonds while still being somewhat scratch resistant. So similar in fact, that sometimes only a trained expert can spot the difference. The stone appears similar to diamonds in almost every way but costs significantly less. Over time, however, it will lose its “Diamond sparkle” and look like a normal ring. So if you want a temporary look similar to diamonds you can opt for a Cubic Zirconia.
- A wide array of options – With the Internet, you’re no longer bound to local retailers. Not only do you have access to wider international collections, but you can also find better prices for your engagement ring or wedding band that better suit your personal style or wedding budget.
- Explore different shapes and styles – Find your favorite gem shape before purchasing. With so many different types of wedding rings and styles, from round diamonds and small diamonds to white gold wedding bands, you are bound to find styles you want to wear forever. People usually opt for the round shape of a diamond, but if you are willing to research further there are plenty more shapes and styles that might fit you better.
- Understanding diamond weight – Diamonds are measured by carat weight. This has a huge impact on the stone’s price and value. 1 carat equals 0.2 grams, 1 gram equals 5 carats, and so on. Purchasing two diamonds of 1 carat each is not equal to a single 2-carat diamond. It might seem unfair but as diamond weight increases, its value and rarity increase too. In other words, a 1-carat diamond can be easily found but a 2-carat diamond can be a bit rarer which also means buying 5 diamonds of 1 carat each is cheaper than buying one 5-carat diamond. In short, the more carats a diamond has the more valuable and rare it is.
- Diamond clarity – Aside of carat and quality, a diamond’s clarity will impact its value too. The amount of inclusion in a diamond signifies the visibility and extent of its flaws. This impacts the sparkle of a diamond, and the higher the amount of inclusion in a diamond, the less sparkle it displays. Flawless diamonds are the most expensive but the price drops depending on the number of inclusions that impact its clarity.
- Color matters – Color is another deciding factor when it comes to a diamond’s value. Colorless diamonds are the most expensive and they have more visible sparkle. Colorless and near-colorless are the more expensive stones in the clear/white diamond range. Overall, diamonds come in many colors and the value depends on how rare that particular color is. Some of the more common colors are blue, green, orange, pink, and yellow. One of the rarer colors would be red, however, its uncommon nature makes it very expensive.
- Know your cuts – Cuts will impact all gems not just diamonds. It’s important to understand the different types and styles of cut that best suit your ring. There are a few types of cuts we explain in-depth in a separate article.
- Where do diamonds come from? – The industry is large and many supply links exist in the chain before the diamonds end up on your partner’s ring finger or your wedding band. Some supply chains may have a negative impact or resort to exploitative practices. Before selecting your gemstone be sure you are purchasing from a supplier that espouses ethical and responsible practices. Often you will see “Conflict-free diamonds” or “Ethically sourced” when you shop to help you decide.
- Understanding wedding band buying restrictions – When it comes to deciding on your wedding bands, you must consider your budget. However, do bear in mind that this purchase is meant to last a lifetime so when you choose a ring make sure you get the best quality and value for your budget.
Set a budget
It’s possible to find a ring for your wedding ring budget as long as you do your research and shop around for the best finds. The best way to ensure you stick within the budget is to only buy a fitted wedding ring set you can afford. Keep in mind, however, that the quality of the gem rises alongside the price you’re willing to put on it.
The price of diamond rings depends on the factors we mentioned previously such as the carat, color, rarity, metal, cut, etc. For example, you can choose a cheaper metal, a more common color, low carat, and a fine cut, and you will pay less but you still get a diamond ring with similar properties to using other metals. Some people want to invest in their diamonds and they choose the best that they can get despite the price. While this is fine if you can afford it, it’s important not to pressure yourself and to get a ring that fits in what you can comfortably spend.
Choosing the ring: The how and why
Choose your diamond: (The 4 C’s)
The 4 C’s were created by the Gemological Institute of America as a compact way for people to avoid making a bad purchase. Not everyone is a professional or gem expert, and knowing the 4 C’s might help you make a more informed and confident decision. It can be a bit difficult to judge the quality of a diamond, or whether the purchase is worth the price just by looking at it. The untrained eye generally can’t tell the difference between a fair deal and a scam. Even professionals resort to microscopes and other methods to identify the clarity of a diamond and the number of blemishes or flaws it has. As such, these 4 points are a must-know if you’re thinking about buying a diamond. Learn more about diamonds.
Cut refers to the quality of a diamond’s cut, specifically its proportions and symmetry. Learn all about the most popular cuts available with our Diamond Cuts Guide.
There are numerous types of diamond cuts and shapes, all with their own unique style and unquestionable appeal. When we refer to the shape of a diamond, it means the physical shape such as the examples below.
Pick a metal for the band
The right metal or metals for the wedding band is a completely personal choice matter. While most people tend to go for gold metal in one of its three most popular shades: yellow gold, rose gold, or white gold- there are more metal options outside of gold for wedding bands that might interest you, or even help you save on your purchase for jewelry, including a platinum wedding ring.
More importantly, however, the metal choice for engagement rings or wedding rings should be a personal touch. For an engagement ring, rose gold is a highly recommended choice as it holds a certain elegance to it, as well as complementing almost every skin tone there is, but you can also opt for a platinum engagement ring. When pairing with a diamond though, platinum or white gold is an elegant and timeless choice.
Choose the setting style
The setting is the way that your gems are set on the metal band. There are various styles of wedding or engagement ring settings. You can make a purely visual choice once the diamond and metal have been chosen although there are some helpful hints when deciding. Here are three of the most prominent ring settings.
James Allen and Blue Nile are two reputable online retailers that sell a wide selection of wedding rings for both men and women. You can learn more about the various wedding ring styles they have to offer here for James Allen and here for Blue Nile.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are multiple different ways to establish ring size such as going to a jewelry store, using a plastic or paper ring size measure, or alternatively, wrap a piece of string or paper around your finger. Mark your size, measure with a ruler and compare it to a downloadable sizing chart. Remember, your finger size changes throughout the day so take several measurements. You can also check out our size guide for more information.
A 3-carat diamond will be a sizeable stone that will look magnificent on any bride’s ring finger. In the current market, they retail for anything from $19,000 to excess of $100,000. The price will be determined by the color, clarity and cut of the diamond, which all contribute to its quality.
An engagement ring is a symbol that a couple are engaged to be married and is typically significantly more expensive. A wedding ring is often a band that is exchanged on your wedding day. In the West, the rings are worn on the third finger of the left hand.
Depending on the cut and proportions, a half-carat diamond is generally around 5mm in diameter. Diamonds do not increase proportionately in size with their carat weight.
In the Western world, wedding rings are worn on the third finger of the left hand.
An engagement ring is usually given as part of the proposal and a wedding ring is traditionally a plain metal band in yellow gold or white gold, that you receive when you exchange your vows during the wedding ceremony and wear throughout the rest of the marriage.
Yes, you can get wedding ring sets with matching engagement rings and weddings rings and also matching wedding bands for you and your spouse (his and her wedding bands).