How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Ring

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Choosing the ring that will announce your love to the world can take some serious thought. From engagement rings to wedding bands, the sea of treasures to choose from can be a bit overwhelming. Not to mention, the purchase of such an item requires many different decisions about price, gem, metal, and style. Although a wedding ring may be just an object, one small token of the benefits of love, it should be as unique as the relationship in which it signifies. The sparkle and shine which represents your eternal bond should be a metaphor for your vows. From traditional to modern, simple to elaborate, and clear to colorful, the abundance of choices makes it much easier to customize a ring to fit your needs. Taking the time to truly research your options will make all the difference. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for the perfect ring...

14k white gold & diamond ring in a rose setting
14k white gold & diamond ring in a rose setting | Source
10k yellow gold & diamond wedding ring set
10k yellow gold & diamond wedding ring set | Source

Do Your Research

Whether you're a bride-to-be looking for a band to match the sparkle already on your finger or a hopeful lover waiting to propose, it's always important to do your research. Find out exactly what type of ring(s) work best for your relationship:

Engagement Ring: This ring symbolizes the marriage proposal and usually consists of either a solitaire stone or a large gem surrounded by smaller ones. The diamond is the traditional stone used for an engagement ring, however, many people prefer other gems.

Wedding Band: Wedding bands are worn by both bride and groom, and they are usually exchanged during the vows portion of the wedding ceremony. These rings are often made of metal, yet you can find many different styles that include gems (i.e., the eternity band).

Wedding Set: The wedding set is a good bet for couples who want continuity in the style of their rings. With a wedding set, you can get an engagement ring along with matching his-and-her wedding bands. There are also two-ring sets available.

Also, make sure to research the jeweler/company you are purchasing your jewelry from. Check credentials of your jewelry dealer and look for customer reviews on their products before spending a dime!

Know Your Lover

Part of being a married couple is knowing what your spouse likes and dislikes. If you don't know what types of jewelry your significant other admires, ask! You might be surprised at what you'll learn. While some are set on the rules of tradition in rings, others may prefer color or comfort over the norm.

If talking about "the ring" will ruin the surprise of popping the question, use a more subtle approach. Pay close attention to what types of jewelry your beloved already owns. Do they prefer silver shades over gold? If s/he doesn't wear jewelry, it's a tell-tale sign that you'll need to find something simple. Try initiating a conversation about birthstones and see where it leads. If your loved one seems suspicious, just say you didn't know (or forgot) what your own birthstone was.

As for ring size, check the link at the end of this hub for a printable ring-sizing chart. You can either use a ring your loved one already owns for comparison OR use the paper cut-out and measure his/her finger.

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This is my wedding ring!!! (Princess & round-cut rainbow sapphire)
This is my wedding ring!!! (Princess & round-cut rainbow sapphire) | Source
Emerald ring
Emerald ring | Source
Cushion-cut tanzanite ring
Cushion-cut tanzanite ring | Source
Australian black opal ring w/gemstones
Australian black opal ring w/gemstones | Source
Moissanite ring- stones range from clear to medium green hues
Moissanite ring- stones range from clear to medium green hues | Source

Jewels

It's important to know the different types of jewels and their properties before making your decision. The materials you choose will determine the durability and dazzle of your ring:

Diamond: Strongest gem. Although the traditional choice is white, diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The cut, color, clarity, and carat of your choice will determine it's value. Make sure the diamonds you buy are conflict-free! Man-made/ lab-created diamonds are a less-expensive alternative to mined jewels. Other gems, such as moisannite, white sapphire, and zircon, also make cheaper substitutes.

Sapphire/Ruby: Corundum, also a very strong gem (only the diamond is stronger), comes in a variety of colors as well. Red gems are known as rubies, while the blue stones are called sapphires. All other colors are deemed "fancy" sapphires, the rarest type of which is a pinkish-orange stone named padparadscha.

Emerald: Although emeralds rate at 7 on Moh's scale of mineral hardness, the stones often have inclusions (imperfections/markings inside of the gem) which make them more unstable and more prone to breakage. Most emeralds in jewelry are a deep green hue, although there are also yellow-green and blue-green stones available.

Tanzanite: Tanzanite rates a 6.5 on Moh's scale, making it more delicate than the quartz crystal. Tanzanite gems are a rare and highly coveted. They come in shades ranging from lavender to deep blue.

Topaz: Ranking high on the hardness scale, Topaz gemstones are almost as sturdy as sapphires. This stone also comes in a variety of colors and can be artificially coated to create a two-tone effect.

Opal: Related to the quartz, opals are a very fragile stones which take proper care and handling. They are heat-sensitive and have a high water content. Thus, they will crack if allowed to dehydrate. Opal colors are mesmerizing, as the glittery specks of color that emanate from them give off a rainbow hue.

Other gemstones: There are tons of other gems, in a variety of different colors, to choose from. For example, if you're looking for a stone with a green hue but don't want the delicacy of an emerald, you could try; peridot= light green, tsavorite (rare garnet)= deep green, moissanite= mint green to medium green hues, fancy sapphire= grassy green, chrome diopside= vivid lime green, etc. For an extensive hub about birthstones, gemstones, and their meanings click here--->gemstone meanings

Metals

Jewelers can use many different metals to create stunning bands and gemstone ring settings. Besides the durability of the element itself, metals will also differ in look, price, and comfort. All metals, if treated with the proper care and cleaned regularly, can last a lifetime.

Gold: Gold is a shiny yellow metal that has been highly valued throughout the ages. Because it is so soft by nature, gold must be mixed with other metals to create and alloy used for jewelry making. The purity of gold in an alloy determines its carat (k). The higher the carat, the softer (and more expensive) the alloy will be. For instance, a 18k gold ring (75% pure gold) will cost more than a 10k gold ring (41.7% pure gold). The different types of metals used to create gold alloys can also determine the color of the gold created (yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold).

Platinum: A highly prized white metal. More precious and more durable than gold, platinum jewelry is generally expensive. Although platinum jewelry requires an alloy, platinum pieces are generally 95% pure.

Palladium: As another white precious metal, palladium is a less-expensive alternative for those who like the look of platinum. Although gold is worth more, palladium pieces are generally more expensive because the metal is harder to cast.

Silver: An inexpensive precious metal which is less prized than gold yet has also been valued throughout the ages. Because of it is also a soft metal, silver jewelry must also be made of an alloy. Items made of "sterling silver" have a 92.5% silver purity.

Titanium: An inexpensive, durable metal with a chrome hue. It is used as an alloy for gold jewelry and, because of its inert properties, is a wonderful choice for those with allergies. It is also dent and corrosion-resistant (even in seawater and chlorine!)

Tungsten: One of the hardest metals known to man, tungsten is a good choice for those who are afraid their ring will go through excessive wear and tear. Although not considered a "precious" metal, tungsten has the same silver hue as its white metal counterparts.

Stick to Your Budget

It is important to set a budget for your ring(s) and stick to it. Weddings can be expensive and rings are just are portion of that cost. Although rings from jewelers such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Tacori are exquisite, they are also extremely pricey. Just because your beloved deserves a ring that costs more than a mansion, doesn't mean you should spend the next fifty years of your life trying to pay it off. If money isn't an issue, the possibilities are endless. Nonetheless, you can still find the perfect ring, on any budget, as long as you're willing to be flexible and creative.

Additional Resources

Here are some more resources to help you on your journey to wedding ring bliss:

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