Getting married is exciting and often expensive!
One thing that is very important, but often overlooked in favour of the bigger more 'showy' aspects of the wedding celebration, are the rings.
Giving and receiving of rings has been symbolic of the love & commitment between the bride & groom for hundreds & indeed thousands of years, and is a tradition that can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. They placed a ring as a symbol of love and commitment on the 'ring' finger of left hand as they believed that finger had a vein running through it directly to the heart.
Today, choosing a ring is actually quite complex, and just to confuse you, there are plenty of 'urban myths' , like the one that says a bride must always choose the same metal as her engagement ring or they will wear away spoiling both rings. This 'myth' has some foundation if we were to go into technical explanation , but the reality for the everyday purchaser is actually untrue.
Also many national high street jewellers buy in bulk, have their own factories in the far east producing their rings for them, and offer super sharp pricing. We often have people coming to our stores quoting a super sharp price for a wedding ring from a big national retailer and ask us as a small independent to price match. This is a tough one for us, as the comparison isn't usually the same. As an independent jeweller we only use UK manufacturers, who make each ring here in the UK, and we price on weight of metal used.
The big national companies may have a wedding ring on offer for 'a certain price', and so we are asked to price match a ring that may look the same in size and design, but our ring could be a heavier or lighter weight of gold, meaning the rings aren't really the same at all. So really when comparing ring prices, you must also compare weight of the ring, just because they look the same, doesn't mean the same amount of gold has been used.
Choosing wedding rings is all about fashion at the time, and personal choice. Its a big decision, as you will be wearing your chosen ring for a long time.
Diamonds or No Diamonds
There is no doubt that diamonds really look fabulous set in a wedding band, but there are things to consider.
Adding diamonds to your wedding ring, not only looks gorgeous, but it will significantly add to your cost. The keep the cost down, you could opt for something with only a hint of diamond sparkle, with say 3 or four diamonds set to the front part of the wedding band, this will only add around £100- £200 extra to the cost of your ring. A simple plain band with no stones would save you a lot more money, and having a pattern cut into the metal could be a money saving compromise, at our shops we do hundreds of beautiful patterns, diamond cut that sparkle in the light, and laser cut with pretty designs. These patterns are essential for anyone who works I healthcare and can't have stones at all and are really affordable.
But if you just want bling, diamonds set all the way round will mean you will have to spend a bit more, but will give you the twinkle that everyone loves!
White gold set with round brilliant cut diamonds spaced out, can save money.
Plain metal bands don't have to be boring, adding pattern can look really beautiful and save a huge amount on cost over diamonds.
Diamonds set with claws are really beautiful, but please remember, if you choose gold, over time, the claws will wear down, and the diamond stones can loosen and even fall out. The wear down of gold is completely normal, its just something that happens over time, just the same as your engagement ring, you can only prevent it by not wearing your ring..... or choosing platinum metal which doesn't wear down. If you choose a claw set ring, even if you do choose platinum which is very strong, you should periodically have the claws checked to make sure they are ok, or you may have an expensive shock when you wake up one day and one of your beautiful diamonds has disappeared.
Another consideration, is dirt build up over time. When you wear a claw set, or indeed any diamond set wedding ring, dirt will accumulate in the tiny spaces in the ring. This dirt is completely normal, particularly when you wear the ring every day. Just think of all the places you put your hands over time, gardening, cleaning etc! It's a gradual build up of soaps, skin cells and dust, which can dull the sparkle and shine of your ring. Its possible to get your ring cleaned in an ultra sonic cleaning machine at a jewellers, that will shake out the dirt and restore the ring back to how it was before. Sometimes the ultra sonic cleaning can shake out the dirt and a diamond! This happens particularly with older rings, because after lots of wear, the gold may have worn away over time, and the dirt that has built up over time, is literally all that is holding in the diamonds. So once all the dirt is cleaned away, the diamond can be literally shaken out!- Don't worry, this can be easily re-set, your jeweller will advise you.
A beautiful claw set ring, must be checked periodically for metal wear.
Channel set wedding bands are by far the most popular type of wedding band.
They are very smooth, so there's nothing the 'catch' on clothes etc.
Channel set, means the diamonds have been set into a groove or channel that has been specially cut into the metal to hold the diamonds. There are huge price differences in channel set diamond rings. Be sure to check all the details before you try to compare prices. The price is usually governed by the grade of the diamonds. High grade diamonds are very sparkly and bright and clear, but you will pay a premium to have these sparkling beauties in your ring!
Low grade diamonds have lots of cloudy inclusions and crackles, and don't sparkle as much, so they are much more affordable, you can certainly pick up a bargain if you're not bothered by diamond quality.
Also the size of the diamonds in the channel dictate price.... obviously the bigger the diamonds, the higher the price you will pay! Again you can save on cost, by only having the diamonds set half way round the band instead of all the way round.
Large high grade diamonds channel set into a wedding band.
If you really want to push the boat out, you could opt for a princess cut diamond wedding band. The princess cut is square diamond instead of round ( round diamonds are called brilliant cut), so in the square princess cut there aren't any spaces for the dirt to accumulate .... they really sparkle and shine, and give the illusion of more diamonds- but you will pay a lot more money for this cut of diamond.
A popular channel set ring, set with princess cut diamonds which are square in shape instead of round (brilliant cut).
Well if you have a lot of money to spend, you can go crazy and have a big statement wedding band, that everyone will just go "wow" at... but you can pay the price of a small house in Grimsby for the privilege if you want top quality diamonds set in platinum!
Here are some of the most affordable 'Kardashian type' bling rings we can make here at In The Pink Jewellery :
The above ring is 1.35 carats in diamonds of medium quality, set into 9 carat white gold, diamond coverage of the band is 50%, so not all the way round to save money.... 6mm wide, but this will set you back around £10,000.
Here's another super bling ring with just under 2.5 carats in diamonds, priced in 9 carat white gold, this little beauty would set you back around £16,500...mmm... I think we'll have two.......
Next, we have tried to give you a mini review of each type of metal, so you can read about it, and decide what will be best for you.
For diamond set rings we always advise choosing platinum, it is a pure metal, mixed with very little or no alloy, and is one of the rarest precious metals, meaning it is the most expensive. Its also the most suitable metal for holding diamonds, due to its unique hard wearing properties. It is slightly more 'steely' in colour than the rhodium finish on white gold, and does not always need to be plated, and is a very heavy & dense metal. Pure luxury for those who only want the best.
18 carat White Gold
All white gold is made from a base of natural yellow gold, mixed with other metals to lighten or 'whiten' the yellow gold colour. A pure 'silvery' look is rarely acheived in the mixing process, so white gold is always plated in bright 'white' Rhodium, a rare precious metal to give a bright shiny 'silver'-'white' finish. Rhodium plating does wear off in time with everyday wear, and can be re-applied every year or so, to keep the bright Rhodium finish. 18 carat gold is 750/1000 parts gold to alloy. A substatial weight, but not as heavy as platinum. One of the most popular choices of metal.
18 Carat Yellow Gold
Yellow gold is naturally occuring, and is the classic yellow colour we are all familiar with. 18 carat gold is 750/1000 parts gold to alloy. So the gold content of 18carat is roughly three quarters gold and one quarter alloy. The alloy is used to harden the softness of natural gold, but even with this addition, the gold does wear away over time. A substantial weight but not as heavy as platinum. A classic choice.
18 Carat Rose Gold
Naturally occuring yellow gold is mixed with rich copper and other alloys to give this gold its rich 'rose' colour. Its is 750/1000 parts gold to alloy. Making in a higher gold content than 9 carat, so consequently like its white and yellow partners in the same carat, it's more expensive. A substantail weight but not as heavy as platinum. A very beautiful choice.
9 Carat White Gold
9 carat white gold is made from naturally occuring yellow gold, mixed with white metals to give a lighter creamy colour. Like 18 carat white gold, this 9 carat 'white' gold needs to be plated in Rhodium, a bright shiny silver tone precious metal so that the ring looks shiny and 'white'. The plating does wear off over time and the ring will need to be re-plated to keep its shiny white colour. It is 375/1000 parts of gold to alloy. This means there is roughly just over one third of gold to two thirds alloy ratio. This means this carat of gold is harder due to the higher alloy content, so this is a harder wearing gold, it is also very affordable. A very popular and affordable choice, but with the same look once plated, as 18 carat white.
9 Carat Yellow
A naturally occuring yellow gold, mixed with lighter alloy metals to give a paler gold colour than 18 carat. It is 375/1000 parts gold to alloy meaning there is less gold content than 18carat, but it is a harder gold and better wearing. The higher alloy content means it is a more affordable option. A very popular choice.
9 Carat Rose Gold
Yellow gold is mixed with copper and other metals to give the classic 'rose' colour. This carat of gold is 375/1000 parts gold to alloy, meaning it is harder than higher carats of gold, and more affordable. This does not need plating. A beautiful choice.
Palladium 500 & Palladium 950
A new precious metal, only been used for jewellery making in recent times. Its a natuarally white bright silvery tone precious metal, which does not need plating in Rhodium, as its bright silvery colour stays true all the way through the metal. Its relatively hard wearing, and is only fractionally more expensive than 9 carat gold. It is a light metal, so is not as substantial as gold, and is more similar to the weight of titanium. Its a practcial choice for those who love the white gold colour, but do not want the upkeep of white gold re-plating.
The difference between 500 & 950 is the alloy ratio. Palladium 500 has 50% mixed alloy, making it very affordable. Palladium 950 is almost pure and therefore more expensive.
There is nothing wrong with using silver as your wedding ring. Its very affordable, you could probably pick up a plain silver band for as little as £25. The only reason many people don't is the fact that silver is THE most highly reactive precious metal. It reacts with everything, water, oxygen, dirt, dust, skin PH, chemicals, you name it silver reacts with it, causing the classic brown and black tarnish you often see on silver jewellery. So to combat this, a new type of silver has been invented that does not tarnish, and stays beautiful bright shiny silver all the time. Its called Argentium. The clever chemists have added a secret ingredient to the silver, to stop it tarnishing, so it really looks very close to white gold, in fact I would challenge anyone to tell white gold and Argentium apart. Argentium is more expensive than normal silver, but it could be a really affordable alternative. You need to shop around, but lots of jewellers can get hold of Argentium, we certain can here at In The Pink, and when mixed with other precious metals for two tone wedding bands it really brings the cost down.
Pictured here Argentium silver and 9 carat rose gold.
Finally, aways remember, it's always worth buying with your heart, having a ring you really love, is worth the sacrifice of the extra budget when you will be wearing the ring for a very long time. Most places do a 'lay-by' payment scheme, so you can spread the cost of your rings. Buy a ring you will love and cherish, that says something about you or your wedding, so when you look at your ring, at some time in the future, you will remember when, where and why you bought it.
We currently have an ongoing amazing wedding ring offer at both of our stores, see the details below and contact us if you would like to look at our big selection of wedding rings.