How To Find The Right Wedding Rings For You (Part 3)
By Michael Freedman
Choosing The Width of Your Wedding Ring
The choice of ring width can be influenced by a number of different factors, such as the size of your hands, personal preference and the cost of the metal.
In general the ladies wedding ring will be about the same width as the engagement ring, which is usually two to three millimetres in width. Often ladies will also wear a third ring on the same finger, the eternity ring. This ring is usually purchased after the first year of marriage or after the birth of the first baby. Therefore, when choosing the ladies wedding ring it may be a good idea to leave enough room on the finger to add an eternity ring later.
The most popular widths for gent’s rings are five to six millimetres. Some men, particularly men with large hands, may like a wedding ring up to ten millimetres wide. It is not common for men to choose a width of less than four millimetres.
Illustration 9: Matching ladies and mens wedding rings in white or yellow gold. The picture shows the rings in popular widths for men and ladies. (Ring designs by Brown & Newirth)
Sometimes a particular width will be required if a large diamond is set in the ring, in order to accommodate the width and depth of the diamond within the band, also rings with certain patterns or knotworks will require a certain width to accommodate the pattern in the ring.
Plain bands are also available in various depths or thicknesses, usually described as light, medium and heavyweight. When purchasing a precious metal, particularly with platinum, the choice of width and thickness will have a massive bearing on the price as the cost of the ring is determined primarily by the amount of precious metal within the ring.
Matching Wedding Bands or Individual Styles
Many couples now like to purchase matching wedding rings, and a vast range of styles are available. However in making this decision, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, do you both like the same style or same colour of metal? Often men and ladies have different tastes in wedding ring styles and choosing matching bands could mean one partner compromising on what they like. This is probably not a good idea as each person should enjoy wearing their wedding ring. Different skin tones can also suit different metal colours.
Many men now like to buy titanium and zirconium wedding rings, which are hard-wearing, matt finished and understated whereas ladies tend to prefer bright shiny metals. Lifestyle is also a factor in the choice of rings, some people who work with their hands, need a hard-wearing metal and certain occupations, (for instance nursing) often do not allow wearing of rings which are set with diamonds or gemstones. Some people also experience skin allergies to certain metals and this may also affect the choice of ring.
Illustration 10: A pair of matching patterned wedding rings.
The choice of the ladies wedding ring is often made to match with the engagement ring, and may need to be shaped to fit around more unusual designs.
As a general rule, I would suggest that if you have different taste in the style of wedding ring you like, you should each choose an individual ring that appeals to you. However if you both fall in love with the same style and it will also match with the engagement ring then a matching pair of wedding rings may be the ideal choice
Wedding Ring Styles
There are a huge variety of wedding ring styles to choose from. The most popular style is still the plain wedding ring, which is classic and never dates. The plain wedding ring is also often the style which best complements an engagement ring, some ladies may feel a patterned wedding ring or one with many diamonds can detract from the beauty of the engagement ring. Sometimes the simple plain band is the best match for a beautiful engagement ring.
Illustration 11: Some interesting patterned wedding ring designs. (Ring designs by Brown & Newirth)
Plain wedding rings now come in many profiles and you may wish to try on different shapes and widths to see what appeals to you. Some of these shapes are often available in light, medium or heavy-weight, which is the same basic shape or profile but containing varying amounts of metal. Therefore heavyweight rings are generally deeper or in other words will sit higher on the finger. For ladies a lightweight ring can be best as the lower depth can help to fit under the diamond of an engagement ring so the rings sit well together, without leaving a gap. However, in general, medium weight rings are most popular.
The most popular plain wedding ring shapes are explained below.
Court Shape – Rounded inside and outside (the rounded inside is known as a comfort-fit and makes the ring comfortable to wear, this also makes the ring slightly heavier and deeper than the D Shape). Currently the court shape is the most popular plain wedding ring shape in the UK.
D Shape – From a side view this ring is shaped like a D, the flat edge goes over the finger and it looks rounded on the outside (similar to the appearance of the court shape when worn). The D Shape is generally less comfortable than a court shape, however it is less expensive as it contains less metal. D Shape rings are also usually less deep and can therefore often fit under the diamond of an engagement ring better.
Flat Edge – This ring has a flat edge on the outside. The inside which goes over the finger may also be flat edged (shape is called flat flat) or comfort fit (shape is called flat court).
Illustration 12: Some plain wedding ring designs.
Other Plain Band Shapes – There are also other newer plain band shapes such as concave or flat with bevelled edges and D Court (halfway between a D Shape and a Court) etc. The best way to find the right style for you, is to try on or look at many different styles and choose what appeals to you. If in doubt it is hard to go wrong with the classic traditional D Shape or Court Shape wedding ring.
If you would like something more unusual, there are many other alternatives to the classic plain wedding band, including two-tone (bi-colour) rings (usually two-tone rings are white and yellow gold), celtic knotwork rings, russian wedding rings and various designer wedding rings with interesting patterns or textures. It is worthconsidering, when purchasing a textured ring, that most textures can come off with years of wear and return to shiny, however, the original finish can usually be restored by a good jeweller. Men often like matt or satin finishes on wedding bands as they are less bright and shiny than a polished finish.
Illustration 13: This picture shows a variety of engraved celtic knotwork rings and also an openwork celtic knotwork ring design. (Ring designs by Brown & Newirth)
For couples in the UK or couples around the world with Scottish or Irish ancestry Celtic designs are a very popular choice of wedding ring style. Celtic knotworks are intricate interlacing knotworks, these patterns are often engraved on a ring or the ring itself can be made in a knotwork of precious metal (this type of ring is called an openwork celtic knotwork ring). Celtic knotworks have an ideal symbolism, because they are never ending, like the circular nature of a ring, which is symbolic of unending love.
Handmade, Shaped or Bespoke Design Wedding Rings
When the ladies engagement ring is an unusual shape, or a twist design or if it has a large diamond or unusual shaped diamond, it is often necessary to have a wedding ring specially made to fit with the engagement ring. These shaped wedding rings can be purchased ready made in various designs. However it is often very difficult to find one that will be an exact match for an unusual engagement ring. Many will fit fairly well, but usually some gaps will remain or the bands will not fit together properly. Some off the shelf shaped rings fit well, but are lacking in design features or don’t look good when worn without the engagement ring. For these type of wedding rings bespoke ring design can be ideal.
A jewellery designer can consult with you and design a unique wedding band to fit exactly together with your engagement ring, without leaving any gap. Although a one-off hand-made ring will be more expensive. A bespoke design wedding ring is a unique piece and many customers will enjoy taking part in the design process. Should you wish a ring of this type and are able to visit our shop in Ayr, please contact us and we would be happy to arrange an appointment with our ring designer. Jewellery designers often have computer design software that will allow them to show you a computer image of how the ring will look before actually making the ring, alternatively some can make a mock ring in silver to show the style before making the real ring.
Illustration 14: The platinum twist engagement ring (centre) requires a specially shaped wedding ring (right or left). The three rings together could also be an engagement, wedding and eternity rings set.
However bespoke design is not only for shaped wedding rings, if you want a ring made which is unique and individual and designed the way you want it, this is the best option. Bear in mind that this will often cost over double the price of a similar mass produced ring.
It is therefore often a good idea to consider the difficulty and expense of finding a matching wedding ring when making the engagement ring purchase. If a normal wedding ring will fit well beside the engagement ring, this provides far greater choice and usually lower cost when purchasing the wedding ring. Often engagement rings are available where the diamond is higher set, even with unusual marquise or pear shaped diamonds and other diamond shapes, so a typical wedding ring will fit underneath the diamond and there will be no gap between the rings.
Illustration 15: An off the shelf (not bespoke design) shaped diamond wedding ring. This type of ring design will fit better with many engagement rings which have a large or low setting than a standard flat edged wedding ring, as the diamond setting can fit into the indentation in the middle of the ring. Rings like this with different sized cut-outs or shapes are available in a vast range of designs.
How to Find The Right Wedding Rings For You (part 1) (Introduction, Budget, Choosing the right metal)
How to Find The Right Wedding Rings For You (part 2) (Further Explanation of Metals and Their Properties)
How to Find The Right Wedding Rings For You (part 4) (Styles cont.d, measuring your fingers and buying your rings)