Over the next few weeks I’m going to publish some general information on the areas to consider when buying a wedding ring. This is primarily from my own point of view as a maker.
Rings don’t necessarily have a fixed place in the long list of things to consider when planning a wedding. They are sometimes at the front of people’s minds after buying an engagement ring, and sometimes they end up right at the end.
I would recommend having a look around to get an idea of what you want at least a few months before, and doing a bit of basic research before you set a budget if you need to. The main cost of a ring will normally be the material it is made of, so if you set a budget at a certain level that may put some of the options out of your budget.
If you have an unusual engagement ring and want to have something made to fit around it, it may take some research to find the right person to do this for you. If you want something simple you might be lucky and find it on the high street ready to go.
Ring sizing can be slightly more complex than some people expect, ideally try and take a bit of time over it. Everyone’s fingers have a certain flex in them depending on whether you are cold or hot etc. My fleshy fingers have a full 2 sizes of difference between what is comfortable when I am cold, and what fits when I’m hot. It’s good to have enough time to wear your ring a bit at home and get an idea of the size when your hands are at different temperatures.
Every year I have someone who overestimates their size, then asks for a much smaller size, only to realise they need something in the middle. This can be very stressful if your wedding is coming up quickly.
If you are ordering something that can’t be resized (and check with the person you are planning to order from about this) consider having a cheap band to wear for a while to check, or measuring your fingers a few times over a week or so.
Stay well away from tape measures, metal sizers are best. Plastic ones are normally pretty accurate.
If your fingers are very delicate, all of these methods could still be slightly off, I find particularly under about a J or K if you are ordering a delicate ring, the sizers will all feel chunkier than the finished design.
If you were to cut through your ring and stretch it out into a straight line, what shape would you see at the end?
'D' and Court shaped rings are what most people would recognise as a traditional wedding ring look. Court bands also have a curve on the inside to make them more comfortable (I have seen the word court used to describe quite a lot of different things, but this is my understanding.)
Flat bands can look more contemporary, and the Easy fit version with a curve on the inside is an option for more comfort.
These shapes are based on the general high street options. As I make all my rings by hand I can offer options which fall somewhere in the middle, but my pieces don’t tend to have the very smart, sharp edged look of some bands which are cut by machine.
Finish can also make a big difference to the look of a ring. Hammered finishes are delicate and sparkly on a slim band, and a bit more rustic on a wider one. Smooth is the classic option, it can scratch, but unless you are wearing your ring to do very manual work the small scratches generally form a soft patina over time which is not so pristine but still really lovely.
Matt finishes are a bit more complex. One of the reasons we use gold for precious jewellery is it’s ability to shine, and fighting against it takes a bit of effort. I offer a soft, satin polish which will transition into a patina. This is really nice for those who want to avoid that very shiny new look. If you want a long lasting matt finish something like a sand blast, which really breaks the surface up, is more durable.
The width of a ring is another key consideration. The basic options on the high street tend to be 3mm, 4mm, 5mm etc. I would say 4mm is about average for a men’s band, but it depends on the look you want, slim or chunkier.
Slimmer rings are very popular at the moment, I generally consider slim rings to be 2mm or below. Sometimes people are concerned about the longevity of these, but I have sold them for several years, and have had very few customers come back to me with problems, and none for bands that are 1.5mm or 2mm.
These don’t always come in the same shapes as the wider ones. It’s an issue of proportion, a ‘D’ shaped ring at 4mm is normally half the height or less than the width. If that same shaped band was scaled down to 1.5mm it would be very thin indeed and possibly wouldn’t hold it’s shape. Thinner rings tend to be a more similar thickness to their width, but there are still often options to have a curvier or squarer look similar to wider bands.
Sometimes the bands of antique or vintage stone set rings are very thin indeed. It’s not always ideal to have a wedding ring exactly the same as these rings weren’t always designed for long term wear, and very thin bands can snap over time. I would generally recommend at least 1mm of material, ideally 1.2mm for both width and thickness.
I will be covering metal choices, and a few maintenance issues to consider over the next few weeks.