Have you been dreaming about wedding rings? It doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is going to propose. It may be a subconscious signifier of oncoming grief, a need for communication, good fortune, or a relationship that needs repair. If you dream that you’re shopping for a ring, you may need to listen to that advice you’ve been ignoring. Or maybe you’re getting a new job.
But back in the real world, hunting for a wedding ring can be almost as stressful as saying yes to that dress. And it can be more nerve-wracking if it’s the groom that’s picking. So let’s look at some wedding ring buying tips to make your jewelry excursion more pleasant, preferably without canceling the wedding altogether. Pro tip: Don’t bring your mothers while you shop!
1. Mix Metals Meaningfully
Wedding rings come in two main types. The most common type is the wedding band. It’s plain, narrow, and often yellow. It may have the couple’s name and wedding dates inscribed. The second type is a gemstone ring. It could be a tiny side-stone for men or a whopper for women.
Mixed-metal rings are popular. Especially with each metal having a distinct meaning. Yellow gold for fidelity, rose gold for romance, white gold for friendship. But jewelers know how to mix these rings in single settings or combined ring designs. More so for stackable rings or trio rings.
If you wear a white gold engagement ring next to a yellow gold band, the yellow gold will erode because white gold is harder and more abrasive. So don’t just buy two individual rings. Buy a set that was made to match, or carry current rings to see whether the wedding ring is compatible.
2. Look Out for Allergies
Colored gold is often alloyed with silver, copper, nickel, rhodium, or other whitish and pinkish metals. And some of these alloys can cause allergic reactions. But apart from adding color and beauty, these additional metals make the metal stronger – particularly gold. In its purest 24k form, gold is too soft to be forged into jewelry. So it does need those additives to stay functional.
However, if your groom or bride has allergies, you may want to avoid causing them drama. And yes, as expensive as they may be, it could be worth doing an allergy test. If the result is positive, get a workaround wedding ring in wood or silicone but make sure it’s waterproof. You can also get hypoallergenic metals like titanium, platinum, tungsten, cobalt, palladium, or rhodium.
3. Think About Gender
Yes, gender is a hot-button political topic these days. But as much as we hate to be put in boxes or generalized, there are certain characteristics that affect wedding ring buying tips. And these can apply whether it’s a hetero-wedding or a same-sex one. For example, most grooms prefer a simple ring without gemstones. So it’s worth checking in the men’s wedding ring section.
The rings in this category will probably be wider – 3.5mm to 8mm. The assumption is ‘fat rings’ are masculine while slimmer ones are delicate and more feminine. So as a general rule, groom’s rings have wider bands and less fuss while wives’ rings have thinner metals and larger, more sparkly gemstones. Men’s gemstones will probably have smaller diameters and closed settings.
4. Consider the Gemstone
Different stones carry diverse meanings, and these vary across cultures. For some people, emeralds may represent abundance and fertility. So – for example – a couple that has lost children or experienced multiple miscarriages may want an emerald wedding ring. Or a couple may reconcile and renew their vows with an emerald wedding ring after a cheating incident.
Or a couple that shares a birth month may set their birthstone into their trio ring. Buying wedding rings in pairs or triples saves money but also gives you a way to express yourselves with matching wedding jewelry. It can also extend the lifespan of your wedding rings – they’re designed to be worn together so the settings and metals won’t wear each other out.
5. Keep Up With Yourself
Yes, we often buy the biggest stone and the shiniest metal so we can keep up with the Jones and Kardashians. But your wedding ring is one you’ll (hopefully) wear every day. So you don’t want it getting lost in the fryer at work or getting ground in the car wash. Think about your job and your lifestyle. What activities do you regularly take part in? Running? Jogging? Fruit stacking?
If you work with items whose particles can get stuck in your ring, consider buying a silicone ring or a simple unadorned band without gemstones. Active people should avoid encrusted gemstones and pavé settings. Avoid fancy gemstones if you work with your hands a lot. Also, engravings and intricate carvings are harder to keep clean in food scenarios and medical spaces.
6. Test the Fit, Not Just the Size
Many websites have sizing charts, and you can walk into most jewelry stores and try their sizing rings. You want a ring that slips a bit but won’t roll over your knuckle or rotate out of sight. You don’t want that pretty birthstone constantly nestling in your palm where no one can see it.
So the ring should be snug without cutting off the air supply or blanching your finger. Fit refers to how the ring sits on your finger. It could be standard, traditional, flat fit, or comfort curved fit, meaning it has a slight convex curve that leans into your finger and helps it grip better.
Don’t confuse the fit with the profile. The fit is the flatness or curvature of the inner ring surface against your finger. Shape or profile is the outer curvature – how high the ring rises off your finger. It could be flat or domed, a slight curve or mini-bevel to a deep D-shaped arch. Wider rings are more comfortable if you have a rounded comfort fit, giving you a bit of a finger hug.
7. Use Existing Jewelry
Family heirlooms are a treasure. But just because you love your mama or grandma doesn’t mean you want to wear her outdated ring. Besides, even Meghan had her ring modernized. So if there are any jewels in the family that you’d like your fiancé to wear, carry them while you shop.
Jewelers can advise you on the best way to customize those gems into a contemporary bridal setting. Or if the ring has multiple stones, you could split them between your two wedding rings. You could even melt down the metal from the original ring and infuse it into new ones. This will cut costs while incorporating your family history. And you won’t be stuck wearing ugly rings!
8. Check your Carats and your Karats
Did you think this was an American English versus British English thing? It’s not, but it’s easy to get confused. Gemstones are measured in carats, with a C, while metals are measured in karats, with a K. One carat is 0.2 grams and measures the weight of the gemstone. A karat is more about purity. For example, 24-karat gold is pure while 14-karat gold has 58% gold and 47% alloy.
In the US, gold has to be at least 10-karats to be considered pure. So if you want a high-end wedding ring, the gold should be that much at least. Combine this figure with the carats of your diamonds or gemstones. You don’t want your fiancée thinking you fleeced them with a cheap wedding ring. Not unless you can convince them the savings will go towards the wedding …
9. Understand Eternity
Eternity Bands are a special type of wedding ring where the entire shank is encrusted with jewels. Often diamonds. It can be hard to resize these rings, because of how the gemstones are arranged – those side settings don’t offer much flexibility. Eternity bands combine the two symbolic meanings of wedding rings: the forever-ness of diamonds and that eternal circle.
But here’s the top contender among our wedding ring buying tips – skip the eternity band for later. They’re quite expensive and are more significant when given as a push present. You give her this beauty on the wedding day and you’re setting the bar quite high for future anniversaries.
10. Ask About Engraving and Resizing
Many jewelers will engrave your ring for free if it’s above a certain value. But some shops need a week or even a month for engraving, so start shopping early and make your booking in time. You should also find out the cost of resizing and cleaning. If it’s an intricate ring, it will need more maintenance so that’s part of your bride’s long-term budget – don’t bankrupt her!
Also, your weight may fluctuate given all the drama of the wedding. So check that the ring can be affordably resized in case of emergencies. You might also check whether they’ll insure the ring. This can be a lifesaver in case you lose the ring during your grand gesture wedding. Pro tip” maybe use a dummy ring to propose. It’s like a dummy check, and way cheaper to replace.
Show us a photo of your beautiful bridal bouquet (or manly man-ringed manicure) in the comments! And tell us your wedding ring shopping story too – we’d love to hear it!