Wedding bands last forever – hopefully your wedding will too! There are a lot of choices these days for wedding related items – wedding cakes, wedding planners, wedding tiara, even wedding vows. Why should wedding rings be any different? Below are some basic buying tips that should lead you in the right direction towards the wedding ring of your dreams. Brides and grooms alike should pay close attention, plan ahead, and do their research before purchasing a wedding ring.
What type of metal should I use?
Before we even get to the right diamond to purchase, we should look into the various types of metals that can be purchased. Even if the average couple has to decide between gold and platinum, there’s still quite a bit of choice to choose from.
With gold, it is important to know that gold is measured on a karat scale. At the top is 24K gold – pure and soft, but not a great choice for a wedding band. A wedding band will be something that you will wear every day, and such a soft grade of gold will surely bend. To address this problem, gold comes in lower grades that have other metals like nickel and zinc added to strengthen the material. An inexpensive choice would be 12K, which would be hardened enough but the gold content would not be as high as 18K, which is made of 75% gold and other metals.
Even if you choose a grade of gold you want, it still leaves room for other choices, such as the color. Gold comes in white, rosy-pink, and classic yellow. Choose the color that looks best on your hand.
Couples that are looking for a different type of wedding band may look to platinum over gold. Although a heavier metal, platinum provides a nice finish and a good fit on the hand. Platinum is simple in appearance, but there are also different grades of platinum to consider here as well. There is 900 Plat, which is 90% platinum and 10% iridium, a metal with similar properties to platinum. The more expensive option is 950 Plat, which is 95% platinum and 5% iridium.
The 3 D’s – durability, display, and dollars come into play when we talk about metals. Platinum is heavier, denser, and stronger than gold, but costs far more. One ounce of gold costs about $300, while one ounce of platinum is about $600. You will generally pay a 20% increase in costs for platinum jewelry over gold jewelry. However, platinum is harder to work with, and wedding ring sizing can take several hours of work, while gold wedding ring sizing takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
Other factors in choosing a ring
Size and shape are two important factors that are often overlooked. Men’s wedding bands tend to be wider, and simpler in appearance (i.e. no stones). The women’s wedding rings tend to favor a more narrow design, as a lot of brides slide their wedding ring next to their engagement ring.
The Short Scoop on Diamond Wedding Rings
Diamond wedding rings sell at a premium, but with a little knowledge, you can find the best deals. The key to finding a diamond that’s right for your wedding ring is to remember the 4 C’s: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Diamonds are cut into a variety of shapes: heart, square, princess, round, pear, baguette and emerald. Round is a common shape; all the rest are considered “fancy” – be prepared to see these fetch a higher price than their round counterparts.
The more color the diamond has, the less sparkle it has. Colorful diamonds don’t get enough light passing through the stone to create brilliance. Colorless diamonds are rare, so the closest you get to a colorless stone, the more you will pay for it.
The clarity refers to the natural imperfections of the diamond. Diamonds that have no imperfections – also called inclusions – reflect more light, but are rare and expensive. Most diamonds offered by jewelers will include some inclusions, but they are so tiny as to be invisible.
The cut of the diamond is the precise proportions and dimensions of a finished diamond. This affects how much the diamond sparkles. Brides seeking a brilliant shine and sparkle should seek the best cut available.
Carat weight, the final C, is the weight of the diamond in carats. Total carat weight (abbreviated as T.W) is the weight of all the stones in a piece of jewelry. Large diamonds are considered to be more valuable than small diamonds.
Can I shop for bargains?
Shopping for bargains is tempting, but remember that wedding rings will last a lifetime – you will look at this ring and remember every experience that you’ve made with your spouse. Make sure that when you go bargain hunting you have a clear idea of what you want, from the type of metal used in the ring to the shape of the diamond. With a little bit of pre-planning and research, you will be well on your way to finding the wedding ring that will truly last a lifetime for you!