He finally did it! He finally asked you to be his wife, and you couldn’t be happier. A Christmas proposal is so romantic, taking such a joyous time of year and making it even more special. If you found an engagement ring under the tree or the treat behind door number 24 was a little more carat than chocolate, read on!
Now that you’re engaged, the next step is to start shopping for wedding rings, as well as all the other planning that a wedding involves! Your wedding is one day, but your ring should be for life, so what are the most popular wedding rings you should see before going out and shopping for your own?
From antique to modern, traditional to contemporary, the variety of wedding rings can be quite overwhelming. I’ve chosen to look at five incredibly distinct and inspirational types that will hopefully help you to decide on what could be the perfect ring for you.
Traditionally, all the simplest of wedding ring had to be was a plain gold band. And gold bands are still popular with many brides as they have a subtlety that never goes out of style. You can always feel the weight of gold, something that many brides like in a wedding ring. Choosing gold for your wedding ring means that you have a choice of colours too. Other metals used in the alloy of 18kt and 9kt gold not only lend strength and durability to the gold, but also affect the colour that you see in the jewellery. When jewellers make white gold, they mix 24kt gold with silver, nickel, manganese or palladium. For rose gold they use copper in the alloy. Yellow gold will always be a traditional favourite, white gold looks fabulous when it’s set with diamonds and coloured stones as the metal allows the stones to really shine. The pink of rose gold brings a particular femininity to the jewellery, while barely affecting the colour of sparkle that you get from any stones that are set in it.
Walking around the shops in jewellery districts such as London’s Hatton Garden, The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham or The South Lane in Brighton, you’ll find many vintage and antique wedding rings on display which are not what you’d expect. They are big, bold and have scores of stones in their settings. Far from the traditional gold band that we think of our grandmothers and great grandmothers wearing, they demonstrate the opulence of those bygone days. Old antique wedding rings demonstrate the jeweller’s craft, skills that’s hard to find or replicate these days. The attention to detail in the engraving is something that you will rarely find in contemporary wedding jewellery, except by the very best master jewellers.
You can still find wedding rings that have a great deal of sparkle, but also contain visual meaning as well as the symbolism of precious stones, such as diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. For example, you can find knotted and bow wedding rings. It glitters with diamonds, representing eternity but the bow indicates ‘tying the knot’. Clever, subtle and very pretty. Between the Fingers rings give the illusion of two settings that aren’t actually attached. The message that these rings is designed to send is that no matter how far you are from one another, you will never be separated.
Other clever rings that have been inspired by expressions of love include engravings in waveform and designs in high relief on the inside of the ring that leave a long-lasting impression on the skin.
The Victorians had their own unique way of incorporating messages into their jewellery. They called this ‘acrostic jewellery’ and it featured different precious and semiprecious stones put in a wide range of different settings. The initial letter of the jewels used, lapis, opal, verdelite and emerald for example, would spell a special message which could be worn on the finger. These rings are becoming popular again, both in traditional settings and much more contemporary jewellery.
Eternity rings are a lovely way to present a lot of stones. The traditional stones that jewellers used to create eternity rings were diamonds. Today they may hold a line of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires or rubies which stretch the full diameter of the ring. The message that an eternity ring represents comes from the unbroken chain of stones which hold meaning thanks to the symbolism that’s associated with the different gems. For example, rubies represent love and passion while emeralds connote peace, balance, growth and fertility.
Double shank wedding rings come in a number of variations on the theme. Some split at the shoulder, sometimes twisting, while others have the look of two entirely separate rings that meet with a large diamond setting. While very different in looks, these ring styles all symbolise your ongoing union and partnership.
Of course it’s impossible to look at all the wedding rings that are out there, so this is just a taster to whet your appetite and inspire you to think about all the alternatives that are available. Next, it’s time to crack on with the rest of the wedding planning, choosing dresses, caterers, themes and vows…
V I S I T: Orla James