Your wedding rings are meant to last a lifetime – but choosing them can be a minefield. Lost among confusing terminology and an ocean of choice, many couples find the process of finding their perfect rings overwhelming…

Luckily, we have an expert on hand to demystify the dos and don’ts of buying your bling. Vashi Dominguez is the founder of vashi.com, a leading online diamond and wedding ring supplier. Vashi is TV’s diamond expert, appearing on BBC News, ITV,  Sky News and more. Today, he’s here to let us in on his top ten pitfalls to avoid when buying your wedding rings.

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Size isn’t everything

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to diamond rings. Cut, carat, clarity and colour are the four factors to study up on. Remember, a big diamond might look impressive, but can be a pain to wear day-to-day for the rest of your life.

Don’t forget about day-to-day wear

A ring that doesn’t sit right, digs into your finger or snags your clothes isn’t going to be easy to wear every day forever. If you use your hands a lot when you work, you don’t want a ring that’s constantly knocking things or getting scratched. If you want a plain band, put your mark on it by having it engraved.

Avoid the clash factor

If you plan on wearing your engagement ring after you tie the knot, then you can safely rule out all wedding rings that clash, figuratively and literally. For example, your wedding ring could be shaped to curve around your engagement ring. White gold will clash with yellow gold, different coloured gemstones might look amazing as standalone pieces, but garish side by side.

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Avoid themed rings

Let’s face it, we all gushed when we saw Bella’s ring in Twilight. Who didn’t love Kate Middleton’s sapphire masterpiece, inherited from Princess Diana? While replica or themed rings can be stunning, people have changing tastes and interests. Will your gothic Twilight ring still be appropriate in 20 years?

Don’t buy before you compare

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of finding the perfect ring and to want to splash out on the spot, but hold your horses. There are very few truly original designs out there and you want to get the best possible deal, so before you part with your cash, shop around and see if you can find a less expensive version elsewhere. If you’re set on one ring, don’t be afraid to negotiate if it’s a little out of budget.

Don’t ignore a bad reputation

Buying the single most important piece of jewellery you will ever wear is serious business. Bad (or non-existent) customer service, no refunds or returns policy, hidden charges and worse (we will get to that) can turn your experience from a dream to a nightmare. Check your jeweller’s reputation before you hand over any money.

Beware of fake diamonds

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Fake diamonds? Not so much. There are some truly impressive replicas out there and it can be hard (but not impossible) to tell the difference without an expert eye. Make sure you check thoroughly for any signs of imitation.

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Avoid blood diamonds

A beautiful diamond can quickly lose its shine and appeal if you discover that its background is funding a terrible war. So how do you know if you’re buying an ethical diamond? Your jeweller must be a participant of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, allowing them to trace the origin of every diamond they sell. Ask about your diamond’s story.

Don’t turn a blind eye to how your ring was made

Don’t assume that your jeweller made your ring. Some rings are made by a CAD computer programme in a factory. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you were after something more personal it means that your ring was certainly mass produced. More seriously, ensure that your ring wasn’t made by child labour or in a sweat shop.

Don’t be afraid to create your own ring

Many brides and grooms make the mistake of thinking they can only buy what’s already out there. There are many ways to design your own ring, either from a picture or using software available from many jewellers. You can be completely involved in the creative process, with an expert guiding you through to ensure it’s exactly as you want it to be.

Want to find more jewellery and finishing touches to complete your aisle style? Check out our fabulous Accessories section now!