Choosing your wedding rings will be one of the highlights in preparing for the wedding and before you decide to part with your hard earned cash on an item of jewelry that will stay with you for life, there are a few question that we recommend even the most spontaneous couples consider to ensure your choice is perfect for you.
- How much can we afford to pay? It is a shame that filthy lucre always gets into everything, even true love, but the expression of your love in the ring is still subject to your budget.
- Will we both have a ring?
- Will the wedding ring match the engagement ring(s)?
- Do we want to consider sustainability and/or ethics? The history of the metal and precious stones industry is troubling. Mining is sometimes associated with employment practices that would make a sweatshop owner blush. Not only that, but it takes a long time for the landscape to recover after mining and dredging. There are alternatives: you can buy rings made of recycled metal or wood and you can have them embellished with cultured diamonds or ask for conflict-free gems. Buying second-hand is also a great way to make sure that your ring has not caused a fresh round of hardship somewhere in the world.#
- What should the ring be made of? There are beautiful rings made of gold, silver, platinum, even wood. Each material has its advantages, both aesthetically and in terms of their durability and ease of working. Gold is soft and easy to work, but it does not look well against everyone’s skin. My daughter, who is very fair, with blue eyes and pale ash hair looks pasty and washed out when she wears yellow gold. She looks better in white gold, but better still in silver. There is also rose gold, which would look stunning on a redhead, or a pink and white English rose. Platinum is expensive, but extremely durable and has a different shine to it than silver and a paler colour. The wooden ones I have seen are stunning, and I love the idea of feeling warm wood, rather than cold metal against my skin.
- Should we buy brand new, or would we prefer to buy second-hand/antique? If you want something unusual and can’t afford to commission a jeweller to create a unique design, then vintage might be the best choice. There are plenty of jewellery shops that are part of a chain and they often carry the same stock in every shop in every town in the country. These jewellery shops often offer reasonable prices, but second-hand will be even cheaper and you might find a piece that has a charming history and is aesthetically more interesting than the mainstream.
“The wedding ring on my left hand was bought by my grandfather, Samuel Miliband, in Brussels in 1920. I never knew him, as he died when I was one. But his ring was kept by my aunt until it was placed on my finger by my wife Louise 32 years later.”
- Is there a family heirloom we could use? (Perhaps a parent or grandparent’s ring). If you are lucky enough to have access to a ring that has been in the family for years, it is a lovely way to remember the people who wore it before. I still have my husband’s grandmother’s engagement ring. I wore it until I wore out the band, so it is in my jewellery box waiting to be repaired. It is a lovely thing. It was probably never expensive (the diamonds in it are just chips), but I have never seen another one like it. When I wore it, I felt that the lovely lady for whom it was originally bought was sending me her love from beyond the grave. What better way could your family have to welcome your partner into the fold than to give them a ring that symbolises your ancestors?
- Where will we buy it? Chainstore jewellers are easy to find, but you might want to go to an independent jeweller or a shop that specialises in vintage jewellery. Etsy would be a good starting point to look for hand-made, unique pieces and for repurposed vintage pieces.