Choosing Your Engagement & Wedding Rings
One of the first things that almost every engaged couple does is to buy a ring for the girl to wear on her ring finger. The giving of a ring for a betrothal is a very ancient custom; the Romans used to give a ring to seal a marriage bargain.
Generally it is only the girl who wears an engagement ring, but some men like to wear a signet ring during this time, while others choose to wear their wedding ring on the third finger of the right hand, and transfer it at the marriage ceremony However, you can be sure that as soon as you say you are engaged people will ask to see your ring, and in fact it may prove to be the most special and the most expensive piece of jewellery you will ever buy, so take your time choosing exactly what you want.
A diamond solitaire has been the traditional ring in recent years. This is partly because the rarity of diamonds makes them much sought after, and also because the durability of the stones mean that they really are quite likely to last ‘forever’. Good quality diamonds are expensive. and are not a particularlv good investment because of the mark up you have to pay on the initial purchase, so only choose a diamond ring if you want it for its intrinsic beauty or symbolic value.
When choosing a diamond, remember. the four C’s: Carat, Cut, Clarity and Colour. Carat is the weight of the diamond, cut is the shape into which it has been carved to increase its sparkle, clarity is its freedom from major flaws and colour is its whiteness. These things can be hard for an amateur to judge, so it is worth getting advice from someone you trust. hf you want the appearance of a diamond without the expense, cubic zirconium makes a very good imitation diamond at a fraction of the price.
Diamonds are by no means the onlv choice for engagement rings. Any other precious or semi-precious stones may be used, or vou could have a ring specially modelled from gold or platinum that has been moulded, carved, faceted or decorated with flowers, symbols, punched holes, initials. etc. You could go for a single stone such as an opal or a sapphire, in a plain or elaborate setting, or a cluster of stones either mixed or all the same. Stones can be solitaire, set in bands. set in a regular grouping such as a circle, an oval, a heart or a square, or set asymmetrically for a modern look. hn order to make your ring extra personal, you chould choose your birthstone, a significant combination of stones, or a special design such as a flower.
Agate – banded in different colours
Amethyst – purple
Aquamarine – pale blue-green
Beryl – (citrine) yellow
Bloodstone – green with red flecks
Cameo – white linage earned out ofpink shell
Cornelian – orange
Chalcedony – white
Chrysoberyl – darkish green
Coral – generally orange, can be red or white
Garnet – purple-red
Jade – generally green, can be yellow, pink or white
Jasper – brown with coloured flecks
Jet – black
Lapis lazuli – blue with gold flecks
Malachite – banded green
Moonstone – translucent white
Obsidian – black
Onyx – banded black
Opal – white, red or turquoise with rainbow flecks
Pearl – white or pale pink
Rhodonite – pale pink
Rose quartz – pink
Spinel – generally red can be brown, green or blue
Tiger’s eye – banded brown
Topaz – yellow, brown or pink
Tourmaline – generally blue or pink, can be red
Zircon – pale blue
What kind of stone do I want?
Do I want a solitaire, or a cluster, or a band?
Do I want anything unusual, in style, stones or setting?, if so,
am I likely to find it in the shop or do i need to have it made?
How much can we afford to spend?
Will I still be happy in several years time?
Are the stones good quality, regular in shape and colour?
Are there any rough edges on the stones or settings?
If I want something costly, could I buy it pre-owned?
Will the ring be easy to keep clean and sparkling?
Are we going to have two rings or just one?
Do we want matching rings?
Do I want a ring to match my engagement ring?
Does this ring go with my engagement ring in looks an fit?
How much can we afford to spend?
Does the ring need altering – if so, is this included in the cost or is it extra?
do we want anything engraved on the ring(s)?
Do we want a pouch or case to keep the ring(s) in until the ceremony?
When you have made up your mind about your engagement ring or wedding rings, remember to ask the jeweller for a valuation certificate for insurance purposes, and also to ask his advice on caring for your ring (particularly cleaning), keeping it away from certain substances etc.