Choosing bridal rings is one of the most important decisions you make in life. You want a design and style that signifies your lasting commitment and love for your partner.
Countless options are available for engagement rings and wedding bands. Finding the right fit can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide on choosing bridal rings. You can use it to navigate through the process with confidence and ease.
Whether you’re considering going traditional or want to explore custom bridal ring options, this blog provides valuable tips and answers the following questions:
- What are the different types of bridal rings?
- How do you budget for bridal rings?
- How do you choose the right metal?
- How do you select the perfect stone?
- How do you find the right style for bridal rings?
- How do you get the correct size and fit?
- Where’s the best place to shop for bridal rings?
- How do you care for your bridal rings?
What are the different types of bridal rings?
Bridal rings traditionally consist of an engagement ring and a wedding band for brides and a wedding band for grooms. Couples today don’t always follow tradition when choosing or designing custom rings. Some prefer to work with custom jewelry designers to craft unique pieces that represent their love stories.
Whatever wedding ring trends you decide to follow, make sure you select gemstones, metals, and settings that you will enjoy on your wedding day and every day thereafter.
Engagement rings are customary during an initial marriage proposal. Placing an engagement ring on your fiancée’s finger signifies your promise to marry them at a future date.
From single diamond solitaires to elaborate clusters of gemstones inlayed in an intricate design, the sky’s the limit when choosing an engagement ring design.
If you can’t find a style you like in a jewelry store showroom, you can work with a custom jewelry designer to craft one that’s more suitable for your tastes.
Wedding bands are exchanged between the happy couple during the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, couples used plain gold bands. Now, they can create whatever look they choose, including bands with intricate designs that include diamonds and gemstones.
Whether you choose a minimalistic wedding band style or prefer a custom or vintage band, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t clash with the engagement ring. Your jeweler can help with mixing and matching if you need assistance.
How do you budget for bridal rings?
During the 1930s, diamond company De Beers ran a rather slick marketing campaign that pushed the idea of a 3-month salary rule for engagement rings. Their ad suggested spending anything less than that meant you didn’t truly love your fiancée.
The ad was effective. To this day, most people follow this guidance when purchasing rings.
However, there is no hard and fast rule on how much you must spend on your bridal rings. Going into debt by spending more than you can reasonably afford isn’t a wise move.
Before you buy, set a budget that makes sense for your finances. Some practical steps to follow include:
- Consider metal options. Gold, platinum, and palladium are popular bridal ring metals. Each has its own cost, durability, and aesthetic qualities. As a rule, the sturdier the metal, the more it costs.
- Explore financing options. Upfront payments for bridal rings might be out of reach for some couples. Ask about financing options with your jeweler or other preferred lender. Just make sure you don’t finance more than you can repay to avoid excess interest fees and other financial penalties.
- Forgo customizing rings. Additional features like engraving and other personalized elements add to the cost of your bridal rings. Customizing might add more to the cost than you can afford.
- Prioritize your spending. Bridal rings are only one component of your wedding expenses. You’ll have costs associated with a wedding venue, honeymoon, and other expenses. Decide how much of your overall budget you’re willing to dedicate to wedding rings.
- Select affordable gemstones. Bridal rings don’t have to include large diamonds. Today couples prefer to select gemstones that symbolize their love stories or styles.
Once you have a wedding ring budget established, you can begin looking for designs and options that fall within your parameters.
How do you choose the right metal?
Choosing the right metal for your bridal rings is arguably the most important part. The metal you select affects the overall look, durability, and maintenance of your rings. Here are some practical tips to consider before buying.
- Consider your lifestyle and preferences. Ring metals are plentiful. You can choose from 3 variations of gold (yellow, white, rose), platinum, and even tungsten to name a few. The metal you select should reflect your lifestyle and preferences. If you use your hands frequently at your job, you may want to pick a sturdier metal to prevent scratching and other surface damage. If you have an extensive gold jewelry collection, you may prefer bridal rings in gold metal, so they don’t clash when wearing them together.
- Evaluate durability. Different metals have varying levels of durability. Platinum is known for its strength, making it a popular choice for couples who worry about their lifestyles causing damage to their bridal rings. Gold is softer and may require more maintenance over time.
- Understand metal purity. Gold comes in different purities. The most common are 18K, 14K, and 10K. Of those three options, 18L has the highest purity level, making it more expensive. It also is softer than the other purities, meaning it might scratch more easily.
If you’re confused about which metal is best for your rings, consult with a trusted jeweler. There is no right or wrong choice. However, a jeweler can help you match your budget and personal preferences with the best options.
How do you select the perfect stone?
Once you’ve selected your ring metal, the next step is to pick the perfect stone to commemorate the special day. Your budget plays the biggest role in which stones you choose. Diamonds come in different carats, so you can pick the size that works best for your budget.
Understand the 4 Cs
When it comes to picking the perfect diamond, it pays to familiarize yourself with the 4 Cs:
- Cut refers to the proportions and symmetry of the diamond, which can affect its “sparkle factor.”
- Color refers to the presence of any color within the diamond, with the highest quality being colorless.
- Carat weight measures the size of the diamond.
- Clarity refers to the presence of any internal or external flaws.
Explore Gemstone Options
Some couples opt to forgo traditional diamonds and instead select precious gemstones with special meaning. Emeralds, morganites, rubies, and sapphires make vibrant and distinctive center stones.
To ensure a gemstone is used in the way you desire, consider working with a custom bridal ring designer to take your preferred stones and turn them into a masterpiece.
Match Stones to Settings
Your stone and the setting should complement one another. If you’re going the traditional route with a single diamond solitaire for an engagement ring, make sure the setting directs attention to the stone. Halo settings are more appropriate for adding extra sparkle and accentuating a stone’s size.
How do you find the right style for bridal rings?
There’s no right or wrong style for your bridal rings. The most important thing to remember is to select rings that reflect your personal taste and capture the essence of your love story.
Some recommended steps for finding the right style include:
- Gather inspiration. Search social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Flip through bridal magazines. Visit your local jeweler. Then, create a collection of images of rings you like, and decide which characteristics are most important. You can use it to buy a similar ring, or to work with a custom jewelry designer to create your own.
- Explore settings. Ring settings can make or break a bridal ring’s design. Options include solitaire, halo, pave, and vintage-inspired. Each setting showcases the stones in different ways. Choose the one that complements the size and type of stones in your ring.
- Try them on. Visit jewelry stores and try on styles you like. Just because something looks attractive in a bridal magazine or on someone else’s hand on social media doesn’t mean it will look the same on you.
How do you get the correct size and fit?
The internet is full of advice on how to size your ring finger for the perfect fit. While these guides are well-intended, they can mislead you into making an incorrect assessment of the size needed.
Getting professionally sized by a reputable jeweler is the best way to ensure a proper fit. They have the tools needed for considering finger shape, knuckle size, and fluctuations in size according to temperature and time of day.
Another thing a professional jeweler considers when assessing for the correct size is ring width. Wider rings tend to fit tighter than narrow ones. If you plan to pair an engagement ring with intricate detailing with a wider band, you may need to adjust a half or full size up to accommodate.
Where’s the best place to shop for bridal rings?
Shopping for bridal rings doesn’t have to be stressful. You can peruse selections online or visit shops in person to explore the available options and try them on for size.
The best place to shop for bridal rings ultimately depends on your budget, preferences, and the level of personalized service you need. Some popular options include:
- Local jewelry stores. Jewelers provide expert guidance on choosing different metals and gemstones to suit your tastes. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, they also can present options that fall within your price range, saving you time. Many local jewelers also offer financing and maintenance plans you might not get when shopping online.
- Online retailers. Some couples prefer shopping for their bridal rings from the privacy of their homes. Online retailers offer a range of options at various price points. If you opt to shop this way, choose a reputable online bridal ring retailer to ensure a quality experience.
- Estate sales and antique shops. Antique and vintage jewelry collectors may enjoy shopping around at antique stores and estate sales for bridal rings. You might find rings with historical or unique aesthetics.
Customizing Your Bridal Rings
If you just can’t find what you like anywhere, you can always customize your bridal rings. Custom design jewelers can take a specific vision and turn it into one-of-a-kind rings to celebrate your wedding day.
Most custom jewelry designers guide you through the process. They help with designing the rings, source materials, and consideration for your preferences. The only caveat is that custom designed jewelry takes longer to create and potentially costs more than bridal rings you choose in a showroom.
How do you care for your bridal rings?
Choosing your bridal rings is only one part of the process. Once you have them, it’s important to take proper care of them. Neglecting regular cleanings and inspections can leave your rings looking less than lustrous.
Some of the ways you can care for your bridal rings to prevent damage include:
- Avoiding harsh chemicals or high-impact activities. Beauty and cleaning products contain substances that can tarnish your ring’s metal and dull the gemstones. Wearing gloves doesn’t guarantee protection. Make sure you remove your rings before exposing them to any damaging chemicals or high-impact activities like exercise or gardening.
- Checking for loose stones and other damage. Every day, check your ring for chips in the gemstones, loose prongs, or scratches in the band. If you notice anything unusual, stop wearing your rings and get them to a jeweler that specializes in repair for an inspection.
- Storing them separately from other jewelry. When you’re not wearing your bridal rings, store them separately from other jewelry to avoid scratches. A soft pouch or dedicated ring box is your best option for avoiding damage.
If you discover damage, stop wearing your rings immediately and seek the expertise of a jeweler with experience in ring repairs. They can assess the damage and provide a repair estimate. Ignoring minor damage can lead to more serious problems, like lost gemstones.
Find the perfect bridal rings at John Thomas Jewelers
John Thomas Jewelers prides itself on one of the best collections of bridal rings in Albuquerque. Stop by our showroom to explore our in-store options. If you don’t see something you like, you can request a consultation with our custom design jewelry specialist.