Your engagement ring should not only shine bright but also glimmer with every facet of your personality. Some couples may want to create engagement rings that are as unique as their relationship. After all, a ring is something you will wear every single day, and it should be something you truly love and adore.
There’s so much talk about engagement rings that wedding rings sometimes don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. After all, a wedding ring will be worn every single day for the rest of your life! It signifies the greatest commitment that you have made and is an enduring visible symbol of your marriage.
Throughout history, wedding rings have symbolized love, loyalty and faithfulness. This tradition springs from ancient times and is widely found in almost every culture. Wedding rings are often considered a sacred piece of jewellery that is highly valued.
When buying a wedding ring, the approach is quite different from an engagement ring. Most couples buy their wedding ring together, and there is no element of surprise attached to this. It is a sensible, practical decision that is made by both parties. What’s more, often it is the most important piece of jewellery that you both will buy together and is an exhibition of your love, style, personality and values.
The Difference Between An Engagement Ring And A Wedding Ring
Traditionally, an engagement ring is what’s presented during a marriage proposal, and a wedding ring is what partners give to each other during the wedding ceremony. It’s also common for an engagement ring to be more ornate than a wedding ring.
One of our best selling combinations is a round diamond solitaire engagement ring paired with a diamond pavé wedding band. On the flip side, we have many customers who love to turn tradition on its head: some customers forgo the engagement ring altogether and choose matching bands. Other couples double up on sparkle, with stacking rings that bookend the engagement ring.
What’s The Difference Between An Engagement Ring And Wedding Ring?
We’ve reviewed the history, so what are the main differences between engagement rings vs. wedding rings? The most notable difference between wedding rings vs. engagement rings is the style.
In a traditional sense, engagement rings are thought to be more detailed than wedding rings, but tradition does not dictate current ring trends. Now, you have the freedom to incorporate your personal style into your ring design—whatever that may look like.
While some may wear a simple wedding ring next to a dazzling engagement ring, others may choose a simple engagement ring without a wedding ring—it’s completely up to you.
- Are worn after getting engaged, during the engagement and marriage
- Traditionally worn by women
- Tend to be more extravagant and embellished with a centre stone
- Can be worn alone or with a matching wedding ring
- Are exchanged during the wedding ceremony
- Both men and women wear a wedding ring
- Wedding rings can similarly be extravagant to match the engagement ring, or simple depending on your style
- Can be worn alone or with an engagement ring
- Considering these differences, why are engagement rings more expensive than wedding rings?
Wedding rings are usually a simple design comprised of metal and occasionally a few small accent stones, although more dazzling designs like eternity bands are becoming more popular. Whether you choose a simple or daring wedding ring, your engagement ring will still likely cost more because it contains more expensive and precious materials. Fortunately, engagement rings no longer have to cost a month’s salary. 12FIFTEEN lab-grown diamonds cost a significant amount less than mined diamonds, making them the superior choice.
How To Select The Best Metal For A Wedding Ring
Before we get into the specific metals used for wedding rings, it’s important to be aware of you and your partner’s needs and priorities from a ring.
For example, the different metals used for wedding rings can vary hugely in terms of durability, with some metals soft, delicate and easy to scratch, while others are hardy, durable and highly resistant to damage.
Wedding ring metals can also vary hugely in appearance, with some offering a warm look that matches certain skin tones and others offering a cooler look that suits a different range of skin tones.
Beyond this, there’s the importance of matching the engagement ring and wedding band. If your fiancé-to-be already has an engagement ring, you’ll want to make sure that her wedding band is made from the same metal.
Finally, there’s the pricing aspect. Some metals are more expensive than others, meaning you may want to prioritize metals that offer better value for money if you have a limited budget for your wedding bands.
Knowing what you need, as well as which metal is best suited for you and your partner’s skin tones, can help you choose the most suitable metal for your wedding rings.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, don’t worry. We’ve covered all of these factors in lots of detail below, including our expert tips on which metals are best suited for specific lifestyles, skin tones, and more.
Strongest Metals for Wedding Bands
When it comes to engagement and wedding rings, there’s a ton of buzz around the rock, but what about the wedding ring metal? If your day-to-day activities might put significant strain on your ring, metal durability and hardness should be high on your priority list.
Not sure what wedding ring metal to go with? Start with the seven metals below, keeping in mind that achieving maximum durability or hardness often comes with sacrifices in other areas, like the ability to customize or resize or a loss of lustre over time. Consider all your needs when zeroing in on the perfect metal for your wedding band.
Gold is the most common and classic choice for wedding and engagement rings—and for a good reason. From white gold to yellow to rose gold, this metal provides you with many options. While it’s considered the mecca of luxury, select it with caution: You might think the higher karat (not be confused with a diamond’s carat) the better, but when it comes to the longevity of your ring, that’s not necessarily the case.
“Twenty four-karat (pure gold) is so soft that it can easily be scratched or bent, and jewels can easily fall out,” Elliott says. “In order to make a ring that is stronger, anything under 24K is always an alloy with other metals, such as copper, silver, or platinum.
Of the four most common gold purity levels, 10k is the most durable, though it also has the lowest gold content.” If selecting white gold, keep in mind that it will need to be rhodium plated at least once a year to keep its bright colour.
Known to be one of the rarest metals in the world, platinum is not only a luxe choice, but it’s also one of the strongest precious metals. In fact, white gold was created when platinum jewellery was taken off the market in order to conserve the metal for war supplies. “Platinum is a great option and will hold precious stones in place securely for a lifetime,” says Elliott. “This is why prongs are made out of platinum in rings that are made of less durable metals, like white gold. This is because platinum is able to handle scratches and wear and tear more.”
While it’s one of the most expensive metal choices, the longevity of its wear makes it worth the high cost.
Platinum bands rarely get damaged in everyday life, and the metal retains its colour, meaning you won’t need to replate it nor will its shine fade over time. If you come across some scratches or tarnishes, your jeweller can polish them right out.
Ceramic is a close second to tungsten for hardness. It’s made out of titanium carbide, which is a hard material that is still super light. It’s exceptionally scratch-resistant and is available in multiple colours.
Ceramic is newer to the jewellery industry, so styles may be a bit more limited compared to other metals. (It can also be somewhat brittle, like tungsten, so it also cannot be resized.)
Love the look of platinum but not the price tag? Palladium is similar and also features a white hue and shiny finish. While it’s not quite as durable, it’s pretty close and still ideal for anyone with an active lifestyle who wants that mirror-like finish.
Extra bonus? It’s lightweight, comfortable, and hypoallergenic. The downside is it does show scratches and can be tricky to resize, which might cause problems down the line for someone looking to wear it for a lifetime.
Once considered more valuable than gold, silver is one of the longest standing precious metals used in making jewellery. It’s also the most affordable of all in today’s market. Just like with gold, pure silver is much too soft to be used on its own, so it’s mixed with copper or other metals to create sterling silver, a more durable alternative.
The white moon-like hue mixed with the history and glamour of the metal makes it one of the most popular choices for anyone seeking a luxe look at a lower price.
If you’re not okay with some additional upkeep, however, this pliable metal might not be your best choice. Although it’s harder than pure silver, it’s still one of the softer metals and can get scratched easily. In addition to damage, silver also tarnishes and will need to be stored in tarnish-preventive bags or in a cool, dry place. Your ring will need to be polished and cleaned on a regular basis.
Growing increasingly popular for men’s rings, titanium was once used for industrial applications. Not only is it incredibly strong, but it’s also very lightweight—perfect for anyone not used to wearing jewellery regularly.
In addition to its modern and unique look, it’s extremely scratch-resistant and easy to maintain. Titanium requires no extra care to keep it looking as lovely as it did on your wedding day. The downside? Titanium wedding rings cannot be sized, so ensure you have the correct size when ordering and keep in mind you can’t resize it even in the event of finger size fluctuations.
“Tungsten is the most durable metal and is four times stronger than titanium,” says Elliott. “It is the most scratch-resistant option with a low price tag.” This pure element revolutionized the world in 1904 when it was used in lightbulbs to replace carbon-filament lamps, and it has revolutionized wedding bands as well. Just like titanium, tungsten is easy to care for but can’t be resized, so fit with caution.
Plus, while tungsten is extremely hard and doesn’t tarnish, is it brittle and can fracture if it’s dropped or knocked on a hard surface. Just like titanium, no additional maintenance is required for tungsten wedding bands because of the metal’s hardness.
Choosing The Right Diamond For You
Likely, the first thing that you’re going to run across when you start researching diamond engagement rings is a mention of the 4Cs (cut, colour, clarity and carat.) Trying to master the nuances of these principles might even make you feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry.
We have experts with years of experience who can help you find the perfect diamond based on your budget and style. That said, if you love to deep dive into the nitty-gritty, we also have great resources that will help you navigate the nonsense and quickly master the basics.
But before you check out more of our awesome education section, we’ll answer two things that everyone always wants to know. What is the most important of the four Cs? Answer: Cut. And How many carats should an engagement ring be?
Answer: Our best seller with a single centre stone averages out to slightly under 1.0 carat. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your diamond needs to be that weight, but people have told us it’s helpful to have a benchmark. If you’re curious why cut is so important, it’s because a great cut will give you the most sparkle. Carat weight, however, is not related to how well a diamond reflects light.