Shopping for Your Wedding Rings

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When you exchange wedding vows, chances are you’ll also exchange wedding rings as symbols of your commitment and love.  Today, almost as much effort goes into finding the right wedding ring as in planning the perfect wedding.  Knowing what’s available can make the selection process more of an adventure than a chore.

In precious gold or platinum, texture and surface designs predominate and can be found in rings for both bride and groom.  In addition to matte and satin finishes, there are also delicate carved floral patterns and swirling paisleys for those couples with an eye for the romantic.  Tri-color “rolling” rings with several interlocking bands are also popular, featuring yellow, white, and pink gold.  This look dates back to the 19th century Russia where the multiple colors of gold symbolize strength, spirit, and love.

Stones and Gems

For those who appreciate the sparkling glow of gemstones, wedding rings can be studded with diamonds and/ or colored stones that go all the way or partially around the ring.  Designed for women, these rings are also known as anniversary or eternity bands.

According to the Diamond Information Center, “The man’s diamond wedding band is one of the fastest growing categories.”  Worn by the groom, a diamond band makes him feel elegant and always impeccably dressed.

Platinum

For couples looking for something different, platinum jewelry is attractive because of its subtle beauty, understated look, purity, and value.  One of the world’s rarest metals, platinum is regaining popularity in the bridal jewelry market in designs that mix tradition and trend.

“Platinum was the most significant metal used in bridal jewelry in the first half of this century.  Many couples today want to replicate what they perceived as a family heirloom, so jewelry designers have created new options in platinum with sleek, modern styling,” says Laurie Hudson of Platinum Guild International.  For example, highly polished platinum can create a dramatic mirrored effect.  The cool look of platinum is also combined with the 18 karat gold in both wedding and engagement rings.  This bi-color look is also appealing to men because it complements two-tone watch styles and other men’s jewelry without being flashy.

Gold

For many, nothing matches the beauty and warmth of real gold—and its unsurpassed romantic history and symbolism.  To be sure you’re buying the real thing, always look for the quality or karat mark, 14K or 18K, imprinted on the inside of the ring.

According to the World Gold Council, “Newly engaged couples seeking rings that are as pure as possible to represent their lifelong commitment are turning to 18 karat gold wedding bands, giving couples a wide selection of style to choose from.”

Because pure, 24 karat gold is considered too soft for use in jewelry, it is often mixed with other metals to create alloys for optimum strength and color characteristics. Yellow gold is a specific combination of gold, copper, and silver; green gold is a mixture of gold, silver, copper, and zinc; and pink gold is a blend of gold and copper.

White gold, which is a combination of gold, zinc, and copper, and either nickel or palladium was developed as a substitute for platinum during World War II when platinum was banned from all non-military uses, including jewelry.  Today, white gold is a popular setting for diamonds and colored stones and is used extensively in bi- and tri-colored jewelry.

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