From choosing your metals and size to wedding ring maintenance, this is your ultimate guide to “Wedding Band 101”!
When it comes to jewellery, engagement rings reign supreme with their sparkly diamonds and colourful gemstones but don’t forget about your wedding band. After all, this is the piece that truly transforms your relationship and your life; a classic and timeless piece that symbolizes your commitment and that you’ll likely wear every day for the rest of your life.
Back in the day, wedding bands were pretty simple and basically consisted of a 14K yellow gold ring and if you were extra-fancy it would have a pattern engraved into it. These days, it can seem like the options for wedding bands are limitless but there are still some ways that you can narrow down your options and find the perfect wedding ring to match your engagement ring, and your life.
Establish your budget
Like all things “wedding”, your first step is determining your budget. Wedding bands are available at all price points, so don’t be shy about sharing your budget with sales staff. Wedding rings are available in a wide range of styles too, from simple 14K yellow gold bands to extravagant diamond eternity rings and options that embrace popular gemstones like sapphire, ruby, and morganite. If your budget is on the lower end of the scale, consider 10K or 14K white or yellow gold and a simple band.
White gold, yellow gold or platinum?
If you already have your engagement ring, you will need to consider metal content. The metal alloy in your wedding band should match the metal used in your engagement ring. If your engagement ring is 14K gold and your wedding ring is 18K gold, the engagement ring metal would be harder and would wear down the metal in your wedding band more quickly. You want to ensure equal durability so that one ring doesn’t beat up the other, though you can mix the colour of the gold used so long as the karat stays the same.
Depending on your lifestyle, you may also want to consider having your bands welded together. This will prevent them rubbing and scratching each other, extending the life of the rings and reducing the need for maintenance.
A gold, comfort fit wedding band is a classic and affordable choice. Our Malo wedding bands are available in any size and gold karat, as well as yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum.
Yellow gold wedding bands
On its own, 24K gold is very soft and not typically used for jewellery. If your ring is gold, it’s likely 14K gold or 18K gold, meaning that the pure gold has been mixed with other stronger metals to create an alloy; 18K contains more gold but 14K is more durable because of its higher alloy content.
White gold wedding bands
Despite how it looks in the store, most white gold isn’t actually white. Like it’s yellow sibling, white gold is an alloy that contains pure 24K gold. This means that white gold actually has a bit of a “yellow” tint. The pure white colour that we love so much is actually achieved with rhodium that is plated onto the gold, giving it the look of platinum without the expense. Depending on the quality of your ring and lifestyle, at some point the rhodium will wear away and the slightly yellow-toned gold will show through. The good news is that you can have your white gold ring replated when you’re ready, right in store!
Platinum wedding bands
While most of our brides love the look of platinum, very few actually have a platinum engagement ring and wedding band. This is because platinum is very rare and very strong, making it very expensive. Platinum is slightly harder than pure iron and is an excellent choice for people with skin sensitivities.
Our selection of tungsten wedding bands are priced from $159, plus tax.
Tungsten, Titanium and Stainless Steel wedding rings
Over the past decade we’ve seen an increase in popularity for more unusual metals like tungsten, titanium and stainless steel. These rings are often favoured by men thanks to their rugged design and darker silver-toned metal with features that can include diamonds, silver, carbon fibre, wood, and many other inlays. While they are very strong, it should be noted that these rings cannot be resized and are not easily cut in an emergency situation but rather need to be broken off. That said, the pricepoint for Tungsten rings is very affordable; our tungsten rings start at $159, plus tax.
Carbon Fiber wedding bands for men
Mardini is an exciting designer line from Malo that takes wedding bands to a whole new level and includes designs that integrate matte black carbon fiber into a gold band. This is an excellent choice for men who want something very different and a higher quality.
These Mardini diamond wedding bands are crafted with 14 gold with a carbon fiber, stringray skin inlay. Priced from $1,749 to $2,185.
Start shopping for your wedding rings early
It’s easy to put aside shopping for your wedding bands when you’re dealing with seating charts, floral arrangements, invitations, and general wedding chaos. But while you don’t need to order your wedding rings right after you get engaged, you should try to leave yourself at least 3 months before the day. This will give you time to do some research, shop around, and then place your order. Depending on your jewellery store, you may need a month to have an engraving done as some stores send your rings across the country to be engraved.
At European Goldsmith, we offer engraving services and have most of our rings ordered in and engraved within a few weeks. We also design and craft custom engagement rings and wedding bands in-house, so we can create a perfect, one-of-a-kind wedding band set for you and work to meet your deadline!
How big should your wedding band be?
Wedding bands are available in a variety of widths, but typically ranging from about 2mm to 8mm. It is possible to get bands that are thicker or thinner, from 1.5mm to 12 mm, though thinner bands will be more susceptible to damage so you would be wise to have it welded to your engagement ring as a protective measure. The size of your wedding band typically comes down to the size of your own hands and fingers. If matching your wedding band to your engagement ring, tradition would dictate that your wedding band be 2/3 the width of your engagement ring, up to the same width. More modern looks range from multiple narrow bands with varied looks (stacker rings) to a wide and bold funky one. You may have to go with rings 3mm and wider if you’re looking for rings with additional detailing or an engraved message.
Matching bridal sets and wedding rings
Some jewellery manufacturers create engagement rings and matching wedding bands that are known as bridal sets. With today’s unusual engagement ring designs and large centre diamonds, a bridal set can be very useful as it ensures a snug fit for your rings. You may want to ask your jeweller about this option when you’re shopping for your engagement ring, or check in with them to see if a matching wedding band is available after you’re engaged. If a matching wedding band isn’t available, we can design and make one for you in-house.
Diamond eternity bands and gemstone options
Now this is the fun stuff! The majority of our brides have some kind of ‘bling’ in their wedding band these days and even some of our grooms are getting in on the action! When it comes to diamonds and gemstones, you have some options to consider. Pave set diamonds are always a classic and sparkling choice. If you like the look of an eternity band but can’t afford the price tag, consider a half eternity band which will give you the same look with half the diamonds.
Forevermark women’s 5 stone diamond ring, 18K white gold, 1.59 tdw, $12,629
Forevermark men’s diamond band, 14K white gold, 0.75 tdw, $4,999
If you want a pop of colour, gemstones accents are a great choice. Keep in mind that some gemstones will hold up to the wear and tear of life better than others. Morganite has been hugely popular thanks to its beautiful rose-gold tone, but it is a softer gemstone so you will need to take care with it to avoid unnecessary scratches. For durability, your best bets are ruby and sapphire, which is available in just about every colour of the rainbow!
Wedding bands require maintenance
Like most things, your wedding rings are going to need some maintenance over time. This includes cleaning, re-plating, polishing, repair work, and claw work to ensure that your diamonds and gemstones are not loose and don’t become lost. To reduce the amount of maintenance your ring needs, be sure to take your ring off when you’re doing rough work or playing sports. You should also keep your rings away from chemicals like household cleaners. You should bring your rings into the jeweller at least once per year so that we can look over them and check for any warning signs of damage.
At our Kelowna jewellery store, we clean our couple’s rings for free so be sure to pop in when you’re in the Pandosy neighbourhood!
Rules are meant to be broken!
While most women still choose to wear their engagement ring and wedding band on their left ring finger, there are some who opt to change things up.
One of our clients has a spectacular, custom diamond engagement ring made by John Berg, our master goldsmith. She loves this ring, but it is sizable and isn’t always well-suited to practical life so she switches back and forth between her simple wedding ring and her diamond engagement ring, rarely wearing them both at the same time. Another one of our clients wears her wedding band on her right hand because she likes the balance and feels like the two bands together looks large on her petite hands. While rare, there are couples who opt to get a different, special piece of jewellery in lieu of the wedding band (ie, a pendant, earrings, or bracelet), or to upgrade the current diamond or ring and then use the engagement ring during the wedding ceremony.
Did you know? The wedding band is traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand, closest to the heart, with the engagement ring next to it.
Please note: All prices and information are accurate at the time of publication (June 2017). For up-to-date pricing and information, please visit us at our Kelowna jewellery store, European Goldsmith, at 109-2900 Pandosy Street.