WEDDING & ENGAGEMENT
When choosing your engagement ring and wedding bands, you may be wondering where to start. There are several things to take in to consideration that I will elaborate on below:
+ Which metal?
+ Which stone, size and shape?
+ Which setting?
+ Which band shape?
+ Which finish?
CHOOSING YOUR METAL
Be sure to match the metals on your rings that will be worn together, as the difference in metals can wear away the other. So if you have decided to go for 18ct yellow gold for your engagement ring, be sure to made the wedding and eternity bands to match, and they will last much longer together.
Platinum is a hugely popular choice for wedding and engagement rings due to its wearability. It is hard wearing, long lasting and desirable for its hypo-allergenic properties.
Palladium is part of the Platinum group and offers an alternative to platinum as it is more affordable in comparison. It retains the durability that Platinum has and is in fact slightly a slightly harder metal, but is not as dense so also lighter in weight. Palladium 950 is very tarnish resistant, as it is 95% pure. Its has a silvery-white sheen.
Whilst both Platinum and Palladium tend to show signs of wear (light scratching) earlier on, in comparison with Gold and Silver, the metal is displaced- meaning it isn't lost, it moves around. So if you were to weigh a Gold band and a Platinum band, and weigh them again after 25 years, you will notice the difference more dramatically in the Gold band.
Gold is more malleable that Platinum and Palladium so often much easier to work with. White Gold is often slightly yellow in colour, as it is made by adding other metals including silver, to the Gold. As a result, it is often Rhodium plated, unless requested otherwise.
9ct Gold is 37.5% pure Gold and alloyed with a mixture of other metals to make it harder wearing. The purer the Gold, the softer it is, making 22ct Gold very soft. 9Ct Is a great choice as it is hard wearing, but 22ct Yellow Gold has a gorgeous warm hue. 18Ct would be the happy medium between the two- offering good durability and colour. Gold is also available in a rose/red Gold colour which is hugely popular again (and a personal love of mine!)
Silver is the most commonly used metal for rings and is also a popular choice due to its malleability and highly reflective finish when polished. It is however more prone to tarnishing/oxidising which can be accelerated upon skin contact, down to the acids in our skin, but Silver is often Rhodium plated to prevent this. 925 Silver is soft and can be easily scratched, but is a relatively inexpensive metal.
Buying tip: Check the weight! When buying for an online company or researching for comparison, be sure to check the WEIGHT. In my experience, I have seen bands listed as 'medium' or 'heavy' weight when in fact they are what I would consider 'light weight'. This is often because a smaller size has been stretched a couple of sizes up, so there is no weight or width gain, but is still listed as heavy weight.
SUITABLE STONES FOR ENGAGEMENT RINGS
I am often asked which Gemstones, particularly coloured stones, are most suitable for an engagement ring.
It is important when choosing your stone that it will withstand everyday wear against knocks, chemicals, and heat- given that it will probably have to be sized a couple of times during its lifetime.
For example, an opal (which is 5 – 6.5 on the Mohs scale) would be too soft for everyday wear and cannot take heat. Whereas a Sapphire (a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale) is a great choice as it very durable- and is found naturally in a range of colours including violet, green, yellow, orange, pink and purple- and at a range in price, of course!
Diamonds are a 10 on the Mohs scale, and are the hardest mineral known to man. Whilst the scale shows only one number in difference between a Diamond and a Sapphire, a Diamond is in fact considerably harder. Both of these stones [and rubies too] make for great engagement and wedding ring gemstones.
It is also worth keeping in mind when designing your ring, that heat treated stones to enhance its colour can often be altered or lost altogether when re-heated. It is advised that any sizing in the future requires the stone to be removed beforehand.
When buying a diamond, the size will vary depending on your budget and is determined also by the other C's that make up the '4c's'.
These are the CUT, CLARITY, COLOUR, and CARAT weight.
The higher the Diamond is graded near-colourless and well-cut for example, the more expensive it becomes.
Whilst there is a correlation, the CARAT refers to weight, and not a diamond's actual size. A 0.50 carat diamond, or 50 pointer, could vary in dimensions from one to another with the same carat weight. This weight to size ratio is known as a diamond's 'spread'.
So in theory, you could go with a diamond that is 'shallow cut' rather than an 'ideal cut' which yields a larger spread therefore appearing bigger than the carat weight-to-size ratio correlation would suggest. However, you wouldn't want this to be too much of a jump, as generally the more shallow [or deep cut for that matter] a diamond is, the less 'light return' there will be, and the less sparkle the diamond will have.
Not to be confused here with a Diamonds cut; this refers to the overall outline of the shape of the stone.
The most popular is the brilliant round shape, but fancy cut shapes are gaining momentum again and are on the rise! These include pear and emerald shapes.
Some of my personal favourites include a princes [or square], Asscher, Marquise, and the more unusual Kite, Shield and Crest shapes.
TYPE OF SETTING
When choosing a setting for your stone, you should consider a mount that also works well with your lifestyle. For example, if you are quite active or work with your hands, a high setting may not be the best-suited. It is worth discussing this when designing your ring to allow for your stone to sit lower, decreasing the risk of it catching.
You may also want to opt for a bezel setting, whereby the metal encompasses the stone all the way around with a thin layer of metal to secure the stone, as opposed to a claw/prong setting.
A claw setting however would allow for more light to enter the stone, and allows for more of the stone to be seen, thereby making it appear larger.
It is important to achieve a balance between the size of your wedding/engagement band/s and the setting.
A band too wide could overpower the stone thus making it appear much smaller, whilst a band too thin may not be enough to support a large stone/high setting causing it to roll forward.
Again if you have a more active lifestyle or work with your hands, a slightly thicker band would be a more durable option.
There are various styles that you could choose when designing your ring that will add to the overall aesthetic that you are looking to achieve, something best explored when discussing your commission ideas.
A couple of profile examples for bands include flat, court (domed), halo (round), D-shape, and knife-edge.
From high polished to textured, engraved or satin finished, this really is down to personal preference.
If you work with your hands a lot and have chosen a metal that can be prone to light scratching such as Platinum or Palladium, you may wish to have a textured, satin, brushed, or sandblasted finish.
When discussing your commission, I can provide samples to give you an idea of how each of these could look.
Please get in touch with any of your queries or to discuss your bespoke engagement or wedding ring ideas: