The essential guide to choosing and buying your wedding rings.

Your wedding ring is something that you’ll want to wear for the rest of your life, so it’s got to be perfect! Whether you want a traditional band or something more unique, follow our top tips and learn how to choose the perfect style for you.

 

If you are planning to join the 75% of British men who buy their “special lady” a diamond engagement ring, you will want to pay close attention to the following advice. This is not something you want to get wrong. Not only are you about to part with a substantial amount of money (all women know the engagement-ring mantra about the fiancé waving goodbye to at least a month’s salary), but you are also about to purchase an object that will be a permanent symbol of the most important relationship of your life.

First, a geology lesson: diamonds are 99.95% pure crystallised carbon and can be extremely old – one to three billion years old, in fact. They are the hardest naturally occurring substance known and are formed beneath the Earth’s surface when crystals of diamond occur in volcano feed-pipes. When volcanoes erode down, they release diamonds from their feed-pipes into layers of gravel which are later mined. However, due to the relative rarity of this natural process, diamond mines are found in just a handful of sites around the world. In rough form, diamonds are shipped to the world’s cutting centres to be shaped and polished before being set as jewellery. It is the hardness, brilliance and sparkle that emerges during this process that transforms them into a girl’s best friend.

Choosing the metal for your wedding ring is important. There are numerous metals available, all with different properties and styles that make some more suitable than others.

White gold

This wedding ring is the perfect compliment to a platinum engagement ring.

White gold wedding rings are often plated with rhodium to enhance their appearance. While this plating should be expected to wear off over time, it can be easily re-applied and make your wedding ring look as good as new.

Platinum

These wedding rings are becoming increasingly popular with modern couples.

This white-coloured metal is extremely tough and stands up well to everyday wear and tear. It’s rarer than gold and much more expensive but a platinum wedding ring will last, unmarked, forever.

If a platinum wedding ring blows your budget, consider buying a palladium wedding ring instead. Palladium has become a popular alternative to platinum because of its similar colour yet more budget-friendly price tag.

 

Titanium

Titanium is one of the more modern jewellery metals. It’s strikingly different in colour to platinum and palladium, scratch-resistant and feels light on the finger.

Zirconium, black zirconium and tungsten carbide are other contemporary metals with similar properties and appearance.

 

How much should I pay?

This is the fifth C – cost. Obviously, how much you spend is a personal matter, but you will no doubt hear that one to two months’ salary is the norm. There is one point to say about this: it seems to stem from De Beers’ publicity machine. Spend whatever you like and can realistically afford. Remember that De Beers has a near monopoly on the diamond industry and has an interest in what you spend. And scotch any thoughts that a diamond ring is a sound investment. A retailer can mark up a new diamond ring by up to 100%, and it could lose half its value the moment that you leave the shop. Even with a diamond bought at the virtually wholesale rates of London’s jewellery centre, Hatton Garden, it could take more than five years to regain its price.

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