You’ve found the one. The one who makes your heart skip a beat. The one who gives you butterflies. The apple of your eye. The yin to your yang.
It’s truly a blessing to find the love of your life. And once you’ve made the decision to settle down with your special someone, more important decisions lie ahead. If you see marriage in your future, one of the most pressing decisions is: “what wedding ring is perfect for you and your partner?”
The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming even to the most decisive of couples. Since wedding rings are typically worn every single day, it’s important to love their look and for them to have meaning. The Gift Advisors at The Bradford Exchange are here to help you find that perfect ring!
Ready to dive into the world of wedding rings? Today, we’ll focus on two of the most popular options: diamond rings and gemstone rings. While diamond rings are the traditional Queen B of wedding jewelry, gemstone rings have garnered a following with those wishing to show off a bit more personal flair and color.
So, if you’re on the hunt for wedding rings, keep reading to find out which is right for you.
Diamond Rings – The Classic Choice
When it comes to wedding rings, there’s little doubt that diamonds rule supreme. And they’re not just a girl’s best friend anymore. They’ve made their way into men’s ring designs too. But how did diamond rings get to be the cream of the crop? We’ll offer a rundown of their rich history, the characteristics of diamonds, and the most popular cuts and settings.
The History and Symbolism of Diamonds
Diamonds have a long and storied history that may surprise many.
The Ancient Greeks believed they were the teardrops of heavenly spirits with ethereal powers. Ancient Romans would use diamonds as part of their armor, wearing diamond-studded breastplates. They gradually became a desired symbol of wealth and it’s widely believed that the first known example of diamonds being used on jewelry was a Hungarian queen’s crown in 1074.
Since then, our perception of diamonds and what they mean has shifted to romantic notions. One early instance was when Mary of Burgundy received a diamond ring from Archduke Maximilliam of Austria in 1477 as a gesture of his love. It is a trend that persists today and is likely to last for many more centuries.
What Makes Diamonds Unique
Are diamonds actually gemstones? If you answered “yes” to this question, you’d be correct. Diamonds do fall under the category of gemstone, but they possess some distinctive characteristics that set them apart.
Like all gemstones, diamonds are made of minerals which occur naturally in the earth with a defined chemical composition and a clear atomic structure.
The BIG defining characteristic of diamonds: they are the hardest naturally occurring substance known to exist and composed of pure carbon. Their atoms are bonded closely together and are incredibly resistant to abrasion. Diamonds are also formed much deeper beneath the earth’s surface at 100 miles or so. Whereas other gemstones are roughly 3 to 25 miles beneath the earth’s surface. Diamonds are graded based on the 4Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat weight. A gemologist or third-party laboratory assesses the diamond and provides a diamond grading report based on the 4Cs. Each of the 4 Cs has a “top” grade that certifies excellent quality and high value. This determines the overall price of the diamond.
Popular Diamond Cut and Settings
Choosing the right diamond cut is oh-so-important. Each cut achieves a different sparkle and vibe. Some things to consider: whether you want a traditional look or a more modern look. Also, whether you want a big stone that stands out or something a little more subtle.
If you favor a more classic look, round brilliant-cut diamonds are the way to go. They are the most popular diamond cut due to an outstanding light performance and universal shape that works in an endless number of style settings.
Another wildly popular choice is the princess cut diamond. With its versatile face-up shape and square and rectangular sides, it works in many settings and styles. It also offers a more angular and contemporary look with just as much brilliance as a round cut.
If you’re looking for something more unique, pear, oval-cut and marquise diamonds stand out and make your fingers appear longer. Or if you’re looking for something more low-key, consider a baguette diamond band with no center stone. For the most romantic, the heart-shaped diamond may suit your fancy.
Gemstone Rings – Show Off a Pop of Color
Whoever said diamond rings were the only way to go? Gemstone rings have made their way onto the wedding scene with quite a big splash. If you’re looking for a less traditional and more modern look, a gemstone ring might be for you. Since we’ve already covered diamonds, we’ll now focus on the colorful gemstones that could make the perfect wedding ring.
Why Gemstone Rings May be Right for You
Colorful gemstone rings are becoming a popular alternative to the traditional colorless diamond engagement rings. While pink, yellow and blue diamonds exist, their rarity and high price make them hard to come by, so many couples are turning to the rainbow world of colored gemstones.
The most obvious reason to love gemstone rings: their vivid colors, of course. If you or your partner has a favorite color, you’re bound to find a gemstone that matches. From the deep reds of ruby and blues of sapphire to the lush greens of garnet and emerald, and multicolored hues of spinel, there’s a world of colors to discover with every hue imaginable.
Another reason to choose a gemstone ring is that it can add meaning to an engagement ring. For example, you could personalize a ring with you and your partner’s birthstones for an extra special symbol of your devotion. Colorful gemstones also have historic symbolism, so you could pick one that particularly inspires you.
Popular Gemstones and What Makes Them Unique
While diamonds are the most popular gemstones, these four are close behind. The following gemstones make beautiful choices for jewelry, and they are commonly considered to be the most popular stones for engagement rings.
Sapphires: Known to come in a variety of colors with some even exhibiting color-changing properties, sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum. It is second only to diamonds in hardness and its most popular shade is blue. Sapphires are closely associated with royalty and are believed to attract abundance and blessings.
Rubies: Like the sapphire, the ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on earth. The most desired color of ruby is a deep red with a slight bluish hue commonly referred to as “pigeon’s blood red.” The gems are believed to offer health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.
Tanzanite: These precious gems are especially rare because they’re only found near the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. The gem ranges from blue to violet, but vivid blue is considered the most valuable. They are believed to facilitate higher consciousness and stimulate intuition and perception.
Emeralds: One of the most popular gemstones for over 5,000 years, the emerald is a variety of the Beryl mineral and gets its green color from trace amounts of chromium (and sometimes vanadium). The most sought-after color is slightly bluish-green in a medium-dark tone with a vivid saturation. They are recognized as a symbol of truth and love.
What Else to Consider When Choosing a Ring
Of course, aside from choosing between diamond and gemstone, there are a myriad of other things to consider when buying a ring. The price being one of the most important. Diamonds tend to be the most expensive option, while gemstones are oftentimes more affordable.
Another thing to consider is personalization. It’s one of the best ways to create wedding rings that are unique to you and your partner. You can customize a ring with both your names, your wedding date, a special message or your birthstones. Imagine how much joy it will be to wear something imbued with that kind of special meaning.
And of course, above all else, consider a ring that matches your own unique personal style and taste. Whether that’s a more classic and vintage look or something more modern and alternative, part of the fun of wedding ring shopping is discovering what ring is the perfect fit.
Now that you know all the considerations for picking a wedding ring, we’d like to remind you that an incredible selection of wedding rings is only a click away. Happy Shopping!Which Wedding Ring Is Right for You? Diamonds vs. Gemstones by The Bradford Exchange