by ALI BROWNRIGG OF BLUE NILE
Whether worn alone or paired with an engagement ring, a wedding ring is an important final step in the wedding process – it seals the deal, after all. In general, you’ll find three broad categories of wedding rings: plain, diamond, and gemstone.
Plain Wedding Rings
There’s more than meets the eye with the humble plain wedding ring. Fit, finish, and metals are all choices that help make the ring uniquely yours.
The fit of a wedding ring refers to how it sits on your finger, as well as the dome (or height) of the ring.
Some plain bands are called “comfort fit,” which means there is a slight outward bevel or curve to its interior, which makes the ring more rounded, as opposed to a standard or non-comfort fit ring that is flat and squared off.
The exterior of a high dome ring extends ever so slightly higher than a low dome ring. We’re talking about a difference of millimetres, and the choice is purely one of personal taste.
Wedding bands are available in different finishes, textures, and decorative accents. Most plain rings have a highly reflective polish, but brushed matte or hammered textures are also popular. Common decorative accents include milgrain (a tiny beaded decorative edge), braiding, engravings, carvings, and contrasting metal colour inlay.
Diamond Wedding Rings
Traditionally, most diamond wedding rings fall into two categories: anniversary and eternity. While the two may look similar as you gaze down at your finger, the diamonds on an anniversary ring wrap partway around the shank, while they completely encircle the shank on eternity rings.
How the stones are set on the band is a huge distinguishing detail on diamond wedding rings. Prong-set diamonds are held in place by small claw-like hooks that hold the diamonds in place. Pavé refers to a pattern of closely set stones held in place by small, delicate metal beads.
The diamonds in channel-set rings are embedded in the band between two parallel metal walls that create a channel – there are no prongs holding the stones in place. Similarly, the diamonds in bar-set rings’s are held in place by two metal bars perpendicular to the band.
When a diamond is bezel set, it is nestled in a circular setting with a rim that completely surrounds the girdle (or widest part) of the stone. And when a ring has diamonds that are burnished, it means that the stones are inlaid and set flush with the band.
Gemstone Wedding Rings
Sapphire is the most popular non-diamond gemstone for wedding rings. There’s something about that velvety blue paired with white gold, yellow gold, or platinum that looks especially lovely. Also, sapphire is an extremely hard stone-second only to diamond-which means it’s strong enough to wear daily, as is ruby. Sapphire comes in an array of different colours, and the popularity of pink sapphire has been on the rise in recent years, with yellow following right behind.
Stones such as emerald, topaz, garnet, and morganite, while beautiful, are too soft to be worn as wedding jewellery because they are at greater risk of chipping and cracking, especially since we use our hands so much in daily life.
Matching Wedding Rings
The opportunities to coordinate wedding rings are endless. Some couples choose a perfect match: same metal, same finish, same details, but perhaps different widths. Other couples opt for a complementary match: rings that flatter each other, rather than match exactly. The same ring but in different metals, for example, or different rings in the same metal – pick the combo that appeals to you and run with it.