Engagement and Wedding Rings
Your engagement and wedding rings symbolise the love you have for one another, and the joy and the hope you hold for your future together. On a more practical note, they also represent a significant investment and should be chosen wisely.
As with any purchase, the first step is to thoroughly research what is available so that you know what to expect in terms of quality, craftsmanship and price. The options really are limitless, so this is also the ideal time for you to develop a clear idea of the style and design you would like.
The custom is for the groom to purchase the engagement and wedding rings for his bride, while the bride purchases his wedding band. But today, many couples combine resources and enjoy selecting their rings together – although some of the more traditionally inclined still like to surprise their girlfriends with a ring when they pop the question.
Whichever approach suits you best, you will need to determine your budget and a good guideline is to allow the equivalent of two months salary. When viewed as an investment, it is easy to understand why your rings should be the best quality you can afford, as well as reflecting your unique style and personality. Easier said than done? Not if you follow some tried and true guidelines.
When considering the type of ring, think about the shape of your hands and fingers and remember that width adds width and length adds length. For example, if you have wide hands and would like to create a more slender appearance, select rings with an elongated design. Oval cut solitaires or marquise cuts are ideal, as they tend to pull the eye along the length of the fingers. However, the best approach is to try on a variety of rings and you will soon discover what designs suit you the best.
It is important to find a jeweller whom you can trust and whose designs you like. Ask your family and friends for any recommendations they may have before beginning the selection process. When meeting with your prospective jewellers, ask them how long they have been in business, and also enquire about the written documentation they provide with purchases. Will you receive a valuation certificate, written warranty and detailed receipt or tax invoice? What after-sales service is available and what is their returns policy? For an unbiased assessment of any diamond’s quality, you should ask for an independent grading report from an accredited diamond dealer. And remember, be wary of those ‘too good to be true’ bargains - they probably are!
Many brides inherit a treasured family heirloom that they feel honoured to wear as it holds so much sentimental significance. It is also a wonderful way to include the traditional “something old” in your wedding day accessories. Of course, the selection of a period or antique ring can be a personal choice. A wealth of beautiful pieces are available, all of which have stood the test of time.
Diamonds are the most popular stone for engagement rings. They are the hardest substance known and will literally last for a lifetime. But there are diamonds ... and then there are diamonds! So before you start ring hunting, make sure you’re well acquainted with the 4Cs of diamond selection: cut, colour, clarity and carat.
Cut: Well-cut diamonds are more brilliant because each of their facets (and 58 is the usual number) has been cut with the geometric precision necessary to allow for the maximum reflection of light, caused by the facets acting as mirrors, reflecting light off one another. A cut that is too deep or too shallow lets light escape and the diamond cannot sparkle to its full potential. Variations of cut include asscher, radiant, round, triangle, oval, marquise, pear, princess, heart, and emerald.
Colour: Although diamonds come in many different colours, the closer a diamond is to colourless, the more perfect - and more valuable - it is. Jewellers grade diamonds on a letter scale from D (colourless) through to Z.
Clarity: The diamond’s clarity and beauty is determined by the number of flaws (tiny traces of non-crystallised carbon) that it contains. The fewer the better. These flaws are known as inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external). A diamond with few inclusions or blemishes will appear dazzling and unclouded when put to a light. Of course, a diamond free of flaws is very rare and extremely valuable.
Carat: The term ‘carat’ refers to the weight rather than the size of the diamond. A carat, which is equal to one-fifth of a gram, is divided into 100 points. Therefore a one carat diamond equals one hundred points. However, this measurement alone has little bearing on the overall quality of the diamond. For example, a lower carat stone could be worth more than one of a higher carat if its cut, clarity and colour are superior.
The setting you choose should suit both your personal style and your lifestyle. If you have a ‘hands on’ job, you may decide against a classic claw setting because of their tendency to catch easily. Bezel and channel designs offer probably the most secure setting for your diamonds, while tension settings allow the greatest play of light on the stone.
The metal of your ring can be yellow, white or rose gold or a combination of those elements. If you like silver jewellery, platinum is an ideal choice.
Have your rings checked by a jeweller annually. He will look for wear and tear, make any necessary repairs and clean and polish your rings. At home you can clean your diamonds with a mild liquid detergent and a soft brush, or use commercial jewellery cleaner recommended by your jeweller.
To ensure your rings remain in good condition, never wear them while engaging in activities where you might knock or scratch them, or expose them to chemicals. Always leave your precious rings in a lined jewellery box where they can’t be scratched by rubbing against other jewellery.
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Religious and Legal Matters
The ceremony is the most sacred part of the entire day, but it is a tradition that comes in many different forms. Always remember, however, that marriage is a legal state with certain procedures that must be observed.
One simple question plus one simple answer – and suddenly your world has been turned deliciously upside down.