Most of us, regardless of if we are male or female, love rings and appreciate wearing them. However, buying a wedding ring can be quite challenging as your partner’s tastes may be unique, or we may not know what would suit them. They are fantastic for symbolizing eternal love, but you want to be sure that that the ring you choose is just right.
We will start by giving you a brief introduction to the anatomy of the ring, so you know precisely what we are referring to, then move on to the types of band, settings, and finally, the different kinds of metal that you can use.
All rings comprise of the similar component parts. Every ring will have a shank, which is more commonly referred to as the band. However, some rings will have some other features, and just a few of these are detailed below:
The setting which can sometimes be referred to as the head is where the main stone will be situated. There are many different styles of setting; some are designed to allow maximum light to enter the stone, while others focus more on protection.
The gallery is located under the setting and is visible from the side. In some rings, the gallery can be barely visible while on others it is a prominent feature and can sometimes house another stone.
- Shoulders or Accent
The shoulders, also commonly known as the accent, are the sloping sides from shank to the setting. On some rings, they will remain plain, but often they are adorned with a series of small gemstones.
Prongs are a series of small metal claws rising from the setting which will hold the stone in place. Typically, there will be four to six prongs, and they will allow a large amount of light to pass through the stone displaying a gem’s, such as a diamond, famous sparkle.
A bezel is an alternative setting to the prongs and is almost like an egg cup in which the gemstone will sit. You can get full bezels or half bezels and they more secure than prongs but don’t allow the same amount of light to pass.
Types of Band
There are numerous different types of wedding band that you can select. The shanks can vary significantly in terms of their width, depth and, of course, their design. The most common types of band are a straight band and the traditional band which are the same width all around. They may be what you associate with a man’s wedding ring. Tapered and reversed tapered rings are also prevalent where the band widens around the stone or shrinks respectively.
Other frequently seen styles include the split shank and the reverse split shank, which, as the name would suggest, sees the shanks split in two. Different types which are less common but nonetheless impressive include the bypass, Euro shank, cathedral and curved. The curved can sometimes incorporate a twist or free form designs.
The setting is an incredibly important feature of any wedding ring, and there are several factors that you will want to take into account when choosing what is most vital for you or the person you are buying the ring for. Here are some of the most common settings:
- Prong Setting
The prong setting is one of the most easily recognizable settings and uses claws to hold the stone in place. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, flat or V-shaped – almost all of these types of setting use 4-6 prongs.
- Bezel Settings
The bezel settings can be full or half bezel as we touched upon above. It is a robust setting often preferred by men as the stone is securely held in place.
- Channel Setting
The channel setting involves stones being held in place by two parallel metal strips that go around the outer edge of the ring, which give the impression of a channel. It is a secure setting, but one that allows little light to enter the stone.
- Pave Settings
The pave setting is where a series of gems at set in small holes with a piece of metal between each, rather like a set of stepping stones. This type of setting is sometimes referred to as a bead setting.
- Other Settings
There are many other different types of setting, but some of the best known are the bar setting, tension setting, burnish setting and illusion setting. All have their own characteristics and are capable of accentuating the features of different gems.
Types of Metal
There are lots of different types of metals used for wedding rings, including yellow, white and rose gold, silver, platinum and titanium. Different metals have their own qualities, and there are various finishes can also be applied to change their appearance to differing degrees.
Most pieces of jewelry today are forged with gold, which has been the standard for engagement and wedding rings. When mixed with other precious metals, it results in a variety of shades including yellow, white, and green, but rose gold tends to be increasingly popular these days. So, choose the one that matches your skin tone. Fortunately, gold is never boring thanks to its versatility in terms of colour.
When it comes to durability, platinum is truly a winner. It is also a rare metal that can only be found in a few locations around the world. This makes platinum way harder to find and even way more expensive than gold. It is a strong metal and a popular choice when crafting a piece of jewelry that will be worn for a long time. So, if you are looking for a metal for your heirloom quality jewelry, platinum is the right way to go.
The whitest of all the metals out there, Sterling Silver offers the best contrast with colourful gemstones and other coloured metals. This precious metal has been valued for many centuries and is currently one of the most affordable metals you can buy. Since silver is too soft for jewelry, it is combined with other metals like copper to improve its strengths.
While these are the top three precious metals we can name, there are also some alternatives you can consider such as stainless steel, tungsten, and cobalt. Although they may not be the most popular metals seen in engagement rings, they also offer stunning looks for a wedding band.
We recommend visiting the education guide from ICONIC for more insights about fine jewelry and precious metals.