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The Rings That Bind

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All wedding details are important, but one detail stands out more than the rest - the rings. Long after the wedding dress has been tucked away in some hidden corner of your closet and the pictures have faded, your wedding bands will remain a symbol of your love and companionship and will serve as a constant reminder of your happiest day as a couple. Of course, you'd want to pick wedding rings that you'll cherish for the rest of your life.

To Match Or Not To Match?

You may be spending the rest of your life together, but that doesn't mean you share the same tastes. You may be bound together as one, but you're still individuals. The truth is you may not necessarily agree on the choice of wedding bands. What might be perfect for you could be too much for him.

Indeed, just because you're the perfect match made in heaven doesn't mean your wedding bands have to match, too. It's always best to sit down and properly discuss whether to get matching rings or not. A consensus could easily be agreed on, as long as you both keep an open mind. You can opt to get rings of the same metal but with different designs on the band. Or, you could have the same stone set in different ways. You'd be learning the art of compromise this way, something that will truly come in handy in the years to come.

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The Metal

The kind of metal you use on your wedding rings is a very important decision to make. This is highly dependent on your personal styles and most especially your budget. Silver is a popular choice for penny-pinching couples. It's simple, tasteful, and durable enough. However, silver has to be chosen with care because some of the low-quality ones have a tendency to tarnish.

Gold is often the wedding band of choice. It's viewed as the symbol of warmth and love in a marriage and is the most traditional of all metals. You first have to choose the amount of gold content from the standard 14k to the finer 24k. Once again, your budget should be considered. The higher the quality, the more expensive it is. Another thing to consider is that though 24k is considered the purest, it's also the softest, so this isn't the best option when you do a lot of work with your hands as it easily loses its shape over time.

When choosing gold, you also have to pick a color. Gold comes in yellow, white, or rosy pink. A plain gold band of any color is ideal for those who are not accustomed to wearing jewelry. You can also have all three colors on a tri-color wedding band. The interlocking bands are great for a more contemporary and elaborate look.

Platinum is considered to be the newest "hot" metal. This is very popular among celebrities. Being one of the hardest and toughest metals, it's also a lot heavier than gold, making it an appropriate symbol for enduring love. Platinum isn't mixed with a lesser metal, so it's ideal if you have allergies. It is, however, very expensive.

The best way to pick a metal is to take stock of your jewelry. Your metal has to blend well with the rest of the pieces. A yellow gold band will be very out of place amongst white gold jewelry and vice versa.

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The Stones

Precious gems are great on wedding bands. You can go for a solitaire, a cluster, or have it all the way around the band. Again, this depends on your personal style and budget.

You will be wearing your wedding bands for the rest of your life, so it's important that your stones last as long. Softer stones, though beautiful, aren't advisable for wedding rings. The Mohs scale is used to measure a stone's ability to resist abrasion. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the strongest, stones that measure more than 7 are ideal.

They say diamonds are forever. Understandably so, when they measure a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale. That's why diamonds are the gems of choice when it comes to wedding rings. Before you buy your diamonds, it's always a good idea to get acquainted with the four C's - color, cut, clarity, and caret. A fifth C for cost is also more than appropriate.

As a rule of thumb, diamonds increase in value the more colorless they are. Most people believe that the diamond's cut refers to its shape. This is a common misconception. The cut is actually the manner in which the stone was faceted to allow light to reflect on it. It's important to acquire an AGS or GIA certificate to validate the diamond's cut. Diamonds often have minute flaws such as air bubbles and scratches called inclusions. A diamond's clarity is graded by its inclusions. The less included ones have more value and so on. Caret refers to the stone's size. The bigger the caret, the more expensive the diamond.

Stones for your wedding rings aren't only limited to diamonds. If diamonds are beyond your budget or simply not your thing, you can also go for sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, to name a few.

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Your Style

When it comes to picking wedding rings, your own personal style is the most important factor. Though most people go for the traditional, there's no rule against thinking out of the box. These days, more and more couples are going for symbolic and unique, rather than classic, tried, and tested. For example, a couple with a shared passion for cycling can opt for to get custom-made bands resembling bicycle gears.

A very popular style of alternative wedding rings is tattoos. This takes the meaning of marriage and permanence to a whole new, literal level. A tattoo for a wedding ring is a very powerful statement of your trust in the relationship, enough to have it permanently inked to your body. It's also inexpensive at less than $100. Of course, it will never come off like a wedding band, so consider how it would make you feel if the relationship dissolves and the tattoo doesn't. The tattoo also fades over the years, so you'll need a retouch every so often.

Indeed, whether you go for the traditional or unconventional, simple or elaborate, your wedding bands are more than just symbols. Wedding rings are the very bonds that bind you together for the rest of your life.

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Probably the most important symbol of your love and commitment to each are your wedding rings. Of course, you'd only want the best that will last over the years. Here are some ideas on how to pick the right rings.

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