Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wedding Rings

The origins of the wedding band date as far back in time as the Ancient Egyptians who would construct bands from papyrus and such materials to offer to their betrothed, admittedly they would have to be replaced frequently as the fragile natural material would decay, but the first foundations of this important token were laid here in history. Ancient Egyptians and Romans (who were the first to use metal for bands) believed that a vein lay in the third finger of the left hand which led directly to the heart and thus it was a significant gesture to place the love band on this digit. Scientists have since disproved this theory, however it remains today as the wedding finger and this ancient belief only heightens the romanticism of the piece. A wedding ring symbolizes a promise of never ending love and it is a physical representation of the marriage vows. The band itself represents an unbroken promise of love and commitment: the circle has no beginning and no end.

Because of this history and strong symbolism I am often amazed that throughout my years of meeting many couples, it is apparent that the purchase of wedding bands is often left to the last minute, not thought out, and seems reasonably far down on the bride and groom’s ‘to do’ list.
Wedding rings are worn everyday, and as fore-mentioned, represent a physical exchange of commitment during the marriage ceremony. They are a constant reminder of the happy day and of your loved one. A cake gets eaten, a dress will be packed away and photos will be stored in an album. The wedding band remains forever on your finger, for you to see and for all to see. Perhaps this is why I feel (although as a jeweller, I may be a little biased!) that more thought should go into their purchase with regard to what it is that a bride and groom would like to wear for the rest of their lives.

With increased diversity in design and metal choice and an increase in individual input and desire for something to suit their style and lifestyle, there are so many factors to consider when the time comes to choose your wedding bands.
Wedding rings have been in the spotlight this year due to the royal wedding in April, when we all sat up and took note of what Kate’s wedding band would be like and of course the precious royal welsh gold it would be crafted from. Prince William chose not to have a wedding band, but in my experience I have seen a rise in men becoming more involved in choosing weddings ring and deciding what they would like for themselves.

Wedding bands were traditionally made in yellow gold and yellow gold remains a popular choice. However, Platinum and white gold are also coming to the forefront of wedding band requests. Platinum, for its durability and continuous white lustre, and white gold, often selected to accompany the rise in popularity of white gold engagement rings at the moment.

In recent times though, Palladium has made a comeback on the jewellery scene, with particular regard to wedding ring choice. Being a member of the Platinum family, it retains its whiteness better than a white gold per say and its lower price per gram in comparison to Platinum makes it a more affordable option.
When considering which metal to go for, there are a couple of things to first consider:
The first is your lifestyle and mainly your job. Someone who has a labour intensive physical job should bear in mind the effect their work will have on their ring, in terms of dents and scratches, and perhaps a harder metal is therefore more appropriate. This is something that should be discussed with a jeweller at the time.