Congratulations! You are on a journey that is filled with love, devotion, and faithfulness. The exchange of rings plays a pivotal role in the journey from engagement to marriage with each piece playing a significant role in commitment and love. While both engagement rings and wedding rings serve as powerful symbols of love and unity, they hold distinct purposes and traditions.
We will begin by taking a look at the history and meaning behind these two pieces of fine jewelry.
The History of Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands.
The history of wedding rings is rich and varied, dating back thousands of years. Specific customs and materials used have changed over time, but the tradition of exchanging rings as a symbol of commitment continues.
In Ancient Egypt we can find the practice of Egyptians exchanging rings as a symbol of eternal love and commitment. The circle of the ring symbolizes eternity while the hole in the center represents a gateway or door.
Romans had a tradition of giving and wearing wedding rings made from durable materials like iron. The wearing of a gold ring in public came to symbolize wealth and status, while at home, they continued the practice of wearing the iron rings.
The use of diamond engagement rings became more common during the 19th century with the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa. Diamond marketing companies also played a significant role in the promotion of diamond engagement rings.
In India, it is a common practice to wear the engagement ring on the right hand before the wedding and then shift it to the left hand ring finger post-wedding. The rings are typically made of gold symbolizing prosperity and well-being.
In Russia, couples traditionally wear wedding bands on their right hands. Many Russian wedding rings consist of three interconnected bands representing the Holy Trinity.
Finally, in Western culture, it is traditional to wear the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. The engagement ring is also worn on the fourth finger of the left hand and is typically more elaborate than the band.
Choosing the Right Ring
Selecting an engagement ring or wedding ring is a deeply personal and meaningful process. When choosing an engagement ring, factors such as gemstone, precious metal, style, and budget come into play. When it comes to wedding bands, considerations include matching the engagement ring, choosing a complementary design, and ensuring long-lasting durability.
Engagement rings are usually given before marriage to the bride to be, and are a symbol of the intention to marry. Wearing an engagement ring represents the commitment to getting married with the anticipation of a shared future together.
Engagement rings often feature a more elaborate and eye-catching design featuring a center stone such as a diamond or another precious stone. Engagement rings will be more costly because of their gemstones and intricate settings.
Wedding bands are given during the wedding ceremony to symbolize the actual marriage and the ongoing devotion of a couple. The wedding band symbolizes the union and commitment of marriage and is often placed on the fourth finger on the left hand during the wedding vows. Some cultures, however, wear the wedding ring on the right hand.
Wedding rings are typically simpler in design and are often made of materials like gold, platinum, or titanium. The traditional approach involves both the giving of engagement and wedding rings; but some individuals will opt for just a wedding band. This choice can be influenced by personal preferences, cultural norms, or even a desire for simplicity.
While these are the traditional distinctions between engagement and wedding rings, there are still some couples who choose to combine the two into a single ring, known as an engagement and wedding ring set, or they may choose for non-traditional designs that suit their personal preference and style.
The decision of whether to match the engagement ring and wedding ring is a matter of individual taste and style. Ultimately, the choice of rings and how they are worn is a matter of personal choice and cultural tradition, there is no wrong answer.
Choosing to Only go with Wedding Bands
There are several reasons why some individuals or couples may prefer to choose just a wedding ring without the addition of an engagement ring. Their choice may include some or all of the reasons below.
Simplicity: Some people appreciate the simplicity of wearing just one ring, which can be more comfortable and practical for daily wear. They may prefer a single elegant wedding band without the added complication of an engagement ring.
Budget: Engagement rings can be quite expensive, especially if they feature elaborate settings and precious gemstones like diamonds. Some couples may choose a more modest wedding band so they can allocate more of their budget toward other aspects of their wedding or their future together, such as travel, home, etc.
Personal Style: Not everyone is drawn to the idea of wearing a highly ornate or decorative engagement ring. Personal style and aesthetic preferences play a significant role in the choice of jewelry, and some individuals simply prefer the look of a plain or minimalist wedding band.
Practical Considerations: There are also people who have jobs or lifestyles that make it challenging to wear an engagement ring on a regular basis. Individuals with active or very hands-on professions may find it more practical to have a single, durable wedding band that can withstand everyday wear and tear.
Cultural or Religious Reasons: In some cultures or religious traditions, the emphasis is placed on the wedding ring as the primary symbol of the marital commitment and the engagement ring may not be part of the tradition or may be seen as optional.
Wedding Band Styles
Let’s begin by taking a look at some men's wedding bands. You will see they can range from ornate to simple plain metal bands giving you options to suit your personal tastes. Wedding bands are typically simpler in design and may not include gemstones or elaborate detailing. Wedding rings serve as a symbol of the marriage and their design is often more focused on comfort and everyday wear.
Featured below are some men’s wedding band designs: a 8MM Titanium with laser design, and a 18 Karat White Gold 4MM band, and a 14K Two Tone Gold Men’s Wedding band.
Here, we have some more elaborate women’s wedding bands: an 18 Karat White Gold Diamond Filigree Eternity Band, a 14 Karat Yellow Gold Diamond Cross Over Bar Band, and a 14K Rose Gold Diamond Wedding band.
There is a lot of versatility in wedding band styles. You can choose from a simple plain band, to a band with more design and flair. With so many styles, it should be easy finding a wedding band that suits your personal style and taste.
Choosing to Have an Engagement Ring
Engagement rings are rooted in tradition, symbolism and cultural practice that have been established over time. Many individuals grow up with the expectation that an engagement ring is a standard part of the marriage proposal. The giving and receiving of an engagement ring is a romantic gesture that serves as a tangible reminder of the commitment and the ring becomes a cherished keepsake.
If your preference is to wear engagement rings, there are countless choices from which to select. Below are some components that can make up engagement rings. When choosing from the many options, you can find that perfect ring that symbolizes your love.
Gemstones: Many engagement rings feature precious gemstones, with diamonds being the most popular choice. The quality, size, cut, and rarity of diamonds can significantly impact the cost. Other added gemstones such as sapphires or emeralds, may also contribute to the overall value and price.
Center Stone: Engagement rings often have a center stone as the focal point. This stone tends to be larger and featured more prominently. The carat weight, cut, color and clarity of the center stone will also influence its value.
Precious Metals: The type of precious metal used in the ring, such as gold or platinum affects the overall value. Engagement rings may use more expensive metals due to their ornate designs, or for the desire of higher durability and quality.
Design Complexity: Engagement rings tend to have more intricate and detailed designs compared to wedding bands. Settings, pave detailing, additional smaller stones, and other design elements can contribute to a higher value in both materials and labor.
Customization: Many engagement rings are customized or made to order which allows couples to choose specific desired features like the type of precious metal, gemstone and design details.This customization allows couples to have their own unique design to suit their distinctive relationship and style.
Engagement Ring Styles
The options for different styles of engagement rings seem limitless. It’s important to choose an engagement ring that will meet the personal style, lifestyle and comfort of the bride-to-be.
We will start by looking at some simple solitaire engagement rings. Notice how the precious metal, diamond cut, and prongs all contribute to a unique look. We have a Platinum Round Brilliant cut solitaire, a 14 Karat Gold Marquise Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, and a 14 Karat White Gold Emerald Cut Diamond engagement ring.
Now let’s take a brief look at rings with a center stone and accompanying gemstones in a halo and/or in the band. Shown below are a 14K White gold Crown of Light Diamond Engagement Ring, a 18K White gold Fancy Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring, and a 14K White gold Round Diamond Engagement Ring.
Here are some more varieties of engagement rings which include a center diamond surrounded by pave diamonds, one with a unique band, and a three stone look. Shown are a Platinum and 18K Yellow Gold Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, a 14K Rose and White Gold Marquise Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, and a 14K Yellow Gold Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Three Stone Engagement Ring.
These are just a small sampling of the variety of engagement rings that are beautiful examples of types of rings you could choose. From here, the future couple may decide to choose matching wedding bands, or choose one that uniquely fits their personal style.
Choosing Wedding Ring Sets
Wearing an engagement ring and a wedding ring together is a common and meaningful way to symbolize a commitment on the journey from engagement to marriage.
There are various options like stacking or choosing an enhancer or ring guard which is a specially designed ring that wraps around the engagement ring and secures it in place. Another choice is to have a wedding ring and engagement ring that are meant to highlight each other’s beauty. Sometimes a bride may decide to get the wedding and engagement rings soldered so they will always be aligned perfectly.
Featured below are a few examples of bridal sets: A 14K White gold Round Brilliant Diamond Wedding Set, a 18K Yellow Gold Round and Baguette Diamond Wedding set, and a 10K White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring with Ring Guard.
Engagement rings and wedding rings are exquisite symbols of love and commitment. Understanding their differences and the significance they hold can deepen the appreciation for these cherished pieces of fine jewelry. As you begin on this exciting journey, you now have an idea of the types of rings you may encounter when you go ring shopping for your special engagement and wedding day.
If you decide you want a more in-depth look at choosing an entire ensemble of wedding jewelry for your special day, check out the linked blog for more ideas.
We invite you to visit The Estate Watch and Jewelry Company and let us be your trusted jeweler when choosing that perfect piece of jewelry for your wedding day. Our experts can guide you in choosing or creating the perfect engagement ring and wedding rings that will reflect your own unique love story.