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HomeHow to buy jewelryHow to buy your Wedding Bands
How to buy your Wedding Bands

By Ettagale Blauer

What piece of jewelry is more tied to emotion than the wedding band? While an engagement ring signifies a promise, the wedding band symbolizes the actual fulfillment of that promise, the marriage itself. It transcends adornment: it is an integral extension of the wedding vows themselves: "With this ring, I thee wed." We pledge our troth, we promise to love and honor and we exchange wedding rings as the symbol of that pledge.

This small circle of metal is a very potent and significant jewel. The unbroken circle symbolizes eternal love, a continuing, endless flow through time. This universal symbol has been an important part of the wedding ceremony for more than five centuries. Isn't it romantic to think that you and your mate are linked by this ancient tradition to brides and grooms who exchanged their vows through the ages? It not only symbolizes this marriage, it also links you to the chain of generations past and future who celebrate the marriage ceremony.

Finding Your Style
Main Wedding Bands But which wedding band is right for you? Which one captures the full sense of that tradition? Here are some hints on how to figure out just what it is that you and your mate want to wear on your ring fingers from this day forth. Of all the choices you will make for your wedding day, only the wedding band will endure. As beautiful as your gown is, no matter how delicious the cake turns out to be, even if the bridesmaids love their dresses and you have the most perfect honeymoon ever, it is only the wedding band that will be close to you every day, a beautiful symbol and reminder of the day you took your vows.

For this joyous occasion, and for many years to come, you want a ring that will always please you. Whether you choose a gold band or one of platinum, or a ring set with diamonds, your wedding band should reflect your style, your personality and your taste. It should be a pleasure to choose your wedding band: just look at the beautiful possibilities on the gddiamond.com site. Let's start to sort out these possibilities by looking at what used to be called "a plain gold wedding band." Well, plain is definitely just the beginning today. Even the simplest, least adorned band offers options from which to choose.

Choosing The Material
Two tone wedding bands combining gold and platinum Do you like the traditional look of a rounded, brightly polished gold band? You can choose one in 14k gold, 18k gold or even 24k gold. Remember that the higher the karat of gold, the more golden in color the band will be. Do you like the more modern look of a band with a flatter surface and squared off edges? Do you like the look of textured gold? How wide would you like the band to be? Traditionally, the wife's band was wider than the husband's but today's traditions are what you make them, so go ahead - if you are the husband and you like the look of a wide band, then that's the band that's right for you.

How do you decide on the metal? While tradition, and perhaps your future mother-in-law, says yellow, your heart may say white. If that is the case, thank your mother-in-law for her advice and then follow your heart. You're the one who's going to wear the ring every day. You might consider a band that takes a beautiful middle ground by mixing the two colors, combining white and yellow gold or yellow gold with platinum.

A bit of texture highlighting one of the colors adds even more detail and richness to the design. A new classic combines an 18k yellow gold circle enhanced along both edges with a narrow band of platinum (or vice-versa). This dual-metal and duo-tone band need not be very wide to convey its intriguing mix of elegance and individuality. If you don't want to mix the colors but like the idea of a more intricate design, choose an all-yellow gold band that has alternating sections of textured and mill-grained work. Or consider a band with brightly polished areas contrasting with diamond-cut work in the center

For some, the gleaming color of gold symbolizes the warmth and love of a marriage and is considered the 'traditional' metal. But traditions are just waiting to be created and that's exactly the case with the new tradition of choosing a platinum wedding band. Platinum's superb strength and purity make it an ideal choice for this eternal symbol of love. Platinum also coordinates with many engagement rings that have platinum settings. You may want to wear the two rings together, on your left hand, and in that case, platinum, or white gold, is the ideal choice.

A Band For Him
Matching bands for him and her For many men, the wedding band may be the only piece of jewelry they'll ever wear other than a wristwatch. You're both going to want to spend some time considering this purchase carefully. Like so many of the decisions you're going to make for your wedding, you don't have much experience with this one, so take the time to consider the options. The groom may be surprised to discover that he's very interested in a stylish ring that speaks of his love and his new commitment. Keep your eye on the details - though a wedding band is small in size, it packs a lot of design on that surface. Through the years, you'll appreciate the richness of the design, the way it catches the light, whether it's reflected from a gleaming polished surface or bouncing off the details of a more intricate design.

Matching bands for men and women are among the many choices the two of will see on the gddiamond.com site. These graceful designs are designed to suit both male and female hands. They offer a unique way to express your shared love. For some couples, however, the exact same design doesn't have equal appeal to both partners. Don't read any great significance into this - all it means is that you have different tastes in wedding bands! There's no reason to get yourselves tied up in knots because you can't agree on the design of a wedding band. Enjoy your diversity and consider instead bands that have a family resemblance. You might select bands that are both yellow and white gold, but with different decoration. Or she may choose a diamond wedding band, while he chooses one that is all metal. Remember, the wedding band symbolizes your love and commitment, and symbols come in many designs and patterns. It's even possible for one partner to choose a simple, unadorned gold band while the other one has a diamond-set band. What counts is how much you each like your band and how well it suits your hand.

Consider The Hand
Some basic jewelry buying rules will help you sort out the many beautiful choices you'll see here. When buying a wedding band, remember that your hand shape should play a role in the choice. The basic rule is the same when buying any ring: width adds width, length adds length. A band that is too narrow may look lost on a large-boned, wide hand. Consider a medium-width band with an interesting herringbone design. If you like the look of a wide wedding band, but do have heavy or wide fingers, choose one with rounded edges that put the least pressure on the flesh of the fingers. The flatter band looks better on a narrower finger. For slender fingers, a wedding band with a diagonal design pulls the eye across the hand and gives the illusion of greater width.

Consider the height of the ring when making your choice. A band set with diamonds makes a larger visual impact and should be chosen with the shape of the hand and fingers in mind. An open-work design gives a feeling of lightness and is flattering to a broader hand. Because larger stones also go well with the larger hand, a ring that is generously set creates a pleasing appearance. The smaller or slimmer hand will look good with a multi-stone ring, a series of smaller stones in a channel or prong setting. Just like perfume, which uses the wearer's body chemistry, your wedding ring takes on the characteristics of your hand. The hand is the showcase for the ring.

These rules will also help you understand why two different style rings may be the ones that suit you best. Remember Jack Sprat and his wife; they were a perfect couple because their differences complemented each other so well!

Ettagale Blauer writes about fine jewelry for consumer magazines. Her books on jewelry include Contemporary American Jewelry Design (Chapman and Hall) and Wristwatches: Five Decades of Style and Design (Schiffer). Her latest book is African Elegance, on the arts and crafts of sub-Saharan Africa.

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