The first time you peek into the case of wedding bands, it may seem like an endless array of types and styles. The variety of styles might feel overwhelming but there are ways to narrow the field and make a choice feel easier. If you break them all down into a few categories, you can visually and mentally organise your options and ultimately find the ring you love.
Start with the type of metal to begin breaking the enormous category of “wedding bands” into smaller, more manageable subgroups. Your metal choice may serve as a setting for stones or you may prefer a solid metal band. The most basic separation is white, yellow or something different.
You can choose from yellow metal, otherwise known as gold, or a white metal like silver, white gold or platinum. If you like the unusual, go for the “something different” category like gunmetal, tungsten or rose gold. Gold was once the most common choice but now platinum has taken over as the most often seen metal in bridal rings.
The preference of colour is a matter of style and taste. Most of the metals used in fine quality wedding bands are of similar strength, durability and value. The way the metal looks against the skin is really the only consideration.
If you choose a ring with stones, whether they are diamonds or other gemstones, the setting will lend the wedding ring much of its style. There are quite a lot of stone settings but most fill fall into one of these basis styles.
- Pavè. The pavè setting looks as if the surface is paved with stones. Stones are set very closely together and may be separated only by tiny beads of metal.
- This classing setting uses small “fingers” of metal to grasps the stones. Four- and six-pronged settings are most often used to secure a stone but larger stones may require more prongs.
- A full bezel setting encircles the entire stone with a continuous band of metal. There are also semi-bezels.
- Flush set. In a flush set, the centre of the stone is beneath the band and the surface of the metal and the stones are level.
- Channel set. In this setting, stones are set into a channel or groove, side by side. The sides of the groove hold the stone in place.
The way the stones are set lends the ring its style, whether that style is modern or vintage. Bezels feel more modern and prongs are more traditional, for example. As long as the setting is secure, this is once again a choice of personal taste.
Antique/Vintage, Traditional, Contemporary and Modern
Speaking of styles, this is another way of dividing rings into categories. This area is where so much of the wearer’s personal style comes into play. While you could name as many different styles as you like, we will stick to these four: antique/vintage, traditional, contemporary, modern.
- Antique/Vintage. In this discussion, vintage will refer to previously-owned rings that are more than 100 or 75 years old, respectively. There are some people who simply love the idea of a thing made in days long past, when hand-crafting a setting was a commonplace art form. Some of these rings are genuine works of art but their age may raise their value. A geometric Art Deco ring would be a good example of an antique or vintage look.
- A traditional ring doesn’t venture far from the norm. It won’t be a crazy colour or an unusual form. A ring in this style may be based on an antique or borrow from many older styles. It will have a timeless quality but could be something you have seen many times before. The classic Tiffany engagement ring setting with a plain metal wedding band is a traditional wedding set.
- A contemporary ring will maintain some of that timeless feeling but it will be mixed with a more up-to-date aesthetic. A halo setting with a pair of pave bands bracketing the engagement ring is a popular contemporary style.
- Modern wedding rings are on the cutting edge of bridal fashion. These settings are very different from their predecessors. Modern designs can be unusual creations or stylised versions of another style. They are often very unique but may be easily identified as a wedding band.
The style of your wedding band should reflect the wearer’s own personal style. Look for clues in the wearer’s wardrobe and home if you aren’t sure what that style might be. Once you start dividing the jeweller’s case into comprehendible categories, making a selection will seem easier.