Choosing a Wedding Ring
From plain bands to elaborate diamond set rings
In some ways, a wedding ring is about the simplest piece of jewellery there is - a simple band of metal. Surely it can’t be difficult to get this right? However, even ‘plain’ wedding rings come in a range of different metals, profiles, widths and finishes, meaning you have dozens of options to consider.
One thing we're often asked by clients, is whether most couples have matching wedding rings. The truth is that probably less than half of couples have a matching pair. Often a bride will be looking for a wedding ring to compliment her engagement ring, and there is no guarantee that a ring in that style will suit the groom.
Choosing a precious metal
A good place to start, it to decide on the precious metals you would like. The main options are gold (yellow), white gold and platinum, though rose gold (pink) is also having a revival. Many people already have a preferred colour, matching their existing jewellery or watch.
If you wear an engagement ring, then we recommend matching the metal in your wedding ring so that the two rings experience similar wear and tear over time. Different metals age differently, and a softer metal will be slowly worn away against a harder one.
If you've not already made your mind up, then you will probably find it helpful to try on the different metals, so that you can compare them directly, and judge which suits you most. If pink or yellow look best, then the decision is made. If your preference is for white, then you may find it helpful to read our guidance on the differences between white gold and platinum.
Choosing a profile
Once you've identified your preferred precious metal, you'll need to decide on the style of the ring you're looking for, whether that's a traditional or more contemporary look.
The most traditional profile for a wedding ring is the D-shaped band, which is flat on the inside, but curved on the outside (so it would look a bit like a capital D in cross-section, if you were to cut through it).
A very similar profile, is the court band, which is curved on the outside, but also slightly curved on the inside. Known as ‘comfort fit’ in the US, this can make the ring slightly more comfortable to take on and off, and has seen the court band overtake the D-shape band in popularity. They look very similar on your finger, though the curvature on the outside of a court band tends to be a little less pronounced than on a D-shaped band.
If your preference is for a more contemporary style, you might prefer a flat court band, which retains the curved ‘comfort-fit’ on the inside, but is completely flat on the outside. This profile can look quite industrial, particularly in white gold or platinum.
Looking for something unique?
If you’re looking for something more elaborate or unusual, you could consider having a bespoke wedding ring designed from scratch. The bespoke route is also a good option for those looking for wedding and engagement ring sets and shaped-to-fit wedding rings, designed to work with engagement rings that won't allow straight wedding rings to sit neatly against them.
How wide should a wedding ring be?
The next thing to think about is how wide your wedding ring should be. As a general rule, the larger your hands, the wider the ring that will suit you. That being said, there is of course a large degree of subjectivity and personal preference about what looks best, and there is no substitute for trying on samples. As a rough guide, we find that most ladies pick wedding rings between 2mm and 3mm wide, and most gentlemen opt for wedding rings of 4mm or 5mm.
Again, if you already have an engagement ring, you'll need to decide whether you want the two rings to match in width, or to contrast each other. It is also important also to consider the combined width of the two rings, to ensure that they will be comfortable to wear together. This means that if you have an engagement ring with a quite a wide band or shank, you might want to consider having a slim wedding band to compensate.
Choosing a finish
Once you’ve chosen the metal, the profile and the width of your wedding ring, you need to just consider how you would like your wedding ring to be finished. Many clients want want their wedding band to be simple and understated, but this isn’t always the case.
If you don’t like the brightly polished fresh-out-of-the-box-look, you might opt for a matte finish, from the lightly brushed satin finish through to a course brushed finish. Some clients like to have a mixed finish, for example having just a central portion brushed, and the edges polished.
Some clients also like to have texture or fine detail on their wedding rings, which may include a hammered finish, channels or grooves, milgrain edges, and /or engravings. Another popular option is to have small diamonds or coloured gemstones set into a wedding band. This could range from one small stone, to dozens of stones creating a half or full eternity ring. If this appeals to you, you might like to read our guide to choosing an eternity ring.
Finally, before you order your ring, you'll need to decide on the finger size you want it made to. Your jeweller should have a ring size kit to help you with this, and you can also read our guidance on getting the right ring size.