Choosing an engagement ring is usually an emotional, rather than practical decision. The rings we wear symbolize so much and are the ultimate BuyMeOnce purchase since many of us wear our engagement and wedding rings our entire lives.
My wedding is tomorrow, and I’ve become an expert on ring shopping over the past few months! But before I jet off on my honeymoon, I want to share with you the three tips I found most useful while searching for my own engagement and wedding rings.
Finding Your Style
Finding the style you like is the fun part of the job. Take inspiration from all through the ages and don’t feel like you need to go with what is in vogue right now.
The type of metal – gold, white gold or platinum – is probably the easiest decision to make first off. Think about what other jewelry you wear regularly. If you’re unsure, try all three and decide which color makes your skin look the best.
You can make a Pinterest board of ring ideas, but I found looking at rings in the flesh the most useful way of working out what I liked. A ring is a 3D object and what looks good from one angle on a photo may not suit you from another angle. Go to an area with a few jewelry shops and ask yourself questions such as:
- Delicate or chunky?
- Modern or vintage?
- Detailed or simple?
- Colored stones, white stones or a mixture?
Bit by bit you’ll start to get a sense of your true tastes. Once you feel you have a good idea, make an appointment to try on a whole load of rings. What you think you like may change considerably when it is on your finger.
Making it Personal
If you have a piece of jewelry in your family that you can incorporate into your planning, this is a wonderful way of elevating your engagement ring to that of a family heirloom.
My fiancé’s father sadly died over a decade ago, and upon getting engaged, we were given his father’s old wedding ring. A masculine, chunky gold band fixed with three diamonds, it was never going to be worn again in its current state, so we decided to use it to make both my engagement ring and my fiancé’s wedding band.
We went to Joy Everley, one of BuyMeOnce’s official jewelers who specialize in ethical jewelry, and designed my engagement ring using one of the three diamonds. My fiancé’s wedding band is made out of the gold from his dad’s ring.
Even if you don’t have a family piece to incorporate, you can make a ring more meaningful by designing your own or customizing one that already exists. Engraving a tiny quote or symbol which sits secretly against your skin is a lovely way of heightening the experience of a wedding or engagement ring.
Make it a “Good” Ring
The last thing you want is the symbol of your love and devotion to be tainted by the knowledge that people might have been mistreated in the making of it. The diamond world is full of conflict, child labour and crimes against the environment. If you’re purchasing new diamonds, look for ones from Canada, Namibia and Botswana. Avoid places like Zimbabwe, Angola and Cote d’Ivoire.
Vintage diamonds are a sustainable choice because they don’t require further mining to produce. Look for Fairtrade or recycled metals if you’re going for a new ring. Joy Everley use both.
A Note About Price
Many people say that you must spend a month, two months or even three months of your salary on the engagement ring. Some might call it “tradition”, but in fact, it was a fake tradition started by the diamond brand De Beers. There is no natural or right amount to spend. Whether the ring costs 100 pounds or 100,000 pounds, the most important thing is that you’re happy to see it on your hand for the rest of your days.
Talk to your partner openly and honestly; after all, you’re about to become a family of two and your money will be combined. The receiving party may want to reflect on whether they would prefer their partner save some money to spend on their life together.
For more articles on buying sustainably, visit BuyMeOnce