If wedding and engagement bands are meant to last a lifetime, then how do you choose the right ring?
Couples must choose style and quality, look at price, and consider how wearable a ring is longterm.
Start by narrowing down wedding ring choices in terms of style, whether your ring and your partner’s ring should match, and of course, by budget.
Keep in mind the fact that you’ll be wearing the wedding band every day, so choose rings that fit your lifestyle. Is the style something you’ll want to wear for decades? And be sure to size your ring correctly, scheduling a final ring fitting when your body temperature is normal – not right after exercise or during periods of intense heat or cold.
According to Clark Claydon, co-owner of Claydon Jewelers in Redondo Beach, the most popular type of engagement ring is a simple solitaire.
“It is always going to be the most classic, a traditional look with Tiffany style, six or four prong head, that is the top selling category,” said Claydon.
For a surprise engagement, Claydon suggests purchasing a simple and elegant ring, popping the question and then have the bride come in for customization.
“They can use the solitaire as the presentation stone, and then bring the ring in, using the stone as a ring’s center. Then the bride can become a part of the design process.”
In the last ten years, Claydon said, the most popular ring design is a halo.
“That type of ring has smaller diamonds centered around the solitaire and there are lots of different iterations of that which we do, including a hidden halo with the diamond set slightly above it.”
As far as wedding bands go, Claydon said it's most common to have the wedding band match the engagement ring. But, he said, but some women are going with non-matching rings, mixing and matching.
Yellow and rose gold have made a comeback from the early 2000s when Claydon made 95% to 98% white gold bands.
“Now it’s about 80/20,” he says. “Colored metals are in-vogue again and are no longer a throw-back to the 90s.”
When it comes to men’s bands, there are a lot more alternative metals being used.
"The most popular remains a simple, five-millimeter wide white or yellow gold basic band with brush finish or high polish. But while gold is the standard, some may opt for an alternative metal, such as titanium.”
“There is a company we work with that has a life time guarantee to change in and change out of titanium bands as finger size changes over the years, but you pay a premium for that. Triton brand rings offers that lifetime guarantee.”
Claydon stresses that the place to stop when choosing any ring is by finding a reputable jeweler trained by the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA.
“If you don’t have a reference or a family history with a company, that’s what you should look for,” he said.
“If you’re buying a diamond online, make sure you are buying a stone with a certificate that grades the stone’s quality, and that the stone can be returned.”
But, he said, a certificate itself won’t tell the whole picture.
"Some stones look worse on paper, but look better when you see them. Buy the stone, not the paper,” he said.
More advice for buying online: “Take a purchased stone to a reputable jeweler and let them give you a grade.”
The bottom line: “It’s really about having someone reputable that you can trust.”
Claydon also advised that it’s important to look for sturdiness in rings.
“Platinum isn’t necessarily a better metal than white gold, because while it will wear less over time, it bends, and you can lose a stone that way.”
And down the line, ring maintenance is also important.
Claydon recommends bringing the stone back to the jeweler every six months to a year for a prong check and to have the ring cleaned.
"Try to make it like going to the dentist or doctor," said Claydon. "You need to have stuff looked at to stay in good shape. And of course, diamonds look much better when they’re clean.”