The wedding ring may be small in size, but huge in spiritual and sentimental significance. It is one of the few enduring artefacts which will remain after ‘the big day’.
Long after the cake cutting and dancing, the wedding ring remains – a reminder of the promise of commitment made to share a future forever.
Wedding or engagement rings have featured throughout history and the lore surrounding them is fascinating. Some say the significance of wearing the ring on the third finger on the left hand represents a line of love which connects directly to the heart, although the Scandi tradition of wearing your wedding ring on the right hand does not seen to support this theory.
The ring may be representative of the cloth binding of the hands together during pagan betrothal ceremonies. Whatever the history, wedding rings are an important part of the marriage ritual, and ticking ‘wedding rings’ off the list of things to do should not be left until the last minute.
One of my favourite jobs is helping the moony eyed, loved up couples in my shop choose their wedding rings. Whether it is young romantic couples, savvy second-timers or helping to soothe the pain of a lost wedding ring with a replacement, I see them all.
A good, well made wedding ring should withstand a lifetime of wear. Some are the simplest of plain bands, others are highly decorated, stone set or specially shaped to fit around an engagement ring.
Platinum – a pure, rare white metal is currently the most popular choice. Its durability and strength make it the ideal metal to hold diamonds securely in place. The perfect partner for a platinum engagement ring, is of course, a platinum wedding ring. Platinum is generally 950 parts pure platinum per 1000 parts and you will see this 950 fineness number, along with an orb symbol on all British hallmarked platinum rings. It’s superior hardness amongst all other precious metal means that it can wear away the edges of a softer ring, such as gold.
Gold wedding rings, however, are a beautiful and romantic choice and the soft glimmering lustre of yellow or rose gold can be incredibly flattering. Modern alloys of gold produce much harder wearing rings and modern 18ct gold rings are just as hard as 9ct gold. The difference is in the actual gold content. An 18ct gold ring is 75% pure gold whereas 9ct gold is 37.5% pure, hence the 750 / 375 numbers found on a British hall mark, identifying the quality of the metal.
Wedding rings can be bought cheaply off the internet and of course we get thrifty, bargain conscious couples looking for a great deal. We also get environmentally and socially conscious couples in our shop who want to know how and where their wedding ring comes from. The cost of a wedding ring is dependant on the cost of the metal used, the costs to get the metal out of the ground and the cost to purify and refine the metal before making it into a ring.
The skill of the goldsmith will determine the proportions and finish off the ring, which can have long term implications on comfort and durability. We carefully source our rings from British manufacturers who are certified by The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the internationally recognised standards setting and certification organisation for supply chain integrity and sustainability in the global fine jewellery and watch industry.
A cheap wedding ring may suggest a ‘skimpy’ lightweight product at best, poor working conditions or even child labour at worst, so be careful what you wish for in the pursuit of a bargain.
By buying your rings from a reputable jeweller you will benefit from expert advice in making the right choice. Whether you choose a simple softly curved ‘court style’ band or a pretty diamond-set design, hopefully you will wear your wedding ring forever and this powerful symbol of love for all eternity will be one of the most special elements of one of the best days of your life.
Saunders and Pughe Goldsmiths can be found at 32 Hill Street Corbridge, Northumberland. We are a family jewellers with 25 years of experience, specialising in handmade and bespoke fine jewellery.