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Wedding Rings and Bands

Selecting The Right Ring.
By Loreen Berlin

A wedding ring is a long-term investment providing a constant reminder of your love and style. It can be simple or ornate, but it will provide joy and value as your relationship grows.

some basic
and terms…

view local jewelers

Identifying Value

Diamonds can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. There are four factors to consider when evaluating a diamond:
Color, Clarity, Carat, and Cut (The four “C’s”):

COLORWhen light enters a diamond it naturally reflects that light and projects color. The reflective color range is referred to as “fire” or “brilliance”.

CLARITYThe grades of clarity include DEF, GHIJ, KLM, etc. The lower the alphabet letter, the more clarity and quality the stone will have. DEF starts with total clarity—no visual inclusions and no inclusions under a 10-power microscope. Diamonds in the KLM range and lower will start to have a faint yellow to very light yellow color and will reflect less light and of course will cost less. Other terms include FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless).

CARATA Carat is a standardize unit of weight of a stone. The most common weight (and size) of a diamond will range from º Carat to 1 ý Carats.

CUTThe cut of a diamond describes its final shape. The most popular cuts are the Round Brilliant (it reflects the most light), the Marquise, and the Princess (a square cut).

As for overall measurements of quality, watch for a ranking of “very very small inclusions” (VVS1 and VVS2) which are the most expensive, or “very small inclusions” (VS1 and VS2), which cost less, but with very little noticeable difference in quality. The most affordable diamonds are those with small inclusions (SI1 and SI2). As you begin to see visible inclusions with the naked eye (SI3 range) the stone value diminishes.

Gold vs. Platinum

As for the band, white gold, yellow gold, or platinum is probably a matter of taste. Gold is mixed with nickel to make it stronger and will last 20 to 25 years. Platinum on the other hand is stronger and will last for generations wearing only slightly.

Surprise Proposal?

For a surprise proposal, jewelers suggest purchasing an engagement solitaire—a simple ring (plain band) with a meaningful stone. The value is in the stone, which is placed into a more elaborate ring, at a later date, when you can select the perfect ring together.

A popular trend is shopping together to buy “his and her” rings as part of a “wedding set” where the man’s ring matches the style of the woman’s ring; and further the woman’s engagement ring is fitted to join together with her wedding band to become one finished wedding ring.


Before shopping, it is wise to have a price range in mind. Communicate a clear limit or budget. And agree to buy within your financial means. There are many suggested formulas for a price range. Many jewelers will recommend a percentage of monthly income. Keep in mind that this is a long-term investment, and that you have the option of making future upgrades in the overall quality as your income increases, or as you celebrate anniversaries.

Review the warranty and return policy provided by jewelry companies. Larger stores will likely offer a lifetime warranty to replace a lost stone (you may be required to return the ring on a periodic basis for the warranty to be applicable). Some stores will even offer a 90 day exchange policy where you can return or exchange the ring.

Good Luck!

If you’re in a quandary as to how to get started, you may want to attend one of the ever popular BrideWord Expos. BrideWorld hosts events where you can meet with dozens upon dozens of wedding professionals face-to-face, not to mention jewelers who can answer your toughest questions. If you can’t wait, you can view local jewelers listed on this site.

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