Choosing Wedding Bands That Will Last A Lifetime

By Ven Griva

April 18, 2008 5 min read

WITH THIS RING

Choosing wedding bands that will last a lifetime

By Ven Griva

Copley News Service

You can't go wrong with a traditional gold wedding band. It's simple, elegant and symbolic. Combined with a matching engagement ring set with a diamond, you have an enduring representation of your future as husband and wife.

If you and your sweetheart are in the market for rings, it is best first to decide what you both prefer in a wedding set. While many couples want tradition, others want something with a custom design.

When shopping for gold rings, it is advised you pay attention to the quality mark stamped on the inside. Pure gold, or 24-karat, is generally considered too soft for use in jewelry, so it is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength.

Gold comes in many colors depending on what it is alloyed with. White gold is another option much in demand.

Authentic 18-karat gold rings are three-quarters pure gold and should be marked "18k" or "750," the European mark meaning 75 percent gold. Authentic 14-karat gold is slightly more than one-half pure gold and should be marked "14k" or "585," which means 58.5 percent gold.

Because of its durability, 14-karat gold is used most in jewelry.

Nothing less than 10-karat gold can be legally sold as gold jewelry in the United States. It should be marked "10k" or "417," equal to 41.7 percent gold.

Simple wedding bands can be slender, 4 millimeters wide, or robust, up to 10 mm or more.

One thing to consider is lifestyle. If you have a very active lifestyle, consider low-set rings or simple bands. Rings set high with diamonds or other precious stones are beautiful, but they catch on things easily.

Once you decide what you want in a wedding ring or set, it's time to shop around. It is best to visit a variety of jewelers. Many are willing and able to educate you about precious metals and stones.

Pricing is based on four factors: how many karats; gram weight; design; and craftsmanship. The karats and gram weight tell you how much gold is in a piece, but the ring's construction and design also factor into the price.

There are many alternatives to the simple gold band.

Antique gold rings are hot again. The trendy yet nostalgic pieces can feature unique details like filigree settings, floral accents, or gemstone baguettes.

Platinum is another trend making rings go round. One reason is that many people are convinced that platinum's white luster draws out the brilliance of diamonds like no other precious metal.

What's more, men are drawn to platinum because it is nearly twice as heavy as 14-karat gold and the strongest precious metal used in making jewelry. Chunky platinum rings encrusted with diamonds continue to be popular with the guys.

If the bride or groom is active, choose platinum over gold for durability; avoid matte finishes, which show scratches, easy-to-blunt decorative details, and gemstones, which can chip, fall out or trap dirt.

Another trend in wedding bands: Designers are using ergonomics to make rings more comfortable to wear. Curved, not flat, interiors are one modern design element that takes the edge of wearing a ring.

Diamonds are another accepted style in men's rings. The best-selling styles are subtle - involving less than a full carat of diamonds - and wearable. The stone is usually set to be flush with the surface of the ring to create a totally smooth exterior and to provide good security for the stone.

WEDDING BAND AID

- Remember gold can get scratched or dented if treated roughly.

- Clean your gold jewelry with sudsy lukewarm water, or bring it to your local jeweler and have it steam-cleaned.

- Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning and rinsing.

- Keep your ring free of moisture, perspiration and makeup.

- Regularly inspect your wedding set for weakness or damage. If you find a problem, a competent jeweler can restore it for you.

- Keep your rings wrapped in a soft cloth and stored in a safe place when not being worn.

- Gold's worst enemy is chlorine. Repeated exposure can weaken gold's structure, eventually leading to breakage. So keep your jewelry away from chlorinated cleaning products and out of swimming pools, spas and hot tubs.

- Source: www.4facets.com

? Copley News Service

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