If you have already purchased an engagement ring, you know exactly how involved the buying process can be. That will give you more than a hint as to what shopping for a wedding band will entail.
You will have chosen your engagement ring from many different styles and although not so numerous, there are different wedding ring designs, so unless you bought a bridal set (a matching engagement ring and wedding band), you need to find a wedding band that looks great on its own but also with your engagement band.
Here are our expert tips to find the wedding band that makes the perfect match with your engagement ring.
Choosing a Wedding Band to Match an Engagement Ring
There are two key questions. How do the two rings sit together (fit) and how do they look together on the hand (aesthetic)?
The main criteria on which to base a choice are:
Band width - Ask a jeweler and they will probably say that the best pairing is an engagement ring and wedding band of the same thickness. This isn't a hard and fast rule ('cos rules are there to be broken) but if you want to narrow down the field of options, it's certainly very sensible.
Gemstone - Does there need to be any rules for this? Diamonds work with practically any other gemstone or semi-precious stone. If, however, the main stone(s) in your engagement ring is not a diamond, you may need to be more circumspect in what works well with it.
Your Partner's Ring - Talking of bending the rules, does a couple have to wear matching wedding rings? It's a matter of choice. In some ways, it makes it harder because the husband's ring choice will be restricted to what matches his wife's ring which of course is going to be determined by the engagement band. One of you might be interested in elaborate designs and the other plain. Hubby may also want a band with diamonds but wifey not. The best thing to do is consider the point but go with whatever you decide between you.
Style - A ring's style is the design aesthetic. You might say it's the ring's personality. When considering pairing, it's all about the picture you want the two rings to create. This matters more if you have chosen an unusual engagement ring design or if your dream wedding band differs greatly from the style of your engagement ring.
You may also have to consider carefully if you have been gifted an heirloom piece of bridal jewelry. A high Victorian design vintage ring, for example, may not sit well against a contemporary design wedding band. But if you have a finely and exquisitely detailed vintage ring, it is probably best offset by a plain metal band anyway.
One way to look at style synergy is to match elaboration in both rings. Another is to choose a simpler wedding band to really enhance the brilliance and give maximum sparkle to your diamond engagement ring.
There are another two factors: Metal and Shape. We'll look at these in greater detail.
Selecting A Metal Type
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a wedding band and an engagement band need to be made from the same type of metal, but this isn't the case at all if you want to be more creative and adventurous with your metal colors.
All precious metals are beautiful, so don't be afraid to mix both metals and shapes, as this can provide a really modern look. When it comes to metal pairings, it really is up to you.
For anybody who is considering choosing mixed metals for their own bridal stack, then there is no doubt that the most common mixture is white gold and yellow gold, but rose gold has also proven to be a very popular modern choice.
You also don't have to stick to conventional jewelry metals. You might consider alternatives like platinum, titanium, tungsten or Damascus steel. Numerous materials are being used for all sorts of engagement ring styles so there's naturally a market for matching wedding bands.
Selecting A Shape of Wedding Band
Once you decided on your ring's primary material, the next step is picking a wedding band that matches your personal style and sits well with your engagement ring.
Here are the most common types of wedding bands:
Classic Wedding Band
A classic, straight wedding band is available in a wide range of profiles, widths and finishes. They can be made from a whole list of different materials. A plain yellow gold or white gold band is still the most popular choice, especially among men
Pattern is an umbrella term that covers a range of wedding band styles with a 'finish' other than a classic polish. This includes any textured finish including hammered, etched, matte and engraved wedding bands.
Eternity Style Band
The eternity band has been a feature of the ring finger for many years and conventionally it is combined with the engagement and wedding bands. Recently, however, this classic and immediately recognizable style has been chosen as wedding bands.
An eternity band is a band of precious metal set with a continuous line of identically cut diamonds or gemstones in a channel to symbolize neverending love. Half-eternity bands and full-eternity bands are being worn as wedding bands.
Contoured Wedding Bands
If your engagement ring is low set, then you might want to consider a band that is going to sit flush against it, and contoured wedding bands are perfect for this pairing. They are designed to actively match the curvature of your engagement band, and can be custom-made to fit the exact dimensions of the ring.
This curvature is achieved by shaping the front of the band to follow the contours of the engagement ring, making the match look completely natural.
Notched Wedding Bands
Another band that provides the flush look is the notched wedding band. A notched wedding band almost fits to your engagement ring like a perfect puzzle piece. It is completely straight until the front section, where there is a clever notch that allows the stone of the engagement ring to slot flush into place.
How to Match Different Diamond Shapes
The setting of engagement rings is a major influence in how the ring looks against a wedding band and accordingly which wedding band style will work best. The size of stones is also important. The more stone extends beyond the profile of the band, the more the pairing will need to be considered.
Here are some ideas for how to pair engagement rings with wedding rings based on their main diamond shape.
A round center stone, especially as a solitaire, is still the most popular choice for an engagement ring and these are among the most easiest to find a suitable wedding band. They work with any shape of wedding band.
Princess cut stones have a different kind of brilliance because of their cut pattern. Their sparkle be enhanced by either a plain wedding band or an eternity wedding band in the same metal as the engagement ring.
Cushion-cut center stones have a great sparkle so they work great with plain bands or with self-patterned bands of matching gold color.
An emerald cut is a real statement piece, and you need a simple band to show off the stone as much as possible. A curved or notched wedding ring is ideal for accommodating the elongated shape of the emerald-cut diamond.
Like the emerald cut, a marquise shape may protrude some way over the edge of the band so again, a simple curved band or a notched band will look good and feel comfortable.
The oval-cut diamond ring features another elongated form that sits well with a contoured band.
Smaller cut radiant stones are really sparkly and unique and look beautiful when paired with an eternity band worn as a wedding ring.
A pear-cut diamond ring and a curved wedding band are a match made in heaven! Choosing a contoured band means that your pear diamond will have all the room it needs to comfortably sit on the finger.
Asscher cut diamond rings are attention-grabbing and unique, so to help them continue to stand out on the finger, a simpler style band is best.
Baguette-cut diamond rings are one of the more unique cuts and you can afford to be more adventurous with your choice.
The trillion cut stands out so well on its own that you should probably keep things simple with the wedding ring. Pair it with a simple, plain gold band to really feel the full effect of the engagement ring.
Making the Choice
These tips can only give you some guidance in choosing the perfect pairing. It is obviously easier if you made the timeless choice of a solitaire engagement ring but if you wear a super contemporary design that may include bypass detail, split shanks or a mix of gold colors (just a few examples), you'll need to consider more circumspectively.
Remember though, this is your wedding ring and your finger, so choose a design that you love and enjoy wearing.