Essential Guide to Wedding Rings

Wedding rings are the quintessential symbol of marriage. On the day, during the ring exchange ceremony, and every day thereafter – your wedding ring is of great importance. So when it comes to wedding ring shopping for both you and your spouse, there are a few very important things you need to know.

In our Pink Book Wedding Rings 101 Guide we cover everything you need to know about Wedding Rings. From the difference between an engagement ring and wedding ring to the different materials and gemstones used for rings. We also discuss which hand a wedding ring should be worn on and what are the upcoming wedding ring trends in South Africa. Find out whatever you need to know, right here on Pink Book.

If you are only planning to pop the question now, head back to our blog about engagement rings.

Wedding Rings

1. Engagement Rings vs. Wedding Rings: What Is The Difference?

It might seem like a simple question, but what is the difference between a wedding ring and an engagement ring? Well, there are quite big differences in both appearance and symbolism, when it comes down to it. Here are a few key differences:

engagement ring vs wedding ring

Rings from The Diamond Corporation

Engagement Ring

The engagement ring is usually a more flashy ring with a large gemstone, used to propose marriage. This ring is worn as a symbol that you are betrothed to someone else, but not yet married. Traditionally the engagement ring is only worn by women, on the ring finger of the left hand. When you think engagement ring, you think large diamonds and gems, thicker bands embellished with more stones and probably a hefty price tag. This is the ring you will see adorning hands in LOTS of photos on social media! #engaged

Wedding Rings

The wedding rings are the bands exchanged during the wedding ceremony. The exchange of the wedding rings serves as a lifelong promise between spouses and are usually worn every day (where possible) by both men and women. Wedding rings are usually more simplistic in design and don’t necessarily feature gemstones. Often couples choose to have similar wedding ring designs – possibly of the same metal. Women wear their wedding- and engagement rings on the same finger, so it is important that the two compliment each other.

Images from Bow and Tie Photos

Do You Really Need Both an Engagement & Wedding Ring?

Recently, more and more brides-to-be have been asking whether it is really necessary to have both an engagement and wedding ring. This has sparked debate in the community with some important points being raised during discussions. Because of the tough economic times, or simply due to your personal preference, you might not see the need for two separate rings. If you are asking yourself this question, consider the following points:

  • Are you set on strict wedding traditions?
  • Is it worth spending a large amount on two rings? Can you afford it?
  • Instead of buying a separate wedding ring, how about simply altering your engagement ring? (adding a stone)
  • In some cultures, they only use 1 ring, which simply switches hands on the wedding day.
  • Are you fine with using your engagement ring during the wedding ceremony? Perhaps you can take it off a few days before the wedding
  • Would your spouse be okay with only one ring each?
  • Will you really be wearing both rings after you are married? Some people simply store their engagement rings away.
2. Wedding Ring Metals & Materials:

When it comes to the material the ring is made of, the harder metals are best, because your wedding ring needs to last a lifetime. This is one of the reasons why we love Platinum! Platinum is known for its extreme hardness and its beautiful white colour that never fades. The only snag is that Platinum comes with a hefty price tag.

Then there’s Gold. The three most popular shades of gold are Yellow Gold, White Gold, and Rose Gold. The more traditional bride will love Yellow Gold whereas Rose Gold is currently very trendy and popular. White Gold rings are usually plated and therefore, it can lose its white colour over time. Whichever metal you choose for your wedding ring, make sure it matches the engagement ring! A silver and gold ring together on the same finger might look a little strange.

Silver is also one of our favourite Metals because it is inexpensive and beautiful but it is important to know that Silver can easily scratch. If you have a sensitive skin you need to consider Titanium because it is hypo-allergenic YAY! Titanium is a darker metal but it is super strong and durable even though it has a lighter weight.

When it comes to picking the perfect metal for the Groom’s Wedding Ring We would recommend the good old faithful Stainless Steel because it is inexpensive, strong, durable, hypo-allergenic and scratch resistant.

Rings are also made of the following materials:
  • Ceramic – No this is not made of the same stuff as your coffee cup! Even though it is called ceramic, it is actually a super strong compound of Titanium and Ceramic called Titanium Carbide
  • Tungsten – Mostly Men’s rings – Look at these “Unbreakable Rings”
  • Zirconium – Corrosion Resistant Metal also used in nuclear reactors!
  • Wood – Wooden Rings are the new trend on the block! Rather than having the whole ring made of wood, which would not be very durable, wood is inserted in a ring that is predominantly made of metal.

Images sourced on Pinterest

3. All about the Gemstone:

As illustrated in the infographic above, the gemstone is the most important feature on an engagement ring. Whereas on a wedding ring there are fewer gems or even none! Either way, it is important that you consider what type of gemstone you want for both of your rings.

So obviously Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right? Diamonds are famous because of their beautiful appearance and the fact that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. Did you know that the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond! But make no mistake, diamonds are pricey.

When choosing a diamond, you should give attention to the 4 C’s (Colour, Cut, Clarity, Carats) of diamond quality.  Read more here about the 4 C’s.  Two diamonds of equal size can vastly differ in price. Luckily on a wedding ring, these gems are usually quite small and paved into the band, so they should be cheaper than the large gems used for engagement rings.

mens diamond wedding rings


Via Pinterest

Coloured Gemstones for Wedding Rings

If blue is your colour, then you’ll love a Tanzanite stone. This vibrant blue coloured stone is extremely rare and can only be found near Kilimanjaro – Tanzania. Buying a Tanzanite stone for your bride-to-be will not only win her heart over but it’s also a great financial investment because of the stone’s rarity.

One of our personal favourites is the pretty pink Morganite! This rare semi-precious gemstone is known for its excellent durability. Morganites are also found in larger sizes which make gorgeous Wedding Rings! The unique bride will love the lush green Emerald gemstone. The emerald is not as hard as a diamond and should be cleaned often using only warm water. Rubies are also a very popular Gemstone because of their deep red tone and extreme hardness.

blue gemstones wedding rings

4. On Which Hand Do You Wear A Wedding Ring?

Interestingly, this actually differs from country to country. Whether you wear your wedding ring on your left or right hand is influenced by cultural beliefs and traditions where you are from. In South Africa, we wear our rings on the ring finger of our left hand. Have a look at the cool image below to see which countries wear their rings on which hand and why:

which hand wedding ring

Finding The Perfect Wedding Rings for You

Shopping for your rings is probably the most fun part of this whole exercise! Who doesn’t enjoy looking through all the amazing and beautiful ring designs available? But remember that this is an important decision because you will be wearing this ring for the rest of your life! So choose wisely.

There are lots of stunning jewellers in South Africa, so make sure to have a look through various different collections to find something you really love. Of course you can find stunning rings on Pinterest, however, those rings probably are not locally available. Shipping a wedding ring in from an international supplier might be a bit risky.

Custom Made Wedding Rings

If you do have your heart set on a specific design, why not ask a local jeweller to custom make the ring for you? Or if you want something that is truly one-of-a-kind, this is also the way to go. You would be surprised to find that having a wedding ring custom made is not that much more expensive. It could even work out to be cost-effective.

When you have a ring custom designed, you can create something that perfectly suits your personality. You can choose your own gemstone, ring material, and detailed design. You can and even add something special like your fingerprint onto the band – you and your spouse’s prints on each other’s rings interchangeably.

Wedding Rings for Men

Contrary to what you might think, there are lots of different and creative men’s wedding ring options to choose from. When picking a ring for your groom, the most popular options are usually smooth and simple in design. It is rare for men’s rings to feature gems or stones, but not completely unheard of. Metals such as gold, titanium, stainless steel, tungsten and even ceramic are popular. They even have a stunning wooden wedding ring collection to choose from. Have a look at some of these unique mens wedding rings.

Via Pinterest

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