You want to show someone you love that you plan to be around forever. You have decided this other person is so unique that you need to let them know exactly how much you feel for them. If this is you, then you might want to consider buying an Eternity Ring. Before you start your search, you should read this guide to help you with your selection.
What is an Eternity Ring?
An eternity ring is a ring given as a symbol of lasting affection: it is the ring with no beginning and no end. This ring is usually an unbroken circle of gems to represent the ever-lasting nature of the love shared through history. The most commonly used gem is the diamond, though you can use any precious or semi-precious gemstone. It is most often worn by women, though men sometimes choose to wear an eternity ring as an engagement ring.
For the woman, the eternity ring is usually the perfect gift on a significant anniversary to mark the endurance of the bond between two people. Some people also choose the eternity ring as the gift to the mother at the moment of birth. However, most commonly, it is purchased as a wedding band.
Synonyms for Eternity Rings
The eternity ring has other names. These include:
- Full Eternity Ring
- Half Eternity Ring
- Infinity Ring
- Ouroboros Rings
What is the History of Eternity Rings?
There are competing tales of how the eternity ring came to be. Some historians reach back to the Romans who believed our third finger on our left hand contained the Vena Amoris – the vein of love – which is said to be connected directly to the heart. Most consider this to be something of myth created by the amorous Italians to woo loved ones. Despite it being a product of fiction, it is a story that has endured into most modern cultures.
In truth, the first eternity rings were found on the fingers of the Ancient Egyptians, so date more than 2000 years before Christ and a long time before the Romans usurped the meaning. This was not meant as a ring for an event. Instead, it was given as a token of eternal love and life. Early rings showed a snake swallowing its tail, which is a common archetype symbolising eternity. However, other eternity rings in Ancient Egypt were simple gold bands with a single jewel.
In the 18th century, there were no longer snakes, but the fashion was to adorn them with a lavish gemstone: the bigger, the better. Fortunately, in more modern times, there has been a return to the ideas of the earlier eternity rings: to promote long life and love. It is now traditionally worn between the engagement ring and the wedding ring if chosen as a symbol of a continuing relationship.
When Do You Give an Eternity Ring?
There need not be a set day to give your partner an eternity ring. You could give it: just because. In some respects, the meaning of the eternity ring has more resonance, the more spontaneous the message. You are simply saying “I love you” with a ring.
If this comes loaded with too many trust issues and fears of rejection, there are standard moments when an eternity ring is enjoyed. The first could be as a wedding band. The full eternity ring with the full band of stones is a beautiful and distinctive alternative to the plain band of gold. It is also appropriate to give an eternity ring for special anniversaries or the birth of a new baby. Most partners do not realise that it is traditional to provide a gift for a new mum, who is often ignored in the presence of the new-born baby. There is no better time to demonstrate your appreciation and pride in your wife or partner at this time when you have extended your family.
If you want to wait to a more traditional time to give an eternity ring, then you will need to wait until your diamond anniversary. You will need 60 years of togetherness. However, you can offer a sapphire eternity ring on the 45th anniversary or emerald on the 55th. If you want to give a ring to mark the first anniversary, we advise you to move away from paper. However, you could choose some semi-precious gems to mark this beginning of your journey.
What Are the Different Stones Types?
- Diamond Eternity Rings:
The traditional choice is the diamond. This stone is given as a symbol of love as there is no other gem considered as precious or as pure as the diamond. It is therefore seen as the perfect way to represent the love shared with another. In short, the diamond is considered the most romantic – to the extent that the point of Cupid’s arrows is said to be tipped with diamonds.
There are many cuts of diamond available when buying your eternity ring. You can go for round brilliant diamonds, which are most commonly used. This cut allows for the most sparkle. However, you can choose the princess cut, which is a squarer shape. This allows for the stones to be fitted more snuggly in the band, so there is a seamless line of stones around your finger. Alternatively, you can select baguette diamonds, which are often alternated with princess diamonds to offer more texture. This tends to provide a more vintage-appeal too.
There is nothing wrong with opting for coloured gems when choosing your eternity ring. If you want to move away from the traditional and to something with a little more spice, then gemstones are perfect. They are also less expensive. When you are newly married, or your baby has arrived, it is perfectly reasonable to want to manage costs. The gemstone is a way to send the message moderately and affordably.
A way to make your gemstone eternity ring special is to seek out the birthstone of your partner. This will add an element of thoughtfulness; it is a nod to a wish for long life as well as love. Alternatively, the birthstone of the baby, if giving a ring to a new mum, is a wonderfully fitting choice.
There are no set rules for how you select your eternity ring. If there were rules, we would worry, as the message you are sending is intensely between you and the other. It should only matter what the rings mean to you and your loved one.
Which Metal Type?
Traditionally, the eternity ring is made of either platinum or gold. You can select white or yellow gold. As with the choice of diamonds, the choice of platinum and gold is a celebration of something precious. However, you may also want to consider what other jewellery is in your partner’s collection, as this will indicate their preference.
This will be a choice of ultimate luxury, as platinum is the most precious metal on earth. It will continue to shine long after silver and gold have tarnished. It is the perfect setting for diamonds, and if you are going to invest in the most precious stone, you should opt for the most precious metal. It also communicates the perfect message: a durable metal for an eternity ring tells your lover that you expect that they will not remove this ring from this moment on.
- White Gold:
if you cannot extend your budget to platinum, but you want the appearance of the more expensive metal, then white gold is an excellent alternative. It is much more affordable and has been on trend since the 1920s. There is no such thing as white gold in nature, so you are buying alloyed yellow gold. This means your gold is plated with silver, rhodium or palladium.
- Yellow Gold:
This is the traditional option for an eternity ring and the gold colour adds warmth to the diamonds. If you choose 9ct gold, you will find it much cheaper than 18ct, though nowhere near as durable.
What are the Different Styles of Eternity Rings?
- Full Eternity:
The full eternity ring is set with stones around the entire band of your ring. This is a luxurious choice and offers the true meaning of an unbroken chain. If you choose an eternity ring, you need to be sure of the size, as it cannot be resized.
- Half Eternity:
Before you worry that a half eternity loses its meaning, as you cannot have half of forever, stop worrying. It is the ring that sends the message. The gems are the bow on top. Therefore, a halfway band, as well as being more affordable, is often perceived to be as stylish and meaningful. The half eternity usually features five, seven or nine gems. If you want platinum and you want a diamond, but you want a way to afford this, then half eternity is the way to manage expectations and budgets. The bonus of a half-eternity is that it can be resized. If you marry someone at 25, you cannot always be sure the eternal quality of the ring on her finger at the age of 55 – if you can see what we mean!
What are the Different Settings?
- Channel-Set Eternity Rings:
The name gives a clue to the set. There is a channel in the ring that runs like a trench around the finger. This channel is then set with your gemstones or diamonds. This is the most modern choice of setting and is suitable for any cut or variety of cut of the stone.
You need to think about your partner’s lifestyle too. If they lead an active life that uses their hands a lot, this is the best setting because it isn’t prone to snagging. The stones are set flush into the metal.
- Claw Set Eternity Rings:
If you imagine the shape of a claw, then you can picture the metal setting for your diamonds or gems. The metal projects out like a prong, running up the side of the stones, and gripping them in place. This is the best setting type for round brilliant stones, as it allows the maximum amount of light to pass through the gems, which might be lost with channel-set rings.
- Bar-Set Eternity Rings:
Here the gems are held between metal bands that are right-angled to the band. This is an intricate design and adds to the aesthetic of the ring, as much as the ring itself and the gems. It will sparkle enough to be admired but also offers something unique to your ring.
For all the history and the traditions, what you want from your eternity ring is all that is important. If you want a simple message of love, then a yellow gold half eternity set with coloured gemstones is as precious as a full eternity platinum ring set with diamonds. Consider the event it is marking and your realistic budget. You should also consider the comfort of the person that is expected to wear this budget all the time. More importantly, feel the personal message you want to send.
Are you planning to pop the big question sometime soon? If so, you likely have dozens of questions on your mind. How many carats should the diamond be? What are the 4 Cs? What metal is best for the band? And the most important question – how much should you spend on an engagement ring?
In our comprehensive Engagement Ring Buyer’s Guide, we detail all of the information that you need to select the right ring for the love of your life.
What Is An Engagement Ring?
The first question we need to answer is – what is an engagement ring, and how does it differ from a wedding ring?
Engagement rings are a symbol of your commitment, and essentially demonstrate the giver’s desire to marry the recipient. The presentation of an engagement ring usually accompanies the famous question – ‘will you marry me?’ and a heartfelt wish that the answer will be yes!
Engagement rings are usually characterised by one larger, dominant stone, often surrounded by smaller stones. The most common precious stone for an engagement ring is a diamond, but some couples prefer a different gem stone. On the other hand, wedding rings are more commonly a simple, plain metal band, with or with diamonds. The wedding rings are usually exchanged during the wedding ceremony, and are typically worn below the engagement ring.
What Are The Four Cs?
The 4 Cs are a common mnemonic device that is used to help people remember the four main characteristics of a diamond’s structure, beauty, and composition. They stand for Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. These are evaluated on a scale, and help to determine a diamond’s quality, and in turn, its price.
If you are interested in a diamond’s official 4 C rating, you should have the stone tested by a lab. They should be registered with the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) or the Gem-A (Gemmological Association of Great Britain) licensing bodies.
(Note: GIA is independent Gemological Lab they do not register other lab (not a licensing Bodies) & Gem-A is a association based in UK and Most of the intranational famous Lab Like GIA, IGI, HRD EGL are not its member. So I think we should remove this lines.)
To the layperson, diamonds of drastically different qualities can look remarkably similar. However, when an expert assesses them under magnification, the differences become clear.
Diamond Cut specifically refers to the quality of a diamond’s angles, proportions, symmetrical facets, brilliance, fire, scintillation and finishing details. These factors directly impact a diamond’s ability to sparkle, along with its overall aesthetic appeal.
The GIA grades Diamond Cut on the scale of Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. The Ideal and Excellent grades, depending on Diamond Shape, signify proportions and angles cut for maximum brilliance and fire.
The most perfect diamond is completely clear and colourless, while the least desirable has a noticeable brown hue. Diamonds are graded from D to Z. A D grade diamond is the best, having a crystal clear colour, and coming at a significantly higher cost.
Note: D, E, F Grade diamonds are colourless and best colour grade diamonds.
For reference please check the image.
The best diamonds are free from blemishes and inclusions. Clarity is measured on the following scale:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
- VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
- VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
- VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
- SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
- SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
- I1 (Inclusions 1)
- I2 (Inclusions 2)
A diamond’s carat weight refers to its density and size. Of course, a relatively large diamond can be deceivingly light (and vice versa), and its cut can also affect its size. While you might think of the carat as the most crucial factor in the look of the stone, the overall beauty (so, its clarity and cut) are more important.
What Are The Different Diamond Shapes
There are quite a few different diamond shapes, and each is best suited to the specific stone. An expert jeweller will know how to cut a diamond to enhance its shine, brilliance, and beauty. Here are some of the most common diamond shapes that you will encounter in your engagement ring hunt.
- Brilliant Round
This is the most ‘sparkly’ of all of the diamond shapes.
A versatile and sophisticated shape that works well for many diamonds.
A symmetrical diamond with a tapered point.
Designed to elongate the wearer’s finger.
A squared shape that maintains its sparkle and brilliance.
A classic and romantic shape.
An Art Deco shape with an elegant appeal.
An elongated shape than extends the look of the fingers.
A rounded square that disperses the light beautifully.
A chic rectangular cut that displays the brilliance of the diamond.
What Are The Different Settings Available?
When it comes to an engagement ring setting, you have many different choices available. Here are some of the prettiest and most common options.
- Prong Setting
The prong setting is the most classic option for an engagement ring. It consists of a metal claw that holds the diamond in place.
- The Tiffany Setting
Iconic jewellers Tiffany & Co. created this solitaire six-prong setting in order to increase the sparkle and light return on the diamond. It’s important to note that only the legendary Tiffany can sell their signature setting, but many other companies will sell one that is nearly identical.
- Bezel Setting
The bezel setting is nearly as popular as the prong setting, beloved for its modern design and practicality. The bezel encloses the diamond with a thin rim, preventing it from catching on surfaces and fabrics. This is an ideal setting for an active person!
- Tension Setting
Don’t get tense when you think of the tension setting – it gets its name from the tension of a metal band securing the diamond, holding on to the stone with pressure.
- Channel Setting
The channel setting is commonly used to set a diamond amidst a series of smaller diamonds on the band. This prongless setting is also good for anyone with an active lifestyle.
- Pavé Setting
Pavé is pronounced “pa-vay,” and it means ‘to pave.’ Imagine a metal band ‘paved’ with diamonds, and you have a pavé setting.
- Cathedral Setting
This is an elegant and timeless engagement ring setting, inspired by the arches of a cathedral. It can use a variety of bezel, prong, and tension settings in order to achieve its pretty, architectural style.
Different Metal Types
Platinum has long been one of the most popular choices for wedding rings and engagement rings alike. It is hard, heavy, and rare, with a stunning white sheen.
- White Gold
White gold is an alloy of gold and palladium or silver, and the result is a gorgeous backdrop for a diamond and other precious gems.
- Yellow Gold
Yellow gold is the ‘gold’ that most people think of when they think of an engagement ring. Many yellow gold rings are a mixture of copper, silver, and pure gold.
Silver is a classic, economical choice that is popular for those looking for a good value ring. However, do note that it will tarnish and dent more easily than other metals.
Titanium is a less common metal for engagement rings, but it is steadily increasing in popularity. It is durable, light-weight, and hypo-allergenic, and characterised by its darker colour.
How To Make Sure You Get The Right Ring Size
- Have a good look at her rings
Even if it is on her right hand, if she already wears rings, you can snag one as an example. If you think she won’t notice, you can take it to the jeweller. If that’s not an option, trace the inside with a pencil onto a piece of paper.
- Ask her friends, mum, or sister
There’s a chance that she has tried on their rings, and maybe they fit. Even if not, there is a chance that they know the answer you seek.
- Slip a string around her finger while she sleeps
If your lady love is a deep sleeper, you can try to loop a piece of string or floss around her finger while she is asleep. Once you have the string at the right place (without it cutting in), snip it with scissors or mark it with a pen.
- Take your best guess
The next time you are holding her hand, have a look and feel at her index finger. The average woman’s ring finger is a 6, so you can gauge her size based on how you think she compares.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?
This is an age-old question, and there is simply no consensus on the matter. While you will occasionally hear the figure ‘3 months salary’ bandied about, this is often considered out dated and designed to line the pockets of the diamond companies. The best rule of thumb is to spend what you can happily afford, and do your research to find a ring that you love that falls within your budget.
- Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?
While men do not typically wear engagement rings, times are changing. If you feel like you would like to rock an engagement ring, there’s no rule that you can’t!
- What Hand Does An Engagement Ring Go On?
Most people wear their engagement rings on their left hand.
- What Finger Does An Engagement Ring Go On?
Traditionally, people wear their engagement ring on their left index finger, owing to the (not completely accurate) belief that this is the closest ring to a vein that runs to you heart.
- Can An Engagement Ring Be Resized?
In nearly all cases, an engagement ring can be resized to make it bigger or to make it smaller.
Now that you have decided to make this declaration of your love and devotion, choosing the ring is your next important step. Selecting a ring is a big decision, but with the information listed above you can choose a setting, cut, and size that she will love.