WOOLTON AND HEWITT, CHATS CHOOSING YOUR PERFECT RINGS
Q.DO GAY AND LESBIAN COUPLES EXCHANGE ENGAGEMENT RINGS?
A. Some do, some don’t. Some couples plan their engagement and, if they decide to get rings, will usually select them together.
Others prefer to put all their effort into the wedding arrangements and opt for extra special wedding rings.
TIP: When buying engagement rings check that your preferred wedding ring designs will fit neatly alongside. If you think about buying shaped wedding rings make sure you’re happy with their appearance when worn alone.
(GALLERY AT BOTTOM OF THE PAGE )
Q.SHOULD WE BUY GOLD RINGS?
A. Gold, of course, is the most traditional material for a ring.
Gold is graded in carats where 24 carats is pure gold. When mixed with other metals gold becomes much harder wearing so rings are usually made in 9ct or 18ct gold. Gold rings made of 9ct contains 37.5% gold with the rest being made up of other metals like silver and copper. 18ct contains twice as much gold as 9ct. Your rings will be hallmarked by an official assay office with tiny stamps inside the band that confirm the purity: 375 indicates 9ct and 750 for 18ct.
Q. WHAT COLOUR GOLD IS BEST?
A. That’s really a matter of personal preference. Gold for jewellery comes in three main colours. Yellow, white, and rose or pink gold. Yellow is the classic colour, white gold has been very popular in recent years and within the gay community pink gold has a strong following. Other options include two-tone or bi-colour combinations and even multiple shades of gold and platinum that resemble a rainbow.
Q.WHAT OTHER PRECIOUS METALS ARE THERE?
A. Platinum is the most expensive of all the precious metals. It’s naturally white and has been used extensively in fine diamond jewellery.
In the UK you will find rings marked 850, 900 and 950. These are the official grades in parts per thousand. It’s expensive but it’s gorgeous.A modern alternative is palladium. This is another precious metal in the “platinum group” of noble metals. Its popularity has increased a lot recently. Recognised grades for rings are 500 and 950. Again, that’s parts per thousand. Like platinum, it is naturally white but with the advantage that it’s less costly. You can expect a palladium 950 ring to be priced somewhere between 9ct and 18ct gold.TIP: If you’re offered a ring in palladium 500 remember only half is actually precious metal so you should expect the price to be significantly lower than palladium 950 which is 95% pure.
Q.WHAT ABOUT DIAMONDS?
A. An excellent question, and a huge topic in its own right. Gay and lesbian couples have the freedom to make their own traditions when it comes to marriage. An engagement ring can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be a solitaire diamond on a narrow band or a huge sapphire and diamond cluster. The options are boundless.Similarly, your wedding rings don’t have to follow the established pattern and be plain gold bands. Just like diamonds your wedding rings are forever. Many same sex couples are seizing the opportunity to sparkle and wearing fabulous diamond set designs.
Q.ANYTHING ELSE WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIAMONDS?
A. Yes! Understanding diamonds is a very technical business.
A quick outline follows but the best advice is to buy your diamonds from a jeweller you trust.The 4 C’s (Carat, Clarity, Colour, Cut) give you a good way to delve into diamonds.Carat is the weight of the diamond. As a guide, an engagement or wedding ring might have a 1/4 or 1/2 carat single stone or maybe half a dozen diamonds with a total weight of 1/2 carat.Clarity refers to marks within a diamond. These tiny “inclusions” are usually small pieces of carbon that haven’t crystallised. Most engagement and wedding rings will be set with diamonds from the middle of the clarity scale: “very slightly imperfect” ( VS1, VS2) and “slightly imperfect” (SI1, SI2). But we are talking about really tiny marks that you need a magnifying glass to see.Colour is very important. Diamond colour is graded from D to Z with D being colourless stones, the most prized so of course the most expensive. At the other end of the scale Z represents a yellowish colour. A good quality ring will contain a “near colourless” stone which is graded G-H.Cut is basically the shape of the stone. The most usual shapes are round “brilliant” cut, square “princess” cut, and rectangular “baguette” cut. There are many other possibilities too. The choice is yours.In summary, the price of the diamond reflects these and other qualities of the individual stone. And good jeweller will give you the choice, if you wish, to select diamonds that perfectly align with your desires and budget.TIP: Don’t be rushed into a decision by an apparently huge diamond discount, find rings that are beautifully made and that look beautiful to you and your partner.
Q. HOW DO WE GET THE RIGHT SIZES?
A. Another excellent question. Getting the right finger size is really important so your ring is comfortable and won’t fall off! Points to consider are the width of your new ring, wider ones will probably need to be a little larger. And when taking measurements think about how your finger size varies at different times of day and at different temperatures. The best way to establish your size is with a set of professional ring sizers. These can be tried on in jewellery shops or are available online to buy or borrow.
TIP: Individual professional ring sizers are best as you don’t have the weight of all the others pulling on your finger.
Q. ANY FINAL ADVICE?
A. Just to have fun! Shopping for rings should be a wonderful and pleasurable experience enjoyed by both of you. In the high street or browsing online set your sights high. With a little luck it will be love at first sight all over again – then you know you’ve found the perfect rings for you!