How to Choose Wedding Rings
Even if the groom shopped solo for the engagement ring, couples usually consult each other about their wedding rings. Some choose matching wedding rings, but you don’t have to. If you want a plain gold band and your betrothed wants something fancier, there’s no reason why you can’t both have what you want.
Pick a metal
Gold (either yellow or white) is the most common wedding band metal, but you can also buy rings in titanium, silver or platinum. Silver is least expensive, then titanium, gold, and platinum as the most expensive in that order.
You can get silver wedding bands for as little as $20 a piece. Aircraft-grade titanium is durable, but isn’t as easy to work with as gold. Prices for gold bands depend on weight: 14 karat is less expensive than 18 or 24 karat gold. Platinum rings start at about $300, but they are very durable and develop a unique patina with age. Remember that the price of the ring means very little; it’s the symbolism that’s important.
Antique jewelry and heirlooms
A good jeweler can adapt heirloom pieces to suit the tastes of you and your betrothed. If you don’t have or want to use a family heirloom but are interested in antique rings, look in pawn shops or at estate sales. Dusty or dull rings can be cleaned up, but inspect the pieces carefully for other damage.
Old or broken jewelry can be melted down or otherwise altered to create wedding bands. You’ll pay for the jeweler’s time and expertise, but you’ll save money on the materials. Plus, your rings will be unique to you.
Where to shop
If you decide to buy your rings new, you can check out mall shops, larger standalone jewelry stores, department and discount stores, local jewelers and, now, the Internet. As with so many other things, the Internet has changed the way people shop for engagement and wedding rings. Some Web sites allow you to search by stone shape or price. They can also help you finance your purchase (not that we recommend buying more ring than you can afford) and help you insure it.
You may think that locally owned jewelry shops can’t compete on price with the large chains. However, depending on the local store’s target clientele, some may be able to. Some small shops cater to wealthier shoppers, but many are in direct competition for the same people who shop the large chains. Because of this competition, many of these shops may be more affordable with their pricing, and they usually offer superior service, including on-site jewelry designers.