You've done your thinking. You're ready to walk down the aisle with your partner. All that's left to do is to propose. Can any ring, though, be used as an engagement ring? We researched this to find out what the pros have to say!
You do not have to buy a special ring to propose to your partner. Any ring can serve to represent your engagement so long as your partner says, "yes."
That kind of broadening of options can be intimidating, especially if you've already started to look at the prices placed on some of the rings you're interested in. Luckily, we've done your engagement ring research for you. There are several factors you can consider before purchasing a ring that may make your shopping trips a little simpler.
Can Any Ring Be Used As An Engagement Ring?
There is no distinct make or mold that distinguishes an engagement ring from any other ring that a person may wear daily. Instead, engagement rings are highly individualized. The one that you and your partner are most interested in can have its design rooted in tradition. There are other factors, though, that you can consider before investing. These include:
Western culture would have many to-be-engaged parties believe that everyone wants some kind of diamond and expensive band. While these influences can point you in a particular direction as you're picking out a ring, there are others you may want to consider. For example, Irish families may prefer Claddagh rings. While you can invest in either a silver or a gold ring in most Western countries, families in India prize golden bands above their alternatives.
When in doubt, check in with your loved one's family before investing in an engagement ring. This way, you can determine ahead of time whether or not there are any cultural influences you'll want to consider before bringing home your ring.
Religion can also impact the opinions a person has about what makes an acceptable wedding ring. For example, if your partner's religion deems that an engagement ring should be modest, then you're not going to want to go all-out on a diamond ring. In these cases, you can work with your partner's family or preferred institution while you're shopping. This way, you can marry your loved one's aesthetic interests with the ring styles that allow them religious comfort.
Your Partner's Interests
Above all else, make sure that the engagement ring you pick out for your partner suits their interests. This means not only ensuring that it fits but that its size and general design reflects some of the styles they've adopted into their daily wear.
For example, say your partner spends a significant chunk of the day working at a computer. While you're shopping, then you may want to consider investing in a smaller band and gem. This way, your partner won't have to spend a few weeks adjusting to the new weight on their finger. Similarly, if your partner uses their hands in a factory or similar setting, you may opt to invest in a sturdy, non-slip material for your engagement ring. You can choose more expensive materials, then, for the wedding band, making that ring all the more special.
Which Is Better for an Engagement Ring: Gold or Silver?
Your engagement ring is more than just the gem, however. You'll also want to consider what kind of metal you're using for the band before making your final purchase. The two most common band options include gold and silver.
The Pros and Cons of a Golden Band
"Gold" as a category of wedding bands is actually fairly vague in its description. There are several different types of golds you can invest in if you're in the market for an engagement ring. Some of your options can include:
- Yellow gold
- White gold
- Rose gold
Yellow gold is perhaps the most visibly recognizable band material. However, if it an exceptionally soft metal. It can warp over time to the point where it can end up stuck on your partner's hand. If you are more interested in this coloration, work with your local jeweler to invest in a karat that's less likely to take on damage. White gold, alternatively, makes use of other materials like platinum not only to change the gold's color but to stabilize the otherwise variable gold. Rose gold does something similar, but it uses copper instead of more expensive material.
If you're thinking of investing in a gold engagement band, then you can relish in a traditional appearance that can still be personalized. Do be aware, though, that you'll need to test the durability of your preferred karat. You can also work with area jewelers to ensure that the materials bonded to either white or rose gold are free of harmful influences.
The Pros and Cons of a Silver Band
If you're looking for a silver engagement band, you'll likely find yourself shopping sterling silver options. This silver binds with copper to make the original metal studier. Under most circumstances, pure silver rings are just as likely to suffer from damage as the softer golds on the market.
However, the good news is that most silver bands - especially sterling silver bands - are ideal for parties that suffer from metal allergies. This silver is also often more affordable than cold and easier to clean. Unfortunately, if you're not diligent while you're shopping, you may invest in a silver that easily tarnishes. Professionals can help clear that tarnish away over time, but you'll need to factor that potential expense into your plans for the future.
You also have the option of investing in a platinum wedding band if you want to marry convenience, durability, and elegance.
Are Gemstone Engagement Rings Popular?
As money's gotten tighter in some households, gemstone rings serve as not only affordable but welcomed alternatives to more traditional bands.
The appeal of a gemstone engagement ring expands beyond its cost, however. The variety of gem colors, shapes, and sizes make gemstone engagement rings easy to personalize. If, for example, your partner values their birthstone above something like a diamond, then an emerald engagement ring may be more meaningful for them to wear than a traditional ring.
The only thing you'll want to consider when purchasing an engagement ring is its overall durability. The gems available to you are rated by their hardness. The softer a gemstone is, the more likely it is to suffer damage if your loved one wears the ring regularly. That said, you can work with a local jeweler to protect a sensitive gemstone if you've found a softer gem that you're truly invested in.
Is a Claddagh Ring an Engagement Ring?
Cultural influences on an engagement ring can see how unique designs make their way onto the market. For example, Claddagh rings stand out in the market due to their central hearts, crowns, and intricate Irish knots.
These rings do not just serve as engagement rings. Friends can also exchange Claddagh rings to represent a life-long friendship. At their core, these rings represent both a connection between the two parties wearing them and their shared Irish heritage. Funnily enough, the rings themselves find origin in Greek and Roman histories. Now, Irish families claim them as representative of their heritage.
How Do You Wear a Claddagh Ring?
You can wear a Claddagh ring a few different ways. When wearing a Claddagh ring on your right hand, the point of the heart can either point towards your knuckles or away from them. It can do much the same when worn on the left hand. The ring's meaning varies based on the ring's place on your hand and the point of the heart. The meanings break down as follows:
- Right hand, pointed in: the wearer is in a relationship but not engaged.
- Right hand, pointed out: the Claddagh represents a friendship.
- Left hand, pointed in: the wearer is married.
- Left hand, pointed out: the wearer is engaged or otherwise tied to another party.
If you're in the market for an engagement ring, the market is vast and welcoming. Just about any ring can serve as an engagement ring so long as it is meaningful to its wearer and giver. Go about your engagement ring shopping with your loved one in mind, and you'll find a ring that suits your needs.