Ensure your wedding ring sparkles with personality and style – there’s so much more than plain bands out there
The other day, I was chatting to my parents about their wedding rings. “Did you get them engraved?” I queried innocently. “Nope,” shrugged my dad. My mum looked at him incredulously. “Pass me your ring,” she demanded, turning it over to reveal the inscription inside: ‘F.A.C to C.S.B 05.06.93’. Whoops.
It’s not his fault, I suppose. The wedding industry is so geared towards women that it’s hardly surprising when men like my dad take little or no interest in many aspects of the big day.
There are signs, however, that things are changing. “Encouraged by the fact that more couples are opting out of traditional norms, I think guys are now choosing bands that show off their individuality and not necessarily just matching their ring to their partner’s,” says Glasgow-based jeweller Katie Lees.
“I love it when men take pride in wearing a band: it’s the most significant and longest-lasting element of the wedding day, so to really cherish it is a must.”
Over at jewellers James Brown & Partners, it’s a similar story. “We’ve definitely noticed an increase in the number of men prepared to invest in metals like platinum and 18ct gold (whether yellow or rose), as opposed to non-precious metals like steel or titanium,” Julia Black tells us.
Finally! It’s clear there’s something of a breakthrough happening, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
A lot of men never wear jewellery, so it’s no wonder they don’t know the first thing about rings. Thankfully, the professionals have some pointers to keep you on track. “If something has caught your eye, I’d always recommend you ask yourself if you can imagine being happy to still be wearing it in forty years’ time,” says Julia.
“Trends don’t last, so it’s best not to invest in something that will date quickly. There’s a distinction between choosing a design that’s a bit different and picking one you’ll soon outgrow.”
Katie agrees: “Fashions come and go, so selecting something on a whim can come back to bite you. And don’t be shocked if it takes a while to become accustomed to your band. Allow a good two weeks to get fully used to any ring, especially if you’re not in the habit of wearing one at all.”
Before thinking of the aesthetic elements, try to get an idea of what size you should be looking for. “If you’re considering a narrow ring (between 3mm and 5mm), your finger should be measured by a gauge of a similar width; for wider rings, try a 6mm gauge instead,” suggests Orkney-based jeweller Sheila Fleet.
TOOL OF THE TRADE
It’s almost time to get carried away dreaming up your perfect band, but first there are some practical points to take into consideration, including the ol’ 9 to 5 (or 5 to 9 as the case may be). “Although it is not advisable to wear a ring while doing manual work, if you have this kind of job and you don’t want to take your ring off, choose a metal that is hard-wearing – maybe 9ct or 18ct yellow gold, or platinum, which is the most durable,” says Sheila.
Unsure whether the material you have in mind will be suitable? Ask the designer for guidance. “I recently made a ring for a cameraman who wanted something really low-profile so it wouldn’t interfere with the camera mechanisms,” says Katie.
“Likewise, if you’re a personal trainer who’s constantly lifting weights, I’d suggest you don’t wear the ring to work, or else that you go for a really hard-wearing metal such as palladium. For hygiene reasons, a lot of people who work in the medical profession can’t wear rings with stones set in them. If that sounds like you, go for something easy to clean.”
There are some metals it might be best to steer clear of altogether. “If your lifestyle means the ring is going to take a lot of wear, we’d generally suggest avoiding white gold,” Julia points out. “It needs to be rhodium-plated once a year to keep that ‘white finish’ look, which can become a bit of a nuisance.”
Did your partner propose to you? If so, it’s possible you’ll have an engagement ring to work around. Katie has the solution: “There are so many stacking options and shapes that can be manipulated to fit around another piece, or you could have something custom-built for you, to make a really considered, complementary design.”
However, in this instance, you might have an advantage over the ladies. “Most gents’ bands are broader, so it’s unlikely both rings will be on the same finger,” Julia offers. “As long as they don’t sit together, there’s no limits to what you can do.”
YOU DO YOU
And now for the fun bit: designs! Here at TTKS Towers, we’re always encouraging brides to stay true to who they are, and more fool you if you think we’re not going to give guys the same advice, especially when it’s never been easier to stamp your personality on a piece.
And it needn’t be flashy: “Something as subtle as an engraved line around the band could carry the hidden meaning of being the skyline of the place you got engaged or married,” suggests Julia. “It’s less common to see, but gents’ bands also look great set with stones – a diamond is a really effective way to inject some charisma.”
“Why not add your partner’s name in runic letters?” says Sheila. “Most people won’t be able to understand the text, making it extra special for the couple. Alternatively, our Ogham ring has a secret message inscribed that translates as ‘a blessing’.”
Of course, if there’s anything specific you want, jewellers will try accommodate your desires. “We like a challenge, so tell us about your ideas,” promises Katie.
“Pattern, texture, engravings, stone settings and mixed metals can all add a playful touch. You could retrace old engravings and patterns on a new ring, but giving it a modern edge; or create inlay and negative space with designs and shapes that mean a lot to the wearer.”
Above all, don’t forget that, like your spouse, this is a ring to treasure forever. “Invest in a style that won’t date and that you’ll never tire of,” Julia smiles. Sound advice if ever we heard it.