Some women fantasize about upgrading their wedding rings. After all, your lifestyle has likely changed since you’ve married, and your budget and your style are probably not the same as they were during your early days as a bride.
Shouldn’t your wedding ring change, too? We’ll talk about the latest wedding ring styles, the 4 C’s of diamonds, and insuring your wedding ring.
The 4 C’s of Diamonds
The 4 C’s of diamond grading are carat, color, clarity, and cut. The value of a diamond is a reflection of the combination of the four qualities. This combination of qualities comes together to make the most of each stone’s ability to transmit light and sparkle.
- Carat – The size is a measure of the stone’s facets. Diamonds are weighed in carats. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams.
- Clarity – Clarity refers to the way diamonds are formed. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics (inclusions) and external characteristics (blemishes). The greater the clarity, the fewer inclusions, and blemishes there are, and the higher the quality and value.
- Color – In grading diamonds, the term “color” may be a bit misleading, as it refers to the lack of color. The less color a diamond has, the more expensive it will be.
- Cut – The cut of a diamond is the most technical and complex quality to analyze. It affects the beauty and value of a stone and is selected to make the most of an individual stone. It also affects the stone’s brilliance, the fire, and the brightness.
The Engagement Ring
The symbolism and significance of the wedding and engagement ring is the union of the couple in wedlock. Couples want the engagement ring to signify more than their union, they want the jewelry to reflect the wearer’s personality and the giver’s heart.
The rings should tell a story and reflect the relationship. From traditional wedding sets to simple titanium bands, your choice should reflect your relationship, lifestyle and not create a hardship on the budget.
Getting creative with your ring sometimes means bucking trends.
Upgrading a Ring is a Personal Decision
For generations, it was accepted that engagement and wedding rings were symbols that were to last forever. Many women have enjoyed family pieces and passed the rings down through generations.
The rings themselves were symbols of eternity. While some families still do pass down family symbols, the idea of the ring is more of a representation of taste, income, or status. They also can represent different milestones in the relationship.
Changing attitudes toward traditional marriage and customs, including the wedding ring, are seen as a generational shift. Younger generations frequently view their relationship with many traditions as more dynamic than older generations might.
This trend is evident in many aspects of life but is particularly pronounced regarding wedding traditions. Many people seem to look for a classic wedding set and may look at their choice of jewelry in a similar way to other fashion classics.
Traditionally, a wedding ring upgrade would commemorate a major milestone. Ring upgrades would signify a silver or golden anniversary.
Today, it is not uncommon to upgrade rings much earlier and more frequently. Some couples even upgrade the ring as early as the five-year mark.
It has become common for jewelry store salespeople to first suggest the upgrade while couples are shopping for engagement rings. Getting your attention and keeping you interested and comfortable with the idea of ring upgrades as early as possible is a way to keep your business.
It’s good business for obvious reasons. Some shops even offer a trade-in program.
Restyling a Ring or Adding an Anniversary Ring
Diamonds are always going up in value, and if you want to upgrade your rings, there is not much downside.
If you’d like to update the look of your wedding jewelry but feel a sentimental attachment to your original ring you might talk to a custom jeweler about using your original stones and setting in a new design.
In the new design, you can add stones, redesign the setting, and add additional personal details to make your rings unique and meaningful to you.
Another simple option to update or enhance your original wedding ring could just be to add a complimentary ring that works to show off your original ring. Another option is to combine your wedding ring with other family jewelry in a new, more modern design.
If your original setting is a simple one, consider adding a complementary nest-style ring wrap. Adding this enhances your original ring and can signify a significant milestone in your relationship like an anniversary or the birth of a child.
Families sometimes have sentimental rings that have been in the family for generations. Wear these pieces as is if you like, or gemstones and metals can be reworked into different designs. Either way, including a family heirloom is especially meaningful.
Reworking older pieces of heirloom jewelry is a great way to preserve the past and participate in a way to be creative and practice sustainability at the same time.
When considering heirloom jewelry, remember to think beyond rings. Precious metals and gemstones from heirloom necklaces and earrings or brooches can be reworked into an engagement ring that showcases your love.
Making Your Decision to Upgrade
Keeping your original ring is often a sentimental decision. The original ring represents the hope and promise of a young couple just getting started in life. Many things change when you get married the first time, from different social expectations to changing financial obligations, such as taxes and insurance rates changing when you get married.
Many people want to hold onto that sentiment, and the original wedding ring represents those original feelings.
Alternatively, others may see that early stage as a foundation to be built on. After a few years of building a life, they may prefer to select something that they believe better reflects their aspirations.
Sometimes the original selection just does not fit with your current lifestyle.
For example, if you have a ring such as a one-carat solitaire, you may find that it is very inconvenient for daily wear. While beautiful, it can be annoying when performing daily activities like baking, cooking, and cleaning.
You may find that a simple band is better for daily wear, and add your more ornate jewelry for special occasions. Often, any jewelry can be impractical when your daily activity involves changing diapers, doing dishes, or gardening.
Current Trends in Engagement and Wedding Rings
There are several trends in wedding jewelry. One popular trend is commissioning a custom piece of jewelry from a local artisan. These can be very price competitive with commercial jewelry and reflect your taste and budget.
If you and your significant other appreciate artisan pieces, finding a local goldsmith can be a rewarding experience. Creating your rings from your unique design can add a special dimension to your wedding.
You can decide on a mix of metals, choose each stone to be incorporated into your design and add personal touches that will create a treasured heirloom, often for a price that’s very competitive with a jewelry store purchase.
Many people are now incorporating colored gemstones in their wedding rings. While diamonds are still by far the most popular, some people like the idea of using a sapphire, emerald or ruby, or other colored stone. (Think of Princess Diana’s lovely sapphire engagement ring).
Another trend now is shopping at independent, local jewelry stores, rather than regional or national chain stores. Besides supporting local businesses, an engagement ring is a substantial investment. It’s a good idea to have a personal relationship with your jeweler.
Having that personal relationship is also important in the future as your jeweler can clean, inspect, and resize or repair your ring. If you decide in the future to add an anniversary band or other accessories, your jeweler can help you with the design and purchase.
Perhaps one of the most important trends at the forefront of all jewelry design now is the importance of using sustainably sourced stones. Responsibly sourced diamonds and other gemstones are worth seeking. Lab-grown gemstones and recycled stones are also responsible choices.