Most Americans believe that a wedding band should go on the left hand’s fourth finger. This belief has existed since at least the fifteenth century and it is based on an outdated mix of ethnic, cultural, and religious traditions that have changed many times throughout history.
According to Western lore, the left hand’s fourth finger is the weakest and cannot be used independently. Male-centric culture still expects women to wear the band on the left hand’s fourth finger to show subjugation to their husbands. The awful residue of such chauvinism is upheld with an urban myth: supposedly a skeleton’s left hand from a seventh-century burial had a gold ring that closely resembled the contemporary wedding band.
Historically, an engagement ring served as a token of financial commitment and a placeholder for virginity. Today, the world embraces the engagement ring as a symbol of love, passion, and closeness between two partners. A wedding ring signifies eternal love, eternal commitment, and ideally, eternal happiness.
The choice should be yours. The preference for the right or left hand is based on ethnic, cultural, and religious traditions that have changed many times throughout history. The prevailing Western belief in wearing the wedding band on the left hand’s fourth finger has existed since at least the fifteenth century.
According to Western lore, the left hand’s fourth finger is the weakest and cannot be used independently. Male-centric culture still expects women to wear the band on the left hand’s fourth finger to show subjugation to their husbands. The awful residue of such chauvinism is upheld with an urban myth: supposedly a skeleton’s left hand from a seventh-century burial had a gold ring that closely resembled the contemporary wedding band.
They do not. A wedding band sitting flush with an engagement ring is hard to recognize as a separate piece of jewelry, defeating its primary purpose as a marriage symbol. A wedding band designed to fit flush is visually an inseparable part of the engagement ring. It makes the engagement ring look thick and lopsided.
Wearing a band that curves around an engagement ring seems convenient, but isn’t. Firstly, a curved wedding band looks silly on its own without the engagement ring next to it. Secondly, the elegance of a fine engagement ring is severely compromised by the addition. The curved border looks awkward and forced, like a car with a mattress tied to its roof.
Even a traditional eternity band can affect the appearance of the center stone. A stone looks smaller next to a large wedding band. We recommend a thin wedding band set low to the finger for most people who refuse to separate the two rings. For pave-set bands, bright-cut pave edges provide additional protection for the stones. Wearing a wedding band and an engagement ring together is not a symbol of everlasting matrimony but a recipe for disaster. Wear each ring on a different hand so they last an eternity.
Wearing both rings next to each other is often explained as “tradition.” In reality, it is a clever marketing ploy by jewelers to sell more rings. Retailers stand to benefit from wear and tear inflicted by this custom. They argue that rings have to match, making consumers wary of getting wedding bands from a competitor unable to match them exactly.
A wedding band, which is an exact twin of the engagement ring, is a common but uninspired choice. It is usually too dainty and insignificant to be worn by itself. The excessive wear and tear both rings inflict on each other works to the jewelers’ advantage. The friction causes the rings to wear each other out, leading to costly repairs, insurance claims, and more sales. The damage that friction causes can manifest itself quickly, sometimes in a matter of a few months when diamonds come in direct contact with each other.
In the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Iran, Chile, Italy, France, Sweden, Slovenia, and other Commonwealth nations, a wedding band is generally worn on the left hand. In Germany, Greece, Russia, Spain, India, Colombia, Venezuela, and Poland, a wedding band is worn on the right hand.
Orthodox Christians and Eastern Europeans wear the wedding band on the right hand. In Belgium, the choice of the hand depends on the region of the country. In the Netherlands, Catholics wear the wedding ring on the left hand, all others on the right. In Austria, Catholics grace the right hand, but Old Catholics stubbornly use the left hand.
Jewish couples wear the wedding ring on the left hand, even though it is worn on the right hand during the marriage ceremony. Muslims adopted the tradition of wearing wedding rings from the West. While Muslims usually wear the wedding ring on the right hand, there is no set rule or customs. Male Muslims are allowed to wear a ring made from any material except gold. Platinum rings are allowed. In Scandinavia, a jeweler’s dreamland, women wear three rings: one for engagement, the second for wedding vows, and the third for motherhood.
The Ancient Greeks were known to exchange rings as tokens of love and affection. The Romans turned it into a full-blown betrothal tradition. Placing the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand originated with a romantic but mildly idiotic theory that a secret nerve or vein connects the finger directly to the heart.
A Roman grammarian and philosopher, Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, got the idea from an unnamed Egyptian priest who kept insisting that the fourth finger is the most protected. How and where he used his fingers is lost to history. Macrobius went on to promote this “scientific fact” in the social media of the time: the public baths and bathrooms.
Pliny the Elder quotes: “It was the custom to wear rings only on the finger next to the little finger. You saw the statues of Numa and Servius Tullius, didn’t you? Later it became usual to put rings on the finger next to the thumb and even a little finger. Barbarian Gauls and Britons use the middle finger for the purpose. However, in Rome middle finger is the only one excluded. All others fingers are loaded with rings, smaller rings even being separately adapted for the smaller joints of the fingers.”
The prevailing Western custom of wearing the wedding band on the left hand’s fourth finger has existed since the fifteenth century. Isadore of Seville, writing in the early part of the seventh century, declared the fourth finger best suited for a betrothal ring. The Roman Empire likely followed this tradition to its end. The rules governing which side of the body is better suited for engagement and wedding rings have changed many times since Rome fell. Between the 11th and 15th centuries, French ecclesiastical rules placed the nuptial ring on the bride’s right middle finger, except in the rebellious diocese of Liège that bravely used the fourth finger.
Teenage King Edward VI of England had decreed that the left hand’s third finger should be the ring finger. Luckily, he died from a lung infection at fifteen before making up more ridiculous rules. So until the Reformation, the ring sat on the left hand’s third finger. The 1549 edition of the Book of Common Prayer brought dramatic changes. It required all Protestants to wear the wedding ring on their left hand. These Catholics stuck with the ring on the right hand.
The hippies of the Italian Renaissance hung betrothal rings from necklaces or thin cords and even wore them on hats. The 1493 marriage of Pope Alexander VI illegitimate 13-year old daughter Lucrezia Borgia to Giovanni Sforza was well recorded. The record specified that twin gold rings were set with precious stones and placed on the fourth finger of the left hand “whose vein leads to the heart.” Apparently, the vein was blocked soon thereafter because they were divorced in just a few years. Giovanni signed a paper attesting to his impotence, a small price to pay for freedom.
It was not unusual to wear the wedding ring on the thumb during the reign of George I of England (a German who could not speak a word of English) perhaps because enormously big rings were in fashion at the time. During the marriage ceremony, a ring was placed on the right hand’s fourth finger. There were exceptions such as noblemen entering morganatic marriage (marriage between a high noble and a crappy noble or, God forbid, a non-noble) would present his left hand to receive the ring, as in a “left-handed marriage.”
According to Chinese tradition, engagement rings are worn on the middle finger, while wedding rings are worn on opposite hands by the bride and the groom. The bride wears a band on her right hand, while the groom wears his on the left. The Chinese believe that a woman is in charge of the household, so her ring should be on her right hand. The right hand exerts influence according to the custom of “nan zhuo, nu you,” male left, female right.
In ancient Chinese philosophy:
- The thumb represents parents
- The index finger represents siblings
- The middle finger represents yourself
- The ring finger represents a life partner
- The little finger represents children
With your hands closed and all your fingertips touching, fold middle fingers since they represent yourself. You can open your thumbs: your parents are not destined to live with you forever. You can open your index fingers: your siblings will leave you to have their own life and family. You can also move the little fingers: your children will settle with a family of their own. But it is impossible to separate the ring fingers because, as husband and wife, you are destined to be together forever.
In the words of Confucius, “it is harder to wiggle out of marriage than wander into it.” 摆脱婚姻比徘徊更难
There is no ideal solution, but there are a few possible compromises:
– Welding both rings together. The Frankenring does eliminate friction but makes the ring less elegant. The solution to soften the aesthetic blow is to separate them with a small gap (about 0.3 mm wide). The rings are connected with tiny, nearly invisible pins but appear to be independent.
– Curving the wedding band around the engagement ring. Move your melting clocks, Salvador Dali, for here comes “the melting ring.” The so-called “shadow bands” can be hard to find at high-end jewelers, but plenty are sold on the far side of the shopping mall. Look for a small store right between “Jack’s Closeouts” and “Going Out of Business” outlets.
– Using a spacer. A spacer can be a plain thin metal band sitting between the engagement ring and wedding band. Also, a spacer can fit the engagement ring precisely in a lock-and-key fashion while its other side is straight.
– Placing the setting on the top of the shank instead of fitting into it. That raises the center stone and eliminates the gallery.
– Adding tongue and groove connections, which are essentially small hooks to lock both rings and prevent them from grinding each other.
Engagement ring styles have evolved significantly from the past. Contemporary bridal rings are lighter, more delicate, and often set with many very small stones called pave.
Use extra care during the wear to avoid bumping your precious rings into hard surfaces.
Regularly clean the rings by gently brushing them in soupy lukewarm water.
Visit your jeweler at least once a year to clean, dry, and check for loose stones using professional equipment.
By minimizing direct contact between engagement and wedding rings, you can avoid irreversible damage caused by friction.
Uniformed bands stacked together are usually immune from damage. As long as the bands are similar in height and have smooth sides, they are OK to stack. Your jeweler can easily polish off minor scratches and dents on your next visit. A band with an engraving on its sides should be exempt from stacking if you want to keep the engraving from disappearing.
Both rings will eventually damage each other. The extent and speed at which the damage manifests itself depend on many circumstances.
The most dramatic damage occurs when there is direct contact between the gemstones or diamonds of both rings. It is also the costliest damage.
Metal-to-metal wear will slowly burnish the metal and could lead to parts snapping or cracking. In the case of a stone-to-metal contact, the stones always prevail. Delicate prongs or beads are also very vulnerable, and it does not take long for them to weaken to the point when they can no longer hold stones in place. This usually causes pave stones to fall out.
The speed with which the damage occurs depends on how tight both rings are sitting on the finger. When both rings adhere to the finger well, there is less movement, so the damaging friction works very slow.
Even when both rings fit tightly, they oscillate during normal wear, causing them to grind each other. These subtle but constant vibrations are harmful.
Even engagement rings modified to fit flush with wedding bands are susceptible to damage. They shift up and down because the finger’s soft tissues cannot keep them in place all the time.
Usually, damage manifests itself in two ways:
A wedding band chews through the engagement ring basket, prongs, and gallery, on occasion carving a space for itself that can look like it is done on purpose.
The engagement ring rips off the top of the wedding band, which causes pave stones to fall out.
We strongly advise wearing engagement and wedding rings on two different hands to preserve their precious uniqueness and beauty. Of course, it’s OK to join both rings together for special occasions, but continuous wear will inevitably wreck at least one.
• A wedding band is a symbol of unity, signaling to the opposite sex that you are no longer available.
• Women tend to wear thin diamond-set wedding bands.
• Men gravitate toward masculine solid metal bands.
• To avoid damage, we recommend wearing engagement and wedding bands on separate hands.
A classic wedding band is by far the most popular wedding ring style. It’s a traditional solid metal band featuring a gently curved outer surface and a flat inner surface with chamfered edges. Classic wedding bands vary in depth, weight, and thicknesses. There are low, medium, and high dome bands. Alternatively, they might be referred to as medium-weight, heavyweight, or extra-heavyweight bands.
In addition to depth, weight, and thickness, a wedding band varies in how it’s shaped. The shape of its cross-section defines a band’s style and is called a “profile.”
In theory, a wedding band’s profile can have any shape, but the most popular profile is the Dome shape or D-shape. A band’s width is easy to decide upon just by looking and trying it on one’s finger. The choice of the profile is a bit trickier.
A High Dome D-shape band’s maximum possible width is approximately 4.0 mm. The Medium Domes are possible up to 6.0 mm in width, and a Low Dome can be made in any width.
Round or Halo profiles range from 1.0 mm to 3.0 mm in diameter, and they are essentially a round wire twisted around a finger. Despite their simple look, Round bands are quite elegant.
The Court is an oval profile with truncated sides. A Square or Flat Court wedding band has a flat outer face and a soft chamfered inner surface. Other Court varieties are Slight Court, Flat Court, Flat-sided Court, Traditional Court, and Edge Court.
A Cushion profile is similar to a Medium Edge Slight Court band. An example of that would be Tiffany’s Lucida band.
Flat or Rectangular bands range from 1.0 mm to 2.0 mm in thickness. They can be of any width. Due to their similarity to machine parts, flat bands are considered more masculine and are often completed with a brushed finish.
Concave bands are very European and have the shape of kidney beans.
Oval bands have a Low to Medium dome profile rounded to match the band’s curvature.
Knife Edge bands are typically used as “spacers” and may feature milgrain on top.
Wedding bands come in two varieties: Standard-fit and Comfort-fit. The Comfort-fit band’s inner surface is puffed up for easy sliding and a cushy feel. In contrast, the standard “pipe-cut” bands are flat inside, lightweight, and cheap. Americans call this feature a “Comfort-Fit,” while the uppity Brits call it “Court.”
A Comfort Fit band benefits those who take off the band frequently, such as medical professionals. Comfort-Fit bands, less than 3.0 mm in width, are too narrow to cause discomfort and do not require Comfort-fit.
A “light Comfort-fit” is slightly less rounded, while a “heavy Comfort-fit” has a bumpier curve. There is no uniform Comfort-fit profile; each manufacturer has a different template.
Bespoke bands like Leon Megé’s classic wedding bands do not require a Comfort-Fit because of their smooth finish and soft chamfered edges for maximum comfort. They slip on effortlessly and stay tight on the finger.
A classic wedding band with its traditional domed profile is the most popular wedding band for men. Men’s bands range from 1.0 to 15.0 mm wide. In the US, men go for 3.0 mm and wider bands, while women prefer the width of 2.0 mm or less.
A band’s width correlates with the finger’s size: a 4.0 mm finger size 6 band would look too bulky, yet scaled to finger size 16, a 4.0 mm band would look too narrow. 1.0 mm of width compensates for an approximate increase in 3 finger sizes. It means that a 5.0 mm size 14 band and 3.5 mm size 9 band have a very similar look on the finger. A band’s width is a matter of personal taste.
There are cultural differences – Eastern European men wear narrow wedding bands, while their wives like to cover their whole phalanx bone. In Europe, modern flat ring profiles appear wider than the domed bands of the same width favored by Americans.
A wedding band’s thickness correlates directly with its width – both increase in parallel. Very thick wedding bands may cause discomfort, causing fingers to flare because they cannot stay closed.
Unlike driver’s licenses, marriage licenses never expire. An eternity band is a symbol of everlasting marriage.
People buying a partially set wedding band are one of the following:
Thrifty: The typical price difference between partial and complete eternity bands is less than $500. Divided by the ring’s 25-year average lifespan, the savings come to roughly $20 a year – half of toilet paper’s annual cost.
Tacky: A partially-set band is the dickey of rings. A dickey is a Howard Wolowitz favorite backless false-front garment worn as a cheap alternative to a fully tailored shirt.
Misguided: The complete circle of diamonds in a wedding band has a deep meaning. To wear a partially set wedding band does not make sense – it’s like an atheist wearing a cross.
Cautious: Think would-be robbers will walk away if they don’t spot diamonds on the wedding band? Most criminals will know that two plain wedding bands on a target’s hand are simply wedding and engagement rings turned inward.
Platinum is simply gorgeous, providing a timeless look and beautiful luster. Thanks to its naturally soft white hue, platinum has always been a standard metal for engagement and wedding jewelry.
Platinum feels heavier and more substantial than gold as it is almost twice as dense. For traditional plain wedding bands, heavier is better – you can enjoy the feeling of its constant presence on your finger.
Platinum color is neutral – no need to worry about color coordinating outfits and accessories. It doesn’t tarnish or oxidize. Most British Crown jewels are made of platinum which is 30 times rarer than gold. Platinum is truly an eternal metal, and its purity resonates with the sanctity of marriage.
The mathematically derived templates developed by Leon Megé over decades of research maximize elegance and comfort in the final product. Leon Megé bands are distinguished by refined lines: precise, elegant curvatures that determine the look of any classic wedding band.
Leon Megé forges traditional, upscale wedding bands from high-grade platinum, sealing rough spots with a high-frequency laser beam. There are no soldering joints or casting seams.
Leon Megé’s bench-made classic wedding bands are available only to customers who have purchased an engagement ring from us.
The word milgrain does not translate to “a thousand grains” from French. The French word for milgrain is “grisant.” It means “dull,” “shaded,” or “greyed out,” referring to the monotonous appearance of the edge.
Milgrain is a technique of imprinting a row of miniature beads or semi-spheres on top of sharp edges. The purpose is to blunt the edge, conceal uneven spots, and enhance the design by giving it a lacy appearance.
Milgrain is done by rolling a special tool along the sharp edge. In tight spots, milgrain is fashioned one bead at a time using a graver. Imitation milgrain is cast from a mold or a CAD model. It’s vastly inferior to hand-applied milgrain.
Milgrain comes in different sizes ranging from #1 to #15 (0.1 mm wide to 1.5 mm wide). The large milgrain on a dull wide edge resembles reeding on the coin’s edge. The finer and prettier the milgrain, the faster it wears off and disappears, leaving a dull flattened border in its place.
Milgrain is short for “milled beads” or “imprint of grains.” There are alternative spellings of the word: “millegrain,” sometimes “millegraine,” but most often the term is “millgrain” or “milgrain.”
Aged platinum has a dignified, noble appearance. When the platinum surface becomes uniformly scratched and dented, it settles into a stable condition best described as distressed “shabby chic.” Reminiscent of a brightly shined piece of vintage silverware, a glistening bright surface punctuated by microscopic dings.
It is worth anticipating this unique rustic look that is impossible to mechanically reproduce unless a squad of Oompa-Loompa jewelers pummels the band with miniature hammers for about a week. Platinum, unlike gold, is a self-burnishing metal and does not shed its layers during wear.
White gold is not an ideal choice for a wedding band. White gold was created as a platinum substitute during the war when platinum was considered a scarce strategic asset. White gold is usually plated with rhodium to conceal its yellow tint.
A thin layer of rhodium (a white metal in the platinum group) is applied to the surface, giving white gold its bright white shine. Rhodium is very hard, so it provides a degree of protection from scratches until its thin layer wears or peels off. That’s why white gold jewelry needs to be “dipped” from time to time to reapply rhodium.
Some jewelers falsely claim that the white gold alloy they use is so white that it does not require rhodium plating. It’s a lie; such alloys do not exist. Consumers are also often misled into thinking that white gold is harder than platinum. This is false; platinum is harder.
The short answer is no, yellow gold’s popularity is on the decline. Historically, gold’s rich yellow color was a significant draw. However, women and men have been shunning yellow metal for many decades now. Gold is not making a comeback in bridal jewelry. Today, it’s more and more a symbol of excess and extravagance.
In an episode of the popular Sex and the City, the yuppy icon, Carrie Bradshaw, dry heaved at the news that her boyfriend was about to get her a gold ring. If you want a warm metal color for your wedding band, consider pink gold instead of yellow.
Platinum is the metal of choice for bridal jewelry. Choosing the right metal is a very personal decision, and each material has advantages and disadvantages. Platinum always comes out as a winner. Platinum’s extremely high melting point withstands intense heat applications, such as oven temperature sensors and crucibles, or coating on ballistic missiles.
In the last decade, gold cost almost twice as much as platinum. There are several reasons why gold bands are cheaper:
- – Platinum is much denser; the same band weighs almost double when it’s platinum.
- – The platinum alloy contains 95% pure platinum, while 14k gold has only 58.3% of pure gold.
- – Platinum is usually combined with ruthenium, a platinum group metal, while gold is alloyed with inexpensive copper and zinc.
- – Platinum wedding bands are more difficult to manufacture as they require special skills and expensive machinery.
Once more valuable than gold, silver has been prized for centuries. Its relative softness has hampered traditional use for making wedding bands. Silver also tarnishes very quickly.
Pure silver is too soft to be used in jewelry; it must be alloyed with copper to boost its strength. Sterling silver contains at least 92.5% of pure silver. On the positive side, silver does protect from vampires.
Pink gold is an upscale alloy associated with wealth, glamour, and grandeur, minus the glitz and extravagance of its yellow cousin.
Pink, red, or rose gold (the same thing, rose sounds more romantic) is highly durable and resistant to scratches and dents. It owes its beautiful tender color to a higher share of copper in its alloy. Copper is also responsible for rose gold’s exceptional hardness that makes high luster polish possible.
Rose gold owes its prominence to Russians who used it in all types of jewelry, starting from Carl Fabergé’s famous Easter eggs to tea kettles for wealthy merchants. In Russia, up until very recently, pink gold was considered the natural gold color, earning it a nickname “Russian gold”. There are a few drawbacks – even 18k rose gold tarnishes fairly quickly. It is also more difficult to hand-forge.
Gold, silver, and platinum aren’t your only metal options when buying a wedding band. From traditional to ultra-modern, there are plenty of materials to consider:
Palladium is a naturally white metal that is visually indistinguishable from platinum. It is one of the rarest metals on Earth. A decade ago, palladium was considered a cheap platinum substitute, costing a fraction of platinum’s price. Today, palladium is twice as expensive as platinum. Even bitcoin millionaires will think twice before ordering a band made out of palladium. Palladium is lighter than platinum, very durable, and hypoallergenic.
Titanium is one of the strongest and lightweight metals available for wedding bands. Those exhausted from wearing heavy platinum bands can finally be relieved by titanium’s almost plastic-like heft.
Stainless steel rings are strong and cheap. They can be polished to a shiny chrome finish or brushed for a pewter look. Either way, you’ve got yourself a shiny piece of hardware.
Damascus steel rings are made of two alternating types of stainless steel layered together to create striped patterns. Some layers are chemically darkened to add a dramatic contrast similar to zebra skin.
Meteorite iron is often incorporated in wedding bands combined with other metals, such as titanium, platinum, and gold. Stellar-born superheated meteorites fallen on Earth slowly cooled over billions of years, causing iron molecules to settle into a crystalline Widmanstätten pattern that does not occur elsewhere on Earth. Tungsten, or Wolfram for Krauts, is a silvery metal identified as a new element in 1781. It is four times harder than titanium and hypoallergenic but unfortunately prone to shattering. Because of their hardness, tungsten rings have a brilliant, vitreous shine.
Tungsten rings cannot be sized, but this is rarely an issue. Tungsten rings are very inexpensive and can be easily replaced.
Cobalt is a bright white metal known as “poor wife’s platinum.” It is heavier than other non-precious metals, which gives it a substantial feel. It’s perfect for those who want to always keep in touch with their wedding vows.
Ceramic wedding bands may look cool at first, but they are more appropriate for teenagers. They are so cheap that you may want to marry a few more times to enjoy the bargain.
Wood can be found in wedding bands as an inlay in titanium, ceramic, or tungsten. Whole rings may also be carved out of a solid piece of wood. These rings are not indestructible and require extra care to stay presentable. On the plus side, they’re dirt cheap.
Dinosaur bone rings contain fossilized bones of Barney and his friends. His remains are cut up and used for inlays combined with meteorite iron, exotic wood, or other equally fascinating materials. A grim reminder that our remains might end up in family court one day.
Zirconium is a grayish-white metal that is similar to titanium but has a ceramic-like feel to it. Zirconium is shatter-proof, relatively lightweight, skin-friendly, and cheap. Zirconium darkens when exposed to oxidation, so zirconium bands are usually jet-black. Zirconium is used in nuclear reactors due to its high heat and corrosion resistance, so it’s a safe bet that Homer Simpson wears a zirconium band.
Antlers of many different species, colors, and textures are used as an inlay material in wedding bands, serving as a constant reminder of senseless animal murder. Some animals died before their remains were dug out and desecrated.
Carbon fiber is a very lightweight, durable material made from organic polymers. These wedding bands are made entirely from carbon fiber or used as inlays. Carbon fiber rings are pretty durable and cheap.
Mokume-gane is a highly specialized technique perfected by the Japanese of imitating wood-like texture on a metal surface (hence the name: mokume – wood grain and gane – metal 木目金 ). Various metals and alloys are fused to produce a laminate with a uniquely patterned finish. This stock is used for making wedding bands.
Denbei Shoami, a Japanese metalsmith, is credited with inventing the technique for decorating samurai swords. Just like wood graining is caused by naturally alternating harder and softer layers of wood, the faux wood pattern in mokume gane is due to each metal’s different physical properties – hardness, toughness, resistance to corrosion, etc.
Women overwhelmingly prefer wedding bands set with diamonds over plain metal bands. Even the Orthodox Jews required to wear a solid band at the wedding ceremony often set it with diamonds once the nuptial formalities are out of the way.
The choice of a wedding band depends on how the wedding band is worn. The majority of women wear engagement and wedding rings on the same finger. This eventually causes damage from friction to both rings, so we don’t recommend it.
For those who wear both engagement and wedding rings together, a pave-set band makes the most sense. A pave band works with any engagement ring regardless of the diamond’s shape.
There are two basic styles: soft blurry outline of modern pave, and bright-cut pave with well-defined rigid edges. Engagement rings with emeralds or Asschers are complemented by bands with a bright-cut pave. A modern-style pave works well for rounded stones such as ovals, cushions, pears, marquises, and, of course, rounds.
A thin low-sitting wedding band is key to minimizing friction. The choice of a bright-cut style pave offers better protection than a modern pave. A thin, dainty pave band will stay closer to the engagement ring without a large gap in between. It’s recommended to keep the band’s width to the minimum since a wedding band should not compete but rather complement the engagement ring.
For those who wear engagement and wedding rings separately, the possibilities are endless. A woman can wear a more substantial wedding band with larger stones without potentially overpowering her engagement ring. Any diamond shape or a combination of shapes is fair game. Larger stones can share prongs, hence the name “shared-prong” bands. Eternity bands can also be bezel or channel set.
To tie both rings stylistically, pair a step-cut diamond with a step-cut-set wedding band, while a brilliant-cut band can accompany a brilliant-cut engagement ring.
Wedding bands are typically less than 2.5 mm thick to prevent discomfort during wear. The band’s thickness is determined by its width and desired profile.
The band’s profile flattens out as its width increases.
High dome bands ranging 1.0 mm to 4 mm wide are 1.2 – 1.5 mm thick.
Medium dome bands ranging 2.0 mm to 6.0 mm wide are 1.6 – 2.0 mm thick.
Low dome bands ranging 2.0 mm to 10.0 mm wide are 2.1 – 2.5 mm thick.
Traditionally, the British Royal wedding bands, including the one Queen Elizabeth II wears, are fashioned from rare Welsh gold. It sits behind her engagement ring set with diamonds ripped from her late husband’s mother’s tiara.
Prince Charles wears a gold signet ring layered with his Welsh gold wedding band on his left hand’s little finger in a medieval fashion. Is it a sign of his individuality, as he claims, or a clever lifehack to halt the finger from sliding onto his enormous schnozzle?
Duchess Camilla’s gold wedding band paired with her gangsta-size diamond doesn’t distract from her Rottweiler features.
Princess Diana wore a Welsh gold wedding band until the Firm arranged for her fatal ride.
In a bold move, follically deprived Prince William decided not to wear a gold wedding ring when he married Kate Middleton.
Meghan Markle’s wedding band is made from the same Welsh gold stash used for royal rings. Prince Harry’s platinum wedding band has a textured finish that pairs well with Nazi costumes.
Princess Eugenie caused a stir when her Welsh gold wedding band turned out to be too tight for her souped-up fingers during the wedding ceremony.
After three years of dating, Nancy Reagan married Ronald and remained married for 52 years. She didn’t wear an engagement ring, but she wore a platinum diamond wedding band.
Hillary Clinton reportedly turned down an engagement ring in favor of pork futures. She and Bill exchanged family heirloom wedding bands.
Mr. Obama’s wedding band was a thick, carved gold band from Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10.
Melania Trump wears a 13-carat platinum eternity band with fifteen emerald-cut diamonds. The rumors of a Q diamond color are baseless. Supposedly, Donald bartered the $200k Graff eternity band worth $1.5 million for TV promotions on the Apprentice.
A quick look at celebrities gives us a great insight into the broad scope of wedding band styles. They rip through scores of marriages faster than fire through a box of matches. Each marriage has a wedding band that is different from the one before.
Celebrities have a pompous habit of attributing deep spiritual meaning to their jewelry to justify their extravagant vanity. The PR helps with landing cushy roles in movies without needing to visit Weinstein’s stained couch.
During a secret civil ceremony, Joe DiMaggio presented Marilyn Monroe with a platinum channel-set band with 36 baguettes. It wasn’t her only wedding ring, but it was sold for $772,500 at Christie’s in 1999, even though one baguette went missing. An astonishing price for the mediocre band worth less than $20,000 even today. It took about a baguette per week to keep the two American icons in an enduring romantic relationship that lasted only nine months.
Before Jennifer Lopez’s marriage ended in divorce, she often ditched her gold wedding band because it just didn’t go with her platinum rings. Most fashionistas agree that mixing gold and platinum jewelry is a big no-no.
Before her divorce from Kanye West, Kim Kardashian wore an ultra-thin platinum micro pave band – a surprisingly understated piece for her luscious form.
Carrie Underwood wears a curved diamond wedding band to accommodate her engagement ring. The platinum shadow band is said to be as unique as her singing style.
Scarlett Johansson wears a thick gold wedding band as per the Russian heritage requirements. Russian women favor bands as wide as a truck tire.
Chris Pratt wears a plain gold wedding band. In the movie “Passengers,” his character crafts a wedding band using platinum stripped from the spaceship’s fusion reactor. At least that’s what they want us to believe. We think he steals the ring from a jewelry boutique onboard.
Adam Levine got a plain platinum band for himself and a finger tattoo for his Namibian-born shiksa. “The tattoo is still there when I take my engagement ring off,” she said. “Wow, that was cheap,” he thought.
Amal Clooney’s dainty micro pave band sits flush against the platinum engagement ring she got from George. It’s not a million in a Tumi bag that each of his pals got from him, but still a nice gesture.
There are two basic types of finishes – shiny and textured. The shiny surface is achieved by gradually reducing scratches, pits, and other blemishes until the metal is spotless and smooth. A texture can be added during or after the polishing is done. It’s best described as “controlled scarring.” When it comes to different finishes, there is no universal terminology. Don’t be surprised if one jeweler’s satin is another one’s brush.
Properly made bands have a texture only on the outside and never on the inside.
The contrast between polished and textured surfaces has a dramatic effect: it clarifies that texturing is intentional and not a result of poor craftsmanship.
Here’s an extensive list of finishes available for your wedding band:
High polish is a crisp, bright polish with high-contrast reflections and without foggy spots. 1-2 micron precision is required for the perfect mirror-like finish (Source: “Kruger’s Guide to Industrial Smoothing”). The polish’s brightness depends on metal density and hardness. High luster is impossible on soft, unalloyed metal or a spongy, low-density casting. High polish is best at revealing the luxurious shine of hand-forged metal.
Bright polish is the most popular choice with the majority of women and men. 99.5% of women and 92% of men choose a bright polish for their wedding bands.
Matte is technically not a texture but a dull polish. Matte is the early stage of polishing a piece to a high luster finish.
The Satin finish is very fine and smooth. It resembles a surface of silk. The satin finish is composed of hundreds of microscopic lines that are invisible without magnification. The satin finish is often achieved by scorching a polished surface with steel wool glued to a handle.
The Brushed finish is done by manually applying one-directional strokes or using a rotary wheel with abrasive sandpaper. The finish is made of uniform scratches, and their coarseness depends on the grade of sandpaper used.
Stone or Bark finish is a rough, dented surface with a random granular feel. Typically it’s done by leaving the cast surface raw. This finish is popular with pretentious amateur jewelers unable to machine the casting to a clean, crisp finish.
Sabi finish, a Japanese word for “beautiful,” is a very coarse finish accomplished by making deep parallel scars with a knife-edge burr. The Sabi finish was named and popularized by the legendary jewelry designer Henry Dunay.
The Florentine finish is a pattern of etched lines crossing each other at a 90-degree angle. The technique makes the metal surface resemble fine fabric or course textiles, depending on how coarse the lines are. Typically, a special graver that cuts multiple parallel lines in one stroke can produce the finish. The Florentine finish features prominently in Buccellati jewelry, among many others. Florentine finish’s popularity began fading away in the 1980s.
The Hammered finish has an appearance of a rough, crudely forged surface. The dents are machined with a cutting tool rather than by hammering.
The Acid finish is achieved by applying harsh chemicals that leave thousands of microscopic pits on the surface. It’s a quick way of finishing jewelry on an industrial scale. Frost finish is an alternative name for the acid finish, albeit more poetic.
Sand or Sandblasted finish is a result of blasting the surface with a stream of an abrasive powder. The finished surface resembles a coarser version of the acid finish. Blasting is done under high pressure in a sealed enclosure to prevent inhaling since breathing pulverized sand can lead to a severe medical condition known as silicosis.
The Corrugated finish is a rough ridged surface with irregular trenches gouged at a 45-degree angle. This bizarre texture is found on low-end jewelry and never in fine jewelry.
Granulation is a recently revived ancient technique of assembling decorative patterns out of tiny gold beads soldered to the surface.
The Honeycomb finish is a hexagonal relief etched on the surface.
The Knurling is a diamond-shaped (criss-cross) pattern imprinted on a surface to assure a better grip. Occasionally it is confused with millgraining.
The Distressed finish is an artificially induced aged appearance achieved by rubbing or scorching the band. This is a natural finish that any plain wedding band eventually achieves during normal wear.
The Perlage consists of small, overlapping concentric circles produced by a rotating metal brush.
The Glashütte ribbing is produced by mechanical means. It emulates a gently rippled effect.
The Sunray finish is a spiral pattern typically covering large surfaces in watches.
Hand engraving is a form of artistic etching. Engraving can be replicated during casting as is done in low-end jewelry. A pattern can be milled using a CNC machine or a laser, but the results are always mediocre. Only when done by a master artist does the ancient art of hang-engraving look terrific. Custom engraving is expensive as it takes a long time, but it’s worth every penny.
Micro-pavé is a surface embedded with small diamonds or gemstones, each serving as a tiny tile. The combination of stones and metalwork is a form of composite material with a characteristic texture.
Wedding bands are measured by height, sometimes referred to as depth, and by width. “Thickness” could refer to either dimension. A clarification is in order.
Height refers to the measurement from the point where the band is touching the finger to the band’s top. Medium is 1.7 mm, heavy is 2.1 mm, and extra heavy is 2.5 mm.
Width is the space the band covers. Wedding bands’ widths range from extremely thin, less than 1.0 mm, to extra-wide, 15.0 mm, or even more.
The band’s width affects the comfort as well as the fit. Wide rings should be increased in size because they displace more skin. Do not increase the ring size on your own. Let the jeweler making the ring do it for you
A puzzle ring is made of disfigured links assembled tightly together so it appears solid. Once the rings have been dislodged from their places, it’s up to the wearer to solve the puzzle. The rings can be reassembled by turning each piece in a certain way following a predetermined sequence of steps. Directions for solving rings’ puzzles are usually supplied. Patience is required because forcing, compressing, or bending the parts will destroy the ring.
Puzzle rings are rarely used as wedding bands, but when they do, they can prevent cheating. The mechanism of how it works is unknown, but based on the historical records, Middle East rulers used to require each of their wives to wear a puzzle ring to guarantee her fidelity.
Puzzle rings were invented at least 2000 years ago and appeared in Europe during the Renaissance. They remain popular in the Middle East. When you travel to Damascus, pick up a puzzle ring at the Souk El-Hamidiyeh shopping center. While you are there, pick up a scoop of ice cream at the venerable Bakdash ice cream parlor.
Hinged bands offer flexibility that makes them very comfortable to wear. An articulated band has hinges that allow its sections to pivot. Whenever pressure is applied, its force gets redistributed, so there is less chance to hurt the finger. Someone working with their hands can appreciate the comfortable hug of such a band.
A flexible band can be made with just a few sections or many links, like a miniature bracelet. An articulated band is a good option for those who do not feel comfortable wearing rigid rings. A large number of men fall into this category. There is a drawback – the pins are likely to wear off and need to be repaired or replaced from time to time.
A shadow wedding band is a band with a curved section allowing it to fit flush next to an engagement ring. Also called “curved band,” “fitted band,” “molded band,” “custom shaped band,” and “waveband.”
A shadow band cannot be worn alone – that would look ridiculous. When worn with an engagement ring, it blends in awkwardly. Is this a wedding band or a very lopsided engagement ring? Hard to tell.
This aesthetically challenged option is available to all our clients who dare to ask for it. We recommend giving the idea a second thought.
The “Rolling” band is a name coined by Cartier for a set of several, usually three, interlinked multicolored bands. Each band is connected to the other two, which allows it to slide on the finger with unexpected ease. The Cartier Trinity band is one such example. Each color symbolizes a different aspect of a relationship: white is for friendship, pink for love, and yellow for fidelity. A rolling band finger size cannot be measured on a ring stick – it must be tried on.
Legend has it that Jean Cocteau saw Saturn’s rings in a dream, and his friend Louis Cartier turned the dream into a reality circa 1924. Never mind that long before Jean and Louis went interstellar, trinity bands were commonplace all over Eastern Europe. However, Cartier beat Russians and Poles to the punch expropriating the design to call its own.
A ring jacket, also called a ring wrap, a ring enhancer, or a ring guard, is an old-fashioned concept that’s gone out of style but is still being used today.
A jacket is made of two connected shadow bands with a space in the middle where an engagement ring can be dropped. A ring jacket is usually a way to add a “dressier” option to an engagement ring. It also adds stability to the ring and reduces spin. A ring jacket makes it possible to update the look of a unique engagement ring without changing the ring itself.
Using a ring jacket as a wedding band is a no-no. You cannot wear it without the engagement ring, and it looks like a part of the engagement ring when worn together.
Any band can be used in a stack, including most wedding bands. The key in assembling a stack is using bands that are approximately the same height so that none stick out.
A stack allows you to mix bands in many arrangements according to your mood, occasion, or dress. A stack of bands is popular, fashionable, even trendy. Adding a wedding band to the mix is a fun way to add more flexibility without buying more rings.
Unless an heirloom band stayed in the family for generations and has sentimental value, there is no reason to re-use someone else’s ring.
There are two reasons for a used wedding band to be sold: whomever it was made for, it didn’t work, or its owner passed away, and the surviving party did not feel overly attached. Do you want this twisted karma to affect your eternal happiness? We all know that curses and jinxes are silly superstitions but would you like to spend your married life proving that?
Unlike an engagement ring, a wedding band is usually not that expensive. If you cannot afford gold or platinum, get a silver one. Still too expensive? Steel, wood, or ceramic bands are super cheap.
A wedding band is worn nonstop, so ensuring it’s entirely safe for your skin is a priority. “Hypoallergenic” metals are those that are least likely to cause an allergic reaction. All metals except platinum can cause an allergic reaction.
Moisture from frequent hand washing or swimming can be a possible cause of skin irritation. Perspiration, lotions, and household chemicals trapped under the wedding band can also cause irritation. Cleaning your wedding band regularly and drying it thoroughly after washing your hands can rule out allergies. If you continue to have irritation caused by your wedding band, consider getting a divorce.
Nickel, zinc, copper, and lead used in metal alloys can cause allergies. Nickel allergies are prevalent and quite severe. European Union bans the metal from use in gold alloys. Unfortunately, the majority of white gold jewelry sold in the US is made with nickel alloy. It is worth noting that Leon Mege jewelry is never made using nickel alloy. If you are aware of any metal allergy that you might have, you can contact us to make sure the ring you’re interested in is safe for you.
Since the human body does not react to platinum and palladium, these metals are used for biomedical applications. Both are completely safe for people with sensitive skin. Platinum is 75% denser than palladium and 20 times as dense as water. Palladium is a precious silver-colored metal very similar to platinum in appearance. It’s almost as light as gold but more pliable. Both metals can be formed into virtually any shape and suited for all jewelry applications.
Yellow gold is generally hypoallergenic if it contains a minimum of 75% of pure gold – 18k or higher. Copper and silver used for alloying gold rarely cause adverse reactions, but zinc occasionally does. Gold alloys are significantly less hypoallergenic than platinum or palladium. White gold should be avoided because there is a strong chance it contains poisonous nickel.
Cobalt is a scratch-resistant, cheap, dark silvery metal used to make wedding bands. It is used in dental and orthopedic implants for its hypoallergenic properties and durability. You can also consider surgical stainless steel, whether it fell from the sky in meteorites or was melted by humans. Stainless steel wedding bands are cheap and safe to wear. When everything else fails, consider zirconium – a lightweight and hypoallergenic material. You can’t go cheaper than that.
Retailers love matching wedding band sets and what’s not to love – two sales with one sales pitch. A matching set usually consists of two same metal but different styles bands or similar style bands in a different metal. When the couple is together, matching bands are so sugary sweet you can get diabetes just by looking; when they are away from each other, nobody will know anyway.
His’n’her’s wedding band sets are popular in Europe, where couples are not embarrassed to wear identical rings. Such conformity of tastes between a man and a woman is unhealthy. Women deserve something more special, beautiful, feminine. Men require something more masculine and straightforward.
There are exceptions, of course, but we advise dismissing the idea of a wedding band matching set. Show your individuality! Otherwise, we end up marching in goose step, wearing identical Hugo Boss uniforms and saluting each other with the right arm extended at a 30-degree angle.
Zirconium, titanium, and steel rings can be cut off from the finger by medical personnel, but it’s a major headache, so medics will not appreciate your taste in alternative metals.
The hardness of platinum and white gold alloys is based on the Vickers scale (HV). The higher number indicates a more rigid metal. There is a significant difference in hardness between hand-forged (cold worked) metal and metal produced by casting.
How metals stack up from the softest to the hardest:
110 HV – 5% iridium platinum cast – incredibly soft, not suitable for hand-forging
130 HV – 5.0% ruthenium platinum cast
135 HV – 4.5% cobalt platinum cast, the relatively soft magnetic alloy used in mass production
150 HV – 18k yellow gold cast
190 HV – 18k palladium white gold cost
210 HV – 18k hand-forged yellow gold is used for bench work. High-end jewelers use 18k gold exclusively.
216 HV – 18k palladium hand-forged white gold. This alloy is rarely used because of palladium’s high cost. Platinum is the better option.
220-230 HV – 5.0% ruthenium hand-forged platinum. Used in high-end jewelry. All Leon Megé jewelry is made using this alloy.
220 HV – 18k nickel white gold. This alloy has a significant yellow tint. May cause severe allergic reactions. Illegal for use in jewelry in the European Union.
350 HV – 14k nickel white gold – rock-hard, dangerous, pale yellow, allergy-causing alloy, illegal in the European Union.
There are many different types of wedding bands unique and memorable, and there is hardly any need to personalize them.
For those whose ego yearns for more, hand engraving or setting a secret birthstone is a solution. Both are popular and affordable options for adding a personal touch to a wedding band. An engraved wedding date can also help to avoid the embarrassment of forgetting an anniversary. There are also various novelties, such as a digitally enhanced fingerprint molded on the band.
Very thin, flat bands can be used to separate a wedding band from an engagement ring to avoid damage from friction. This is a viable option if both rings have pavés, especially on the sides where they would be touching.
A spacer can also be added to a stack as an accent to vary the mix.
The art of decorating metal by incising a pattern of grooves onto its surface is called engraving. An engraving can be an inscription or a pattern. Cheap machine engraving, the type used for personalizing trophies or dog tags, is done with a marking machine or a laser.
Genuine engraving is done by hand using a special tool made of tempered steel. It’s called a “graver” (“burin” or “échoppe” in French, “stichel” in German). A professional engraver is an artist who uses metal as a medium. Precise work on a microscopic scale is challenging. Very few people are capable of such meticulous craftsmanship.
A hand inscription is an excellent way to make a wedding band special. An inscription is usually hidden inside the ring. On occasion, it can be on the outside for the whole world to see.
Engraving is done when the band is finished and polished. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try the band to ensure the perfect fit. Adjusting the size can damage the engraving, so it might need to be re-done. Decorative engraving is done to hide and beautify exposed metal surfaces. It is often done on the top and the sides of a band.
An engraving slowly wears off over time. It can also be damaged during ring sizing. An engraving can be restored, although an inscription tempered by time radiates a more profound meaning and should be left alone.
Wedding bands often carry a personal inscription immortalizing the couple’s feelings towards each other. Usually, it is a line from a poem, a verse from a favorite Holy book, a Chinese letter from a takeout menu, or anything else deeply meaningful to both parties.
The limited space inside the band already taken up by stamps and hallmarks calls for a short, abbreviated version of an endearment. A couple of short words will do.
Engraving the wedding date is popular and even helpful. It can prevent those embarrassing moments in a couple’s life when a spouse forgets an anniversary.
The inscription is meticulously carved by a professional using a special tool. It is tedious and expensive, but the result is entirely different from cheap machine engravings you get at the mall.
A Milgrain wedding band has an old-fashioned, conservative look. It announces your status to the Ivy League Country Club elite. They can instantly see that you are a traveling man.
Milgrain band looks like a traditional classic wedding ring with the addition of the serrated border created by carving grooves on a plain band or making a specialized profile with wedge-shaped sides.
A milgrain can be applied mechanically to wedding bands using a hand-cranked Millrite lathe/vise contraption.
“…In chemistry, the diamond, being pure carbon, is one of the most common elements. Yet it fashioned by nature into a magnificent crystal with the most dramatic history of all gems…” C.W. de Kiewiet
Metal or gemstone-set rings worn on a finger were used by men in power as tags for keeping track of their wives and concubines. Puzzle rings and ornate bands were popular in the East, while the European tradition favored rings set with inexpensive gemstones.
By the end of the Middle Age, diamonds started to show up in betrothal rings. By the 20th-century, diamonds were set in almost every engagement ring. Even today it's hard to find a couple without an engagement ring.
Even when they are called by other names, such as a "promise ring" or a "friendship ring," they still serve the same purpose.
The ring announces to everyone that the person is engaged in some form of relationship. A hand is the best spot on the human body for a ring to be attached to and to be noticed.
Following the relentless marketing juggernaut of DeBeers, diamonds ruled every matrimonial aspiration. Diamonds last forever as a sign of vanity and bondage between two people. In addition to being virtually indestructible, diamonds are rare, valuable, and above all - very pretty.
But it is a diamond's lack of color that makes it the perfect companion to a modern bride. Unlike a colored gem, colorless diamonds do not contrast with any outfit, garment, or accessory. Diamonds are easy to color-coordinate, and they fit virtually any situation in life, whether casual or formal. A diamond will burst in a brilliant fire, no matter whether you are enjoying the outdoors or working in a dimly lit office.
Diamonds, much like Bitcoins, hold no intrinsic value in the absence of a socially accepted value. Despite the fact that they were synthesized fairly recently, lab-grown diamonds are fully accepted by the general public.
A lab-grown diamond will save you a lot of money with zero trade-offs. They are virtually indistinguishable from natural diamonds, and in fact, are the exact same thing - just made by man and not nature. You get the same mineral, with the same optical properties, same hardness, and the same beautiful look. Whether the painter used oil or acrylic does not affect the value of the painting, as long as he is a true artist.
We are masters of bespoke micro pave work and nearly invisible eagle claw prongs that keep diamonds secure yet unobstructed. We can recreate any style that ever existed or design a new one that is uniquely yours.
Classic and traditional is the key to a perfect engagement ring. A thin, delicate band with the center stone set relatively low to the finger is the ultimate goal of a bespoke jeweler. The ring must be designed to complement the diamond, emphasize its strong points, and take attention away from any weaknesses. A perfect engagement ring shows a minimum amount of metal while maintaining its structural resilience.
If you are hard on your jewelry, we recommend staying away from pave, especially delicate micro pave. A simple solitaire or a three-stone ring is a more practical option. We recommend avoiding an engagement ring modified to fit flush with a wedding band.
Friction will slowly damage and destroy both rings. Excessive use of decorative elements takes attention away from a center stone. Same with disproportionately large accent stones or overly complicated designs.
- Choose a lab-grown diamond
- Get a smaller stone
- Compromise on color and clarity
- Choose less pave
- Get a fancy shape instead of round
A lower color brings the price down more than lower clarity. Most people cannot see the difference between an F and an H grades when the stones are apart. Round diamonds are much more expensive. A brilliant cut is better at hiding inclusions, an SI1 clarity is acceptable for a round diamond.
A diamond ring is not a financial tool to make money. It is an investment in your future relationship, a cornerstone of your new family, and, as such, it is priceless. 30-40 years ago, diamond ownership pretty much guaranteed a hefty return over the years.
The assumption that a diamond will appreciate no longer valid. In the last decade, diamond prices took a nosedive. But even if the prices recover, you stand no chance to capitalize on the price increase. As a consumer, you will lose at least half of the value by liquidating your diamond on a secondary market.