You’ve heard the “4 Cs” of smart diamond buying. But what about the wedding band? Wedding bands are not the most expensive wedding purchase you will make, not like spending between $1,000-$10,000 on that beautiful sparkling diamond rock. You may not spend a lot of time researching the wedding band purchase, but many people end up wearing their wedding band more often and on a day to day basis compared to their engagement ring.
Make an informed decision when purchasing your wedding band.
• Do you prefer a traditional plain wedding band or a design wedding band?
• Do you want to budget in for a designer name brand or do you prefer to forgo the brand name and opt out for essentially the same ring without the “name”, thereby significantly reducing costs?
• Pricing Your Wedding Band.
Plain Wedding Bands
You may want to consider a plain band if you prefer a simple design or are not a big “jewelry person”. As a jeweler, I often get women shopping for their husbands wedding bands who are considering a plain band because their husband “does not like jewelry”. I usually recommend a narrower plain wedding band, such as a white gold or yellow gold 4mm wide band. Although a wider 6mm, 7mm, or 8mm band is standard for most men, someone who does not wear a lot of jewelry may feel more comfortable in a narrow band. (Wedding bands are usually measured in millimeters. A 4mm band is approx. ¼” wide).
If someone is looking for something with a little more of a design, but still wants a simpler band, I may even steer them towards a more subtle design, such as a hammered wedding band. Hammered bands are still understated, but a little more exciting than a traditional plain band.
There are many types of design wedding bands to choose from, such as braided wedding bands, hammered design bands, paisley bands, and other unique designs, such as a Celtic wedding band.
The type of design band wedding you choose is a personal choice. There is nothing scientific or practical in selecting a design wedding band other than primarily deciding what type of design you simply like.
The only practical considerations that you may want to make in selecting a wedding band with designs is in understanding that trends come and go and you will be wearing and looking at the design hopefully forever. The other consideration is in deciding whether you will wear your ring on a daily basis and what kind of wear and tear your ring can safely sustain. This usually depends on the type of work or career or regular hobbies.
Do you work with your hands a lot? Do you do construction work or do you have an office job that is not taxing on your hands? In purchasing a design band, if you are planning to wear your ring to a job that is physically demanding you may want to consider a hammered design band or a similarly rugged design that can withstand wear and tear. You may want to stay away from a braided wedding band, for example, if you are a police officer and want to wear your ring on the job! If you are “outdoorsy” and rugged, you may want a more solid band with less design that could get damaged.
Keep in mind these are extreme cases. Most braided wedding bands are tougher than they appear and will be fine under most conditions.
Design Band or Designer Name Brand
Most wedding bands that are on the market today are actually not designer name brand rings, yet they are, in my opinion, the same quality as most designer name brand rings. The difference with a designer name brand and a generic version is mainly the price. Most design bands range between $300-$350 vs. $600-$800 for the exact ring made by a known designer name.
However, if paying 2-3 times more is not a significant difference to you, you may want to consider a name brand simply for the security or status that the name you purchase may give you. In shopping for a wedding band, whether it is a designer name or not, make sure you understand your wedding or jewelry store’s policies, warranties, and guarantees. Often, the generic brand will offer you the same security, quality, and warranties. So why spend the extra?
Yellow Gold, White Gold, or Two-Tone
This too is mostly a personal choice, but there are a few things to consider in selecting your wedding bands’ color or metal type.
White gold is often more suitable for those who are not normally big jewelry wearers. White gold is also somewhat more contemporary, although trends suggest that yellow gold may be coming back strong into fashion. Ultimately, whether you choose yellow or white gold should depend on your personal preference, rather than following any trend, since trends come and go and you plan to wear your ring forever!
You may also want to consider two-tone gold. Two-tone wedding rings are an excellent compromise between subtle and rich tones and they serve one additional purpose that people tend to overlook.
Two-tone wedding bands give you the flexibility of both yellow and white gold colors so that you can match a variety of other jewelry with your wedding jewelry. If you buy a white gold wedding band, all of your future jewelry purchases will tend to be white gold. Wearing yellow gold or two-tone with your white gold ring may clash. The same can be said of pure yellow gold. But with a two-tone wedding band, you can wear an all yellow gold bracelet or watch, for example, and interchange jewelry and colors. This adds great versatility to your jewelry line-up.
Use the below benchmarks to assess if your selected jeweler is charging you too much or if their prices are reasonable.
Expect to spend between $100-$150 for a plain, traditional wedding band.
Expect to spend approx. $300 for a standard, but high quality design wedding band.
Expect to spend between $600-$800 for a designer name brand.
Remember, you may not want to dish out the additional cost for a designer name brand when you can find virtually the same ring without the “name”. Above all, this should be a choice that you make yourself or with your spouse. Forget about trends and think long-term. $300 over 50 years of your life is less than a penny a day! Don’t get caught up too much in the price. Opt for the ring that you really want. You plan to wear your ring forever.
Afshin Yaghtin graduated from UCLA as an English major and earned his M.A. degree in Literature at the University of Wales. He is currently the owner of Apples of Gold Jewelry and Wedding-Band-Ring.Com.