Put a ring on it

What to look for in a wedding ring

Now that you have some bling on your finger signifying your engagement, you’ll soon be looking for the counterpart ring to signify your marriage. Here are some questions to ask before you seal the deal on your wedding ring.

Was it ethically produced?

Despite a heightened awareness about the problem of “blood diamonds”—diamonds mined in torture camps and war zones—the issue is still rampant in many regions of Africa, including Zimbabwe and the Côte d’Ivoire. Ethical diamonds can still be found, however—look for companies that use terms like “conflict-free” or “ethically sourced,” but do background research before you commit to a ring. A quick Google search is an easy way to find out if companies are making false claims.

Many couples are choosing to forgo diamonds altogether, opting for stones and gems instead. However, it’s not just the jewels that can be a problem. Mining gold is damaging to the environment, and has its own ethical quandaries concerning the health of indigenous populations. Other metals, such as titanium, can be more sustainable and durable options.

Is it in your budget?

Even small weddings can put a strain on bank accounts, so consider the cost when purchasing the perfect wedding rings. While having the rings ready for the ceremony is vital, it might be an option to use a temporary ring while saving up for something that will last a long time. Payment plans, too, are often available, but it’s not worth going broke at the start of your marriage over something trivial.

Is it made from durable materials?

If having your ring ready to go on your wedding day is preferable, a small budget doesn’t have to result in a cheap ring. You still want to choose a piece that will stand the test of time. Some cheap metals, such as copper, can cause allergic reactions to those with sensitive skin, and are also known to turn skin green after extensive wear. A poorly made ring is also at risk for losing hold of the jewels.

Does it fit your style?

Given that a wedding ring is an item most married people wear every day, consider how it fits your personality. A custom jewelry maker can help you design and create a ring of your choosing. Vintage rings often have stories attached and can come in unusual designs from decades past. Some couples opt for highly personalized rings, like a fingerprint ring, in which the ring is stamped with the spouse’s fingerprint.

If you and your fiancé prefer simplicity, a flashy ring might clash with your everyday wear. Most metals and diamonds will match any outfit. Also take into account your profession—many people in with labor-intensive professions choose to leave wedding rings at home, so if having a symbolic representation of your marriage with you at all times is important, perhaps try something different altogether, like a small tattoo on your ring finger. If that’s too radical, carrying your ring on a necklace might be a better option.