THE FOUR C’S OF WEDDING RINGS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Where did the tradition of engagement rings and wedding rings come from? It’s said that Maximillion of Austria started this over 500 years ago, when he gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy to seal their engagement. He made a very wise choice the diamond proven to be a fitting symbol for everlasting love because of its beauty, hardness, rarity and its enduring value.
Before you purchase your ring, you need to understand the fours Cs of the diamond industry. Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. These four factors determine the value of a diamond.
Cut: this determines the visual beauty of a diamond. The cut transforms a rough, naturally occurring crystal into the faceted and refined gemstone seen in the store.
Colour: the common diamond is somewhat colourless, and tinged with yellow, brown or grey. A completely colourless diamond is very rare, making it extremely valuable. Colour – like blue, yellow or green to name a few – is also very rare and valuable. These diamonds are also called “fancy stones”.
Clarity: this is the most impressive quality in a diamond. The more irregularities there are, the lower the value. A flawless diamond must show no surface blemishes or interior inclusions when examined at a 10-power magnification.
Carat:a diamond’s weight is measured in carats. Diamonds with a higher carat-weight are rarer and consequently more expensive. Keep in mind that two diamonds can have the same carat-weight but still differ in price depending on the other three Cs: cut, colour and clarity.
Your ring’s cut, setting and stone should be a reflection of your personal style and taste. Start shopping early. Give yourself a minimum of two months before your wedding to shop and pick out your wedding rings. Things like engraving can take up to a full month (sometimes longer in the busier wedding months) so factor that into your timeline. Don’t feel like you have to make a decision on the first trip. A lot of jewellery stores understand that you will need to make multiple trips before you and your fianc commit to the final product.
Set aside approximately 2% of your total wedding budget for your wedding rings. Gold bands are considerably less expensive than platinum, which is a very popular choice for wedding rings. However, if your budget is a factor, try going for white gold instead of platinum. If you can’t afford the rings your heart is set on, get some simple wedding bands and upgrade on your fifth wedding anniversary.
Consider all of your finishing options when choosing your rings. Details like engraving or finish can turn a simple band into something amazing. However, you want to watch out for trends. Your wedding bands are something you and your fianc will be wearing for the rest of your life. Whatever you decide on, make sure the designs and the styles are something you will enjoy for five, ten or even fifty years down the road. This is especially true for the guys.
While there are a lot of people who believe the bride and groom should have matching wedding bands, this is not a necessity. You could have extremely different ideas on what you like and what you think would look good on your hand. If you do want something that matches, look for rings that share some features like mixed metals but different decorations.
Last but certainly not least: there is a good possibility that your hands will swell some on your wedding day with heat, nerves and/or stress. Get your wedding rings sized well in advance but don’t finalize your ring size in the morning, after working out or when you are really hot/cold. These are times when most people’s hands swell. Plan ahead and try on your wedding rings one last time a couple of days before your wedding to make sure the fit is still good.
Happy shopping and don’t be afraid to squeal a little bit when you see all those gorgeous rings!
THE CLADDAGH RING – FRIENDSHIP, LOYALTY, AND LOVE
The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring that has been given as a token of love or worn as a wedding ring for centuries. Each portion of the ring implies something different and special: love (the heart), friendship (the clasped hands), and loyalty (the crown).
The Claddagh ring has become an important piece of the Irish tradition because of its history and the immense significance behind each segment of the ring. It’s said that over 300 years ago, Algerian pirates captured a fishing boat from the Irish Claddagh village, and as was common in those days, the crew was captured and sold into slavery. Among the captives was Richard Joyce, a man that was due to be married to his love back in Claddagh. Joyce was sold to a rich Moorish goldsmith, where he quickly learnt and developed his craft in the goldsmith trade. It was during this time that Joyce designed and created the priceless Claddagh ring for his love.
The prevailing story of Richard Joyce’s return to Claddagh is that “he was released when William III of England demanded that all slaves be released.” The story also said that the Moorish goldsmith whom Joyce was sold to offered him half his wealth and his only daughter in marriage, but Joyce refused the offer and returned to Claddagh to marry his love. The two soon were married, and there began the rich history and meaning behind the Claddagh ring…
Recently, the popularity of the Claddagh ring as a wedding or engagement symbol has grown worldwide. Adding to the allure of this trend is that you can signify your relationship status by wearing the Claddagh ring a certain way. There are numerous messages that can be communicated by simply wearing it on different hands and having the heart face a certain direction.
There are two things that one should consider when wearing their Claddagh ring:
1. Wearing the ring on the right vs. left hand.
2. Having the heart facing upwards (towards your fingernails) vs. facing downwards (towards your wrist).
When wearing the Claddagh ring on the right hand, you are communicating that your heart is available if the heart is facing upwards. However, having the heart facing downwards, while still wearing it on your right hand, indicates that your heart is taken. Finally, during the ceremony when you and your partner have unified your love for each other through marriage, the Claddagh ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing downwards. This symbolizes that that your heart is now taken and that there is a commitment of marriage to someone.
The Claddagh ring would be a great gift for any girl as the ring’s significance will surely make it an item that will be treasured.