buyers guide

Wedding Ring Guide

Wedding rings are one of the most important purchases you will make in your life and they have a long and rich history and are an important part of any wedding be it religious or civil and are key in so many different cultures.

It is the purchase that you will look back on when you have enjoyed a long and wonderful marriage and know that this is the item you wore at the ceremony where you declared the love for the one most important to you.

So with the massive choice of wedding rings how can you decide on the perfect pair of rings.

Wedding rings are available in gold, platinum and palladium. So lets start there.

Yellow gold wedding rings have been and will continue to be a classic. Gold is a rare and valuable metal and this is what makes it such a wonderful metal to use in ones wedding ring. Gold in its natural state is yellow and is often described as 9ct, 18ct or 22ct gold. The different carats of gold refer to its purity and the purer it is the more valuable the piece of jewellery is. Pure gold is 24ct anything less than that is alloyed with other metals (any other metals). In the UK all gold over a certain weight (indeed a number of precious metals are hallmarked). The recognized standards in this country are 9ct gold (375 parts gold to 625 other metals), 14ct gold (585 gold to 415 parts other metals) 18ct gold (750 parts gold to 250 parts other metals), 22ct gold (916 parts gold to 84 parts other metals. 24ct gold is also recognized, which is not readily or commonly available.

Gold is alloyed with other metals both to harden the gold and to provide colour variance. So for example white gold may be alloyed with silver, rose gold with copper to give their colours.

The most common and popular alloy choice for wedding rings in the UK is 9ct gold and 18ct gold and this is very much reflected at

In recent times with the popularity of white metals, white gold has become an increasingly popular choice for the bride and groom. It should be mentioned that white gold is not yellow gold that has been coated, but an alloy as described above which is then often finished with a rhodium plating (rhodium being a metal from the platinum family).

Platinum wedding rings are surely the most most noble of metals and is such a hard metal that it has only been used relatively recently in jewellery, certainly its popularity for wedding rings and indeed other jewellery is a 20th century phenomena.

Platinum has a number of advantages in wedding rings, being very tough and hard platinum will not wear down in the same way that gold does although contrary to a public misconception it will scratch.

Platinum is naturally white and is not alloyed in order be white – it is a white metal. That said platinum is often rhodium over to give it what may be described as a showroom finish. Platinum will not tarnish.

Platinum that is used more commonly is 950 parts platinum to 50 parts other metals and this makes it very pure and ideal if you suffer from allergies as it is generally considered to be hypo allergenic.

Finally platinum is rare, very rare and wearing it puts you into a rather exclusive club. To indicate this it has been said that if all the platinum in the world were put into any Olympic size swimming pool it would barely scrape your ankles.

Platinum is also a heavy metal and much denser than gold and when one compares a gold ring to a platinum ring the platinum will be over a third heavier than the gold one.

With the price of gold and platinum at an all time high palladium is becoming an increasingly popular choice for wedding rings. It is found in the same locations as platinum and is part of the platinum family. It has many of the same qualities – it is naturally white, it is very tough and it is naturally white and will not tarnish. It is much lighter than platinum, about 40% lighter and whilst it is approximately the same price of 14ct gold, being lighter than gold as well it makes a wonderful alternative to both metals. In January 2010 it was recognized as a precious metal by the assay office and now also has to be hallmarked.

Once you have decided on metal type, what rings are available?

Glenray Jewellers offers many of the same patterns in many different widths and most of the rings are available in all the different gold colours be it white, yellow and rose, and metals types outlined. Additionally many rings are available in a spectrum of metal colours in one ring. The rings are available in several different styles and many of the rings are court rings.

A court ring relates to the profile of the ring and is sometimes called a comfort fit. So if the inside of the ring is soft and rounded it would be described as a court ring, with less of the ring touching the finger and no hard edges to cause discomfort.

A d-shape ring means that whilst the outside of the ring may be rounded the inside is flat creating a d-shape section. Whilst not as comfortable possibly as the court rings it will fit closer to the finger whilst still being a substantial ring.

Either a flat inside profile and a court shape inside profile can be found on any of the plain rings and many of the diamond rings.

Another concern for many brides is the shaping of the ring. Whilst many people do not wish to be restricted in there choice of either engagement ring or wedding ring to a ring that sits flush together for those who are keen to ensure that a gap is not found Glenray Jewellers offers a wide range of shaped wedding rings including wish bones and more gentle shapes which will accommodate your engagement ring.

Wedding rings are now increasingly being set with diamonds for both the bride and groom and this is an exciting development in the jewellery world. For not only does it enable the bride to sparkle even more at her wedding it really does increase the choice and range of wedding rings no end. From single diamonds to many diamonds, to rounds and princess cut stones the choice of diamond set wedding rings at Glenray Jewellers is simply massive.

Glenray Jewellers are very proud of the range of wedding rings we have to offer and are very pleased to be able to present it on the internet at

When choosing a diamond the standard in considering what diamond to choose and how much to spend is the 4 C’s.

The fours c’s are Carat. Colour, Carat and Cut.

To explain each in turn

The colour of a diamond can be slightly confusing. As many will know diamonds come in all sorts of colours be it blue, pink, black, red, yellow and many many others. As a matter of interest blue is one of the rarest and therefore one of the most expensive colours. However often when talking about colour what is really meant is how white a diamond is and how free from colour it is.

This is represented in various ways. The one many people are familiar with is the GIA scale. The best colour diamond as represented by the Gemological Institute of America is D. In other grading systems it may be Very fine White (Confederation Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joalerie, Orfevferie des diamants, perles, et pierres), Exceptional White (The International Diamond Council), River (an old term) and Blue-White (RAL 560 A5E). A diamond on the GIA colour scale over I/J will be a very attractive addition to any piece of jewellery. It should be said that the as with other parts of the 4’cs there is an element of expert judgment on the part of the grader, a skill which can not be worked out by a machine (to this authors knowledge!).

The Carat of a diamond relates to the weight and not the size of the diamond, although of course the two will invariably link up. Carat weight of a diamond has an interesting historical background. The term derives from the kernel of the carob, bean which is a seed that has a very consistant weight and was used as the weight for gemstones. Since 1907, Europe and the USA have taken the weight of a carat to be 200mg or 0.2g.It is fair to say that the carat weight is objective.

A one carat diamond is divided into 100 points, so a half carat diamond could also be described as a 50 point diamond.

When talking about carat weight and where the diamond weight is stated it means that the diamonds weight will not be less that that stated and unless certified does not guarantee that exact weight. When talking about a piece with more than one diamond it will tend to mean that the total diamond weight of the piece is the weight. Be aware that a single stone, all other things being equal of 1ct will be more valuable than a piece with two or more stones totally one carat because larger stones are of course rarer. Further more, because the bigger a diamond is the rarer it is a 1 carat diamond will not be double the price of a 50 point diamond, but will be more. To demonstrate (and purely for illustration – the prices are not close to accurate). If a half carat diamond costs £100 a one carat diamond of the same quality will not cost £200, but maybe £300 or more.

The clarity of a diamond is in common parlance the thing that excites the public – the idea of a flawless diamond. The individual holding up diamond looking expertly at in the movies and proclaiming it flawless is a popular movie cliché. What does clarity refer to.

Any inclusion in a diamond during the millions of years that it has taken to create a diamond is a flaw and in the jewellery world the clarity of a diamond is determined with the use of a 10x loupe (i.e. a magnifying glass which is 10x). An inclusion may be a carbon mark and air bubble or anything that takes from the purity of the diamond. Whilst it is very desirable to have a better and better diamond what matters is how visible the inclusion is and what it is. A black mark is of course more readily visible that a white mark and therefore less desirable, an inclusion to the side of a diamond is less desirable than an inclusion right in the middle.

Diamond clarity is again graded, but whatever the system the diamond grading is jewellery is through the use of a 10x loupe – inclusions under much higher magnification are irrelevant for the purposes of jewellery. A SI diamond in the GIA scale means that the diamond flaw is not visible to the naked eye, but readily visible when under a 10x loupe. Below that an inclusion may be viable to the naked eye, but even then is not necessarily something to worry about.

The final of the traditional ‘c’s ’ is cut and this again can lead to confusion. We all know about round diamonds, square diamonds and all manor of shape. When talking about the cut in this context it is the quality of the cut that is really being referred to. Mathematically the modern round brilliant diamond is the best and this was developed by amongst others Tolkowsky at the beginning of the 20th Century. A modern round brilliant diamond is the best in the sense and it will disperse the maximum light and gets the most from a diamond in terms of colour and sparkle! It is not to say to avoid non-round stones at all – the Square or princess cut diamond has become very popular in recent times and like the modern round brilliant the square diamond has an ideal in terms of proportions.

The final sometimes mentioned C is confidence. You should have confidence in your jeweller and we at Glenray jewellers have been serving the public since 1967 with our knowledgeable staff and look forward to serving you in one of our shops located in Letchworth or Hitchin or on our website;

Finally it should be said do not be daunted by the world of diamonds, whilst we would all like to own the best, when buying you are buying for your enjoyment and to wear and whether your budget is £100 or many £1000s Glenray Jewellers is bound to have a piece that you will fall in love.