The Meaning of Eternity Rings

Meaning of Eternity Rings

AN eternity ring is a ring most often worn by women. However, men sometimes use eternity rings as wedding bands or as engagement rings.

Eternity rings are considered the ultimate romantic gift ring that you can give to your spouse or life partner. They usually mark an important occasion in a couple’s relationship, such as a big wedding anniversary, or the birth of a baby.

The eternity ring’s circular shape, with diamonds all around the band, symbolises lasting love and everything it can endure.

Eternity rings are difficult rings for jewellers to make – they’re a result of skillful craftsmanship.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - diamond eternity ring

What makes an eternity ring different from other rings?

Traditionally, the key element of an eternity ring is that it has diamonds or gems going all the way around the ring.

The band is usually made of a precious metal, most often gold or platinum.

There are also “half” eternity rings. These only have diamonds or gems along the top face of the band.

“Full” eternity rings

A full eternity ring has diamonds or gemstones that go all around the ring in a continuous line.

Many people consider full eternity rings more beautiful because they have diamonds (or gems) going all the way round the band. This makes them look and feel more luxurious.

As a slight downside, however, the diamonds or gems on the underside of your hand can catch more easily, so you have to be careful while wearing them. They’re also more expensive than half eternity rings.

A men’s full eternity ring with diamonds all the way around the band

“Half” eternity rings

A “half” eternity ring has stones set across the top half of the ring.Some people say half eternity rings are more practical and comfortable. They also allow larger stones for the price, since the diamonds or gems sit only on top of the band.

Half eternity rings tend to be more affordable than full eternity rings. Although their price ultimately depends on the total carat weight of the diamonds and gems used, and whether the ring is made of gold or platinum (the latter being a more expensive metal).

A women’s half eternity ring with diamonds on the top of the band

Invented by early Egyptians

In Old Egyptian hieroglyphics, dating back to around 2000-1800 BC, the circle was a powerful symbol that represented eternity.

The Egyptians also believed that the bond of marriage between a man a woman was so strong it could not be interrupted by death.

When these two concepts were brought together, the Egyptians invented the wedding as a symbolic way to represent a union between two people.

In ancient Egyptian tombs, archaeologists have found simple rings made from carved bone, as well as elaborate metal and gemstone bands.

What these had in common were the decorations – carvings, beads or gems – that went all the way around the band. This feature is what the modern eternity ring gets its inspiration from.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - ETERNITY RINGS

The name symbolises love and commitment

The Egyptian idea of an “eternal” ring – a continuous circle that can never be broken – continues to define the modern eternity ring. This is where it gets its name from.

Some people also call eternity rings “infinity” rings, although this term is less known.

Made from precious metals and indestructible diamonds, they’re the ultimate symbol of everlasting love and everything it can endure.

Gifted for romantic occasions

Eternity rings are usually given at special times in a couple’s relationship. A wedding day, an anniversary or the birth of a first child are considered traditional times to gift one of these rings to a beloved person.

Sometimes eternity rings can also mark important birthdays or make elaborate Valentine’s Day or Christmas presents, although this is rarer.

Eternity rings act as reminders of cherished moments in a couple’s life together. They can also be passed onto children and grandchildren as heirlooms. In this way, they immortalise a couple’s love for each other.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - Chloe diamond eternity ring with round diamonds in claw setting in yellow 18K gold

Diamonds are the most popular stone

Diamond are the stone that people most often chose for eternity rings.  They are one of the strongest, rarest and most precious substances on the planet. As such, they are considered to be a perfect symbol of undying love and commitment. This fits perfectly with the meaning of the eternity ring itself.

Coloured gems have further symbolism

Although diamonds are the most often used stone in eternity rings, there are many variations to designs that can make the rings more personal to their wearer.

Vivid, colourful gemstones make beautiful rings and are also often symbolic in nature. Like stones that mark wedding anniversaries or the birth month of the wearer. For example, blue sapphires are the September birthstone. green emeralds stand for May, as well as motherhood and new babies. The red ruby is the official gem for 40th Ruby Wedding Anniversaries.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - Emerald and diamond eternity ring in 18K yellow gold

Worn on the fourth finger of the left hand

An eternity ring can be worn instead of a wedding or an engagement ring. It can also be worn in addition to them. This custom also dates back to ancient Egypt, where people believed the “vein of love” ran from the fourth finger on the left hand to the heart. Of course eternity rings can be worn on other fingers too, sometimes even on the thumb.

Crafting an eternity ring requires experience and skill

Meaning of Eternity Rings - Diamond eternity ring in platinum with baguette cut diamonds from TheDiamondStore UK

Some eternity rings are machine set, but the most beautiful and lasting ones are handcrafted by a skilled jeweller.

Eternity rings are very difficult rings to make.

Firstly, the jeweller cuts the gold or platinum into a strip. The length must match the ring wearer’s finger size exactly.

The jeweller then shapes the strip into a band and joins it at the ends. No joins should be visible.

Meanwhile, another skilled professional, the expert diamond setter, chooses diamonds or gems carefully. They must match in size, cut, clarity and colour. They also need to give off beautiful sparkle.

Choosing and setting the stones onto the band is the hard bit. They must be exactly measured, so they fit perfectly side by side around the band without any gaps. As you can imagine, the diamond setter cannot just overlap stones at the end if he miscalculates the space!

Because handcrafted eternity rings are tailor made with exact measurements, most jewellery retailers won’t re-size them or allow for returns or refunds. So when you’re purchasing an eternity ring, you should always check the returns policy and make sure you got the finger size exactly right.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - Diamond eternity ring with rows of round brilliant diamonds in platinum from TheDiamondStore UK

Different cuts and settings

Princess cut and emerald cut diamonds are perhaps the most common for eternity ring stones. These have a square or rectangular shape, which is compact and harder-wearing than round cut stones.

For the same reasons, channel and rub over settings are often preferred as secure and elegant ways to attach diamonds safely to an eternity ring.

Round cut diamonds in a claw or pave setting are more dramatic because they have more sparkle, but they have to be treated more carefully.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - Meaning of eternity rings - different types of settings and diamond cuts

How much do eternity rings cost?

There is almost no upper limit to how much an eternity ring can cost. The more diamonds or gems you choose, the more you’ll pay. The quality of the stones will also affect the price.

Likewise, the precious metal used in the band will play  a part. Platinum is more expensive than 18K yellow gold or white gold. 9K gold is the most affordable metal.

Here are some examples to give you ideas of prices (*revised in 2016):

  • A modest UK hallmarked half eternity ring in 9k yellow or white gold with 0.02-0.05 carats of diamonds could be as reasonable as £150-200 online, or an average of £300-£500 on the high street. These are great gift rings, but you may want to invest more if you’re looking for an eternity ring as a wedding band that’s going to be sued daily.
  • A UK hallmarked full eternity ring in 18K gold with 0.50-1.00 carat of diamonds could cost you around  £750-1,500 online and about £1,000-2,300 in a high street store, depending on the quality of diamonds, the setting and the design.
  • At the upper end of the market, a UK hallmarked half eternity ring made with platinum and 1.50 carats of G/Vs quality diamonds could cost from about £4,500 online and well over £6,000 on the high street.
  • A UK hallmarked full eternity ring made with platinum and 5 carats of G/Vs quality diamonds could cost you in the region of £10,000 online and around £18,000 in a high street shop.
Meaning of ETERNITY RINGS -Intricate vintage style eternity ring

Intricate vintage style eternity ring with diamonds and 18K white gold

Men wear eternity rings too

Traditionally, eternity rings were considered to be women’s jewellery. However, modern designs and fashion trends have made them very accessible to men too. Wedding bands, commitment rings and “mangagement” rings that feature diamonds all around the band are the most popular.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of male celebrities wearing eternity rings has increased dramatically. This is trend is likely due to the influence of iconic personalities like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Elton John and Johnny Depp wearing diamond eternity rings –both as wedding rings as well as fashion statements.

Meaning of Eternity Rings - A mens eternity ring in 9K yellow gold and pavé set diamonds

A men’s eternity ring in 9K yellow gold with 0.94CT of pavé set diamonds

When to choose an eternity ring?

Eternity rings aren’t cheap and most people look at them both as a financial and an emotional investment – or as heirloom pieces that can be passed onto children and grandchildren.

Therefore it’s always advisable to make sure your eternity ring symbolises a very special moment in your relationship.  It should mean something to you and capture the very essence of your lasting love and solidarity.

Visit TheDiamondStore.co.uk to view beautiful eternity rings.

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