Eternity rings make beautiful gifts, especially for big occasions like anniversaries. However, they’re quite expensive and very symbolic of your relationship, so you’ll want to get your gift right. Here’s our quick guide to buying an eternity ring. In this article:
- Full and half eternity rings – what’s the difference?
- Diamond and gemstone eternity rings
- What setting is best for you
- What metal is recommended
- Ring size – perhaps the most important factor!
1. Full or half?
Eternity rings come as either full or half versions. Both are made with diamonds or gems, but full eternity rings have diamonds around the entire band, while half eternity rings only have them on the top half.
A full eternity ring is for you… if you want the ultimate luxury. You must be prepared to look after it carefully as the stones on the underside often get exposed to wear and tear.
A half eternity ring is for you… if you want a ring that allows for bigger stones on the top half. You can also get more for your budget and some people say they’re more comfortable.
Full eternity rings – view now
Half eternity rings – view now
2. Diamonds or gems?
Eternity rings are most often made with diamonds, but can also contain sapphires, rubies, emeralds and, sometimes, other gemstones.
A diamond eternity ring is for you… if you want to have a ring featuring the most beautiful, durable, luxurious and lasting substance on earth, the diamond. The diamond is symbolic of the durability of everlasting love.
A gemstone eternity ring is for you… if you want to add more personalised symbolism to your jewellery with a birthstone or an anniversary gem. Not all gems are suited to full eternity rings, though, so you’ll usually only find them with sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Other gems are often reserved for half eternity rings.
An emerald eternity ring – view now
3. What setting?
The most popular eternity ring style is the channel setting in which the precious stones are set deep into the metal. The gold or platinum runs along the sides of stones. This protects them and makes the ring more comfortable to wear. See eternity ring settings here.
If you treat your jewellery carefully… and you’re not a very accident-prone person, then you’re safe with any eternity ring style and setting.
If you tend to drop, knock and lose things… or use your hands a lot, or aren’t very careful with your jewellery, then your safest settings are a rubover or a channel setting. These are also considered very comfortable settings because they are smooth and have no claws.
Channel set half eternity ring – view now
4. What metal?
The ring’s band can be made from yellow gold, white gold or platinum, depending on your budget and colour preference.
Platinum… is silvery-white in colour. It is the hardest, most valuable and durable precious metal, but also the most expensive.
White gold… looks the same as platinum, but comes at a cheaper price. However, it will need re-coating maintenance about once a year. 9K white gold is the cheapest and 18K white gold most expensive.
Yellow gold… does not need any ongoing maintenance, but it is considered a classic-looking choice. People who love contemporary jewellery may therefore prefer white gold or platinum.
Silver… is generally not a recommended choice for eternity rings. You might see some on the market, but they’re not ideal for continued daily wear. Silver is the softest of all precious metals and has the shortest life-span, easily bending out of shape, losing stones and so on. If you’re on a small budget, you are better off buying 9K white gold.
A three-row eternity ring in yellow gold – view now
5. Custom-made or machine made?
Eternity rings that are handcrafted and tailor-made for you, are better than factory-set rings. This is because the diamonds have to go all the way round the ring, but people’s finger sizes differ greatly. So the jeweller has to carefully calculate the diamond size for your finger width, so that he can set the right number and carat weight of diamonds into the ring’s band. As you can imagine, a jeweller cannot just overlap diamonds at the end, if he runs out of space. A factory-set ring won’t come with such precision design, comfort and carftsmaship.
Since eternity rings are expensive pieces of jewellery either way, you’re better off buying one that has been made for your finger size.
X You can get factory manufactured eternity rings… but they won’t have the same level of craftsmanship, quality and durability as handmade ones.
An eternity ring with 1 carat of diamonds – view now
6. Ring size, ring size, ring size!!!
Just remember… whatever you buy, do get the ring size right to avoid disappointment. Many eternity rings cannot later be resized, because of the careful measurements involved in making them.
♦ A crucial issue that many don’t know about eternity ring size VS diamond carats:
For example, in a 2-carat diamond eternity ring, the 2 carats of diamonds are always the same, no matter what your ring size. In other words, if you have a very wide finger, and need a big ring, then 1 carat of diamonds will consist of lots and lots of small diamonds stretching around the circumference of the ring. If your finger is petite, and need a smaller ring, then the 1 carat of diamonds will consist of fewer large diamonds, in order to fit side by side around the band.
So your finger size may actually affect the width and chunkiness of the ring. It’s worth bearing in mind.
Finally, always check your jeweller’s refund and return policy as many custom crafted items may not be returnable. Plus don’t forget to insure your ring.
That was our quick guide to buying an eternity ring.
READ NEXT: Our big, more comprehensive eternity ring article—with history and meaning, eternity ring styles, diamond shapes, settings and prices.