5 Tips for Buying Wedding Bands

Recently, I looked at our collection of finished projects that we hold in our safe and realized something… We have a lot of weddings coming up. Over the last couple of months we have worked with dozens of couples on their bands and the trend isn’t letting up soon. Indeed, peak wedding season is upon us and will continue all the way through October — meaning, of course, with all these weddings come the wedding bands.

2019 dates based on couples engaged in 2018 who set a wedding date in 2019

source: Wedding Wire’s 2019 Newlywed Report

Having consulted with countless couples on this immensely meaningful part of the ceremony, I decided to put together a collection of my top five tips for couples in the market for their wedding bands — and one may surprise you…

 


1. If you can, get your bands nailed down with plenty of time to spare.

Wedding bands from our shop can take anywhere from one day to three months to complete: it all depends on what we’re doing. I recommend coming in relatively early for your wedding band consultation less because of production time, though, and more because it’s such a feasible task to knock off of your wedding planning list. Usually clients have a pretty good idea of what they want (or I can help them winnow it down in a meeting) and when you’re planning a million things with a single deadline — the wedding date — it feels so good to have one of those very important bullet points crossed out. It also gives you plenty of time to test out your ring size before you start wearing it everyday and make any adjustments needed before you’re officially wed. This is especially helpful for men who haven’t necessarily worn a band before and don’t know exactly how they want it to fit. It is so much better to test your fit at home than on your honeymoon in Bora Bora (trust me).

Custom Alx&Co. designed matching platinum wedding bands featuring hand-engraved details and flush-set diamonds (his and hers)

 


2. Consider your own lifestyle when deciding between an eternity style band and one with a “sizing bar.”

If you’re trying to decide whether you want an eternity band or a ¾ aligned band, you may rest assured knowing that there is no right answer here. While I love the look of a true eternity band and have one myself, I don’t recommend them unconditionally to all of our clients. Here’s a synopsis of what I tell our clients about going 100 percent around with the gemstones:

Cons:

  • Depending on the setting you could be prone to losing or cracking gemstones over the years because the “bottom” of the ring will naturally bump against furniture, weights, whatever, thus putting force on the prongs and whatever gemstones you have set in them. So, you’ll probably have more maintenance down the road.
  • Years from now, your eternity band will be harder to size properly because you’ll either need to size it in increments of the gemstones in the ring (which might not get you to the right dimensions) or you’ll need to add a sizing bar down the line. Sometimes if you’re sizing down we can do tricks like adding internal sizing bars or bumps, but if you need to make it larger it’s much harder to graduate up if the gemstones are 100 percent around the band. And yes, it’s very likely you will need to resize your band in the future. Fingers do change sizes!
  • You’re paying for diamonds you won’t be able to see the majority of the time.

Pros:

  • You get a seamless, uniform look with no risk of “flipping” while you’re wearing it.
  • That’s about it! (But, just because quantitatively the cons outweigh the pros doesn’t mean an eternity band is wrong for you. You may be driven nuts by the idea of a sizing bar; I am, personally, because I’m particular. So, you do you!)

Custom Alx&Co. designed 14k gold diamond eternity band

 


3. If you want your rings to sit flush you may need a curved band…and it might need to be custom made.

The ability to sit a band flush against another ring all depends on how low the engagement ring’s head is set. This is becoming a big sticking point for many brides as low-profile rings are becoming more and more popular. Many may not realize that they won’t be able to do a fully flush band against such a low head. So, you may need to consider doing a curved band. Depending on the degree of the curve and how you want it aligned, we usually recommend doing a completely custom-designed band in order to ensure they sit appropriately against each other. This entails creating a CAD design not only of your wedding band but also of your engagement ring (based off its measurements we take) so that the design can work hand-in-hand. We also may need to ask for your engagement ring back when we’re finishing your band in order to hand-tailor the band to the engagement ring.

Custom Alx&Co. designed rose gold diamond ring paired with custom contoured white gold and diamond wedding band

 


4. Be skeptical of “alternative” metals.

Have you heard about carbon steel bands? Tungston carbide? We have! (Our vendors try to sell them on us all the time.) It might surprise you that while they’re interesting materials in many ways, we don’t sell them at our shop for a few reasons. First and foremost, we can’t work with them. They aren’t malleable metals meaning that we can’t size them, fix them, or add any custom element to them in our workshop and we just don’t like selling things that we can’t repair ourselves (we offer a guarantee on our rings so this is important to us). Secondly, no one else can do these things, meaning that if you need your ring sized up (which, again, probably will happen), you’ll need to send it back to the manufacturer for them to discard your old ring and replace it with a new one in the right size. Who wants to do that with their wedding band? And, there’s always the possibility that your original manufacturer won’t be in business in the next 15 years, really leaving you in the rain.

Custom Alx&Co. hand-finished palladium men’s wedding band and Alx&Co. designed 14k white gold diamond scalloped band

 


5. Men’s bands can be just as interesting as a traditional diamond ring (if not more).

Many men come into our shop expecting to pick out a standard yellow gold round wedding band and calling it a day. Then, during our consultation I’ll start to mention all the wonderful ways they could do something unique and inevitably, they perk up. Of course, a traditional gold band is timeless and beautiful (I wear one myself). But, if you think you may want something a bit more rugged or personalized, know that there are endless options from which to choose. Consider a different finish, an added bevel, or an engraved detail to make it truly unique.

Custom Alx&Co. Handmade men’s 14k gold multi-colored sapphire ring. Our client wanted
a layered look and for the sapphires to be irregularly spaced across the band.

 


If you’re in the market for wedding bands make an appointment with us to talk through your options. We’re happy to talk through your design goals, budget, and timeline so that you can create the bands that will last you and your partner a lifetime.

 

  • The latest from Meaghan
Creative Director & Co-Owner | Alexandria & Company
I came to join Alexandria & Company by way of love: my husband Tim has owned the stop for nearly ten years, and I started by helping him on Saturdays so that we could spend more time together. Eventually, I quit my other life in the legal field to become Alx&Co’s Creative Director and co-owner with Tim. Now, we run our small business together in Old Town and I haven’t looked back.

Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.

inquiries@alxandcompany.com  |  alxandcompany.com

121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

703.548.0659

Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment

Appointments encouraged for custom design.

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