Among the most precious of rings are engagement rings, wedding bands and anniversary rings. While the metals and gemstones used contribute to their value, their greatest impact is symbolic. These rings signify a bond between two people who share or wish to share a life together. For jewelry with powerful meaning, it’s important that they be made to last.
Diamonds are the gemstone of choice for these three rings. The stone is the hardest of natural substances, and used to represent the unbreakable nature of a relationship. Diamond’s hardness serves as a practical measure as well. Rings are more likely to bump into tables, walls and other items than other pieces of jewelry. A gem with strong durability is more likely to withstand these forces.
Despite diamond’s hardness, they are vulnerable to damage on thinner parts of the stone. Cuts with defined tips or corners, such as hearts, marquises or princess cuts may need extra care to prevent chipping. Other cuts take preventative measures, such as cropped corners, to reduce the risk of harm. Round brilliants often sport faceted girdles and the occasional culet to discourage chipping.
Certain mounts provide additional protection to the diamond. Channel settings for example, hold diamonds in a groove in the band, and are secured with strips of precious metal. This metal helps protect the stones from accidental blows. Bezel and half bezel settings also use thin bands of precious metal to secure the edges of the stone, encasing corners, girdles and other vulnerable portions. V shaped prongs are designed for corners and tips, to discourage chipping.
Precious metals such as gold and platinum are quite soft in their pure states. To wear high traffic jewelry such as a wedding band made from 100% gold or the like could result in a ring with dents and other visible forms of wear. These metals are commonly alloyed to add durability and keep the bands looking their best. Specific alloy ratios and materials may vary, please don’t hesitate to ask your jeweler if you have any questions.