Plain or Fancy? Diamond Wedding Rings vs Simple Bands

For centuries, a plain gold ring worn on the fourth finger of the left hand has been the traditional symbol of a married woman in most western societies. Within the last 50 years, this tradition has also become a more common practice among husbands, with brides and grooms now exchanging both rings and vows as part of the marriage ceremony. Just as the nature of the wedding ceremony has changed, with many spouses now preparing their own personalised vows over and above those included in the order of service, many are also forsaking the traditional gold ring in favour of diamond wedding bands.

In the past, the juxtaposition of these traditionally designed rings and an engagement ring with a solitaire or cluster tended to create a complementary effect, in which each one tended to enhance the appearance of the other. Among the possible drawbacks when both of these rings are set with precious stones, is the risk that the two may clash and, instead, detract from rather than complement one another’s appearance. There is also a risk that their individual designs could simply make it physically difficult to wear them both together. That said, providing that such potential snags are considered before committing to a purchase, it should not be too difficult to ensure that you make the appropriate choices to avoid them.

One reason that many women now favour the inclusion of a few precious stones is that they are seen as an investment. This, unfortunately, is not necessarily true. For instance, in the case of diamond wedding bands, if one chooses to purchase an off-the-shelf item from a typical retail jewellery store, the chances are that it will be subject to a mark-up of at least 300% and, in some cases, this could actually amount to as much as 600%. Under these circumstances, it could take a very long time indeed before such an investment might succeed in even covering the purchase price. Finally, only rarely are these products accompanied by certificates of authenticity.

The second potential snag is that, whatever you receive in exchange for your money, will be a mass-produced product that is purchased by many others and a design that says nothing of you as a unique individual with your own ideas of perfection. As it happens, however, all of the problems referred to above can be eliminated simply by designing your own rings and having them manufactured to your specification. Furthermore, this is an option that offers the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by ensuring that your engagement ring and plain or diamond wedding band will be guaranteed to form a perfect pair.

A single quality stone can be worth more than several of a lesser quality and this means that there is plenty of scope to be creative without spending a fortune. Today, value for money is important to everyone and when you are in the market for precious stones, you can be assured of both top quality and rock-bottom prices when you deal with Naturally Diamonds on Cape Town or Johannesburg. In fact, we offer R1000 cash to anyone with a written quote that we are unable to match.

As well as an extensive range of stock items, we offer the services of skilled goldsmiths with the talent to create any item to your specification. Or, if necessary, we can partner with you in order to develop a concept together.

Whether your heart is set on a matching engagement ring and diamond wedding band or a matching pair of the latter for husband and wife, we have access to more than 10 000 certified stones of between 0,3 and 5,0 carats from which to make your selection. Given our versatility and competitive pricing, why look further than Naturally Diamonds?

Why Diamond Rings Remain Popular for Engagement Ring Settings Around the World

Even though South Africa has many diamond mines, that is not the reason for the popularity of diamond rings in the country. Below are a few reasons why diamonds are the preferred stones for engagement rings not only in South Africa, but around the world.

Exceptional Strength and Durability

As the hardest natural substance on earth, the only thing in the world that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. Indeed, diamond is used in the cutters that cut these gemstones. Diamonds were used as engraving tools in ancient India and are still used today for similar purposes.

One-of-a-kind Crystal Structure

Made up of carbon only and formed under tremendous pressure and high temperatures, a unique bonding process takes place, which leads to the specific crystal structure of the gemstone.

Diamonds are not called gemstones for nothing. Diamonds are formed deep under the earth’s crust. Volcanic activity had brought the gemstones closer to the surface and in many instances, you can find diamonds above the surface. Although thousands of diamonds are mined annually, only 20% can be used for jewellery such as engagement rings. To get a single one-carat diamond, it is necessary to move over 240 tonnes of earth. The mining process is therefore very expensive. Only a fifth of diamonds is suited to further cutting and working to eventually get the beautiful gemstones suitable for rings. About 40-55% of the diamond’s weight is lost during the cutting process, so it is not difficult to understand why it is an expensive and appreciated stone for any type of jewellery.

Long-lasting Beauty

Though a diamond can burn if the temperature is high enough, it will not be affected by natural elements, unless it is exposed to extreme heat from, for instance, a house or building fire. If you are looking for the perfect engagement ring that can eventually become an heirloom item then a diamond ring is the answer. The diamond will keep its beauty and can thus be considered a symbol of commitment that will last a lifetime.

Other Interesting Facts

The Romans believed that diamonds could ward off evil whilst in other cultures diamonds represented strength and invincibility. Indeed, the word diamond comes from a Greek word that means invincible.

Symbol of Romance

The romantic connotation can be traced back to ancient Rome where they also believed that Cupid’s arrows were dipped in diamond tears. The engagement ring, even in South Africa, is still worn on the left hand and on the second finger from left. This tradition has its roots in the belief that the left hand has to do with sinister elements and thus wearing the ring on the left hand is what helps to ward off evil. It also has to do with the belief that the ring finger is connected via a vein to the heart. In the Middle Ages people from European cultures even wore diamond jewellery for healing purposes.

Preferred Stone for Kings and Queens

Though South Africa is perhaps the best known for diamond mining, the stones are also mined in countries such as India, Russia, Botswana, and Angola, to name only a few. The world-famous Cullinan Diamond is South Africa. Known as the “Star of Africa”, it now forms part of the Queen of England’s royal jewellery. In France at once stage only the King was allowed to wear diamond jewellery.

Regardless of all the superstition and myths, diamonds are certainly worthy symbols of endurance, strength, and love. Kings, queens and ordinary people find joy in having diamonds as part of their jewellery.

The Story of the Wedding Ring

Though diamond wedding rings now available through Naturally Diamonds in Cape Town and Johannesburg are still a rather new trend, as opposed to the conventional plain wedding band, the uniqueness of these rings is undisputed. Whether you prefer the more traditional or the modern diamond wedding rings, the wearing of a ring to show commitment to one’s partner has a long history. The first recording of wedding rings goes as far back as Ancient Egypt. The rings were not made from precious metals as is the custom today. Instead, the women wore braided papyrus rings. The symbolic meaning of the ring at that time was eternity, and given the symbolic meaning of diamonds as being forever, we can see why diamonds are now being used in wedding bands.

But, many people simply look at the endless band as depicting eternity. For the Egyptians, the hidden meaning lied in the hole through which the finger goes. This hole in the band symbolised a gateway to eternal knowledge and with that the ring received its deep-seated meaning as a gesture of commitment to one another for eternity. Understandably, papyrus wasn’t the strongest of materials and the people looked for an alternative to truly represent eternal commitment. Soon, people discovered that animal bone and ivory made perfect wedding bands. With durability and beauty gained, the wedding ring soon became a status symbol. The richer couples had ivory rings, the middle class wore bone rings and the poorer people had to settle for the less durable papyrus or leather wedding rings.

Years later, during the rise of the Roman Empire, brides lost some of their freedom and it became apparent how society changed. The Romans added an additional meaning to the wedding ring: it would symbolise ownership, the bride belonging to the husband. Iron replaced bone and ivory and this was the first time metal was used in the wedding ring. The Romans did not add the diamond settings; instead, they opted for engraving on the ring, a custom still followed with engraving on the inside of the ring.

The idea of a wedding ring was new to the Christians. The first recording of it was during the 800s. Detail was important at that stage, so their ring designs were exceptionally complex and the engravings elaborate. Half a millennium later, the Church frowned upon the custom of rings and rejected them as heathen in origin. Christians toned down their wedding ceremonies for a time and engraving joining hearts became popular. The Church might have been somewhat harsh, but one can understand their perception at the time, since the Romans believed that the ring finger was connected to the Vena Amoris vein, which they believed was the vein to the heart and thus love. Today, people hardly think about hidden symbolism and the diamond wedding ring simply means commitment forever. It is a declaration of love and no longer a symbol of ownership.

The ring is still worn on the left hand’s fourth finger, but more out of custom than a belief system. It is doubtful that it will scare off evil spirits and the left hand is chosen simply because most people are right-handed and the ring is less likely to cause inconvenience when worn on the left hand. Fortunately, people no longer have the superstition that obtaining a part of the bride’s wedding gown or even her ring will bring good luck. In an attempt to prevent wedding followers from ripping the bride’s dress or stealing her ring, the custom developed of throwing a bouquet of flowers at the unwedded. This tradition is still popular today, though more as a fun activity than a way of getting good luck or hopefully assuring that you getting married next.

Diamonds still represent eternal commitment and, when added to the wedding band, serve as confirmation of eternal love.

Diamonds are expensive and making mistakes when you buy diamonds may be more than embarrassing. Indeed, such mistakes can render your investment completely worthless. We’ve compiled a list of common and rather expensive mistakes to avoid when buying diamonds, in order to help you make the most of your investment.

Shopping for Loose Diamonds at Traditional Retail Jewellers

This is a huge mistake. Not only will you buy diamonds that are completely overpriced, but you will also risk not getting anything near what you expected. Know this – traditional jewellers have many overheads, such as electricity, rent, security, insurance, staff salaries and displays. They don’t really have a choice. They must price higher and cannot afford to sell at wholesale prices. Buying loose diamonds from them also means having a middleman, and every role player will add their profit margin. This in effect means that when you try to resell your diamonds, you realise that the wholesale market price is far below what you have paid.

Not Understanding Quality

When shown different diamonds of various cuts, you may be tempted to buy the diamond recommended, even if it is not really a good cut simply because there are no other diamonds to review in-store. Buy from a supplier that has an extensive range and can source the diamonds for you. This means that you will get the best diamonds, rather than having to settle for sub-standard because of limited stock.

Buying a Deep Cut Diamond

If the diamond is cut too deep, most of its value will be hidden and even if the diamond is cheaper per carat, you still don’t get a good investment. You may end up buying a diamond that looks like a smaller carat, simply because of its poor cut. Many such diamonds are carried in the more conventional jeweller stores.

Buying Cheap

It is essential to shop for price, but you may think that you get a bargain in the jewellery store, but what you get is a poorly cut diamond. The well-cut stones are not normally carried loose in diamond jewellery stores and you will rather benefit from buying through an online supplier, like us at Naturally Diamonds, that provides well-cut diamonds at cheap prices because we’ve cut out the middleman. We don’t carry the expensive stocks. We source and order such, and that’s why we can supply the diamonds cheaper, without ever having to compromise on quality.

Being Duped by Lights

Light effects can mislead your eyes. With specialised light, it is possible to ensure that the diamond emits blue, when it is indeed yellowish. When you buy diamonds, always inspect them under normal and natural light. Never inspect such under any type of spotlight that can affect the spectrum of light emission.

Falling for Rounding

Many jewellers round off the diamond carat weight. You pay an exact amount and thus have the right to buy diamonds from a supplier that provides you with exact carat weights. With the price per diamond carat specified, you will be able to make accurate price comparisons.

Thinking All Same-colour Diamonds Have the Same Cut Grade and Clarity

Be careful when you buy diamonds. The cut grade price differences can be substantial, because every diamond is unique. This means that you should buy from a supplier that provides comprehensive details about diamonds and sets up appointments to discuss your particular diamond buying needs, rather than trying to sell off stock.

Thinking the Certificate has all the Information

Note that the certificate doesn’t contain all the information. It, for instance, lacks information about the diamond material analysis. Make sure that the supplier provides you with extensive details about the diamond, including the description of the material.

Buy diamonds from a trusted supplier, like us at Naturally Diamonds, where we welcome your questions and don’t try to sell off stock, but rather endeavour to meet client requirements.