The rings that bind
If there is one single item of jewellery nearly everybody will wear at some stage in their life, it is the ring. Simple, small, eternally concentric, the ring is worn by prince and pauper to indicate marital status, social status, fashion status… And if you are married, or about to be, the ring is very evidently the most significant symbol of the union of two people forever after. And it starts way before you state “I do”…
The tradition of giving a ring to a beloved woman started way back in history. The wedding band has withstood the evolution of traditions, cultural changes, fashion dictates and social mores.
It has remained the one object which is a pre-requisite for any marriage ceremony. If the bride is lucky enough to get an engagement ring, then the wedding band becomes a consolidation of the original promise of unity, while an eternity ring is the optional sentimental promise of eternal love.
Not all women get to have such a trio on their fourth finger, and the fashion is to have at least an engagement ring accompanying your wedding band.
Looking at rows of engagement rings, it is generally appreciated that most men become confused on what sort of ring to purchase for their beloved to spell out the magic four-word question – Will you marry me?
Speaking to Sandro Pace Bonello, one of the directors at Gaba Gioielli, it is easy to understand how this confusion can be well-founded.
“Rings are continuously top sellers among all forms of jewellery for the simple reason that women have 10 fingers to adorn. Where engagement rings are concerned, there are endless varieties on the market to cater for everyone’s tastes.”
The timeless solitaire remains a strong favourite. While the selection is staggering, some of the more inventive clients will request a custom-made engagement ring.
Mr Pace Bonello explains how satisfying it can be to help clients who bring in their own basic idea to the workshop and have their personalised ring created to become a true heirloom.
“Unwanted jewellery items are more likely to be traded so that their diamonds or gemstones are incorporated in a more modern style of engagement ring.”
With wedding bands, it can be even harder to make a final decision. This is about two rings rather than one, since his and hers are chosen contemporarily.
The indecision is justified considering that, hopefully, both will be wearing that one single band, for the rest of their lifetime.
Up until some 13 to15 years ago, the wedding band was typically a plain yellow or white gold band and nothing much else. Yet today the wedding band has become also a discreetly embellished form of ring – still timeless in elegance but definitely much more open to the inclusion of delicate decorative elements.
“Wedding bands come in ‘his’ and ‘her’ matching designs, but clients have the option to buy them as separate designs and most couples do. At the moment rose gold coupled with white gold is very much in fashion and this combination allows for a great assortment of styles to choose from.”
We have seen the plain gold band transformed into two coordinating bands connected together. Women’s wedding rings are now typically embellished with the tiniest of inset diamonds just to make the ring that much more alluring.
A plus is that wedding bands can be inscribed upon order, with pre-determined wording – whether one chooses to have simply initials or entire names, dates, prose or whatever else can be fitted into the space inside a ring.
Viewing ‘his’ and ‘her’ wedding rings as they sit together in their comfy and elegant plush boxes, that double up as a ribbon-tied cushion to be carried in church by the ring-bearer, I cannot help noticing that today’s brides-to-be really have a wealth of styles to choose from.
But I am reassured that the wedding band, no matter how old, can still retain its beauty through appropriate attention.
“Cleaning a wedding ring regularly by having it polished and where necessary plated, can revive its colour and shine, bringing it back to its original state.”
Asked whether he has ever met anybody who wanted to trade an antique wedding ring, Mr Pace Bonello said: “The wedding band is usually passed on as a keepsake especially after its owner passes on. The simple wedding band ultimately becomes an item of great sentimental value.”