Cheap Wedding Rings NZ: What Not To Do

Cheap Wedding Rings NZ: What Not To Do Cover Photo
7 min read8 January 2024

Wedding on a budget? That doesn’t mean you need to compromise on your wedding ring. You can still get exactly what you want with a bespoke high quality wedding ring without the price tag. But this requires an understanding of what to buy, and where to buy from. This article will walk you through exactly what not to do, and how to get the perfect wedding ring that will perfectly complement your engagement ring.

Don’t Buy Gold Plated Rings

Gold plated rings or gold plated jewellery is when a ring is coated in a light layer of gold (typically 0.05% of actual gold on the ring) on top of a base metal (i.e., a sterling silver ring, or copper ring).

Because the layer of gold plating is so thin, the gold can easily rub off. Gold plated rings are remarkably different to a ring being made from gold and are strangely expensive for what they are.

Don’t Buy Low Quality Gold

Gold comes in 24 karats. This means pure gold is 24 karats and any gold below that is a gold alloy. The higher the gold karat, the more pure gold there is.

22 karat gold has 22 parts gold and 2 parts of another metal. 18 karat gold has 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal. You get the picture.

In New Zealand, there are typically five different types of karat of gold you can get:

  • 9K

  • 10K

  • 14K

  • 18K

  • 22K

The general rule is that lower the karat, the cheaper the wedding ring. However, it’s what makes up the rest of alloy that you need to pay attention to.

As a way to “beef” up the gold, especially at lower karats, some cheap jewellers use Nickel. It helps to strengthen precious metals like gold and silver. And while gold on its own is hypoallergenic, with Nickel it no longer becomes the case. Nickel can irritate your skin and make wearing your gold ring very difficult. This affects 15% of the population.

Common allergy signs to wearing gold with Nickel include:

  • Swelling

  • The development of a rash

  • Redness

  • Itching

  • Peeling

  • Blistering

At Four Words, we use high quality gold with no traces of Nickel. All our gold is also hypoallergenic.

Bridal set featuring signet ring
Bridal set featuring signet ring

Don’t Buy a Wedding Ring That Is Too Thin

One of the biggest determinants of a wedding ring’s price is the amount of actual gold there is. A thicker wedding ring will have much more gold than a thin wedding ring.

However, we recommend that you don’t take this to exaggeration. And while dainty engagement rings and wedding bands are popular right now, it may result in your band snapping or bending if it is too thin. And if you have gemstones or a diamond band (i.e., eternity ring), then they may also fall out.

The other issue, especially with lower priced jewellers is they hollow out the gold from the rings. They do this by making a small pipe with the ring resulting in the ring being very light and very weak.

Hollowed Out Rings
Hollowed out gold ring

At Four Words, we pride ourselves on our craftsmanship and consider the structural integrity of each gold ring in relation to the size and weight of your gemstone, and your lifestyle. You can also learn more about our process and our standard.

What You Should Do Instead

Decide On What You Want

Before even shopping around, you need to consider what exactly you want from your wedding ring. Is it part of a bridal set or ring set? Is your dream to have a diamond wedding ring? There are a range of precious metals to choose from and each of them comes with their own pros and cons.

Decide On Your Precious Metal


Gold comes in three main colours:

  • Yellow gold

  • White gold

  • Rose gold

Yellow gold wedding bands

Yellow gold is the colour of pure gold. And regardless of the remaining components of the alloy, it keeps its colour. The main thing to watch out for with yellow gold is whether or not the gold is hypoallergenic. Yellow gold is also the choice of most diamond rings that we do at Four Words.

Pear cut cluster in art deco style engagement ring
Pear cut cluster in art deco style engagement ring

Rose gold wedding bands

The rose colour in rose gold comes from copper. And the lower the carat, the more red it will typically be.

When buying a rose gold ring, we highly recommend you inspect the colour before making a decision. It can come out more yellow or more red depending on the jeweller that you decide to use.

White gold wedding bands

White gold is similar to rose gold in the sense it is an alloy. It is a blend of pure yellow gold and precious metals like Palladium, Platinum and Silver. On top of that, white gold is then coated in a precious metal called Rhodium. Without it, the white gold has a yellow sheen.

Over time the Rhodium coating wears out leaving a yellow sheen. This means that you need to recoat your ring every two or three years.

So if you are looking for a precious metal that will help you get an ice cold finish, then platinum might be a better option.

Platinum wedding bands

Platinum is stronger and more scratch resistant than gold. But if you are looking for a low-maintenance ice white finish, you will need to pay a little bit more for it. It is more expensive than most karats of gold. We would recommend it for women who live an active lifestyle and their ring contains diamonds or gemstones that have large surface area (i.e., oval cut diamonds).

Oval sapphire featuring 10 accenting diamonds in a platinum band
Oval sapphire engagement ring featuring 10 accenting diamonds in a platinum band

Sterling Silver wedding bands

Sterling silver is the most affordable option for a wedding ring and is popular for couples on a budget. Typically it is also hypoallergenic making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin (i.e., it is a better option than buying gold with Nickel in it, or a gold plated wedding ring).

It appears bright white when you buy it but over time it reacts with chemicals and elements in the air leading to tarnishing. Contact with creams. oils and hairspray can accelerate this process.

The risk you run with sterling silver though is that it is one of the softest precious metals that can be used in jewellery and it requires regular maintenance and polishing to keep its original shine. Furthermore, it can be quite difficult to resize and repair your ring because its so soft. At Four Words we wouldn’t recommend you adding something like a solitaire emerald cut diamond or a diamond set to a sterling silver ring. However, sterling silver would be a great precious metal to add to your wishlist for a signet ring or men’s wedding ring.

Use gemstones instead of diamonds

If you want to add a bit of sparkle to your wedding ring, add gemstones instead of diamonds. They are more affordable and some gemstones, such as moissanites look very similar to diamonds. Other affordable options include sapphires, emeralds, rubies and spinels.

6 stone pink sapphire wedding ring
6 stone pink sapphire wedding ring

Speak to Four Words

The problem with going into most jewellers is that their salespeople are based on commission and their interests are not aligned to yours. At Four Words, our team is not based on commission. We will be honest with you with what is and isn’t possible.

Design exactly what you want at an affordable price

At Four Words, you can get exactly what you want with our custom and bespoke design service. And this is not just exclusive to wedding rings. We can design and craft most pieces of jewellery — from engagement rings to pendants, earrings and tennis bracelets.

The design process typically takes 2- 3 weeks. During the design process, we also take your ring size and better understand your lifestyle so we can make recommendation on your precious metal. Getting your ring size right is particular important for sterling silver. It then takes around 6 - 8 weeks to then craft your piece of jewellery. We also offer free delivery around New Zealand, and internationally. We have had clients from all around the world — from the UK, Sweden, the US and Australia.

Common Questions

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Diamond Illustration

Whether you’re just starting out or have done all your research, we are here to help.

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