Eternity Rings: The NZ Buying Guide
Eternity Rings are usually given to one partner to another as an anniversary present after their wedding. They are becoming more popular, especially in New Zealand. This guide will walk you through eternity rings, how to choose the best one, where to design it and some designs for you to consider.
What Is An Eternity Ring?
An eternity ring is a ring that completes the engagement, and a wedding ring. An engagement ring is given at a proposal, the wedding ring at the wedding ceremony, and an eternity ring during a significant marriage milestone.
Traditionally, an eternity ring is a very specific type of ring. It has diamonds running all along the band. But this tradition is fading away and more couples are putting comfort and personal preference first. They are also now designing their engagement ring and wedding band with their eternity ring design in mind.
Instead of diamonds going all the way around the ring, many jewellers also offer "half-eternity rings" that have diamonds along half of the band. These rings have a similar style to the traditional setting but have diamonds only covering the top half of the band.
How to Choose the Best Eternity Ring
1: Decide on which finger you will wear your Eternity Band on
If you decide to wear your Eternity Band on the same finger as your wedding and engagement ring, then you want to make sure that your Eternity Band complements it. This means making sure that the style and shape work together. For example, if you have an Oval engagement ring with a rose gold band, and your wedding ring is also rose gold, then it makes sense for your Eternity Band to also be in rose gold.
However, if you decide to wear your Eternity Ring on a different finger, then you have a lot more flexibility with your designs. Because it will most likely be the only ring on the finger, it does not seem odd to have a completely different design.
2: Choose your gemstones
While it is traditional for eternity bands to be ‘diamond bands,’ they don’t need to be. An eternity ring can be whatever you want it to be. You can choose other gemstones such as sapphires, moissanites or any other gemstone that is meaningful to you.
But before you do decide on a gemstone, make sure it is a hard enough gemstone to last an eternity. Each gem has a hardness as measured on Moh’s scale. Diamonds are the hardest with a 10/10 score and it is followed by Moissanites. The lower down the scale you go, the softer the gemstone is. This makes it more prone to chipping and getting damaged.
3: Choosing your eternity band metal
When choosing an eternity band metal, first consider the colour of your wedding and engagement ring band colour. It makes sense to keep these as matching.
Yellow gold is the most common coloured gold. But not all yellow gold is the same. Gold is graded in 24 parts. For example, if your gold band is 14K gold, it means that your band is 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal. The other metal ensures that the band is hard enough to last a lifetime.
At Four Words we recommend using 14K gold. This ensures that your gold is hard enough. We have found that anything above that makes the gold too soft and is more prone to bending.
Also, when choosing a band made out of gold, make sure it is hypoallergenic. This will ensure that your ring won't irritate your skin. Cheap jewellers compromise here by using metals like nickel to help drive their costs down, this is most common with white gold. Keep an eye on this for your engagement and wedding rings too.
Rose gold is becoming a more popular choice for all types of rings. Rose gold is an alloy between gold and copper. If rose gold is your colour, make sure you choose gemstones that complement the colour of the band.
White gold is a combination of gold with another alloy. It's not naturally white (or silver). Most manufacturers use Platinum or Palladium in their alloys (e.g. 75% gold and 25% platinum).
After crafting, the ring is often coated with Rhodium to protect it from scratching.
There are two things to keep in mind with white gold:
- Making sure it’s Nickel free
- You will need to re-plate it
Nickel is a common metal found in white gold alloys. Historically it was used to help provide extra shine and durability. But using Nickel means that it the gold is not hypoallergenic (it can irritate your skin). All of our rings at Four Words are Nickel free.
White gold requires replating over time to keep its silvery appearance, otherwise the plating wears off — resulting in a dull or grey coloured ring. It is for this reason, if your budget allows, we recommend Platinum instead.
If you’re working with another jeweller, make sure to ask for Nickel-free white gold to prevent any reactions.
Platinum bands appear similar to white gold however, platinum bands are much easier to maintain. Platinum is also one of the highest hypoallergenic metal bands that you can get.
4: Choosing your design
Whether you are looking to complete a bridal set or create a ring that is unique, spend as much time as you need with your ring designer to get exactly the design that you want. Remember, an Eternity Band is to mark whatever occasion you want it to; and the same goes for your design.
Best Places To Buy An Eternity Ring in NZ
1. Four Words
With Four Words, you can create your own Eternity Ring by working with their designers. By working with their designers to create a completely custom ring from stone shape, sizes, style and width. The big benefit of going custom is getting exactly what you want at a price point you’re comfortable with.
When you buy diamonds from Four Words, you will also be offsetting the carbon emissions of the whole supply chain by a factor of five! This ensures that you get what you pay for, and more.
Four Words also helps you pick out the best diamonds and gemstones before they make your ring. This ensures that you get exactly what you want. Four Words also makes their rings in New Zealand. They also pride themselves on their craftmanship and it is for this reason they get reviews like this:
Can't say enough about how Vinny and the team at Four Words made the experience of buying an engagement ring for my now Fiancee an absolute breeze.
Vinny was in contact regularly and when the renderings of what I had asked for came through I knew that they had nailed the brief.
I also proposed over in Italy and asked to pick the ring up Duty Free out of Auckland Airport, again, Vinny made this process easy and I picked it up without a hitch.
When I saw the ring for the first time I was absolutely blown away with the quality of the diamond and craftsmanship of the ring. Was absolutely perfect and when I popped the question my fiancee loved the ring.
Again, can't recommend the team at Four Words highly enough.
You can see this review, and many of their other five-star ratings on their reviews.
2. Big box jewellers
Most mall jewellers do all types of jewellery including eternity bands. When you work with big box jewellers, you can buy a ring in store but make sure you consider the following:
- The quality of the diamond.
- The ethics and sustainability of their diamonds and precious metals. While Michael Hill does have a lab grown diamond range, it is limited and there is very limited transparency on their supply chain.
- The quality of the band (what type of gold, silver, platinum or titanium that they use).
- Whether or not the band is hypoallergenic (some jewellers take shortcuts on this).
- Getting exactly what you want. Big box jewellers typically don’t allow you to choose your stone, design or band, so you will need to go with their range which may not be your style.
- The customer service that you receive.
If you are looking for an ornamental eternity ring and you love plain gold, Seza is a great place to go. Not only will you be supporting an artisan, but the attention to detail is also fantastic. Just like Four Words, Seza pays a lot of attention to its ethics and sustainability. Other boutiques include Naveya & Sloane, and Village Goldsmith.
Eternity Ring Designs
Full Eternity Band
Full Eternity Bands have diamonds or a gemstone of your choice that goes right around the band.
Half Eternity Band
A half Eternity Band has a gemstone that goes around only half of the band so that it is more comfortable to wear. This is our recommendation at Four Words. They are more comfortable, and it is less likely for a stone to fall out because the bottom isn’t rubbing against your finger or other rings making the prongs lose. They are also easier to resize.
There are different types of settings you can get for your diamonds or gemstones.
The scallop set is where the diamonds are tightly packed together to create a seamless look. The pavé setting is also popular with solitaire engagement rings where small diamonds run off about a third way down the band from the center stone.
Going for a scallop set is a great idea your engagement ring also has some form of pavé and you love sparkle.
The scallop setting requires your band to be very strong to keep the diamonds safe. It is for this reason at Four Words we recommend either 14K gold, platinum or titanium. Both platinum and titanium give you a silver look. Anything above 18K gold is too soft and you risk your diamonds coming loose.
Single Prong Setting
A single prong setting takes pavé to the next level. Instead of the diamonds sitting nicely within the prongs, a single prong setting have the diamonds “daisy-chained” to one another with the prongs. This accentuates the size and shape of each of the diamonds.
To keep the diamonds safely secure, more metal is used at the bottom. It is for this reason that a single prong eternity band is often called the “floating diamond band.”
Full Prong Setting
On the flipside, a full prong setting provides your diamonds the most protection. Each diamond is secured by four prongs. This also means that prongs are next to each other.
The channel setting is where a row of diamonds or gemstones sit within the guardrails of the band. This helps to keep the diamond in place and the metal on each side ensures that the diamonds don’t chip as part of wear and tear.
At Four Words, we highly recommend making sure that you know exactly what your ring size is because resizing eternity bands can be incredibly difficult.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Couples Buy Eternity Rings?
An Eternity Band symbolises exactly as the name suggests — the love between two people for an eternity. Couples are less likely to buy their engagement and wedding bands at the same time. And in most circumstances, the wedding band is much simpler than the engagement ring. An Eternity Ring is where couples can express themselves after their wedding.
When Should You Buy An Eternity Ring?
Eternity Rings can be gifted on when you feel most comfortable to do so. It can be for an anniversary or after the birth of a child. Typically eternity rings can come with different names such as ‘push ring’ or ‘house ring’ (a ring that you buy after the purchase of your first home together).
But there are options for when it comes to buying an eternity ring. For example, some couples decide to upgrade their engagement ring as opposed to buying a third ring. Ultimately it is a matter of preference and what you as a couple value.
What Finger Should You Wear An Eternity Ring?
Eternity Rings are typically worn on your left hand with your engagement and wedding band, or on your middle finger.
How Are Eternity Rings Different to Cocktail Rings?
Cocktail rings are quite different to Eternity Rings. Cocktail rings are intended for special occasions, and they typically feature a large centre-stone. They are much more flamboyant in appearance and are not worn every day. Eternity Rings are intended to be worn every day.
Designing Your Own Eternity Ring
You can design your own eternity ring set with us. We are a New Zealand owned and operated lab grown gemstone jeweller. We are climate positive by a factor of five, sustainable, and use recycled gold where we can. When you buy from us, you support planting native plants on the West Coast of the South Island with Carbon Click.
Work with our design team to create something uniquely yours, whether it’s an eternity ring or wedding band.
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