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The Ultimate Guide to Eternity Rings

Discover everything you need to know before making a lifelong commitment to a beautiful eternity ring. Read now at Ernest Jones.

20 FEBRUARY 2023 - ERNEST JONES WRITER

A symbol of commitment, many people want to show their significant other how much they mean to them. Grand gestures include a surprise luxury cruise, a five-star dining experience, or a beautiful gift to treasure. When gifting, nothing quite matches the symbolism and beauty of an eternity band.

The Ultimate Eternity Ring Guide

Rich in meaning and beautiful in design, it not only looks luxurious on the owner’s hand but also symbolises everlasting love and appreciation, creating a visual reminder that is seen each day and lasts a lifetime.

What is an Eternity Ring?

Traditionally an eternity ring is a circular band made of white gold, yellow gold, silver, platinum or in recent years due to its popularity, rose gold. The band can take a half or full form and is encrusted in most instances with popular stones such as diamonds.

A half diamond eternity band has stones covering the ring’s top half. Some believe a half eternity ring to be more practical and comfortable due to the band being slimmer on the sides and underneath the finger.

Alternatively, a full eternity ring has stones which cover the whole band. Viewed as one of the most luxurious rings, they’re generally higher in cost due to the increased number of stones that wrap all the way around the ring.

Although often thought just for women, men’s eternity rings are becoming more popular and increasingly available in more styles and sizes but buying a women’s eternity ring remains more commonplace when looking for this type of jewellery.

 What is the History of the Eternity Ring?

Thousands of years ago the Egyptians believed that an endless circle symbolised the eternity of life and love. These first known rings, given as a token of love, were often designed to look like an ‘Ouroboros’, an ancient symbol of a serpent devouring its own tail. This was used as a symbol of cosmic harmony, eternity, and the circle of life. These days you’re unlikely to come across an ouroboros-style eternity ring, depending on where you shop, of course. In this day, the most popular styles are gold and platinum eternity rings set with diamonds that sparkle like your love story.

When to Give an Eternity Ring?

You’ve already found and exchanged the perfect engagement ring and wedding rings, perhaps now, some years on, the time has come to buy the perfect eternity ring

Eternity rings make for simply breath-taking wedding anniversary gifts, with traditionalists buying an eternity ring to mark a milestone within a relationship. They’re the perfect way to show love and appreciation for the one who has been there every step of the way. And for those who don’t wish to marry but are fully devoted to one another, they’re a wonderful gesture of commitment to a lifetime together. 

Woman wearing eternity ring

Eternity Rings for a Golden Wedding Anniversary

A golden wedding anniversary marks 50 years of commitment to one another. With traditions changing and people getting married later in life, reaching a golden wedding anniversary is rare, so what better time to invest in a stunning gold diamond eternity ring? The precious metal gold is the symbol of a 50th wedding anniversary, so yellow gold eternity rings are very popular choices to mark this occasion. 

Ruby Eternity Ring for a Ruby Wedding Anniversary

The 40th year of marriage is symbolised by the regal ruby. Loved by royalty and nobility, rubies are timeless, and they look simply stunning whether set in yellow gold or a platinum diamond eternity ring. The contrast of the deep, rich red colour next to sparkling diamonds and ever-gleaming platinum makes a beautiful statement, whilst a yellow gold ruby and diamond eternity ring is traditional and classic, especially paired with yellow gold engagement or wedding rings.  

Eternity Rings for a Sapphire Wedding Anniversary

A sapphire eternity ring makes a special gift when celebrating your 45th wedding anniversary. Made famous by the spectacular engagement ring worn by the late Princess Diana and future Queen Consort Kate Middleton, the sapphire is a stunning stone that reflects the light beautifully with its deep, rich, blue hues.  

The perfect eternity ring for women celebrating 45 years of highs & lows and laughter & tears with their spouse, diamond eternity rings adorned with sapphires are stunning in white gold, platinum or yellow gold.  

Woman wearing eternity rings

Ladies’ Eternity Rings to Mark the Birth of a Child

For those searching for the perfect gift for their partner who has just given birth, an eternity ring is a romantic and heartfelt gesture. It symbolises your everlasting unity through the bonds of both love and family.

Following the birth of Prince George, Kate Middleton began wearing a subtle white gold diamond eternity ring on her ring finger. The delicate piece perfectly complements her engagement ring, its slimline band not competing for space with her existing engagement and wedding rings.  

It's worth considering the jewellery your other half wears to make sure the rings will complement one another. They should be, like you two, the perfect fit. 

There are plenty of other opportunities to surprise your love with a gorgeous eternity ring. You don’t have to symbolise your commitment on an anniversary or birth; you can show your true love at any time – why not a Sunday morning whilst reading the papers? Or ditch the same old flowers and chocolates and go for a Valentine’s Day surprise. Spontaneity is a wonderful way of keeping the spark alive. 

With their beauty and sparkle, eternity rings are also chosen as wedding rings or even proposal rings, whereby the couple then picks out the perfect engagement ring together. 

Which Order do You Wear Engagement, Wedding and Eternity Rings?

How to wear an eternity ring comes down to personal choice, but the tradition goes wedding ring first, engagement ring second and eternity ring last.

You wear your wedding ring first as it should be the closest ring to your heart. Of course, if your engagement ring shape doesn’t suit having a ring on either side, you can swap the engagement and eternity rings around, or even pop your eternity ring on your other hand as a standalone statement piece of jewellery. The choice is entirely yours.

What Are the Different Eternity Ring Settings?

Whether you’re looking for an eternity ring in yellow gold, platinum or white gold, it’s important to think of the setting of the ring. Sapphire, rubies, and diamonds are just some of the stones which can be enhanced with the best setting option.

In modern jewellery creation, setting machines help ensure the optimal finish for your stone of choice. Ring setting options include:

  • Claw ring setting (also known as the prong) – each individual stone is held in place by its own claw
  • Bezel setting – each stone is encased in the metal
  • Bar setting – between each stone there is a bar of metal
  • Grain setting – stones are set very close together with barely visible tiny prongs securing them in place
  • Channel setting – as the name suggests, stones are set in a channel with metal walls at either side. The metal walls of the ring and the closeness of the stones to each other secure them in place

Discovering the right setting for your eternity ring is entirely up to you, however, consider which will showcase your stone type, colour and shape in the best style, light and brilliance.

How Do You Choose an Eternity Ring?

Finding the perfect eternity ring can be an emotional journey for an individual or even a couple. With such deep and affectionate meaning behind this type of jewellery, both parties will want to get it just right.

If planning a surprise gift, things to consider when buying an eternity ring include:

  • The other rings your partner currently wears and how your choice of eternity ring will look alongside their other rings. If their wedding and engagement rings are yellow gold, your best option might be to look at yellow gold eternity rings, unless you know they like to follow their own jewellery rules.

  • Does your partner have a certain style or taste in jewellery? For example, a preference for white gold jewellery? In which case you should look at white gold eternity rings.

  • Would they prefer a half or full eternity ring and which of those best suits your budget?

  • What stones would they prefer? For example, diamonds, sapphire, rubies or even birthstones.

Which Colour Metal Should You Choose?

Traditionally you’d opt for the metal type that matches the wedding and engagement ring. As many people mark milestone wedding anniversaries with an eternity ring, some of the most frequently sold tend to be diamond eternity rings in yellow gold, because, for centuries, yellow gold was the most popular metal for engagement and wedding rings.

However, white gold eternity rings, eternity rings in platinum and even rose gold eternity rings are increasing in popularity – especially with the trend of mixing metals.

If you’re buying for someone quite traditional though, we’d suggest matching to whatever metal the existing rings are. For example, if the wedding and engagement rings are 18ct yellow gold, choose an 18ct diamond eternity ring in gold to complement them.

We hope our guide to buying an eternity ring has helped you. When, where, and why you pass on this beautiful piece is personal to you. The most important thing is that you embrace the unity and permanence represented by your chosen eternity ring.  

If you need any more help picking out the perfect eternity ring, why not book an appointment in store where our diamond and jewellery experts will be happy to assist you. All that’s left to do then is find the perfect moment to gift it to your significant other.

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