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Let's clarify: wedding ring or wedding band, engagement ring or solitaire?

Engagement ring, wedding ring, solitaire ring, eternity ring… These are a few terms that we often hear, but we may not know the history behind them. In this article, we will show you the differences betwen all of them so let's start from the beginning.

Engagement ring, solitaire ring

In Western tradition, the engagement ring is presented as a betrothal gift by a man to his fiancée when he proposes marriage. While traditionally the future groom used to privately choose and purchase the ring, today some couples prefer to select the engagement ring together. Since the middle of the 20th century, diamonds have been widely featured in engagement rings.

Engagement rings are usually solitaire style. Solitaire is a collective term for rings with a single diamond stone in the center. (We should note that while they are customary choices for engagements, they are appropriate for other occasions as well.) Some prefer to break away from the tradition and choose a more unique design, or, on the contraty, a more "traditional" band with diamonds - for instance, in Hungary, the wedding band was proposed as the engagement ring for many decades.

Solitaires can have different prong settings and bands. The center diamond can be set in a 4-prong or 6-prong setting: the previous shows more of the stone while the latter has a more round look and makes the central stone appear slightly larger. Those who want to avoid prongs and make sure the ring doesn't get stuck, might go for a so-called tension setting, but that is a more sensitive solution.

There are several types of solitaire designs with more than one diamond, and some models have been given special names. We mention some of them below.

"Halo" solitaire

In "halo" solitaires, the central diamond is surrounded by small stones in one or more rows, thus crowning the larger center stone. This setting optically enlarges the center, so if you want to achieve a larger look with a relatively smaller center stone, it is worth choosing this type.

Jewellery: Hulchi Belluni, Piero Milano (PAVÉ selection)

Trilogy solitaire

Three-stone diamond engagement rings, often called trilogy rings or trinity rings, are rings with three matching diamonds set horizontally in a row and are said to represent the couple's past, present, and future, but other theories say it stands for the mother, the father and the child.

The stones can all be briliant cut, but fancy cut stones also look great next to the central diamond - trapezoid baguette or pear shape and triangular shape side stones are increasingly popular, for instance.

Meghan Markle's engagement ring


Solitaire with side stones

Another major category is engagement rings with side stones, that is rings with a larger diamond set in the middle and smaller diamonds on the side. The side stones can be set with the classic 4-prongs or in channel setting. Another popular style is the pavé setting, when small stones are set close to each other, resulting a smooth and sparkling surface.

Jewellery: Hulchi Belluni, Piero Milano (PAVÉ selection)

Wedding ring or wedding band

Wedding ring and wedding band are synonim terms. These rings represend eternity: eternal love and commitment.

According to some Eastern traditions like in Hungary, the couple used to choose the engagement ring together, which was typically a single round band also serving as their wedding ring. Before marriage, the couple used to wear the ring on their left hand, whereas after the wedding they changed sides, to wear it on their right hand. According to modern traditions, the couple wears the bands following the wedding.

Wedding bands can be made with or without diamonds. We highlight some typical models with diamonds, which can be chosen either as wedding bands or as side rings.

Eternity rings

Eternity rings are bands set with diamonds all around. In these rings, the emphasis is on diamonds, not so much the gold band.

Jewellery: Piero Milano, Terzihan (PAVÉ selection)

Half eternity rings

If you are concerned that the diamonds would scratch your fingers when pushing them together, or if you have a lower budget, you can also choose an eternity style ring with diamonds on the visible upper part only. The advantage of these rings is that they are easier to resize. It is worth placing the diamonds slightly further than the middle of the band, so if the ring turns, the golden part will still not be visible.

Jewellery: MeeVida, Hulchi Belluni (PAVÉ selection)

The side ring

In traditional Eastern cultures, a side ring was often presented together with the wedding ring, or after the engagement, but typically before the wedding. Today, side rings are chosen for the following reasons:

  • if the couple wants to put traditional, identical wedding rings on each other's fingers at the wedding, but the bride also wants diamonds, an "eternity" ring decorated with diamonds can be placed next to the wedding ring as a companion ring

  • for design reasons

  • companion rings can be presented for wedding anniversaries or the birth of a child; these can typically be stacked, and look stunning next to each other with different colored gold or different colored gemstones, representing different occasions.

Jewellery: Cervera Jewels (PAVÉ selection)

How to wear them?

There are several customs around wearing engagement- and wedding rings.

  • After marrying, the couple may wear both the engagement rings and wedding rings, or just their wedding rings, as they prefer.

  • In some traditions, both the engagement ring and the wedding ring are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand prior to the wedding ceremony, the engagement ring being on top in order to protect the wedding ring. After the wedding, the two rings change place.

  • Due to another custom, the engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the right hand and the wedding ring on the left hand until the wedding day, and following the ceremony the two rings change status.

  • Some couples do not change the location of the rings. They wear both rings on the fourth finger of the left hand after the engagement and leave them there after the wedding. The reason is that according to traditional belief the “vein of love” runs directly from the heart to the fourth finger of the left hand.

There are many more traditions in different cultures, but we hope that the above list has given you some guidance. The good new is that there are no strict rules and you can wear the wedding and engagement rings based on your personal preference. Just be aware that your ring sizes might not be the same on your left and right hand.

You might also want to take a look at our offer of engagement rings and wedding rings, without any limits; we can design and produce almost any ring you have in mind, based on your unique needs. Supposedly, rings bought from us bring good luck... ☺️


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