Instead of having one to five feature stones, as with most rings, eternity rings feature identically sized and cut gemstones, set halfway or all the way around the circumference of the ring. A symbol of never-ending love, eternity rings are traditionally given by a husband to his wife as a gift to commemorate their wedding anniversary. Though they can also be used to celebrate the birth of a child, or on any occasion significant enough for a declaration of love.
What Do Eternity Rings Symbolise?
Eternity rings are embellished with a circle of gemstones, which is why they are often seen as a form of wedding band. Eternity rings can be traced back almost 4000 years, to the time when the Ancient Egyptians established the tradition by giving rope rings to their loved ones as a symbol of eternal commitment and love. The earliest extant eternity rings are simple circles made of metal, set with various stones either on one half or running the entire circumference of the ring. Some early examples of eternity rings were designed in the form of a snake devouring its own tail – a common symbol representing ‘eternity’ and eternal love.
Today, eternity rings are usually given to mark a particular occasion. Presenting your spouse with an eternity ring is a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone in a marriage, as this continuous circle of diamonds set in gold or platinum signifies the time you have spent together, as well as the unending future you wish to share. Eternity rings are therefore often presented on marriage anniversaries, traditionally for a 50th anniversary.
Another interpretation of the eternity ring is that of the eternal circle of life. This makes the eternity ring an excellent gift upon the birth of a couple’s first baby to celebrate the new addition to their family.
What is the Difference Between a Full and Half Eternity Ring?
There are two main types of eternity rings:
The full eternity ring features stones around the entire length of the band, ensuring an uninterrupted sparkle whichever way the ring rotates around the finger.
The half eternity ring, however, features a line of stones only on the face of the band, also known as the head of the ring. Half eternity rings are usually more affordable, and some women find this type more comfortable to wear. They also have the benefit of being available for resizing, where a full eternity does not have that option.
Normally, eternity rings are worn on the ring finger along with the wedding ring. More recently, however, it has become fashionable and popular to wear an eternity ring as a single ring on the right hand.
Diamond eternity rings as we know them today got their start from De Beers in the 1960s, who wanted to find a way of utilising smaller diamonds in a time where large solitaire rings were the preferred engagement ring. Marketed towards older, married women, De Beers crafted the excellent advertising line of:
‘She married you for richer or poorer. Let her know how it’s going.’
The De Beers marketing team found success with this slogan, and the trend of eternity rings continues today, both as an anniversary gift, and the celebration big events such as the birth of children. Sometimes, eternity rings are saved for a 10 year anniversary.
When to Give an Eternity Ring
Traditionally, eternity rings are given to a woman on a significant wedding anniversary by her spouse. The eternity ring symbolising an everlasting love, it makes sense as an anniversary gift – a celebration of the years of love that have passed as well as looking forward to the years yet to pass.
Perhaps because of their beauty, however, eternity rings have become more and more coveted by people who aren’t approaching a big anniversary. Some people choose to have eternity rings or half eternity rings in place of wedding bands. Furthermore, eternity rings have becoming increasingly popular as engagement rings.
Other than bridal jewellery, eternity rings are often purchased as a way to celebrate something wonderful that isn’t related to marriage. News like the expecting of a new addition to the family – such as a child or grandchild – or a new job or promotion are all great reasons to get an eternity ring. If you wish to stay traditional, however, you could buy an eternity ring for important wedding anniversaries such as: 1st, 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th etc.
What Finger Should You Wear Your Eternity Ring On?
Typically, eternity rings are worn on the ring finger, alongside other bridal rings like engagement rings and wedding bands. If you receive an eternity ring as an anniversary gift, it would be advised that you wear it alongside your other bridal rings.
If you’ve received an eternity ring for a different kind of celebration, however, there are no real rules on which you should wear it on. The dazzling shine of diamonds is a lot for one ring to bear, so it shouldn’t necessarily be worn on the little finger or the thumb. Other than that, either hand and any finger is a totally viable option for sporting your own eternity ring. You can even stack eternity rings with other rings, whether they’re eternity, half-eternity, or otherwise. You’re sure to be very pleased with the results.
How Much Should You Spend on an Eternity Ring?
Whenever luxury jewellery is involved, the question of how much money to spend. Typically, between £2,000 and £5,000 is considered an appropriate amount of money to spend on such a special gift. Considering that eternity rings are frequently used to commemorate significant anniversaries, they are a great opportunity to be more extravagant. There are, however, less expensive options available, and it’s important to keep a strict budget in mind.
Eternity rings are an ancient piece of jewellery, and it seems as though they’ll be a main stay for millennia to come.
How to Wear an Eternity Ring and a Wedding Band
Eternity rings are a popular anniversary gift, typically being worn alongside one’s wedding band and engagement ring. There are no defined rules about how exactly to wear your eternity ring with your wedding band and your engagement ring, so we’ll go over a few options.
Some people insist on wearing their eternity rings at the base of their finger, with their wedding band and engagement ring on top. This is a nice way of spreading out some sparkle, especially if you’re wedding band is plain. Another preference for some is to have their wedding band at the base, with the eternity ring sat between the wedding band and the engagement ring. Keeping your wedding band at the base of your finger is important to some people because of the symbolism the wedding band holds, which is understandable.
Eternity rings are rarely worn on top of both the wedding band and the engagement ring, but you are free to try this style if you think it will suit you and your wearing preferences. Another alternative is wearing your eternity ring on the right hand ring finger. This is a great idea for people with large stones on their engagement rings, or custom-made engagement ring / wedding ring combinations. This is another idea that ‘spreads the sparkle’ so to speak, ensuring you glitter and gleam at every angle.
Eternity Ring Settings
Something that makes eternity rings a very appealing style to so many people is how versatile they are. This versatility can be seen in the variety of settings available better than anywhere else. Most often, eternity rings are either channel set or claw set. Channel settings are where the metal of the ring sits above the height of the gemstones, creating a sort of tram-track that has gemstones contained within it. This is a secure setting that ensures your gemstones are kept very safe, with the cost being that they don’t get quite as much light into them as they do with other settings.
The claw setting, for example, gets lots of light into the stones, allowing them to refract it and create a dazzling shine. Claw settings are basically as they sound – the metal of the ring creates several ‘claws’ that hold the gemstone in place. These eternity rings are very beautiful because their setting allows them to have a clear shape to them, with each stone appearing larger as a result.
Some eternity rings have what is known as a ‘bezel’ or ‘collet’ setting. These settings are unique because the metal of the ring is set right up to the gemstone, creating the illusion of each part of the ring being one piece. This setting is typically reserved for different styles of rings, and it’s rare to find a collet set eternity ring.
Eternity Ring Metals
As is the case with most jewellery, eternity rings are available in most of the common jewellery metals. Yellow gold and white gold are the most popular options for eternity rings, along with platinum. For cheaper alternatives, or eternity rings that are not intended for bridal jewellery, sterling silver is a viable option that can be a great choice.