Selecting Your Wedding Rings
By Tracy Harwell
"With this ring, I thee wed." Those words have long been spoken to signify a couple's ever-lasting commitment to one another. The exchanging of wedding rings marks the beginning of a new life together for the bride and groom. The circular shape represents eternity and the presence of the ring on the finger leaves no doubt as to the wearer's marital status. It is one of the most universally recognized symbols in the United States, if not the world.
In addition to all the significance behind a wedding ring, it is a major investment in fine jewelry. When the wedding is over and life settles down, you still have the ring on your finger. Needless to say, it's a purchase that you want to get right.
Most jewelry stores will be able to take care of you once you're ready to shop for a ring, but if you want to make sure that the jeweler is reputable, there are a few things you can do. First find out how long the store has been in business. Ask about their qualifications. Do they have a gemologist on hand? How long have their employees worked in the business. You should also ask what kind of warrantees, trade-in policies and care programs they have. A good jeweler will probably include life-long care such as cleaning and polishing in the price of the ring. If you still want additional assurance, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the store has received any complaints.
Although an engagement ring is certainly a major purchase, it does not have to break the bank. Some jewelers don't agree with the old theory of spending two months' salary. One shouldn't think that one's love will be determined by the size of a diamond. There's something beautiful for every budget. Often a man will buy a small stone for the engagement ring and then trade it in for a larger stone later, perhaps on an anniversary, when he can afford to do so.
When looking at rings, ask to see the diamond grading report. This report is a document issued by the Gemological Institute of America or other independent laboratory and is the ultimate authority in determining the quality and value of the diamond. It is a non-biased opinion, and the GIA or other lab has no investment in whether or not the diamond is sold. If y