| A Brief History of the Eternity Ring
Eternity rings could be described as dress rings. The common feature of all eternity rings, is that they are stone set, often with diamonds. A "full eternity" ring is one where the stones are set completely around the shank. A "half eternity" ring only has the stones set partially around the shank. Many modern half eternity rings feature a raised "head", which is a departure from the traditional idea of a wedding type ring. There is a recent fashion for diamond-set wedding rings, which are closely related in style to eternity rings.
According to our Dictionary of Jewellery, their history dates back about 4000 to an example found out Ur.
The endless or eternal loop is symbolic of eternal love. Another similar theme is for the shank to be formed like a snake sometimes swallowing its own tail.
Diamonds are the most popular gemstones for eternity rings, but rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other stones are also popular, usually in conjunction with diamonds. Although the "full" eternity is traditional, there are many reasons why it is not frequently seen. Working out an estimate for a full eternity ring is a skilled and difficult task, so even quoting for one is costly.
Many women prefer to maximise the "show" of the ring by concentrating all the diamonds in the visible "head" or front of the ring.
Full eternity rings mounts are also much more expensive to make than "halves", because they must be made individually, or at best, one master model needs to be
Claw or Flush Setting?
In the British market, claw settings have been more fashionable than other, more attractive and practical setting styles. Although there are many claw set eternity rings in service, a setting style where the stones are set into the metal of the shank, such as "grain", "flush" or pavé are to be preferred. These styles are sometimes confused with "channel" setting, but are more secure.
Square or Round Stones
Whereas round brilliant cut diamonds are the commonest choice for solitaire rings, square or oblong stones can be an excellent choice for eternity rings, partly because they can be set edge-to-edge in a continuous band or line.
The recent development and availability of "princess" cut diamonds justly adds to the attraction of square stones for eternity rings.
How Long Is An Eternity?
Opinions vary widely as to an appropriate time for the giving and receiving of an eternity ring. De Beers and the Diamond Promotion Service would have you all believe that the first wedding anniversary is the right time. I suppose it beats paper!
Others believe that the birth of the first child is an appropriate time, and if most men could empathise with their wives over the pain of childbirth, I am sure they would gladly prefer to buy an eternity ring, than to go through the alternative.
We believe it is for the individual couple to decide upon an appropriate time for an eternity ring.
A popular choice for ruby (40th) anniversaries is a ruby and diamond eternity ring, but any anniversary could be a good choice.
Most eternities symbolise the continuation of the man's love for his wife. Most women dream of receiving an important looking eternity ring, whether for its show of wealth or for its unspoken message "look how much my husband thinks of me". For this reason, an eternity can be a symbol of continued health, wealth and happiness.
Eternity rings, having evolved from wedding rings, are also worn on the "ring finger", which is normally the third finger of the left hand.
We often get asked in which order eternity rings should be worn relative to a wedding ring and engagement ring. Many wear their wedding ring all the time, so that it is the first ring placed on the finger, and because the engagement ring is often removed, then this goes on after the wedding ring. This leaves the question whether the eternity ring should go on second or third. We believe it is correct to regard this as a matter of personal choice. Do whichever feels best or right for you. You may find a particular style of eternity ring which will fit better in one position rather than another, so be guided by this. In general a dainty style of eternity ring with lots of claws would be best if removed when tackling certain jobs, so may be best put on last, whereas a substantial eternity ring without claws could be left on permanently, and therefore could be worn between the wedding and engagement ring.