Roundup: An Engagement and Wedding Ring Do-Over


Down the sparkly rabbit hole we go

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Roundup: An Engagement and Wedding Ring Do Over | A Practical Wedding

Blue Tourmaline and Mine Cut Diamond Ring, from Lang Antique and Estate Jewelry ($1,450)

In a quest to replace my stolen engagement ring, I spent weeks on a ring hunt, not to mention a ten-year-anniversary band hunt that ran concurrently. After all that, it seemed silly to not round up the best of the rest, or: the rings I really loved but we didn’t buy. For those of you starting to look for rings, I hope this takes you down the rabbit hole of awesome. The rest of you, well, I hope it just takes you down the rabbit hole.

Also, for those of you in the Bay Area who like trying on rings in person, here are my best suggestions of places to shop.

Bay Area Indie Jewelry Stores

Fiat Lux: Indie jewelry store out of your dreams, friend of the blog. Tell them we sent you. They carry designers no one else in town carries. We bought our ten-year ring here.
Steven Alan: Clothing store with an impressive selection of indie designers’ jewelry. They carry most of the designers Fiat Lux doesn’t, so between the two, your bases are more than covered.
Esqueleto: Oakland’s upscale indie jewelry store.
Lang: In the market for a vintage ring? This is the mothership. Not in the market for a vintage ring? Oh well, it’s never a bad day to try on a $60K, hundred-year-old sparkler. That’s what I tell myself most of the time I pop in. This time, though, we bought something a tad more reasonable.

Roundup: An Engagement and Wedding Ring Do Over | A Practical Wedding

Engagement Rings: 1. Jerry Grant Diamond Cluster Ring, from Steven Alan (in store only, $918)  2. Camille Diamond Vintage Engagement Ring Circa 1950, from Turtle Love Co. ($1,975) 3. Rosecut Pave Diamond Solitaire in Black, from Blanca Monros Gomez ($1,995) 4. Primary No 2 Ring, from Endswell ($295) 5. Diamond Baguette Engagement Ring, from Etsy ($198) 6. Diamond Bar Ring, from Satomi Kawakita Jewelry ($440) 7. Hexagon Brown Diamond Ring, from Satomi Kawakita Jewelry ($960) 8. Antique Diamond and Rose Gold Cluster Ring, from Lang Antique and Estate Jewelry ($1,975) 9. Blue Sapphire Ring, from Stone Fox Bride ($985)

Roundup: An Engagement and Wedding Ring Do Over | A Practical Wedding

Wedding Bands: 1. Diamond Baguette Ring, from Catbird ($320) 2. Sweet Ten Diamond Band, from Satomi Kawakita Jewelry ($870) 3. Speckled Band with Diamond, by Claire Kinder Studio, from Catbird ($330) 4. Fairy Light Eternity Band with White Diamonds, from Catbird ($1,300) 5. Black Diamond Bateau, exclusively at Fiat Lux ($790) 6. Enamel Curved Band, from Bario Neal ($295) 7. Black and Gold Eternity Ring, from Fiat Lux ($1,120) 8. River of Light Band, by Claire Kinder Studio, from Catbird ($1,840) 9. Eternity No 3 Ring, from Endswell ($595)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • KerryMarie

    We got my engagement ring at Lang’s! Love the roundup!

    • carolynprobably

      Mine is from Lang’s too – and purchased sight unseen, as I am a midwesterner. Great store and fair appraisal (which is important when you’re dropping that kind of cash on the internet).

    • dogmouth

      Lang also has a nice selection of reasonably-priced new wedding rings that are designed to fit around antique enagement rings. My art deco engagement ring came from Brilliant Earth, and my wedding ring is this one (in white gold, for about half that). They look lovely together.

      I also have a pair of coral earrings and a coral brooch from them, and every time I’ve been in there, they’re just wonderful.

  • Dom

    I’m gonna just go ahead and post a photo of my ring (awful photo). Custom designs are not all that expensive people, if the rings in the big box stores don’t quite work!!

    • Dom

      Oops, photo didn’t upload:

    • Laura C

      It’s really hard to photograph diamonds, isn’t it?

      The weird things you discover when engaged.

      • Meg Keene

        You just need a good lens, is the trick. Point and shoots don’t work on rings and small stuff. Things I’ve learned in six years.

  • Emily Ardoin

    Drool-worthy. All of them.

  • KC

    I do not usually want rings, but engagement ring #1… ooooh. That’s close.

    (I still like my ring better. But that is a closer second than I’m accustomed to!)

  • Ally

    I clicked over from FB where I was swooning over the e-rings…then I saw the roundup of wedding bands here and my heart went pitter-patter! Dying over here…

  • Laura C

    I do not want and do not have an engagement ring, but just as a ring, I’m pretty tempted by engagement ring #1 in the picture, because I feel like it would go with a pendant and some earrings my fiance’s grandmother and mother, respectively, have given me. I never wear rings, but I saw that picture and thought “it goes! I should have it!”

    • Ella

      For what it’s worth, Meg is listing it as $918, but unless I’m mistaken, the website is saying it’s only (lol) $380. Hell, I might buy this for myself! :)

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        Looks like the 12-diamond ring is in-store only and $918, but the 6-diamond version we linked to is indeed only $380! GET IT!

        • Meg Keene

          The smaller version is less, though I did not like it as much in person, full disclosure.

          We almost bought this ring though.

    • swarmofbees

      It is so gorgeous! It reminds me of my engagement ring that is shaped like a twig. It almost makes me wonder if this would go with my engagement ring as a wedding band …

  • NicoleT

    This roundup is awesome!! I love how original these rings are (and I’m a sucker for rings similar to number 1 in engagement rings).

    This also seems a good place to ask this question: is it better to go with white gold or sterling silver for a wedding ring? I know sterling silver is cheaper, but will it hold up over the years?

    • Violet

      I’m Definitely not an expert, but as I understand it, most of what is sold as “white gold” these days is simply gold covered in Rhodium. So if you’re a low-maintenance gal, going once a year to get your ring re-dipped might be annoying. Silver in general, I think, is also tougher than gold (gold is SOFT!). Silver’s drawback is that it gets tarnished more easily. But it should definitely “hold up.”

      My husband’s ring is white gold, and he was amazed at how much it shows wear and tear (even though I did try to warn him). He still loves it, though. : )

      • K

        I can’t help much with the silver versus white gold question, either, but my jeweller told us that the rhodium replating is somewhat individual and depends on a person’s body chemistry.

        I’m not a white metals person partly because I come from a line of women whose skin likes to tarnish metals super quickly. My friend, on the other hand, had her 5 year old 18k white gold ring examined when she was with me and he recommended she wait at least another year before redipping.

        Palladium might be a good option to consider too come to think of it.

        • JenK

          Also look at palladium-gold opposed to nickel-gold. From what I understand, it is a brighter white than white gold made with nickel, even without plating, and less chance of an allergic reaction.

      • Mezza

        Both of my rings are white gold, and one is rhodium-plated while the other is not. This makes them slightly different colors, but they’re definitely both still white.

        I previously had a sterling silver ring and it looked SO beat up after wearing for about 3 years. Scratches, smudges, everything.

        • Violet

          So interesting! It’s cool you have one of each kind to kind of compare/contrast. I wonder if MC is onto something when she points out how different bodies might interact with the metals differently. Any colored gold is technically an alloy, so it might be helpful to know what the other metal is (nickel, palladium, etc.). Because sometimes they’ll mix in silver, so then you might be back to square one with the whole wear and tear dilemma. (I wore the same two silver rings for YEARS when I was younger, and they always held up fine. Bizarre.)

          • Mezza

            You’re probably right – my skin actually reacted horribly to the silver ring, cracking and peeling around it (which is why I adamantly went with gold for these rings), though I’ve never had an issue with other silver jewelry. Wonder if that damaged the ring somehow as well.

            The non-rhodium ring is noticeably…darker? than the very light silvery rhodium one, but it’s also textured so it looks fine to me.

          • Violet

            Wow! Ouch! Sounds like you made the right call!

        • Beth R

          I also have one ring (engagement) that is rhodium plated and one ring (wedding band) that is not. There is definitely a difference in color, but not enough that you would notice it unless you were looking. I actually like the slightly warmer tone of the wedding band better so I don’t think I’ll get either of them re-rhodium plated in the future.

          • NicoleT

            Are they both some kind of white gold, or is one sterling silver?

          • Beth R

            They are both 18k white gold. The engagement ring is brand new and the band is from the 1920s or sometime around there.

          • NicoleT

            Nice combo! It’s nice to know that white gold still looks nice without the plating. Based on the date of the band, I’m going to guess that white gold holds up well. I guess it’s worth the investment!

        • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

          I think that with sterling silver, a lot depends on the quality of the silver and how it is made. My wedding ring was sterling silver and I wore it nonstop for over 4 years and it was fine. It was custom made by a jeweler and he explained that he “pressed” it and that meant there were no air bubbles or pockets, so it would be very sturdy and long-lasting (unlike poorly made silver jewelry). There were slight signs of wear on it, but I liked that because it felt lived-in, like a good marriage. Ooh, and my body chemistry has turned cheap silver earrings black before really quickly, but I never had a problem with tarnishing or anything else with that silver ring.

      • NicoleT

        Thanks! I didn’t really want to ask the seller since I’m not entirely sure if he’d be honest (white gold adds a chunk of change to the price)…

        • Violet

          Yep, yep, so true. Since you got me thinking about it, I found a really nice side-by-side comparison on, where else, ebay? Haha
          http://www.ebay.com/gds/Whats-the-Difference-Between-Silver-and-White-Gold-/10000000177633027/g.html

          • NicoleT

            Ebay, who would’ve thunk. Thanks! It’s both helpful and overwhelming…guess I’ll have to keep thinking this over! (Although I am leaning a little more towards white gold based on all of the comments.)

          • Meg Keene

            Don’t worry too much. Literally, some of my rings are platinum some are white gold… which one is which I have no idea.

          • NicoleT

            Good to know! I guess I’m just looking at the prices right now and trying to find the best value for something that will last a decent amount of time. Congratulations on your gorgeous new ring!

    • Meg Keene

      I like silver in general, I decided I did not want any of my wedding bands to tarnish. So I did white gold (mine have stayed very plated, though David’s less so) and platinum. I can’t remember which is which anymore.

      • NicoleT

        Yeah, I’m not huge on mine tarnishing either. It would work with the design still, but I’d prefer to avoid it.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

        That’s interesting…my silver wedding band never had a problem with tarnishing. I think it depends on the quality (and also if it is not worn for a period of time). Mine was always on my finger and was custom-made by a local jeweler. My engagement ring was white gold. It turned out to be slightly yellower than the silver wedding band, and since I was wearing them on the same finger, at first it bothered me. After a while I let that go. I know my white gold ring has never been “dipped” or anything since I got it, and that is the first I’ve heard about that. The same jeweler made both those rings.

        • Meg Keene

          Sliver doesn’t tarnish if you wear it!

    • carolynprobably

      Every day I wear 3 rings, my platinum engagement ring, my palladium wedding band and a white gold family ring. I would not categorize myself as someone who is very precious with her jewelry (I bought it to wear it, damnit). I was told platinum settings are stronger and less likely to lose stones even with long term wear, chemicals (from cleaning and swimming) and being banged up. That said, all three are holding up really well.

    • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha Smith

      My engagement ring is white gold and my wedding band is silver. Platinum was not in our budget and now, in retrospect, I am wishing I’d told my husband to get a silver engagement ring as well. Sure it takes more maintenance, but we got a great warranty on the band and feel confident we won’t have problems with it. My engagement ring though has been re-dipped (in two years of wear) already and could definitely use another coating. I also read that you shouldn’t re-dip too often because gold is so soft and can damage from the re-dipping.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

        I had exactly the same rings- silver wedding and white gold engagement. They held up great. And I also had wished that the engagement had been silver too (because they were slightly different colors). Now I am thinking of re-setting my engagement ring and am wondering what metal I might want for the band. I am thinking silver or platinum.

  • MC

    Yes!! I am 60% sure that the Bario Neal wedding band will be mine but we have yet to actually do any in-person shopping… I think that’s on the schedule for this weekend, and this gives me some great food for thought! I really really love that Bario Neal ring though.

    • IG

      We got our rings at Barrio Neal, and they were wonderful. Originally, we both bought standard rings after trying them on at the store. I loved, loved, loved mine. But after wearing it for six months, i couldn’t stand it. It was top-heavy, and the band was really skinny, and it kept rotating so the top was on the inside of my hand, even after I had it re-sized twice. So we went back to Barrio Neal, and they took the diamonds out of the original ring, and made me a custom new one, which I ADORE: http://bario-neal.com/jewelry/custom-work/custom-dais-band-with-scattered-diamonds. It fits perfectly, and I love that it’s one of a kind.

      • Sarah

        Your ring is really beautiful!

        • IG

          Thank you!

  • Alyssa M

    I can not stop drooling over that ring at the top. I am a sucker for a nice colored gemstone.

  • Jacky Speck

    Even though the blue ring at the top is probably my most favorite, #1 gave me warm fuzzy feelings because it looks just like my mom’s engagement ring :)

  • Beth R

    Aw man, my husband almost bought my engagement ring at Esqueleto, but then they never got back to him about some questions he had, so he gave up and went elsewhere. I’m kind of still bummed because they have some super amazing stuff!

    • Meg Keene

      That’s the one shop I didn’t actually shop at, funnily enough. We found the rings first.

  • H

    Ho-ly crap – has anyone else seen this? https://twitter.com/NYMag/status/448531780011044864 $3000 wedding social media concierge? Why WIC why??!

  • Sarah E

    If I hadn’t seen the picture of your ring this morning, I hardly would have believed you could find something any better than these “runner-ups.”

    I can’t wait to finally go ring shopping in person for our wedding bands. We plan to hit up Bario-Neal next time we’re on the East Coast, and I visit “my” ring on their website every few weeks. Of course, I also regularly visit Favor to look at the gifts I’d give myself, too. . .

  • Katie Wannen

    Awwww… my hubby gave me his grandmother’s engagement ring from the ’50′s and it looks just like #2! Love it and love all of these!

    • Lisa

      My fiancé’s godmother gave him her godmother’s wedding set to give to me, and it is also from ca. 1950! It looks quite a bit like no. 2 as well but with yellow gold. :)

      • Caroline

        I also have my partner’s grandmother’s ring from the 50′s which looks a lot like #2 and I love it!

  • Valerie Day

    That enamel curved band is one I could imagine in my future. As a just-for-me ring. I just spent all my sparkly budget on having my grandma’s opals set into earrings. They are beautiful.

  • KC

    (also, I know it would probably be an enormous pain in the rear depending on what software you’re using, and if so, please ignore… but I often try to click through the picture to the item [and of course instead end up at the image of all the items], so if those *could* be linked through without great pain, that would be awesome. But I understand that image slicing is not fun in most programs, too, so no worries if not.)

  • Rebecca H

    This is a long shot, because I know you’re based in the US, but does anyone have a similar list of shops in Melbourne, Australia? I can’t be the only one who loves this stuff here!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

      Alicia Hannah Naomi is a Melbourne style blogger who also makes edgy, atraditional jewelry. I don’t know if she does any engagement or wedding rings specifically, but I would think she could do something custom. It might not be the style you’re looking for, but in case it is, I wanted to mention her. She talks some about her jewelry on her style blog, http://www.seaofghosts.com/ And her jewelry work is also here: http://www.occulter.org/collections/alicia-hannah-naomi

      • Alicia Hannah Naomi

        Hi Jenny, Thank you so much for this recommendation. I have been working on more bespoke wedding and engagement bands for clients and am always thrilled to take on new work of this kind.
        Rebecca please don’t hesitate to visit my website http://www.aliciahannahnaomi.com or e-mail me for bespoke requests.

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    I’ve got to plug Kate Ellen Metals of Crown Nine in Oakland. I am so in love with her custom wedding rings…I met my fiance when I was doing a photoshoot for her. http://www.kateellenmetals.com I’m in LOVE with everything she makes and her store is heaven.

  • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

    Well damn. I originally was going to skip a wedding band (FI thinks it’s silly to have 2 rings, and I don’t usually like how most of them look together if they’re not designed to be a set) but I absolutely ADORE that enamel one! Like, don’t know if I’ll be able to get it out of my head ever sort of adore. Now to break the news to FI once he comes home….

    • Caroline

      Isn’t it stunning?! I love it too. I think for my wedding band I want to stick with our original plan of solid palladium bands, because I adore the look of solid plain wedding bands, but that baby may be a gift to myself someday…

  • Lisa

    Needess to say, I’ve been slavering over Lang’s since 1973. You all could also look up Beladora’s, since the CEO is a friend of mine:).

    Also, this is some BEEYOOTIFUL stuff.

  • Channa

    I appreciate that there’s at least one ring without any stone in it. Ours was stoneless – just very well-designed 24K gold (the only kind you can get in Asia) – and even on the indie blogs I was starting to feel like a total weirdo for having no stone.

    Do-over: I’m not sure we would have gotten an engagement ring for me – either rings for us both or rings for neither. It was fun at the time, I don’t regret it, I love my ring, but now I see how thoroughly unnecessary it was.

    Oh well, I have a nice gold ring now!

  • Caitlin_DD

    Oh man, the eye candy! (And I’m also tickled to see my engagement ring made it to the list…!)

  • notquitecece

    We looked at Lang’s and liked several rings there — it’s not as intimidating as I expected it to be. Also in the Bay Area, and awesome: http://www.crown-nine.com/. Kate is custom-making my ring, and she’s been lovely to work with!

    And Love & Lux in the Mission is pretty good for drooling over jewelry, too.

    • lveejay

      I came here to mention Kate! She custom-made my ring as well, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. She is an amazing artist and a joy to work with.

  • BeeAssassin

    If you know someone who’s pretty familiar with fine jewelry, and are looking to save a little money, another suggestion is to look at Asian jewelry districts. People always assume my engagement ring (sapphire + 18k yellow gold) cost at least twice what I got it for. But definitely go with someone who knows their stuff, that way they’ll have jewelers they’ve purchased from in the past and trust. I have a friend who went to a jewelry district and got what she thought was an antique platinum diamond engagement ring at a good price. When she went to get it cleaned, the jeweler told her that although it was a beautiful ring, it was in fact platinum over silver, and that she overpaid for it.

  • Caroline

    Engagement ring number 2 looks a lot like my ring. (which is a family heirloom from the 50′s). I think the setting of the side diamonds is slightly different on mine, but the top setting is the same. I love the round stone set in the square setting. It makes the diamond look even bigger and sparklier than it is.

    Also, for places to shop:
    We love Oak Jewelers in Berkeley, CA (on Solano). If you want something really unique or indie, it might not be the place to go as their selection is pretty classic, but if what you are looking for is pretty traditional, they are fabulous. It’s been a great shop (good service, little family run store, good prices) for our plain palladium wedding bands. I’ve also done all my jewelery repairs there forever and they are just fantastic.

  • Hototogisu

    I have the Satomi Kawakita hexagon ring! In white gold with a white diamond. My fiance bought it from the US (we live in the Netherlands) and, even though the customs fee was horrendous, it was totally worth it. It’s a very, very delicate ring, but I have tiny rat paw hands (the ring is a size 4!) and it suits my hand perfectly.