What is an Eternity Ring?

Also known as an “infinity” ring, an eternity ring is given to mark a milestone wedding anniversary. It is also used for occasions during a relationship, such as the birth of your first child. Giving an eternity ring signifies eternal love and commitment.

The History of Eternity Rings

Eternity rings were first exchanged 4,000 years ago in Egyptian times to mark commitment. They have been popular ever since. Rings were first mentioned in hieroglyphics written in 2,000 BC. The circle was described as the symbol of eternity. A sign of the unbreakable bond between a man and a woman.

Archaeologists have discovered many examples of ancient eternity ring. Some are crafted in bone. Others were made with metal with gemstones. One style of ancient eternity ring depicted a serpent, swallowing its own tail. This design was called “Ouroboros”. Eternity rings were far more popular in Ancient Egyptian than they are today.

An eternity ring is a band of precious metal such as gold or platinum. It has a continual row of identically sized precious stones. The circle of stones symbolizes the “circle of life”. Diamonds are the most popular choice. Emeralds, sapphires, peridot, blue topaz, and deep red rubies can be used as well.

By the 1960s, eternity rings were given to older married women to celebrate 10 or more years of marriage. A clever advertising campaign by De Beers the diamond merchants changed all that! De Beers wanted to clear its stockpile of small diamonds which of course were perfect for using in eternity rings. Their advertising campaign suggested that an eternity ring was the perfect gift from husband to wife to confirm they had a lifetime commitment to each other. The amusing slogan they used was, “She married you for richer or poorer. Let her know how it’s going”.

Today, eternity rings are given on the first wedding anniversary. They are sometimes given as a promise ring between an unmarried couple.

Two Types of Modern Eternity Rings

There are two designs of eternity rings available. The first is the full eternity ring. It has a complete circle of precious stones.

The second design is the half eternity. It has a continuous row of diamonds or other gems on the top half or face of the ring.

Half eternity rings are more popular. They are more likely to get damaged or a stone to be lost. They are more comfortable and of course, they are cheaper.

What size diamonds are used for eternity rings?

The diamonds can be round with a Brilliant cut which is one of the most classical styles. They can also be modern and bold with Princess cut diamonds. Diamonds remain the most popular stones for eternity rings. They have incredible strength and durability. They will last for centuries and symbolize devotion and love.

The stones used for an eternity ring are similar in size, usually 0.50 – 0.20 carat. So the total carat weight is one carat. Larger stones can be used. But of course, they will be more expensive. But because they are larger, not as many diamonds will be needed to complete the circle!

Do you already have a diamond wedding band? It is best to get an eternity ring with similar stones, so that the two rings match.

How should an eternity ring be worn?

A common question is how an eternity ring should be worn. The eternity ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand with your engagement ring and wedding band.

The rings should be worn in the order they were given. Engagement, wedding, eternity. Like a wedding band, eternity rings should not be taken off the finger.

Caring for an Eternity Ring

Wearing such a beautiful ring every day will mean that it gets dirty. It will need regular cleaning. This is a simple procedure that can be done at home.

  1. Put your ring in a small bowl of warm soapy water.
  2. Let to soak for about 30 minutes to loosen the dirt.
  3. Very gently brush with a soft toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the ring in cool water.
  5. Pat dry with a soft lint-free cloth.

If you want to wow your partner with a truly memorable gift, give them an eternity ring. You don’t have to wait for a milestone anniversary. Just do it simply because you will love them forever.

Carl Jones

Carl has been involved in the jewelry business since his youth. Growing up in South Africa his parents were jewelers who worked in the industry for decades.

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