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Determining the right budget for your wedding rings

wedding bands

How Much To Spend On Forever

By Michael O’Connor, Jewelry and Style Expert, Platinum Guild

When purchasing things that we buy on a regular basis, we quickly get a sense of the appropriate amount we need to spend in order to satisfy the need. For example, I know that in the morning I need a cup of coffee. On a regular morning, my need can be satisfied by a basic cup of coffee, which, by New York standards, costs approximately $1.50 at a neighborhood deli. On the mornings that I want a more “decadent coffee experience” I know that I will spend just over $4.00 at Starbucks for a similar size cup. And both seem “right” for the product and the experience that I’m getting. However, if tomorrow morning my deli charged me $5.00 for my coffee, I’d quickly have to recalculate the value that I feel I’m receiving and weigh that against what I would receive by going to Starbucks for a more fulfilling and indulgent experience. Basically, this is my value equation: If the features (fulfills the purpose, qualities of product, quality of the experience) justify the price, then the purchase becomes a “value”. This works well, as I said, for products purchased regularly, but how do you recognize a value and know how much to spend on something that you only purchase once in a lifetime? OK maybe two or three times in some people’s case. Specifically, I’m talking about wedding bands here.

The decision to make your current-relationship your forever-relationship is one of the most important decisions you can make and the highest level of commitment you can offer another person. Shopping for an appropriate symbol of that momentous commitment can be a challenging experience. Applying the value equation to wedding rings can help guide you to make an appropriate choice of how much to spend on forever. Simply see if the features justify the price to determine if the purchase is a value.

Fulfills the purpose

A wedding band is the universal symbol of ones commitment to another. Rings are exchanged to symbolize the preciousness and rarity of the relationship, undying love, security and eternity. Bands are intended to be a durable and constant reminder of the circle of life and the wholeness created upon finding “the best relationship”. Certainly a band-style ring fulfills the basic purpose, however, the material from which it’s made must also fulfill a purpose. The metal that the band is made from should signify the preciousness, durability and eternal nature of the commitment. Therefore, one should rule out the common metals and stick with the noble more rare ones. Although gold and platinum are both rare, it is said that platinum is approximately 30 times more rare than gold.

Qualities of the product

When choosing any article of jewelry or clothing it is important to look at how, where and how often the article will be worn and carefully match those needs to the item. A wedding band is quite simply the one item that will be worn every day and night, work and play, for life. For a wedding band this means that the material needs to be durable enough to stand up to constant wear over time without wearing down, maintain its color by not fading or tarnishing and preferably be hypoallergenic. For these criteria, platinum again is one of the most durable of precious metals and doesn’t loose mass from daily wear. For example, when you scratch or nick a gold wedding band, most often you loose some of the precious metal. When you scratch or nick a platinum wedding band the metal is merely displaced, or pushed to the side but you don’t loose volume. Additionally all gold is naturally yellow, while all platinum is naturally white. White gold is actually yellow gold that has been made to look white by the addition of other metals and a rhodium plating over the top. This means that if you purchase a white gold wedding band and wear it daily, over time it may start to fade or appear more yellow. Silver is also a naturally white metal, but unfortunately silver will tarnish and can wear fairly rapidly. Finally, platinum is hypoallergenic because the purity level of platinum wedding bands is usually 90 – 95% pure platinum, as opposed to 75% pure gold for an 18 karat band.

Quality of the experience

As anyone who has driven a fine automobile or worn a pure cashmere sweater can tell you, the experience of driving or wearing the best of anything is quite powerful and fulfilling. Coincidentally, symbolizing your most significant relationship with the best is not only powerful, but appropriate. The feeling of a fine quality piece is unmistakable and in this area too, a platinum wedding band exceeds its counterparts by having a heavier more luxurious feel due to the natural density and weight of the metal.

Looking for value is not merely a price comparison game. True value is determined by connecting the purpose and importance of the purchase with its intrinsic qualities and the experience of ownership. Expressing your deepest commitment with the best you can buy is a purchase that makes sense. And for those who wish a “hard and fast” monetary rule on how much to spend I always think about what is knows as the “two months salary rule”. If the standard is to devote 2 month’s salary to an engagement ring, the symbolic promise, my thought is that 1 months salary should be the appropriate amount for a lifetime of commitment.