One of the questions we are asked frequently by customers is when they should buy an eternity ring for their partner. This isn’t a straightforward question to answer; there is not a single event strongly associated with an eternity ring, as there is with an engagement or wedding ring. They are most commonly purchased as an anniversary gift, often to celebrate a special anniversary such as the first, tenth or twenty-fifth. Other popular reasons are the birth of a first child or a special birthday. For most it is the sentiment that is most important, and the occasion provides an opportunity for renewing the expression of love that has already been made with the engagement and wedding rings.
A complete band of gems makes the perfect symbol of love; it reflects the ancient belief in the circle as a symbol of eternity, just as we see with the first wedding rings thousands of years ago. Eternity rings themselves have been known since at least the eighteenth century, when they would often feature paste (glass) stones or a mixture of different gems. In the early decades of the twentieth century diamonds were becoming more available and consequently became more commonly used in eternity rings. Synthetic spinel was also a very popular choice, making use of the latest advances in the synthesis of gemstones to provide a more affordable option that imitated the appearance of diamond.
In the 1960s DeBeers began to promote the idea of a diamond set eternity ring. Previous advertising campaigns had focussed on young couples getting engaged but the eternity ring allowed DeBeers to target an older, married audience. It also provided an opportunity to sell more of the smaller diamonds not suitable for solitaire engagement rings. The original slogan for this campaign was “She married you for richer or poorer. Let her know how it’s going”. This, and subsequent campaigns with similarly light-hearted slogans, associated the eternity ring with wedding anniversaries, and the giving of an eternity ring soon became a tradition almost as universal as engagement and wedding rings.
While eternity rings were traditionally a full band of gems, the unbroken circle representing endless love, it is now more common for a half-set band to be chosen. The principal reason for this is that it is a more practical style for regular wear since it does not have gemstones and settings around the lower half of the band. This makes the ring easier to adjust in size and often more comfortable to wear. The wide range of settings and styles available now also encourages great variation in what is chosen as an eternity ring. For many people, it is important to find a design that complements their existing engagement and wedding rings, as the eternity ring is traditionally worn alongside them on the same finger. For others the addition of coloured gemstones such as rubies or sapphire can add an extra special touch to represent an anniversary or a birthstone.
Whatever the occasion, an eternity ring is a beautiful and special way to reaffirm your love. Our experienced team of jewellers and gemmologists can guide you through the process and the range of options available. You can browse a selection of our eternity rings on our website too.