Wedding and engagement rings are placed on the 4th finger of the left hand due to traditional belief that the Vena Amoris (Vein of love) runs directly from the 4th finger to the heart. A ring symbolises the continuity and eternity of love and it has been said that gold is the metal which carries the love around the finger and from the finger to the heart the most purely. Gold is the most traditional metal of a wedding ring but of course this choice comes down to personal choice and may wish to be coordinated with the engagement ring.
Wedding rings are most commonly made out of gold, white gold, platinum, titanium or silver. It is a good idea to match the strength of the metal of your wedding ring to that of your engagement ring so that one does not wear away at the other over time. If choosing gold, pure gold is not neccessarily the best option (see below).
Gold is measured in Karats. The karat is a measure of purity (and should not be confused with the carat of a gemstone). Gold is measured as a fraction of a total 24 karats; 24k gold represents pure gold. For lower karats the gold is combined with another metal such as copper, nickel, silver etc to make it harder and more durable. i.e 18k gold means it is 18k pure gold and 6k other metals; 14k gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal; 10k gold is 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metal.
Wedding rings are not usually made of pure gold as this gold is very soft and therefore does not offer the durability; an 18k gold or white gold is considered a good blend for a wedding ring.
Platinum is of a silver tone and is a bright and shiny metal that sets off gems stones with brilliance so is popular for engagement rings and subsequently wedding bands. It has previously been an expensive option but as gold and silver increase in price the gap has got smaller. It is extremely durable and likely to last longer than other metals for a wedding band.
Silver is a low cost metal. It is a fairly soft metal and will require polishing and upkeep over time. If you like the appearance of silver it is recommended to choose white gold or platinum over for durability.
Where to buy your rings
The Burlington Arcade, W1 and Hatton Gardens, EC1 in London both offer a great range of modern and traditional jewellers to start looking for your rings.
From personal experience Richard Ogden in The Burlington Arcade has produced beautiful rings and offered extremely intricate and helpful advice.