Eternity rings, sometimes known as eternity bands or infinity rings, are a beautiful addition to any jewellery collection. Typically made from diamonds, eternity rings are available in many different cuts and styles, to suit all budgets.
But what exactly is an eternity ring and when should it be gifted? Read our FAQs on eternity rings to find out the answers to these questions and more.
What Are Eternity Rings?
An eternity ring is a deeply romantic symbol, of equal standing to an engagement ring and wedding ring. The three rings are often worn together.
Traditionally, an eternity ring is given on the 1st wedding anniversary as a reminder of the vows made, and of the love shared. Some couples choose to give an eternity ring on other special occasions throughout their marriage, such as on the 25th or 50th anniversaries instead.
The shape of an eternity ring is also said to represent the circle of life, which is why it’s also often given upon the arrival of the first child.
Whenever an eternity ring is given to a spouse, it’s a sign of dedication and love to last forever.
What is the History of Eternity Rings?
Although they may not have been called eternity rings, the tradition can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics were an important part of their culture, and the circle represented eternity. As the Egyptians believed that even death couldn’t break the bond of marriage, a gift of a ring symbolised their eternal love. Of course they didn’t have precious metals or stones for their version of eternity rings; Egyptian spouses had to make do with bone!
The modern eternity ring, as it is known today, was created in the 1960s. The De Beers Group, famous for their diamond mining, designed a circular ring which showed off a whole line of smaller diamonds, a change from the large, single stone ring which was fashionable at the time. This was described as an eternity
Campaigns from the 1960s encouraged men to buy an eternity ring as a token to their wives to “show them how it’s going”. The slogans from the 1970s were even starker, declaring that when a “man actually remembers an anniversary” he should “make it unforgettable”.
Despite the quirky marketing, the essential message of De Beers endured, namely “A diamond is forever” – making it perfect for the declaration of love and commitment on an eternity ring.
How Do You Wear an Eternity Ring?
Just like wedding and engagement rings, an eternity ring is designed to sit on the third finger of the left hand.
There is no strict order on how to wear the rings together, but the most common arrangement is the wedding ring followed by the engagement ring with the eternity ring on the top. This order may not always work well, depending on the shape of the engagement ring. Therefore, some choose to wear their wedding ring first, followed by the eternity ring as these two rings often slot perfectly together. The engagement ring can then be worn above.
What Are the Most Popular Styles of Eternity Ring?
Diamonds are one of the most popular stones for an eternity ring, and they’re the stone which they originally featured in the 1960s when created by De Beers. However, it’s not compulsory to stick to diamonds; eternity rings come in many different types.
The defining feature of the eternity ring is the emphasis on the circle, and its infinite nature. The circular design is typically presented either as a full eternity ring or a half eternity ring.
A full eternity ring has stones set all the way around the band, making them identical on the front and the back. However, this isn’t always practical so some prefer a half eternity; these feature stones across the front of the band only. A half eternity isn’t as heavy or as expensive, and you don’t need to worry about catching stones on the back of the band. There is no symbolic difference between a full and half eternity, both carry the same meaning.
An eternity ring can be made from any metal but most people prefer that it’s the same as their wedding and engagement rings. The stones can be cut in various styles and set differently, such as in a channel for a flatter finish or claw-set for a more prominent design. Round cut brilliant diamonds are one of the most popular cuts, offering maximum sparkle even in the smaller stones.
Although diamonds are the most popular stone for an eternity ring, there are other stones available too. Sapphires, rubies and emeralds are the most common, often combined with diamonds for a stunning effect.