Eternity Rings – Pros, Cons and Buying Tips

Girl with eternity ring on her finger

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Eternity rings have been growing in popularity as one of the top choices for wedding and anniversary bands. They’re also ideal as meaningful gifts for a special occasion or to mark a major milestone in life.

It’s a meaningful ring design that can be styled up or down to go with any outfit. However, with so much information out there, how do you drown the noise and pick the right eternity band for you?

We’ve got you covered in our detailed guide on eternity rings, their pros and cons and how to buy them.

What is an Eternity Ring?

Eternity channel wedding band

Also called infinity rings, an eternity ring is a metal band set with gemstones either completely or partially around its circumference. There is no indication of where the ring starts or ends – hence the reference to eternity or infinity.

The most popular variety of eternity bands feature diamonds, but gemstone eternity bands are also becoming increasingly popular. Eternity rings are a highly versatile jewelry style and can be worn to suit a range of styles and occasions.

Meaning of an Eternity Ring

Part of what makes an eternity ring so highly sought after is the meaning that it imbues. It’s a highly symbolic ring design and ideal to represent important milestones in your life.

The circle of the ring represents eternity, completion, perfection, eternal love and equality. The gemstone used for the ring adds another layer of meaning to the design. If we’re talking about diamonds, these represent integrity, strength, purity, trust and love. Overall, the ring represents eternal love and commitment to each other.

History of Eternity Rings

The tradition of giving a ring to symbolize loyalty, love and commitment goes back as far as the Ancient Egyptian times, when rings made of reed were exchanged to symbolize a couple coming together as one. This tradition continued into the Roman times and from there spread to the Western world.

However, the eternity ring with its symbolism and diamonds, are a much more recent invention that began in the 1960s and don’t have a very romantic origin. It was the brainchild of the diamond retailer De Beers, who were looking for a way to sell their supply of small diamonds. Because at the time rings with a single large solitaire diamond was in style, De Beers had to find a way to make small diamonds appear appealing. They created the eternity ring as the next best thing in diamond jewelry, extolled its virtues as a meaningful ring and the ideal gift for a married woman.

Throughout the 20th century, the De Beers corporation have been marketing geniuses, and it’s thanks to them that diamonds have become the number one stone for engagement and wedding bands.

Why Wear an Eternity Ring?

Man putting eternity ring on his bride's finger

Although eternity rings were originally created for married women, today these rings have a wide fan base and are worn by all age groups. Men’s eternity rings are also a trending style, perfect for the man who wants a little bling on his ring. Here are some of the best occasions for an eternity ring:

  • Wedding Ring – Eternity rings are most popular as wedding rings, worn by the bride to symbolize her marriage.
  • Wedding Gift – These rings make for a special wedding gift to the bride, from a close friend or family member. It can even be given as a gift by the groom.
  • Promise Ring – The symbolism of eternity rings is perfect as a promise ring and can be given to romantic partner as a symbol of commitment.
  • Wedding Anniversary – As an anniversary gift, eternity rings indicate that your love and commitment is still going strong. It’s also perfect to add to a stack of wedding rings.
  • New Mom Gift – This is a precious gift to give a new mom either by the spouse or a close family member, symbolizing a new journey.
  • Special Occasion – Eternity rings don’t have to be just about you and someone else. It can represent a commitment to yourself and your values, to mark your independence and strength.

How to Wear an Eternity Ring

Girl wearing eternity ring

In today’s era of fashion freedom, there are no rules on how to wear your eternity ring.

If your eternity ring is your wedding ring, then it would traditionally go on either the fourth finger of your left hand or right hand (depending where you’re from). But you’ll see many non-traditional brides choosing to wear their wedding and engagement rings on any finger they feel comfortable with.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to wear an eternity band as long as it’s comfortable and stylish for you.

Eternity Rings as Engagement Rings

It’s not a traditional choice, but some brides prefer a low set, comfortable engagement ring without a single solitaire stone. However, if you’re choosing this option for your engagement ring, make sure that you feel comfortable with a non-traditional ring choice.

The low-set design of an eternity band will minimize the chance of the diamonds hitting on to things and getting damaged. It’s perfect for people who use their hands a lot for work, like nurses, doctors, mechanics and others.

However, note that people may mistake you for being married and your choice may be questioned. If this doesn’t bother you, go for it.

How to Choose Your Diamond Eternity Band

Eternity wedding ring in white gold

The most important thing when looking for an eternity ring is to ensure that the craftsmanship is impeccable. Quality should be top notch, to avoid issues with the design down the track. Here’s how what to look out for.

Quality of Diamonds

Diamonds used in eternity rings don’t come with a grading report, because it would simply cost too much to get a report on every diamond used. Retailers will often provide an average Color and Clarity grading of the diamonds, but it’s important to carefully check the ring for any dissimilarities in the stones. Uniformity is key – if a diamond is too yellow or has visible inclusions, it will stand out from the rest of the stones.

Best Metal

Diamond eternity bands typically come in platinum or gold, as these metals are durable, prestigious and beautiful. They also match the value of the diamonds and keep the overall value of the ring high.

From the two, platinum is more expensive and much rarer, with a natural whitish hue that perfectly suits white diamonds. Platinum does develop a patina and may require polishing over time. However, it’s the most durable of the precious metals and perfect to complement the sparkle of diamonds

In terms of gold, yellow and rose gold have a vintage, classic look and make the diamonds stand out clearly against their metal hue. White gold is very similar to platinum and is an excellent alternative for a more budget-friendly metal. White gold plating does wear off after a while and will need to be re-plated.  

Diamond Shapes

different types of eternity bands

The shape of the diamond (or other gemstone) used can completely change the entire style of the eternity ring. The most popular shape is the round brilliant, but other more unique shapes create very stylish rings.

Square shapes tend to tessellate and leave no gaps between the diamonds, creating a smooth, paved look to the band. These include princess, baguette and emerald cut diamond eternity rings.

Here are some stunning eternity rings with unique diamond shapes:

Baguette Cut Channel Set Eternity Ring in Platinum 

Asscher Cut Prong Set Eternity Ring 

Radiant Cut Shared Prong Set Eternity Ring 

Milgrain Marquise and Dot Diamond Eternity Ring 

Types of Eternity Rings

There are many types of eternity rings that give you variety of designs to choose from. Here are the most common options:

Full Eternity Ring

Full eternity ring

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A full eternity ring is one that has the diamond completely encircling the metal band. This design has the most meaningful look, as the diamonds go fully around the band embodying what the ring represents. It’s also more comfortable to wear, as you don’t have to worry about the ring spinning on your finger.

However, these can’t be resized without compromising the integrity of the ring and jewelers will often refuse to do that. They’re also more expensive as they require more work to be crafted and use up more diamonds.

Half Eternity Ring

Half eternity ring

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The half eternity ring features diamonds going only halfway around the diamond’s circumference. It doesn’t represent the meaning of the eternity band via its design but its still a stylish option to go for. Half eternity rings are less expensive and also can be resized. However, on the flip side, they can spin on your finger, which can get annoying.

Gemstone Eternity Ring

Blue gemstone eternity ring

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Gemstone eternity rings display beautiful color and can be even more meaningful if the gemstone chosen holds special significance to you, like a birthstone. There is no limit to the designs and styles available, as there are numerous gemstones to choose from. However, if you’re looking for a ring to wear daily, it’s best to opt for a durable gemstone like ruby, sapphire, aquamarine or morganite. In short, anything with a high hardness and toughness rating. However, for more creative options, there are no limits.

Vintage Eternity Ring

Vintage 1920s eternity ring

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Vintage and vintage-inspired eternity bands bridge the gap between the past and the present, bringing in older designs to the present. Because the eternity ring is a fairly modern design, designs prior to the 60s are limited. However, there are many beautiful vintage-inspired designs, like this Art Deco arrow shaped eternity style ring.

Curved Eternity Bands

Curved eternity band

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Curved eternity bands are typically designed in this way to be practical. They’re meant to be worn with an engagement ring, with the curve accommodating the center stone. However, a curved design can also look like a chevron or wishbone eternity ring, which symbolizes good luck and fortune.

Eternity Ring Setting Types

One other thing to decide when choosing your eternity ring is the type of setting you’re after. The setting refers to the way in which the diamonds or gemstones are set in the metal band and how they’re held in place. Here are the most common options:

Prong Set Eternity

This setting type is also called the claw and is the most popular option for eternity rings. Here, tiny metal prongs are strategically placed to hold the diamond in position. This allows maximum visibility of the diamond, making the overall design brilliant. The angled prong setting, like this one, is a favorite among many because it shows off the sides of the diamonds beautifully.

However, prong settings can be difficult to clean and aren’t as secure as bezel or channel settings. There is the off chance that a diamond could get loose or dislodge, but replacing it shouldn’t be too difficult. There are many types of prong settings, which we cover in this article.

Bezel Set Eternity

Bezel set eternity rings, like this milgrain yellow gold ring, provide maximum security to the diamond, holding them carefully in place. They also have a sleek, modern look to them and can be very stylish. However, bezel settings tend to hide the diamonds a fair bit, which can make the stones appear smaller than it is and minimize the sparkle.

Channel Set Eternity

Channel set eternity rings, like this channel set princess cut diamond ring, hold the diamonds in a channel cut into the band of the ring. The diamonds are set flush or under the outer edge of the metal and are placed next to each other with no prongs separating them. This style is ideal for shapes that tessellate as it creates a continuous pavement of diamonds.

Pave Set Eternity

Pave set eternity bands are exceptionally brilliant and glamorous, with diamonds paving the entire band of the ring. Micropave refers to very small diamonds used in the same way, which makes for an even more continuous and sparkling look, like this trio micro pave ring. However, pave eternity rings can be hard to clean and will need to be kept from hard knocks and bangs, as the tiny diamonds can get loose if not looked after.

Affordable Diamond Eternity Alternatives

In general, diamond eternity rings range in price from around $1000 to upwards of $30,000 like this radiant cut eternity ring.

If you’re in love with the idea of a diamond eternity band, but you find it’s a little beyond your budget, there are affordable options that still give you the beautiful, classic look of a diamond ring without the steep price.

Option 1 – Moissanite

Moissanite eternity ring

Moissanite Eternity Ring by Charles and Colvard. Check Price Here.

Moissanite is an excellent option, that has exceptional sparkle and fire. However, while it’s relatively less expensive than diamonds, moissanite can still be pretty pricey. All moissanite is lab-created as natural moissanite is simply too rare for jewelry use. Moissanite is highly durable and an excellent gemstone in its own right. It’s more than just a diamond look-alike.

Option 2 – Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia eternity ring

Cubic Zirconia Eternity Ring by Pavoi. Check Price Here.

The most affordable option, and some might say, the smartest choice, cubic zirconia is almost indistinguishable from a diamond. A good CZ eternity ring can vary in price depending on the quality of the setting used, but in general, you can pick one up for less than $20. Although CZ is inexpensive, choose a quality setting that will last you a long time.

Option 3 – White Sapphire

white sapphire eternity ring

White Sapphire Eternity Ring by Sarriel. Check Price Here.

If you want a gemstone that’s reasonably price but still considered a precious stone, white sapphire is a great way to go. It’s durable, has a beauty and sparkle similar to diamonds and is affordable.

Cons of Eternity Rings

We’ve spoken a lot about the pros of eternity rings and how to buy them. But what about the downsides of these stones?

  • Can’t be resized – One main issue with full eternity rings is that they can’t be resized. As finger sizes change over time, this may become an issue down the track. One way to circumvent this is to choose a half eternity ring.
  • Hard to clean – Because there are so many little grooves, nooks and crannies in an eternity ring, dirt is bound to get lodged in these hidden, hard to reach areas. Cleaning an eternity ring can get difficult and take time. However, this largely depends on the specific setting type. For example, bezel set eternity rings are much easier to clean than micro pave ones.
  • Diamonds can get dislodged – For eternity ring settings with prongs, there’s the chance that the diamond could get dislodged or loose, as the prong tips wear down. Take your ring to your jeweler for a periodic check up to ensure that all the diamonds are securely held in position.
  • Expensive – Crafting an eternity ring takes longer than a plain metal band. This, coupled with the cost of diamonds or gemstones, can make eternity bands an expensive ring setting. Compare this 14k white gold 2mm wide wedding band with this 14k white gold 1.75mm wide prong set eternity band. The eternity ring is over 10 times more expensive than the classic band.

Where to Buy Eternity Rings

Girl with eternity ring on her finger

When buying an eternity ring, quality is paramount. It’s important to purchase from a trustworthy and reputable retailer with a solid track record. A reputable retailer should be able to stand by their products, so if you have any issues, they should be able to take their product back or provide a solution.

From our experience, the following three retailers are among the very best when it comes to exceptional quality, customer service and prices.

James Allen

James Allen has an impressive collection of high-quality eternity bands on offer, with a wide range of settings and styles. You can view each ring from all angles using their ground-breaking Diamond Display Technology. They also have Diamond Experts on hand to help you through the process.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is one of the largest diamond retailers with a wide range of fine diamond jewelry. Their impressive range of eternity bands come in all shapes, prices and sizes, including designer rings and gemstones bands, at competitive prices.

If you’re looking for gemstone eternity rings or diamond alternatives, you can’t beat the range that Amazon and Etsy offer. You’ll be able to find rings to suit all budgets and tastes. However, always make sure to check the policies of each retailer, as well as customer reviews and customer service.