This is the first instalment of Ask a Jeweller - the newest feature on our blog in which our readers submit gemstone or jewellery related questions that are answered by our Master Goldsmith, Dino Giannetti.
I have an 18k white gold engagement ring and will be purchasing a 14k white gold wedding band. Our local jeweller, who we are purchasing the bands from, has strongly recommended that we solder the wedding band and engagement ring together as the 14k gold band will end up wrecking the softer 18k gold ring. I am concerned that this might change the look and feel of the rings, which I love. What do you recommend?
- Kristan M.
There are a couple of circumstances that might arise with regards to a wedding suite in which we might recommend soldering the two rings together, but the karat of gold is never one of them. Regardless of what metal is used, there will always be wear along the points of contact on both rings whether they are made of 18k, 14k, platinum, iron, or steel. Unless your engagement ring already has some serious wear - if for example it is a well worn heirloom that has already experienced decades of daily wear and tear or the engagement ring has a very thin band already - there is a slim chance that you will wear out either the engagement ring or band in your lifetime. However, if either of the rings have an engraved or filigreed detail this will eventually be worn away if it they are constantly rubbing together. Another concern would be if either of the rings have diamonds set along the sides of the band, not only will the diamonds damage the ring but the ring will also damage the diamonds.
There are two circumstances that would warrant soldering the two together - if the engagement ring has an unusual shape and a band has been made to fit, yet keeps slipping out of its intended place or if the wedding band is resting against the setting holding the diamond or gemstone - especially a claw setting.
On the first example, we have seen various custom or fitted wedding suites in which the engagement ring fits into a jacket-style wedding band or a notch or curve has been added to the wedding band so that it they both sit snuggly together. These types of settings require a high degree of precision which is not always met - if these types of settings are not perfectly alligned the two may start to slip out of place - creating an undesirable look and uncomfortable feel to the rings. In this case, soldering them together may be the best solution.
This is an example of a fitted engagement ring and wedding band - the wedding band is built to fit within the shape of the engagement ring. If built well, this type of setting will stay in place while being worn. If the wedding band is not properly constructed, it may move out of place and be quite uncomfortable to wear. If an adjustment doesn't fix the problem, soldering them together might be the best solution.
Secondly, how well a standard wedding band will fit against an engagement ring is usually only a consideration after the engagement ring has been purchased. Most engagement rings are designed in a way that a standard band will not sit flush to the band and in some instances will actually rest against the settings holding the diamond (or diamonds) in place. This is a concern as the wedding band will eventually saw through the setting and will put the diamond at risk for coming loose. Soldering the band to the engagement ring would be a good solution in both of these scenarios.
This is an example of an engagement ring and wedding band that do not fit flush against each other. As long as the wedding band is not rubbing against the settings holding the small diamonds (i.e. the small claws holding the stones in place) , there is no reason to solder the two bands in place.
On a final note, rest assured that if the rings are soldered together properly it is not impossible to eventually have them separated. In fact, if you do decide to have them soldered together the rings should always be separated if there is major maintenance or repair to be done. If for example the rings must be resized (and most will at some point), they should be separated, resized individually, and re-soldered together. This is not a difficult task for a trained goldsmith, but just a heads up that along with extra time and labour there are extra costs associated.
Thank you for your question Kirsten, and I hope we have given you enough information to help you with your decision.
Have a question? Email them to us at service(at)18karat.ca with the subject line Ask a Jeweller. We will answer your questions here, every Thursday.