The most commonly used element for wedding rings and engagement rings is gold. White gold is even more exclusive. Gold wedding rings look good whether the design is just a straightforward, basic band or an engraved ring like a Celtic Knot. Gold rings can be given on other occasions as well of course. Some people give their children a gold ring for their coming of age birthday.
Until not so long ago, it was customary for the man to give a gold ring when he asked for his girlfriend's hand in marriage. However, nowadays it is more usual for the couple to go shopping for the engagement or wedding ring together. This makes good sense, even if it is less romantic, because the wearer can get the design that she likes.
Gold stands for purity in many cultures and that is one of the reasons why it is given to brides and brides to be. The symbolism is all but lost though in today's consumer society in the West. For many people though it still symbolizes the hope that they will stay true to each other, until the day they die. It is a way of showing that the wearer has taken vows and means to keep them.
There is a huge variety of gold rings available. However, the variety lies not only in the design but also in the purity of the gold. Naturally, the purer the gold, the more expensive it is. In the UK, most gold rings are either 9 or 18 carat. In the USA, most gold rings are 14 carat, but in Thailand, few people would buy gold that is less than 18 carat and 22 carat is the norm for women. Pure gold is 24 carat, however pure gold is so malleable that you can mould it with your bare hands.
This might sound good, but it is not. A 24 carat gold ring gets out of shape every few hours, just by you doing what you do every day and then it can pinch your skin. Opening a door can buckle the ring. This means that you can not set stones in pure gold, because they would soon fall out. Pure gold rings are best not even engraved because the design would soon wear off.
Therefore, the best place to begin, if you want a gold ring, is to think about what style you want. Do you want precious stones set into it? Then you can not really go above 18 carat. If you can not afford 18 carat then 9 or 14 carat is for you. If you want something like a Celtic Knot ring, that is one with an engraved design, then anything up to 18 carat for you too, depending on your finances. If you want a pain band of gold, then a thick ring of 22 carat gold would be great, but not if you do a lot of manual work.
If you really want something special, why not have a gold ring made to your own design? It is not so expensive as you might think and you will end up with something exclusive, especially if you provide your own stone to be polished too. Such a gold ring would become a family heirloom and could stay in the family for centuries.