In the world of jewellery and glamour, the ring has the most significant emotions attached to it. A ring is often taken as a symbol of affection, of promises to be kept, and most importantly, of the human bonds of love, family and marriage. From Kate Middleton’s 12-carat oval sapphire ring bordered by 14 solitaire diamonds to Priyanka Chopra’s diamond engagement ring from Tiffany’s, the world is always awed by the lavish promises of love that is represented by the ring.
The earliest rings date as far back to 2500BC which were excavated at Ur of the Mesopotamian civilization. Later, the Hittete civilization and the Egyptian civilizations show excavated rings of their ages, especially in their symbolic scarab designs in the case of the latter. Greek and Roman civilizations too boasted of a variety of rings in the bezel designs with intaglio mounts and some varieties of Roman rings include the Henig and Guiraud rings around the 1st and 2nd century AD. Across centuries, they have been made with a variety of materials including wood, bone, shell, bronze, copper, silver, gold, silver and platinum. Alongside, they have been embellished with glimmering precious stones like sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, rubies etc.
TYPES OF RINGS
There are four primary parts of a ring: hoop, shoulder, bezel and the mounted stone or jewel. Rings are set by jewellers in a variety of fashions, namely: bezel setting, where the hoop rims around the embedded jewel; prong setting, where around four to six prongs help to mount the precious stone like diamond or sapphire on a higher level; cluster setting, where a cluster of smaller jewel stones embellish a larger central jewel as a circumference; channel setting, where parallel lines of jewelled stones are separated by the base metal like train tracks; illusion setting, where the precious stones are made in princess cut and set beside one another with the base metal backing it, to give the illusion of a larger mounted stone; tension setting, where the hoops of the ring do not meet but the jewel is placed at the centre of the ring, as if held together with tension.
Jewellers have also come up with innovative designs of cutting the central precious stone. The numerous shapes include the classic round shape and others like the cushion, square, emerald, radiant, heart, oval, pear shapes and of course, the priceless princess cut, the star of the engagement rings around the world.
There are several kinds of rings to be worn:
A sacred ring in the Islamic states, the rings are worn as a symbol of honouring the prophet Muhammad by both Shia and Sunni followers. Aqiq means quartz in Arabic and agate in Turkish. The mounted stones are often sold in carnelian, chalcedony, onyx variations with Arabic inscriptions on the base metal.
A sign of integrity and promises to be kept, the promise ring is laced with emotions and love across cultures. It is often a simple band without a mounted precious stone and can also be a sign of promise between two individuals in a partnership other than love.
A ring with an oversized central bejewelled precious stone that is often surrounded by bordering smaller stones, it is a statement ring worn by ladies, which is often referred to as the cluster or the dinner ring. Elaborate and intricate, cocktail rings are made to draw the eye of the observer.
Elaborate, intricate and filled with grandeur, statement rings were initially conceived as armour rings that cover the entire finger. Modern variations of the statement rings cover at least half or more of a finger with bejewelled designs. They also may form interconnected links with slick chains to form a set of rings for most, if not all, of the fingers of a hand. The set of rings can also be found individually without any attachments with similar designs, especially with the mounted stones. Statement rings are a rage with silver jewellery fans with a variety of semi-precious stones in use, like turquoise, lapis lazuli, agate, chalcedony, onyx, quartz etc.
CUBIC ZIRCONIA RINGS:
Cubic Zirconia or CZ rings are an affordable mic substitute of the original diamond rings. A man-made chemically synthesized substance, it has almost the same shine as a diamond and was first manufactured in 1976. With a high melting point, it is an extremely durable substance that makes for an affordable substitute for diamonds. CZ rings are presently a rage among the customers, and due to its malleable property, it is being used to mimic a number of classic diamond ring designs at present.
Another variety of statement rings, stackable rings are essentially conjoined series of several rings with inlaid precious stones, including diamonds. The variations of stacking the rings can be numerous, from the simplistic streamlined frames or multiple rings that are intertwined. Stackable rings are often found on base metals like platinum, gold and rose gold. Moreover, family heirlooms having multiple rings can also be melded to form singular stackable rings to preserve the past and still be something extremely fashionable.
ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING RINGS:
More often than not, engagement rings are the more embellished pieces of jewellery in comparison to the elegant wedding rings, but they are generally worn as a set by married women. With an array of cuts available for the mounted stone that comes as diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, pearls etc. and set upon the band in various settings, the engagement ring is a symbol of love and affection. Wedding rings, on the other hand, are more stolid in comparison and often worn as bands with a series of diamonds or other stones embedded on the ring as a bezel, or worn as a simple band with or without an inscription. It is found in several base metals like rose gold, silver, platinum etc.
BIRTHSTONES AND ASTROLOGICAL RINGS:
The curiosity of knowing one’s destiny and securing the safety and happiness of one’s future has always been a part of the human psyche. And astrological rings have always been worn to ensure good luck and in recent times, look fashionable as well. The most popular astrological rings are the ones mounted with a birthstone pertaining to a particular zodiac sign on a base metal like gold or silver. Such stones include garnets, carnelian, and even diamonds or sapphires. Moreover, in the Indian culture, different stones have been associated with particular functions for the welfare of an individual, like pearls for peace and stability, ruby for the growth of one’s career or yellow sapphires for a prosperous family life. Indeed, astrological rings are quite the fashion trend as even Bollywood divas like Kareena Kapoor Khan, who wears her coral and pearl rings.