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The Best Wedding Rings, According to Cool People

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Engagement rings tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to marriage-related jewelry, but the wedding band shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, “this is the only part of the wedding that you’ll be looking at every day for a long, long time.” says Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich Street Jewelers, a downtown NYC family-owned retailer. Laurel Pantin, style director at InStyle, suggests thinking of a wedding band as “a piece of jewelry you love” when worn solo, “that isn’t necessarily made to be so matchy-matchy with your engagement ring,” she says. “I rarely wear my engagement ring now that I’m married, so it’s nice to have a band that you love on its own.”

Bridal stylist Gabrielle Hurwitz often cautions clients against choosing a wedding band simply because it’s of-the-moment, even though that “can be really tempting,” she says. “Your wedding band is not only a symbol of your love and commitment to your spouse, but it’s also a piece of jewelry you’ll wear every day.” Publicist Danielle Gadi agrees: “Don’t buy something because it’s trendy or because you see it on every ‘It’ girl on Instagram.”

Hurwitz suggests thinking about “whether you gravitate toward more subtle or statement-making jewelry in your everyday life,” and says to consider your lifestyle, too. “If you’re super-active, you’ll need a more durable band,” she says. That might mean a metal-only ring in a lower-karat gold like 10K or 14K that’s less valuable but more durable (and affordable). If you do want stones, bezel or flush settings offer the most protection, and be sure to avoid “any soft stones of 7 or below on the Mohs scale of hardness” like opal, tanzanite, or morganite, says Adrianne Sanogo, GIA-certified gemologist and co-founder of the Black in Jewelry Coalition. “Since it’s a ring you will wear and treasure for the rest of your life, the gems or materials you select should be durable.”

Fit and comfort are extremely important factors, too. Always look for style and quality, but never compromise on comfort,” says jewelry stylist, designer, and collector Jill Heller. “When a ring doesn’t fit well, it’s obvious and doesn’t look good.” Leigh Batnick Plessner, creative director at Catbird, underscores the importance of knowing if “your ring can be resized over time — if not, go up in size” for something like an eternity band, which often can’t be resized, she says. “Maybe you’ve had a baby or maybe many nachos — or maybe both — but fingers do change with time.” Be sure to take the weather into account, too, cautions Maura Brannigan, Fashionista.com’s editor-at-large. “My husband and I decided to try on our bands on the hottest day of the summer, like the kind of New York City day where you sweat through your shorts,” Brannigan says. “After a very gluttonous pre-fitting lunch, our hands had ballooned like a marshmallow in the microwave,” and when they picked up the bands a week or two prior to the wedding, “obviously — obviously! — our bands did not fit; I think my husband’s was something like two or three full sizes too big,” she says. “It ended up being fine and we got replacements sent over in time, but do try to gauge your size in weather more consistent with average temperatures.”

Ahead, over 20 jewelry enthusiasts and pros, from designers and retailers to collectors and bloggers, share their top picks and sage advice (personal and professional) to consider while shopping for the perfect wedding band.

Under $300

Amy Elliott, contributing editor at jewelry trade publication JCK, says “Stone & Strand is great for affordable bridal” jewelry, like this delicate, skinny Bamboo style. She prefers pieces that are “at least 14K gold,” though lower-karat gold could appeal for price or durability purposes. Trinity Mouzon Wofford, co-founder of superfood wellness brand Golde, opted for 10K gold for her engagement ring, a custom piece by London-based designer Jessie Harris. “It’s a much softer yellow than 14K, so it’s subtle, it goes with either metal, and it was also more affordable to produce,” she says. “We didn’t have a ton of budget, so we used two family stones and just updated the setting. It’s been over a year and a half since we got engaged, thanks to COVID, and I still can’t get over how lovely it turned out.”

Unisex or gender-fluid rings and inclusive sizing are (finally) becoming bigger conversations in the jewelry space, says Elliott. Automic Gold is “at the forefront” of making the wedding-band shopping experience accessible to all, Elliott says. “Jewelers should be offering up to size 16 in the set of samples they allow customers to try on, especially with wedding bands,” Elliott says. “It’s both about being size-inclusive, and acknowledging that the trans community’s ring-shopping needs are more nuanced than the typical cis couple.” Automic Gold’s 14K recycled-gold wedding bands, available in sizes from 2 to 16, including quarter and half sizes. are offered in two shapes (a classic curve, or an edgier, flat-edged Industrial), five finishes, four metal colors (the familiar yellow, rose, and white gold, plus a cool-toned champagne gold), and four widths. A couple of styles with stones are available too, like the Rainbow Band, with emerald and multicolored sapphires, or the Industrial shape bezel-set with your choice of gem, from over a dozen to choose from.

Jenny Klatt, co-founder of jewelry brand Jemma Wynne, says she and her co-founder Stephanie Wynne Lalin “can’t resist the beautiful gold Florentine-finish bands that our dear friend Carolina Bucci makes,” like this slender style, which is a particularly affordable Bucci design. (To wit: The far heftier Florentine Finish Thick Ring is $1,612). The unique finish has tons of sparkle without any stones, created by beating the gold with a diamond-tipped tool to make permanent faceted dents in the surface for a glittery, richly textured effect.

Bruce is one of fashion consultant Lauren Caruso’s go-to brands for minimalist, slightly masculine bands. The 14K rings range in price — this Barnes ring is among the more affordable options, though styles go up to four figures — and tend to have subtle, sculptural lines. “It’s amazing how many different directions you can go with a classic gold band,” says Jess Hannah Révész, founder and designer of jewelry brands J. Hannah and Ceremony.

Under $500

Unsurprisingly, Catbird was name-checked a bunch, specifically for more affordable options. The Brooklyn-based retailer’s in-house label “continues to be a great resource for couples who don’t want to spend a ton of money,” Elliott says, though she notes they also stock pricier “superb designer pieces, too,” from talents like Satomi Kawakita, Wwake, Kataoka, Sofia Zakia, and Jennie Kwon. Marion Fasel, author of eight books about jewelry and founder of The Adventurine, recommends 14K gold sans stones “if you want to stay under $500, and Catbird has some great bands in that price range,” like this medium-width style.

Fasel, Plessner, and celebrity and bridal stylist Micaela Erlanger all suggest Mateo for relatively affordable options in 14K or 18K, with or without diamonds, including under-$500 bands like this slim yellow-gold design.

Author and jewelry consultant Beth Bernstein likes Kaylin Hertel’s 14K yellow-gold petal-print collection, inspired by Japanese kimono prints and available in a few different shapes and widths, some with diamonds. The patterns are “subtle and engraved deeply into the band,” she says.

If you’re on the hunt for “a genderless wedding band at a fairly affordable price,” Caruso recommends this Ashley Zhang ring, which has a slightly curved, mostly flat shape and medium width. It’s available in 14K yellow, rose, or white gold for $480, 18K yellow or white gold for $640, or platinum for $880. Unsure whether you want stones or not? “Some people are hard on their rings and that might make metal a better choice,” jewelry designer Cathy Waterman says.

Under $1,000

“I appreciate jewelry designers who source their materials in small batches and work with independent distributors,” Brannigan says of Noémie, a DTC brand that does all production in-house, which means greater transparency and savings for customers. “You’ll know exactly where your heirloom came from, and you can then pass that story along to later generations,” she adds.

Even before getting engaged, I knew that I wanted both my engagement ring and my wedding band to be vintage or antique,” says Elana Fishman, style editor at “Page Six.” “I’m such a sucker for jewelry that has decades, or even centuries, worth of stories behind it, and for beautiful past-era options, you can’t beat Doyle & Doyle,” a vintage- and antique-jewelry retailer in NYC. That’s where she found her “delicate antique band with tiny channel-set diamonds,” which is very similar to these two. In addition to Doyle & Doyle, other great vintage-jewelry sources include New Top, which has a store in NYC’s Chinatown and also sells via Instagram, and Erie Basin in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, which are two of Caruso’s go-tos for unique pieces that have lived many lives. “I’m a huge proponent of shopping vintage, and that’s doubly true for something like a wedding band or engagement ring. There’s so many beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces with rich histories,” Caruso says.

Bernstein recommends Sofia Kaman if you’re seeking “great antique-style wedding bands” that also have a fresh vibe. The Evangeline band’s modern knife edge is softened by undulating indented trios of diamonds, for example, and the Twig collection has a nature-inspired, rougher finish. Kaman also sells antique rings at her Santa Monica store (with some available on her site) “and she’s enamored by them, so you will always find some element or detail that is borrowed from the past” in her work, Bernstein says.

The venerable French jewelry house was mentioned by six of our jewelry pros and enthusiasts. Fashion consultant Mia Solkin’s wedding band is a simple Cartier design in platinum (the material Erlanger calls “the quintessential metal” for wedding jewelry). “I like to go the simple and classic route so it compliments an engagement ring well, doesn’t overpower it, and can also be worn on its own for a more pared-down look,” Solkin says. “I don’t love rings that are made to frame an engagement ring, as you can’t wear those as easily by themselves and they feel a bit fussier to me.” This slender style is under $1,000, though there are an array of widths to choose from at higher price points.

From $295

For wedding bands, I love something simple — almost masculine,” Caruso explains, like J.Hannah. Fashion and beauty marketing consultant Brittany Hurdle Ewing likes this cigar band because it’s “the quintessential wedding band which I saw a lot growing-up, but primarily on men; I like the tone that this ring sets and that it’s meant for all now.” Heller is a big fan of solid-gold bands, too. “They’re great during the day and there’s something really chic about them at night,” she says.

“Lots of cool indie designers are using moissanite, a lab-grown stone with a ton of sparkle,” Elliott says, calling Charles & Colvard “the go-to for moissanite.” (She also suggests Seattle-based Valerie Madison’s “great work with moissanite,” though she mostly makes engagement rings rather than bands.)

“My husband and I were always pretty dead set on working with the lovely Anna Sheffield,” Brannigan says. “Her overall aesthetic reminded us of something you might find a Victorian ghost wearing while lost in the Mojave Desert—which is, naturally, the ideal—but she also offers plenty of pieces that are stunningly simple and timeless in their delicacy, and all within a range of price points,” like this distinctive under-$1,000 option.

Under $1,500

“Although her rings traditionally aren’t ‘wedding bands,’ Erica Molinari’s raised and recessed motifs are beautifully made, and the bands have meaningful sayings on the inside,” Bernstein says. The 18K bands, available in various widths, have “really lovely mottos and quotes that range from truly romantic to whimsical in Latin or Italian” on the rings’ interiors, Bernstein explains. The exteriors “can be oxidized to bring out the patterns in gold or left on their own to develop their own patina,” she says.

Megan Thorne imbues contemporary rings with an antique or vintage vibe,” Bernstein says of the Fort Worth–based talent, whose inspirations range from ancient Etruscan and Greek motifs to 19th-century Victorian design. Thorne was a lingerie designer prior to entering the jewelry space, and it shows. Her bands feature delicate, lacelike detailing, like scalloped edges and dainty engraving (often nature-inspired, without being too precious or cheesy), in her signature subtle matte-finish 18K recycled gold.

Ewing recently relocated from NYC to Austin and discovered local indie designer Katie Caplener of VADA. She’s partial to this custom emerald-cut diamond eternity band ($7,700), though there are unique, stone-free options at more affordable price points, like this richly engraved Siren Band. “Everything is produced in a small studio in Austin, and they work with recycled metals and post-consumer diamonds wherever possible,” Ewing says.

“You’d be surprised, even brands that are famously expensive have pieces with accessible pricing if you do a little investigating,” says jewelry writer and editor Tanya Dukes. Lizzie Mandler, for example, makes rings that “have a very cool-girl sensibility,” Dukes says, and though “you can definitely blow your budget with one of her bespoke pieces, she has some great options in the neighborhood of $1,000,” like this slim stackable design, dotted with half white and half black diamonds, or this knife-edge band with pave-set black or white diamonds on one side. Mandler’s simplest styles are even less, like this 18K knife-edge band for $480.

“A particularly good source for colored diamond bands at an accessible price is Sethi Couture,” Dukes says, especially if you’re into stacking rings, which Dukes notes the brand is known for. “There’s something so classic about an eternity band; it’s a really timeless choice,” Erlanger says. “Just make sure the stone size doesn’t compete with your engagement ring if you’re going to wear them together,” Erlanger advises, and be especially careful when choosing a size for an eternity style. “It can be fixed, but it’s a pain and can be expensive,” she cautions. Other cool, colorful Sethi Couture options include the more modern, brushed-finish Dunes band dotted with a rainbow of tiny diamonds, or a yellow-diamond channel-set style with engraved sides that’s got an antique feel.

Under $2,000

Jewelry designer Emily P. Wheeler (a favorite of Erlanger’s) loves this chunky, hardware-esque band because it’s “simple and timeless but with just enough edge to keep it interesting,” she says. “I love a classic wedding band that isn’t trendy and that can truly be worn every day, with lots of different jewelry, and loved forever.”

Elliott likes Pamela Love’s new “metal-forward” Ceremonial Collection of bridal-centric designs. “A gold-braid motif is central to the collection, and even though it’s been done before, it looks really rich and Old World,” like this medium-width textured design. “Solid metal is definitely more durable than a band with stones, so it’s important to consider how much you work with your hands and how hard you are on your jewelry,” jewelry designer Nancy Newberg says.

A beveled edge “just adds a little interesting detail” on this “contemporary” wide platinum band Erlanger designed. There’s also a hidden diamond on the inside, a trend Sanogo has been seeing more of, often with “gems that have a special meaning to the couple, like a birthstone,” she says.

Fasel thinks Kwait has “great wedding bands,” and she’s especially partial to this classic pavé-style in 18K gold.

For equal focus on gorgeous gold and glimmering stones, Afzal Imram, co-founder of jewelry brand State Property, loves this Melissa Kaye design. “The spaced out diamonds on the Zea, contrasted with the slim metal profile in between, lend it such a memorable silhouette on the finger,” Imram says of this “excellent wedding band.”

“For a really modern look, Alison Lou is doing gorgeous things with wedding bands in enamel,” Elliott says. The designer’s I Do By Lou collection, launched in March, is her official foray into bridal jewelry after years of doing custom work for couples. You’ll find the playful, colorful aesthetic she’s known for, like this slim 14K yellow-gold band with both pavé diamonds and a streak of enamel available in six colors, from subtle pastels like dusty rose and iris purple to vibrant options like neon orange or Caribbean blue.

“I love Suzanne Kalan’s baguette bands, in both diamonds and colored sapphires, which feature baguette cuts,” Ellliot says. “They feel really modern to me.” Kalan’s distinctive designs cover a particularly wide price range, because she works in both 18K and14K gold and an array of full eternity, half eternity, and smaller clusters that still pack a lot of finger coverage for less than four figures, from around $700 for a pretty topaz-and-diamond cluster on a thin 14K band to chunky, 18K triple-row options closer to $10,000. This eternity style pairs both baguette and round colored pastel sapphires with diamonds for the under-$2,000 price. If you’re opting for anything other than diamonds, “make sure that you choose hard stones that can handle a little wear and tear,” suggests Wofford. “I love the movement to try out alternative stones, but just make sure you’re getting something that’s designed to get bumped a few (hundred) times,” Wofford says.

If transparent sourcing and production is a priority, Brannigan recommends Omi Woods (in addition to Noémie and Anna Sheffield). The IV Ring Stack, inspired by ancient Egyptian wedding rings, lets you choose the type and order of patterns for the faux stack, as well as the kind of metal, from 10K to 24K gold.

Elliott says a “big trend” in wedding jewelry she’s seeing is a “customer who is more casual and doesn’t want a traditional diamond engagement ring — that’s what their mom has, so they are opting instead for a wedding band in lieu of the engagement ring altogether,” she explains. “Or, going small and dainty with an engagement ring — it may be something she doesn’t even wear every day — and making the wedding band the bigger deal and wearing it as a stand-alone style,” Elliott says, such as Eva Fehren’s The X ring, which takes up a lot of real estate on the finger yet has a delicate feel. It’s available in various metals and with or without pavé diamonds; The Shorty is a narrower version that can stack more easily if you do want to pair it with an engagement ring.

$1,950

“I was majorly influenced by an Italian co-worker who had the most beautiful wedding band — just a band, no engagement ring with it, the European way,” Ewing says. “She told me it was handmade for her by a family-owned jeweler in Italy.” This modern 18K gold Alder III ring is very similar in thickness and width, Ewing says, and Ceremony is good for “simplistic, yet modern designs, fresh messaging, and overall values — everything is responsibly sourced and they commemorate love of all kinds,” key factors for such an “important and emotional purchase.”

$1,980

Prounis does incredible ancient Greek gold-inspired wedding bands,” Fasel says, like this favorite of hers. It features rich 22K yellow-gold and a ladder-like design with cool negative space that’s intended to impart “fertile fortune” on its wearer.

For rings that only look like they have centuries of history, Cathy Waterman has been creating antique-style rings since the early ’90s,” Bernstein says. “You always know it’s a Cathy Waterman ring; there is no sense that it is a reproduction but always just with inspiration from the past.” Waterman loves an open wedding band. “It reminds me that a relationship is always evolving, it’s never finished and that I can always strive to make it stronger,” she says.

Under $3,000

$2,400

Bernstein and Imram both rave about KATKIM for those looking for “a daring and progressive spin on classic eternity bands and wider wedding bands with diamond accents,” that are “edgy yet completely wearable,” Bernstein says. Imram loves the Cerré Ring because it’s “such a simple yet smart twist on the classic round-sectioned band.”

Fasel loves this gorgeous, substantial band, made from recycled gold, peppered with five flush-set rose-cut diamonds.

For “something a little more unexpected,” Gadi likes Deborah Pagani’s 18K yellow-gold Honey rings, which have a ribbed and flared shape that resembles a beehive. Her favorite version has a trio of flush set, emerald-cut diamonds. “I love the weightiness of it and its vintage-like sensibility,” she says; though this design is sold out, it can be made to order, price upon request.

This 18K gold chunky, round-edged band with a comfort-fit interior is another favorite of Gadi’s because “it’s supersmooth and cool-looking, important enough to stand on its own, but also looks great stacked with other rings,” she explains. Raymond says it’s ideal for situations you might not want to wear an engagement ring or a band with lots of stones, like “travel, working out, or hot sticky days when you can’t bear any more jewelry.”

Under $5,000

There’s been a noticeable boom in vintage-inspired rings and contemporary design that features antique stones,” Dukes says, exemplified by Erstwhile Jewelry, which “offers both vintage engagement rings and bands and their own private label designs set with antique diamonds,” she says. Plessner loves this striking band, paved with platinum-set diamonds on one half and yellow-gold-set sapphires on the other half: “It’s poetic, an ode to craftsmanship, and a little unexpected.” Erica Weiner is another good resource for a mix of in-house bands that look like antique pieces (such as the Ziggurat Band, $760) as well as an eclectic curation of actual vintage and antique pieces: Expect lots of moody, symbolism-rich, Victorian-era items, like a chunky, circa-1831 Georgian mourning ring with gorgeous scrolled engraving, or this $1,100 engraved belt ring, a popular 19th-century style signifying an eternal bond, as well as more traditional options, like this $1,400 platinum knife-edge half-eternity band.

Jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche’s own wedding band was made by L.A. jeweler Philip Press. “I love his vintage engraving detail and magic touch to platinum,” Aiche says, which makes Press’s designs look like they’ve “been around for centuries.”

If you’re opting for a stoneless band, Elliott says Reinstein Ross is “a classic choice for gold wedding bands.” Elliott is partial to their unique, apricot gold, which has a warm look like rose gold, yet richer and less pink in tone, like this elegant braided design. “That’s definitely where I would send someone looking for a simple, perfectly classic, substantial-feeling, and well-made gold ring,” she says.

Photo: B) 2016 Erika Winters

Winter’s “work is sculptural and romantic and the craftsmanship is flawless,” Dukes says, like this milgrain-detailed band with distinctive undulating edges and a vine motif, done in the designer’s signature brushed finish.

Like Solkin, Jemma Wynne’s co-founders Klatt and Lalin also suggested Cartier’s wedding bands. So do Gadi and Heller, both of whom suggest hunting for a Cartier’s vintage style instead of a brand-new piece from the ultraluxe jewelry house. “There’s a lot of vintage Cartier bands out there that I love; some are a little chunky, or dome-like and very cool,” Heller says. The RealReal often has a range of Cartier rings available, including a diamond-trimmed version of the brand’s classic Trinity design, a trio of rolling rings that Erlanger has seen as a “really cool engagement ring-wedding band combo.” And Fasel loves the maison’s Cactus eternity band with diamonds nestled in distinctive, flower-like yellow-gold settings.

Another favorite of Wheeler’s is this unique thick, baguette-accented band: “Classic with an edge and a bit substantial if you like to feel your jewelry,” she says.

$5,000 and up

Raymond, Dukes, and Bernstein all called out Jade Trau, who’s “shaken up classic styles, yet they are never too ‘out there,’” Bernstein says. The pieces “have a current, modern vibe” that’s great for stacking or wearing solo, like this sleek, bezel-set geometric eternity band. “Her pieces are great for weddings and engagements but they don’t feel traditional,” Dukes says. Raymond recommends Trau for “edgier, more contemporary gold and diamond rings.” For folks opting for one engagement-and-wedding ring, Raymond’s favorite design, the Sadie Solitaire, might fit the bill with its floating diamond suspended between two knife-edge 18K bands.

Elliott calls this decadent 18K yellow-gold–and–diamond tiara duo her “holy grail” of nuptials rings, from the designer who pioneered these sorts of regal, engagement ring framing bands: “that crown, chevron, and tiara look is popular right now, and it all started with Karen Karch in the 1990s,” she says.

Single Stone specializes in contemporary rings with antique diamonds and gemstones, including less common options like French-cut and rose-cut diamonds,” Dukes says of the L.A.-based brand’s “extensive collection” of band options. “Even if you don’t consider yourself a vintage fan, Single Stone’s designs pair exquisitely with almost any style of engagement ring,” Gandia notes. Greenwich St. Jewelers’ best-selling bands by the brand, per Gandia, are the rose-cut Gabby eternity ring and the Madeline, a mixed-shape French-cut eternity ring, both with dainty milgrain detailing. “Alternating stone shapes on a band can be really pretty,” Erlanger says.

Both wedding bands and engagement rings “are a lot more adventurous in style than they used to be,” Fasel notes, as she’s seeing more “brides and grooms are choosing colorful gems” in lieu of traditional colorless diamonds. “I particularly adore Brent Neale’s gold sapphire band,” Fasel says of this option. Sanogo likes blue sapphires for wedding bands, particularly eternity styles like Neale’s, “because of the symbolic meaning: it’s a stone of love, commitment, and fidelity,” Sanogo says.

Solkin is a “big fan” of designer Delfina Delettrez’s “Marry Me” wedding collection. The pieces are “classic yet cool,” she says, like the Tourbillon ring, which has hidden rows of diamonds set in white gold lining both sides and an elegant, squared yellow-gold exterior. It’s a “simple band that feels unique and modern,” Solkin adds.

This chunky, sparkly Tiffany style is one of Sanogo’s favorites.

Bernstein and Newberg both name-check Spinelli Kilcollin, which Newberg calls “some of my favorite wedding bands.” She loves “how he mixes metals and offers so many options,” she adds. Bernstein says the “amazing” designs have become modern classics in the jewelry space. Newberg’s favorite is the four-band Lehmus ring in 18K yellow gold with two rows of diamond baguettes.

Giant diamond eternity bands are trending in certain [social] circles,” Elliott says. If that sounds like your vibe (and budget), Elliott recommends Marisa Perry Atelier, “especially this emerald-cut band — it’s just so unapologetically luxe.”

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The Best Wedding Rings, According to Cool People