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What is an Eternity Ring?

Posted by Burrells on Jan 17, 2018 10:57:21 PM

Eternity ring stack

The eternity ring has been a magical emblem of love and life since ancient times. Deceptively simple yet undeniably chic, eternity rings are a beautiful way to mark life's important milestones. What could be more romantic than a gift that symbolises your everlasting love?

With over 40 years expertise in jewellery, we have helped countless people find their perfect eternity ring. It is a wonderful gift for so many occasions. But what exactly is an eternity ring? A lot of people ask us this question, so we have decided to talk about it here on our blog.

Read on to discover the symbolic meaning and history behind the eternity ring, as well as how to choose the perfect style.


What is an Eternity Ring?

Eternity rings are a beautiful way to celebrate your love. An eternity ring is a band of precious metal, usually gold or platinum, set with gemstones. The stones are traditionally diamonds, in a channel or pavé setting, however, you can also choose precious stones, such as rubies, sapphires or emeralds.

The stones cover either the whole ring or just the upper half of the band. With no beginning and no end, the eternity ring represents life, or if you are feeling romantic, love.


Who Invented the Eternity Ring?

The concept dates back to Ancient Egyptian times, around 2000BC. The Egyptians believed the circle, with its never-ending silhouette, was a symbol of eternity. They crafted simple rings out of bone or metal and decorated them all the way (or halfway) around with gemstones.

Egyptians used these rings as tokens of love. Archaeologists have also found rings in Egyptian tombs 

which feature the ‘Ouroboros’, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its tail. This unusual emblem was said to have a meaning of infinity.

Diamond company De Beers created the idea of the modern eternity ring in the 1960s. Their marketing campaign targeted the more mature, married woman and featured the slogan "She married you for richer or poorer. Let her know how it's going". These days, though, there are no set rules as to what to buy an eternity ring for. 


When do you Give an Eternity Ring?

An eternity ring is usually given to mark a significant moment in life, such as a wedding anniversary or the birth of a baby. Its symbolism makes it perfect for many other occasions too. It’s quite simply a stunning way to say ‘I love you’.

We've also noticed that people are wearing eternity rings as wedding bands more and more often. We think they look particularly fabulous alongside a diamond halo engagement ring, one of the most popular styles at the moment.


What finger is an eternity ring worn on?

Eternity rings are usually worn above or between the engagement ring and wedding band on your left ring finger. For a seamless look, it’s worth choosing an eternity ring that is in the same style as your existing rings. There are no rules though and, as non-traditionalists, some of us at Burrells wear our eternity ring on the right hand, to showcase its beauty.


How to choose an eternity ring


Full eternity or half eternity?

When choosing an eternity ring, there are two options to consider:


Full Eternity Ring

A full eternity ring is set with gemstones all the way around the metal band. Many people prefer this option as undoubtedly there is more sparkle. Also, if your ring happens to spin around on your finger while you're wearing it, no-one will ever notice, as full eternity rings look brilliant from every angle.

While the full eternity ring is traditional, they tend to cost two or three times as much as the half eternity ring due to the additional diamonds. It is also important to remember that if you ever need your ring re-sized at any point, this is not possible with a full eternity.


Half Eternity Ring

A half eternity ring is set with gemstones halfway around the band. There are usually five, seven or nine gemstones. Generally all the stones are the same shape and size, however, some styles feature a tapered design with stones of graduating sizes.

Half eternity rings are usually less expensive than a full eternity ring, although this is ultimately dependent on the stone quality and carat weight. A half eternity ring can be resized, which is a benefit to a lot of people.


Which metal should I choose?

We suggest choosing a metal that matches the wearer’s existing jewellery, especially if they’re going to wear the ring between the engagement ring and wedding ring. Eternity rings are primarily available in platinum and gold.


Platinum eternity rings

Platinum is a popular choice for eternity rings as it’s brilliant white shine showcases diamonds spectacularly.

Platinum is very durable, and this makes it perfect for an eternity ring that’s going to be worn every day. It is harder wearing than gold. It is also hypoallergenic, so kind to sensitive skin.


White gold eternity rings

White gold is a great alternative to platinum as it is more affordable. You can choose between 9ct white gold or 18ct white gold. 18ct white gold is more durable than 9ct white gold, and it is also more expensive.

If you're struggling to decide between white gold or platinum, have a read of our article: White Gold vs Platinum - Which is Best for Jewellery?


Yellow gold eternity rings

You could embrace the warmth of yellow gold and opt for an eternity ring crafted in 9ct or 18ct. We recommend 18ct yellow gold as it is tarnish-resistant and durable. 9ct yellow gold is a good option if you are on a budget, however, it has lower durability and a tendency to tarnish, corrode and react with your skin.


Which gemstones should I choose?



Diamonds are the rarest and most beautiful gemstone known to man. They are the ultimate symbol oflove and passion, making them the perfect choice for an eternity ring. While there are lots of diamond shapes available, the round brilliant diamond is the most popular stone for eternity rings. The modern round brilliant consists of 58 facets, offering unmatched sparkle and fire.

Princess cut diamonds are also used for eternity rings. Their square shape allows them to be set tightly together, creating a flawless line of sensational sparkle across the finger.

The baguette cut diamond is another popular shape for eternity rings. They can be alternated with round brilliant or princess cut diamonds for an even more impressive look.


Coloured Gemstones

For a colourful alternative to the traditional diamond, gemstones like ruby, sapphire and emerald can be a meaningful and personal option. We’ve mentioned these three in particular, as they are the most precious gemstones after diamond and because of this, they are reasonably hard, making them suitable for everyday wear. 

Don’t rule out other gemstones though. An eternity ring set with your partner’s birthstone is a lovely choice. If the eternity ring is in celebration of the birth of your baby, the child’s birthstone will mark the occasion beautifully. Many people choose their anniversary stone for a particular wedding anniversary. 

There aren’t any rules really; you could even pick an eternity ring set with a gemstone in their favourite colour. Eternity rings set with coloured gemstones tend to be less expensive than eternity rings solely featuring diamonds.

Do you have any more questions?

With endless styles and gemstones to choose from, an eternity ring is a unique and meaningful way to celebrate your personal love story.

An eternity ring will be treasured for years to come, so It’s important to look at all the options and choose carefully. Eternity rings often remain in a family for generations, as an heirloom, holding special memories forever.

So, whether you’re seeking a traditional diamond eternity ring or a colourful gemstone eternity ring, we hope we have given you an insight into the story behind the eternity ring and the options available.

Our experts would love to answer any other questions you may have. You can contact us here.


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