Everything You Need to Know About Eternity Rings

Eternity rings are a classic ring design, typically chosen as wedding rings or to celebrate special occasions, like anniversaries. What makes them stand out is their sophisticated look, symbolism, and classic status.

But are all eternity rings the same? What should you look for when buying one? And do they suit every lifestyle? In this guide, let’s take a look at these questions and everything you need to know before you buy your eternity ring.

JamesAllen Engagement Rings

What is an Eternity Ring?

Eternity band
The classic eternity ring. See this here.

An eternity ring is a metal band featuring a row of diamonds that go all around the circumference of the ring. It’s called an eternity ring partly because there’s no beginning or end to the design. While they’re typically encircled with diamonds, other gemstones can also be used.

Technically, eternity rings should have stones around the entire circle of the band, like this one. But sometimes, people prefer to have only half the band embellished with stones, like this design. This can be a matter of preference, but also budget, because full eternity rings can be more expensive than half eternity as they have more diamonds and require more work. They’re also more difficult to resize.

Read our article comparing the pros and cons of half vs. full eternity bands here.

History of Eternity Bands

de beers eternity rings
De Beers eternity ring marketing campaign. Source.

We know that the concept of exchanging wedding rings has been around since ancient Egyptian times, dating to about 6000 B.C. The Egyptians believed that a ring symbolized eternity, with the space in the middle signifying a passage into the future. They typically used rings made of reeds and sometimes metal but there’s no evidence of them using gemstones to decorate the metal. From here, this practice spread to other regions.

But, it wasn’t until recent decades that diamond eternity rings became common. In the 1960s, the famous de Beers diamond corporation began a campaign to popularize eternity rings. The objective was to create a market for smaller diamonds aimed at married and older women. They ran an advertising slogan that stated, ‘She married you for richer or poorer. Let her know how it’s going’. The campaign was successful and diamond eternity rings have since become a jewelry staple.

Symbolism of Eternity Bands

18K Gold Half Eternity Ring
A meaningful ring choice. Half eternity ring via Etsy.

Part of the endless appeal of eternity bands is the symbolism they hold. The circular shape of the ring symbolizes eternity, but it also represents equality, completion, perfection and everlasting love. Diamonds on their own symbolize love, integrity fidelity, strength, purity, trust and truth. When you put the symbolism of rings and of diamonds together, you’re left with a  piece of jewelry that is weighty with meaning and ideal as a gift between lovers or very close family and friends. Let’s break this down further:

  1. Eternal Love: The most common and primary symbolism associated with eternity rings is that of unending love. The continuous circle of gemstones, usually diamonds, around the band signifies a love that has no beginning and no end – it’s eternal.
  2. Unbreakable Bond: Just as the circle is unbroken and continuous, the ring symbolizes the undying and unbreakable bond between two individuals, making it ideal for anniversaries.
  3. Life’s Infinite Moments: Some believe that each gemstone on the eternity ring represents an individual moment or memory in a relationship. The continuous line of gemstones then becomes a representation of the cumulative moments and memories that define a relationship.
  4. Prosperity and Well-being: Diamonds are often associated with prosperity, wealth, and well-being. So, gifting an eternity ring can also be seen as wishing these attributes upon the recipient.
  5. Cycle of Life: Beyond love and relationships, the eternity ring’s continuous circle can also represent life’s cyclical nature – birth, death, and rebirth. Again, this makes the design perfect for special occasions, like a new-mom gift at the birth of a child.
  6. Commitment and Loyalty: The never-ending circle of stones can also signify unwavering commitment and loyalty to a person or cause.

How to Buy an Eternity Band

bar setting eternity band

Like all diamond jewelry, eternity rings are a valuable purchase and need to be evaluated carefully. When determining the quality of the ring, focus on the quality of the materials and craftsmanship, especially the diamonds and the metal.

Because the diamonds used in eternity rings are small, they don’t come with certificates of authenticity. So, you have to check them to see whether the diamonds used appear of good quality.

Check for consistency in color, size and clarity. Do any of the diamonds stand out from the others or do they all look the same? You want them to look the same! In our article on melee diamonds, we’ve covered in detail how to assess the quality of these small stones. Check that for more information.

Check the craftsmanship of the ring. Are the diamonds uneven? Are each of the stones held securely in their setting? Is the metal impeccably finished. If you can, inspect the ring with your naked eye. But if that’s not possible, look for high quality images and videos of the actual ring.

It’s also extremely important to purchase from a reputable retailer, like James Allen or Blue Nile, with a proven track record and excellent after sales policies. We’ve covered our favorite online diamond retailers in this article. They are, without doubt, among the very best in terms of quality and value.

Types of Eternity Rings Settings

The next thing to consider is the type of eternity ring setting. There are four main types to consider.

1. Prong Set Eternity Ring

prong set etrnity band
Classic prong set eternity ring. See it here.

Prong setting, also called claw setting, is the most common type of eternity ring setting. It features prongs that hold the diamonds securely in place. These prongs can be seen from the sides and the top view of the ring.

2. Channel Set Eternity Ring

channel set eternity ring
See this ring here

With this type of setting, the diamonds are set into a groove or channel in the metal. The diamonds often sit flush against the metal or just under and are placed side by side with no metal separating them. The benefit of the channel setting is that it can be safer than a prong setting and creates a smooth, continuous line of diamonds that go around the band.

3. Pave Eternity Ring Setting

micro pave diamond eternity ring
A micropave eternity ring. See it here.

Pave ring settings contain diamonds that are set close together on the metal like pavement stones, hence the word pave. When tiny diamond melees are used it’s known as a micropave setting. Pave eternity ring settings are highly brilliant and have more sparkle because of the higher number of diamonds used.

4. Cut Down Eternity Ring Setting

cut down eternity ring
Cut down micropave eternity ring setting. See it on Etsy.

With this type of setting, the diamonds are placed in a cut in the metal that holds the stones securely. There is no visible metal prongs or grooves to keep them in their place, allowing more exposure of the stone to light, thereby increasing the light performance of the diamonds.

Choose Your Eternity Ring Design

While we tend to think of diamonds when we think of eternity rings, there are many other ways to sport an eternity ring. Here are some:

1. Gemstone Eternity Rings

turquoise and diamond eternity ring
A turquoise and CZ eternity ring. See it on Etsy.

While diamonds are the hardest gemstones, they aren’t necessarily the best. Rubies, sapphires and moissanites make for stunning and unique gemstone eternity rings. But if you want to get even more creative, we suggest looking towards semi-precious gemstones like turquoise, aquamarine, opal, or amethyst.

2. Vintage Inspired Eternity Rings

gold vintage inspired eternity ring
Gorgeous vintage ring design. See it on Etsy.

A vintage eternity ring is a nod to the past and gives an elegant, sophisticated and classic look. There are many eras of the past to choose from, with each having its own distinct style. Some popular options are Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Victorian and Edwardian styles.

3. Curved Eternity Ring

curved eternity diamond ring
A curved eternity ring by Monique Lhuillier. See it here.

A curved eternity ring isn’t meant to be worn on its own. It’s typically worn with another ring, like an engagement ring. The curve in the ring is so that it can accommodate the shape of the other ring. Curved eternity rings are comfortable and work well with other jewelry.

What’s the Best Metal for Eternity Rings?

metal for eternity rings

Most diamond eternity rings are set in either platinum or gold. This is because these metals are not only prestigious, but also durable, valuable, and aesthetically pleasing. But you can also look for alternative metal options, like titanium, stainless steel or tungsten, as well as silver. These pose different pros and cons, but one of the main downsides is that most fine jewelry retailers don’t offer eternity rings made with inexpensive metals.

Gold offers a diverse palette with colors like yellow, white, and rose, allowing for personalization and complementing different skin tones. It’s traditionally valued in jewelry-making, and is generally more affordable than platinum.

In contrast, platinum has superior durability and strength, making it less prone to scratches. This also makes a highly secure base for gemstones. It’s naturally white, hypoallergenic, and often purer than gold in jewelry contexts.

So, how do you choose between the two? This depends on your individual preferences, the intended frequency of wear, and budget considerations.

Diamond Shapes and Eternity Rings

baguette cut eternity ring
Baguette cut eternity ring. See it here

Needless to say, round diamonds are the most common type of stone chosen for eternity bands. But other shapes are sometimes chosen, making for unique and intriguing designs. For example, a princess cut eternity band tessellates together, creating an endless road of smooth diamond, especially when in a channel setting.

Baguette cut diamonds are also a stunning choice for an eternity band, with the smooth, large step cuts exhibiting eye-catching light performance. Some other beautiful diamond shapes for eternity rings are Asscher, radiant, emerald and cushion.

Inexpensive Diamond Eternity Ring Alternatives

cubic zirconia eternity band
Cubic zirconia is a great diamond simulant. See this here.

Let’s say you want the look but not the high price tag. There are less expensive options for diamond eternity rings. One of the best alternatives is to opt for a moissanite eternity ring. Moissanite is a rare stone that has to be lab-created as natural supplies are extremely limited. These stones have a great back story and have most of the qualities that make diamonds desirable. Read more about moissanite here.

Another option is to choose a cubic zirconia eternity ring. CZ is inexpensive, durable and has a very similar look to diamonds. They make a great choice for a diamond simulant and it’s almost impossible to tell them apart from diamonds.

Can Eternity Rings be Resized?

One of the main issues with full eternity bands is that they are very difficult, if not impossible, to resize. It comes down to the skill of the jeweler and whether they’re willing to do the job in the first place, but most retailers will not take it on. Half eternity bands can be resized however.

James Allen, for example, will completely remake your full eternity ring using the same diamonds if the ring doesn’t fit you, as long as you send it back within the first 60 days. With a half eternity, they offer normal resizing services. This is why it’s important to get your ring size correct when you order your eternity ring as well as purchase from a retailer that will stand by their returns policies.

However, over time, finger sizes tend to change and can go up and down in size, like when a person is pregnant, so this may be an issue that you’ll have to contend with at some stage.

How Much Should I Spend on an Eternity Ring?

Diamond eternity rings come in a variety of prices, largely influenced by the quality of materials used, the style craftsmanship, and brand. Prices can range from about $900 to $35,000 or more.

The ring you pick depends on how important the occasion being celebrated is and how much you can afford to spend. Most people would budget around $2000 for a classic eternity band, but if you want your ring to be bigger and more eye-catching, you’ll have to increase your budget.

When to Give an Eternity Band

Jeff cooper brian gavin
Matching engagement and eternity wedding rings by Brian Gavin.

While eternity rings were initially aimed at an older demographic, this is no longer the case. Since the 1960s, eternity rings have become a fashion go-to and a favorite among couples of all ages. Eternity bands are commonly used as wedding rings and are given by the groom to the bride at the alter. They are also a popular wedding anniversary gift and can be given on any chosen wedding anniversary.

In this day and age of fashion freedom, there are no hard and fast rules to abide by. Some couples choose an eternity ring as their engagement ring. Others gift it as a promise ring, birthday gift, Valentine’s Day gift, or a special gift for a new mom. In short, if you’re contemplating whether an eternity ring is right for the occasion you have in mind, it probably is.

How to Wear an Eternity Ring

For those who choose an eternity ring as a wedding ring, it would make sense to wear the ring on their ring finger of the left hand. This is known as the wedding ring finger. If your eternity ring is an anniversary gift, a new mom gift or worn to commemorate some other occasion, you can wear the ring on any finger you feel comfortable. But today, a lot of people choose to wear their wedding rings on any finger that suits them, so it doesn’t really matter how you choose to wear your eternity ring.

Where to Buy Eternity Rings

double pave wedding ring
Half-eternity ring offered by Whiteflash. See more here.

By taking your search online, you’ll be able to access competitive prices and have a wide range of options to source from. However, it is imperative to choose a trustworthy and reliable vendor, known for the quality of their products and services. We recommend the following retailers when it comes to shopping for diamond eternity rings online:

1. James Allen

Why: Superior diamond imaging, competitive prices, high quality, wide range

An online giant in the diamond space, James Allen has a stunning collection of high-quality diamonds and eternity rings. The images and videos are unparalleled in quality and makes shopping online similar, if not better, to shopping in store. Their range of settings is second to none.

2. Blue Nile

Why: Competitive prices, wide range, great quality

Known for dominating the online diamond industry since the late 1990s, Blue Nile offers one of the largest online diamond inventories and fine jewelry. Their eternity rings are beautifully crafted, offered with competitive prices, solid after-sales policies, and good customer service.

3. White Flash

Why: Superior cut quality, exclusive range, stunning designs

Whiteflash has earned an international reputation for the elite quality of their precision cut diamonds, and for their impeccable collection of designer rings. Check their stunning range of diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.

4. Brian Gavin

Why: Impeccable quality, superior cut, small but exclusive inventory

Brian Gavin is a renowned expert in diamond cut – and it shows in their superior diamond quality. For the very best in diamonds, search their inventory of designer diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.

5. With Clarity

Why: Try before you buy, build your own ring, great quality  

If you want to try out how a round diamond ring looks on your finger before you commit to buying one, check out With Clarity’s Home Preview Service which is completely free. Find out more here.

6. Etsy

Etsy is the place to go for unique, handmade, and cute eternity band designs. You can find multiple independent jewelry boutiques on Etsy, each with their own assortment of eternity rings. Each Etsy shop has its own polices so it might take some time to review all their details ahead of making a purchase, but that’s usually time well-spent.

7. Amazon

As it is one of the biggest online retailers worldwide, it’s not surprising that you can find all kinds of eternity rings on Amazon. Representatives from many different jewelry vendors offer their products on Amazon and you can use the site’s extensive rating and review sections to gauge the quality of each product.

Wrapping Up

An eternity ring is not just a piece of jewelry; it’s a symbol of eternal love, commitment, and special memories. Whether you’re commemorating a wedding, an anniversary, or any other significant milestone, choosing the perfect eternity ring will make the occasion even more memorable.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

Jewelry Guide