Rings reverberate, they celebrate, they enhance, they empower, they seal-the-deal, they can make you puff up with pride, smile in joy, laugh in glee and think about the memories. The lord of the ring is not just a fantasy story tag line, it is the power that a ring can have over each one of us.
Old cultural restrictions about wearing rings and on what hand or finger and what it may mean, no longer strictly apply. In the 21st century both men and women can wear rings wherever they want for whatever reason they want.
Rings can have deep meanings and may be worn as token of marriage and engagement, wedding anniversaries, graduation, badges of membership in a special group, trophies of achievement, homage to someone beloved, and symbols of deep friendship or high authority.
Whether haute couture or quaintly low budget, rings can be simply silver, boldly brass or gleamingly gold or they can be leather strips, tattooed on, or made of beads. They can have a semi-precious garnet or precious ruby. They can have fanciful swirls and designs or they can be simple bands of shining metal.
We spoke to staff at local jewellery stores in Windhoek, about rings.
Lukas Shangomeio from Bushman Art Gallery said most of their clients these days, prefer silver rings. He explained that this because of the current economic crisis in the country. “Silver is much cheaper than gold. Clients prefer silver because while it looks simple and uncomplicated, it still has that classic shine and sheen," he said. People also buy silver rings that are set with various stones or have fancy engravings and flowery metal work to make them more interesting.
Shangomeio said that he noticed over the past two years that more people buy the smaller designed rings. “Many people have told me that the smaller rings are more comfortable and more affordable. The bigger rings might cost about N$11,000 each, while a small one may only go for around N$4,000."
When questioned what rings he would advise people to buy, the Bushman Art jewellery guide said that adjustable rings are preferred: "They can easily be set to a bigger or smaller size as needed. Adjustable rings are convenient because many people's fingers during the summer season can swell, and if this happens the ring can easily be adjusted for a perfect fit.”
At Sterns Namibia located in Wernhilpark Mall, most clients prefer to buy gold rings. A marketing associate for Sterns, Josephine Kuume said most of their clients buy that type of ring because it is of better quality. "Most of our rings are for wedding ceremonies. When people buy a ring for someone they love, they are looking for something that will last," Kuume said.
When questioned about the future of rings, the Sterns employee said, “Some people have already started to replace gold or silver rings with tattoo rings or leather or beaded bands, but real rings are forever. Beautiful rings have always been in fashion and will always be," she said.
According to Kuume many of her customers prefer to buy rings with diamonds. At Sterns it may cost about N$800 for ring with a semi-precious stone (depending on the metal) and about N$4,000 for one with a diamond, depending on the various aspects of the stone.
Concerning precious stones, Kuume said many of their clients who don’t choose diamonds, choose rubies. "I have questioned some clients about this and plenty have told me that they like the ruby best of all. Red is of course also the colour of love," she said.
Kuume also stressed that many people who buy rings don't know how to properly take care of them. "Rings need to be maintained. We have clients who return to us complaining that their ring is now damaged. This can happen if it is worn in rough situations, if it is not cleaned properly, not stored away correctly or not polished regularly. Jewellery must not be neglected," she said.
The ring wisdom from Deidre Diergaardt from Adrian & Meyer Jewellers is that rings must be cleaned regularly. "Clients must also ask for questions when they buy rings such as can I sleep with it on? Do I need to take it off when I go for a shower? Can I have it on while working with chemicals such as Jik or hair relaxer? If you do not take care of your ring, then it will not last very long or look like new each time you wear it," Diergaardt said.