Every time I see a handsome gold ring, I think of my friend Marta. (Shown, textured and polished gold dome ring from Beladora, price, $1,350.)
When we met in the early '80s, Marta had just divorced. Married for over 20 dismal years, she was then required to pay her ex-husband alimony while he tried to become employable. She had never received nor bought a piece of good jewelery other than her wedding ring, and she wasn't wearing that anymore.
On a trip to Italy, after the alimony finally ended, Marta saw a timeless gold ring and bought it as a symbol of her perseverance and new life. Now in her mid-80s, she has worn it daily for over 30 years. (Shown, gold mesh ring from Ross-Simons, price, $350.)
I love gold rings, especially when high-karat yellow gold acquires patina. Fifty-something women can wear them with presence.
Below, a selection of substantial gold rings, pleasing choices for any jewelry collection. All have weight, quality and grace: the gold standard.
Ann Gérard "Sagesse" ring, with Chinese ideogram for wisdom, €1250 from Ann Gérard.
Henry Dunay Facets 18k hammered gold ring, price, $1,750, from Beladora; one of a selection of stunning Dunay pieces.
Tiffany Paloma Picasso Marrakesh ring, price, $1,050. Decorative yet not intrusive, this quiet beauty is also made in gold and enamel for those who must have colour.
Links of London "Hope" 18k ring: a graceful sweep, large enough for a cocktail ring but not too massive for day. Price, $1,650.
A.G. Correa's 18k hand-braided Turk's head ring is a New England classic; the motif has been used on wooden ships for millenia. Shown, the three-strand style; price, $1,100.
Aware that some women prefer a finer ring, I want to show you this delicate yet substantial Lucie Heskett-Brem 20k Waterballet band. The gold is worked into long thin strands, then handmade into loops and twists to make a graceful chain ring. From Aaron Faber, price, $995.
A Victorian gold buckle ring symbolizes love and friendship. This floral-motif ring is an especially beautiful example from 1st Dibs seller Primavera Gallery. Size 8.5, 18k gold; excellent condition. Price, $2,100.
Whether you choose new or vintatge, gold rings need minimal care. Just remove yours if you are working with materials (cleaning products, paints or solvents) that could discolour the gold, or when using a tool like a wrench that could bend softer high-carat pieces.
I don't like to see gold rings re-polished, as some jewelers offer to do. Let the patina come; the ring, like us, has earned it.