How to Buy a Ring on eBay

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How to Buy a Ring on eBay

Finger rings are one of the oldest known forms of jewellery. They have been worn for thousands of years, and during that time have evolved into myriad different styles. Early rings were made of animal bone. Today, ring bands are made of precious metals like platinum, and industrial metals like titanium. Over the millennia rings have taken on many connotations, being imbued with romantic, religious, political, and social meanings.

Before buying a ring, it is important to know about the different types available. It is also worthwhile  knowing how to determine the ring size, and where to buy a ring at a decent price. Rings are often given to others as tokens of love and to symbolise commitment to another person or the ideals of an organisation. The choice of ring can be a very personal one, but regardless of the wearers personal taste, the buyer needs to determine the quality of the stone, if the ring has one, and the quality of the band. The buyer also needs to know how to conduct a search for a ring.

eBay offers the shopper thousands of current listings for rings. It has a variety of user-friendly search tools that the user can employ to find a ring in a matter of minutes. To buy a ring on eBay, the buyer needs to know how to conduct a keyword search, filter the results, and assess the sellers.

Types of Rings

Rings can be worn simply for decoration, but often they are worn for a particular reason. Some of the most common rings available include wedding rings, engagement rings, eternity rings, and signet rings.

Wedding Rings

A wedding ring is given by the groom to the bride. This tradition has existed for thousands of years. In the last six or seven decades, it has also become common for the groom to be given a wedding ring, too. In both cases, the ring is normally a plain gold band, although platinum is also popular.

The wedding ring originally symbolised the sealing of the marriage contract between two families. Now, it is seen as an expression of love and commitment. Generally worn on the ring finger of the left hand, it is probably the most recognisable and universal of all rings.

Engagement Rings

Although it has varied from one period of history to another, engagement rings today are normally jewelled, the most common stone being diamonds. Traditionally, engagement rings have been given by the man to the woman at the time of making a proposal of marriage. Nowadays, however, there is a growing trend for women to also present an engagement ring to their future husband. These tend to be much more restrained in their design.

Offering and accepting engagement rings is seen as a sign of an intention to marry, similar to the old 'betrothal'. If the marriage does not then take place, the giver of the ring may expect its return. In this way, the display of the engagement ring on the wearer's finger is seen as a continuing and public expression of commitment.

Eternity Rings

An eternity ring is a band of metal, normally gold or platinum, that is set with an unbroken circle of small diamonds. It is intended to signify neverending love, with the unbroken ring of precious stones equating to an eternal relationship. Traditionally, an eternity ring is given by a man to a woman on some special occasion after their marriage. This may be an important anniversary or some other event or milestone in their lives together.

Although not as longstanding as wedding and engagement rings, the history of eternity rings probably goes back several centuries, although the inclusion of diamonds in the band is a more recent development.

Signet Rings

Signet rings are rings with a coat of arms or other device carved in reverse, normally into a semi-precious gemstone mounted on the top of the ring. Impressed into wax, or originally into clay, they leave an impression that forms a distinctive seal on a document. Signet rings, therefore, were an early form of signature, and have a history which extends as far back as Ancient Egypt.

Because they frequently bore the emblem of a noble family, monarchy or other influential institution such as the papacy, signet rings became associated with power and authority. The breaking of a man's signet ring meant the destruction of his power.

This connotation of power contributed to the signet ring's widespread popularity. Today, men often wear signet rings as ornaments, possibly with their initials engraved on the top. Normally these are made of gold, recalling a Roman tradition in which members of the class of equites, or knights, wore gold rings.

Materials for Making Rings

It is highly likely that the first rings made were carved out of wood, bone, or ivory. When people learned how to use metal, metal rings were a natural progression. Today, the vast majority of rings are metal of one sort or another. Nevertheless, there are still wood, ceramic and occasionally stone rings to be found, and these natural materials can make interesting and unusual gifts, especially for someone with an interest in eco-friendly living.

Noble Metals

Historically, the most favoured metals for making rings have been the noble metals. Noble metals are a select band of metals that are less prone to oxidation, and hence are prized for their durability as well as their beauty. Of the noble metals, gold and silver are the historical favourites, sometimes being combined to form a metal called 'electrum'. In the last few centuries platinum has become another favourite, following its discovery in the 15th century.

Coloured Gold

Natural gold is yellow, but by alloying it with other metals, white gold or a reddish coloured 'rose gold' is produced. These can look very attractive made into rings, especially when set with stones in complementing colours. White gold looks good, for example, with black diamonds.

Base Metals 

Iron and copper have been used for making rings, and still are today, though rarely. Other base metals such as titanium and tungsten are also sometimes used for making rings for men. When buying a gift for a man who prefers not to wear 'jewellry', it is worth considering rings made of masculine, industrial metals. 

Determining the Proper Fit

Before buying a ring, it is important to consider the fit. A ring which is too loose may fall off and be lost, whereas one which is too tight may be uncomfortable, or even cut off circulation.

The best way to ensure a good fit is to have the wearer's finger expertly measured by a jeweller. Simply putting a tape measure around the finger is not an accurate guide to ring size. If it is not possible to take the ring wearer to the jeweller, another good option is to take a ring known to fit the wearer and have it measured instead. The important measurement in this case is the internal circumference.

Ring Sizes

In the United Kingdom, ring size is denoted by letters of the alphabet. Each letter stands for a particular diameter and internal circumference reading. Note that in the United States, and in the rest of Europe, other than Ireland, ring sizes are expressed differently.

The most common ring sizes for women are as follows:






Internal Diameter (mm)





Internal Circumference (mm)





There are half sizes, such as M1/2, N1/2, O 1/2. An important point to remember is that when buying a broader ring, it is best to get a slightly larger size.

How to Buy a Ring on eBay

To begin your search for a ring on eBay, simply type the word 'rings' into the search bar on the eBay homepage. This action returns thousands of listings for rings. A more specific search query focuses the search. For example you can search for a 'diamond rings', or 'costume jewellery rings', or 'rings for men'.

Filter the Search Results

You can narrow the listings down by specifying those characteristics which interest you. For example, if you want to see listings for gold rings only, you can refine your search by specifying that only listings for gold rings be shown. You specify the colour of the gold by ticking the box next to 'while gold', 'yellow gold', or 'rose gold'. You can also specify the stone and the size. If you know the wearer's ring size is 'H' and you are looking for a 18ct white gold diamond ring, you simply tick the corresponding boxes related to size, carats, colour of the gold, and the type of stone.

Bid or Pay the List Price?

The seller specifies the buying format in the listing. They can also be exciting. However, there is the chance that you could lose out someone who outbids you. If you simply must have a particular ring, consider paying the seller's listed price. This way you can secure the ring immediately.

Assessing the Seller's Reputation

If you are new to buying jewellery online, it is best that you stick to doing business with a Top-Rated Seller. These sellers have long and storied histories on eBay and are very knowledgeable about the merchandise they offer. Top-Rated Sellers are identified by the ribbon icon in the item listing.


Rings are one of the original items of jewellery, and have been around for thousands of years. They have evolved into many different types, many of which have particular purposes or meanings. Rings can be made out of anything from bone to a wide range of metals, but most rings today are gold, silver or platinum.

Although rings are widely available in the high street, overheads and advertising costs mean that the jewellery chains are often expensive places to buy rings. Antique rings, on the other hand, are difficult to find in the high street, and good specimens take a lot of effort on the part of the shopper.

The buyer is generally better off buying online, where eBay offers the widest range of rings, at prices that are often lower than the high street. The variety, the favourable prices, and eBay's easy to use search platform makes eBay a good place to buy a ring.

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