The MANual: Wedding Bands
Which Material Works Best For Your Wedding Band?
Your wedding band is one element of a wedding that will last a lifetime. Theoretically, it will always be on your hand (with some exceptions, of course) , symbolizing your bond with your wife. You’ll probably never have as long a relationship with a piece of jewelry as you will with this, so make sure you pick the right material. You’ll have a little more latitude with the wedding band than you did with the engagement ring, so consider all your options before making a purchase.
Remember: even though you’ll be the one wearing it, your wedding band is not a solo art piece. You need to make sure you and your bride are on the same page when it comes to material and design. Don’t get something that you’re both not 1000% on board with or it’ll just be a thorn in the other person’s side every time they see it on your finger.
Read on as we break down the most common wedding band materials, and examine their pros and cons.
Yellow gold is the most traditional wedding band option. It’s steeped in history, and most of your relatives likely had a gold band. Old songs like “Band of Gold” were were written around the the symbolism of this ring style. Gold comes in a variety of strengths, and carats, and while it can tarnish faster than other materials, its general warmth and wide range of prices makes it the favorite.
The warmer hue of rose or pink gold adds a luster that heightens the romantic effect of the ring. Like yellow gold, rose gold rings come in a range of hardness, durability, and carat values, meaning it can offer a wide array of possibilities for any price range.
White gold is perfect for those who don’t need the traditional yellow gold warmth, but still want gold’s range of options in pricing and density,. It’s light, durable, and doesn’t require too much maintenance to keep its beautiful finish. White gold also reflects stones layered into the metal quite well, if that is an option you want to consider.
Platinum is the most popular ring material these days, and with good reason: it has a more brilliant, lasting shine than other metals, and is far more durable. Platinum rings are more silvery than white gold, and will last a lifetime, but are also the most expensive.
The slightly less-than cousin to platinum, palladium rings have been growing in popularity for their durability, white color, and general low maintenance. They’ll never need to be replated, and are closer to gold in terms of price.
Silver has been used in rings and jewelry-making since the dawn of human history. But while silver may look great the moment you put it on, it starts to tarnish the next moment. Silver bands need to be buffed, shined, and occasionally replated. Nevertheless, they are also fairly cost effective. Many heirloom rings are silver, as some of the other metals hadn’t come into popular use yet. Silver rings are still beautiful, and can be an apt symbol of the regular maintenance that every marriage requires. You can remember that every time you look down and think, “Boy, I should clean this thing.” Silver rings can also be plated with Rhodium or other materials to help slow the tarnishing process.
Titanium is great for those with particularly labor-intensive jobs that might potentially damage more delicate rings. While it lacks the shine of gold and platinum, it’s incredibly durable, and will stand up to any element. Platinum may be a British sports car, but titanium is a tough Chevy truck.
One of the most durable metals in the world, tungsten is great for engagement rings because it’s completely dent and scratch resistant. Meaning, there will never be any marks or bent metal in the ring no matter what happens to it. The downside of this effect is that in a moment of emergency, tungsten rings need to be completely broken and sawed off in many cases, and cannot be repaired or mended afterward the way gold could for instance.
Stainless steel offers a unique possibility for potential wearers. The sheen of the metal is similar to that of platinum or other finer metals, while still offering the durability and resistance of more rugged ones like titanium and tungsten. The other nice aspect of them is that they come relatively inexpensive when compared to the alternatives.
Because of the process involved in making Damascus Steel, the metal is often created with interesting folds and lines running throughout it with an interesting design. The important thing to note with this metal, should you choose a more designed ring, is to get stainless Damascus steel and not carbon Damascus steel, as the latter is prone to rust or tarnish without diligent care.
Unlike titanium and tungsten, cobalt rings are very malleable and able to be mended. That said, they’re also very tough metals that can resist scratches much more easily than other metals. The hues of cobalt rings also make it appear to have a whiter finish—closer to that of white gold—should you be more interested in that look.
For the guy that’s always the sportsman, a rubber wedding band can go a long way. It’s flexible, it’s versatile, and it’s ready to ebb and flow with your lifestyle. Sure, it’s not the most refined metal the way the others are, but it’s still something you’ll be more likely to keep on all the time knowing it can adapt to your life. Not to mention, it’s also quite inexpensive to buy or care for.
The most permanent solution to your wedding band needs, a tattoo can be a great way to cut the cost of repair, misplacement, and investing in precious metals for your ring. Whether you get a band around your finger or just the first letter of your wife’s name, it’s a nice way to tell her you’re serious about your new marriage.
Wooden rings are great options for those who are true lovers of nature. While the ring initially is flexible to make, once it’s set into the metal, the wood can fracture easily and break. That said, it’s also inexpensive to replace a wood wedding band. Wood also pairs nicely with lots of other looks or jewelry one may wear like a watch or other ring.
The black band of a carbon fiber ring makes it a nice touch to any look since black goes with everything. Carbon fiber rings though, while sometimes viewed as a fashionable choice, are nearly impossible to mend and would need to be cut off and replaced. They are also scratch resistant though and an affordable option for those not looking to spend very much.
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