Metals for men’s wedding bands have traditionally been the same as those with women. But a lot of weddings these days spurn tradition.
A wedding band, or a wedding ring, is a ring worn on the ring finger of the left hand to indicate marriage. It represents the special bond between two people and should not be taken in the light as an engagement ring.
An engagement ring is worn only by the person being proposed to—meaning the girl while a wedding band is worn by both husband and wife. Engagement rings tend to be more flashy, while wedding bands are usually of simpler designs, especially those of men.
Metals for Men’s Wedding Bands
In ancient times, wedding bands were made from different materials such as leather, bone, or ivory. These materials gave way to iron when the Ancient Greeks and Romans gained world dominance. Those who can afford a bit of flourish opted for gold wedding bands.
From there, it was a short leap to what wedding rings are today.
These days, not only do we have very intricately designed wedding rings, couples may opt to design their own to incorporate details that express special meanings. Corollary to that, these days it’s common to see men’s and women’s wedding bands slightly differ in appearance and metals used.
A History of Mens’ Wedding Bands
While it has been a tradition since ancient times to give a wedding band to the wife, it was only in the 20th century that men started wearing one, and it came out from cataclysmic events
During the World Wars, soldiers wore rings to remind them of their loved ones back home. It’s kind of a motivation for them to stay alive and go home (though many didn’t). After the Korean War in the 50s, men started wearing them. This paved the way for having wedding bands both for husband and wife.
But though they may match, they differ somewhat. Metals for men’s wedding bands take into account what he does for a living.
At the outset, they were made of plain steel. This is because they worked with their hands and they didn’t want to dirty them so much. And they must be strong enough to withstand the daily rigors of their jobs.
Over the years, however, when blue-collar jobs became more common, wedding bands started sporting intricate designs. And various metals were used to make the rings last longer, more resistant to daily use.
Tips on Getting the Right Wedding Band
Men are not as fussy as women in a lot of things, including the way they buy wedding bands. If he had his way, he will most likely pick the first thing he sees online or what’s nearest in a retailer’s display rack. It may serve the purpose, but may not be a perfect fit for the occasion or his character.
To avoid that pitfall, here is a simple guide on how to pick the right men’s wedding band materials that are not only super dazzling, but also affordable, and can last a lifetime.
Pick Your Metal
If you are like most buyers, your mind must be hot-wired for yellow gold as the standard metal used for wedding bands. You are partly right – yellow gold is the most common. Fortunately, there are a lot of metals for men’s wedding bands in the market for you to choose from,
Here are they are:
Wedding bands made of platinum are associated with wealth, prestige, and luxury—for a good reason. Platinum is rare, hence expensive as a jewelry item. Also, choosing the best platinum ring setting is not as easy as it seems. It is durable and easy to work with.
- Prestigious and sophisticated
- Durable, scratch-resistant
- Easy to work with
- Difficult to resize
- Needs polishing to maintain its luster
White gold was introduced into the jewelry world and men’s wedding bands as a cheap substitute for platinum. Hence, the debate over white gold vs platinum was born
It is pure gold alloyed with white metals like palladium and/or silver. Then, it is plated with Rhodium to give it a shiny appearance.
- Lustrious and reflective
- Easy to work with
- Needs periodic replating to restore its lustrous appearance
- Rhodium plating may cause allergy in some people
Yellow gold has the natural color of gold and is the traditional metal for wedding bands. It goes back a long way.
It is classic and symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Yellow gold wedding bands are normally 14K or 18K. Anything above these will be too soft for daily use.
- Classic and traditional
- Easy to resize and engrave
- Easy to scratch
- Needs periodic professional polishing to restore its luster.
Rose gold looks unique and is delicate as can be seen in this Elie Design review. For this reason, it has gained much popularity in men’s wedding bands because of its subtle hue.
It is made from solid gold alloyed with copper, making it more durable than other gold wedding bands.
- Color is unique
- Easy to work with
- Not hypoallergenic
- Not many design options are available.
Palladium is an excellent alternative to platinum. Though very similar in appearance to platinum, it is somewhat more durable and scratch-resistant than platinum. In fact, it has overtaken platinum in popularity even if it is a bit pricey.
And if the price is not an issue, it is better than white gold because it needs no rhodium plating.
- A precious metal
- Has a natural luster and color
- Supply is limited, making it pricey
Alternative and industrial metals
Titanium is a very strong wedding band material. It doesn’t scratch easily, making it perfect for men with very active lifestyles.
And if you are wondering, “what is the lightest metal for a wedding band?” This is it.
- Very durable
- Beautiful luster and color
- Difficult to resize
This is an excellent alternative to white gold—and maybe cheaper, too.
As a wedding band, cobalt is highly reflective and lustrous. It can also be anodized to change its natural appearance. For example, black cobalt wedding rings are extremely popular these days.
It is ideal for daily wear as it is highly resistant to scratches. It is tough and answers the question: What is the most durable ring material?.
- A good white gold look alike
- Minimal maintenance
- Very durable/scratch-resistant
- Difficult to resize
- Limited options are available as it is difficult to work with.
Meteorite wedding bands are popular among men who want to be different, and unique; those wanting to make a statement.
This metal is really out of this world—they are debris from outer space that survive the harsh temperatures when entering Earth’s atmosphere.
- Cool with its natural etchings
- Modern and luxurious
- Difficult to maintain
- Very scarce
- Prone to rust
It’s kind of confusing, isn’t it? With all these metals for men’s wedding bands to choose from. Things can be daunting sometimes. And exhausting, too. The exercise will definitely make you wonder: What material should a man’s wedding band be?
Sadly, only you can answer that question. It is your personal choice driven by what kind of person you are and your budget. But to cut to the chase, consider these:
- Platinum is a good choice if you want prestige
- Tungsten/titanium if you want something durable, and affordable
- Meteorite if you are inclined towards the unique and hard-to-come-by things.
For what’s it worth, the most popular wedding bands, 2019 were:
- Tungsten/tungsten carbide
- 14 K, 18K yellow, white, and rose gold
- Black titanium
- Black tungsten.
They can be a good reference point. Yes, most of them are unconventional. But that’s the beauty of it all—to be not among the rest. To be different is to stand out.
Things to Consider When Choosing Men’s Rings
And once you’ve covered the metal dilemma, you can start picking the best wedding band for you by following these well-proven steps.
Ring width is important because it accentuates the piece’s beauty against your kind of hand. Its width must be just enough to fit and look good on your finger.
The average ring width for guys is 6 mm. For men with extra-large hands, 8 to 9 mm is recommended.
However, there are no hard and fast rules. Try several widths and see what looks natural and best on your finger.
Don’t fall for the yarn that wide rings are masculine. They don’t and they are expensive because of the extra materials used.
When it comes to fit, you have two options:
- Standard fit is the more common option. Standard fit wedding bands are flat on the inside. While they may fit fine, but they don’t conform to the shape of your finger.
- Comfort-fit wedding bands are rounded on the inside, providing a more natural and comfortable fit.
Ring Type and Profile
To a casual observer, a wedding band is nothing more than a circular piece of metal wrapped around a guy’s ring finger. But there is more to that than meets the eyes. They have certain types and profiles.
There are three common ring types: classic, carved, diamond.
- Classic is the traditional wedding band – no carvings, no stones, or other embellishments. Just plain precious metal. This style is timeless and traditional. And it is the most popular among men.
- Carved is a variant of the Classic. Carved rings have a beveled design with etched edges. Men think they look masculine and more interesting than the smooth surface of the Classic.
- Diamond style wedding bands, like the one in this Ken and Dana Design review, have a row or more of diamonds along their entire circumference. They are flashy and beautiful. In fact, it is the popular choice of men who have the extra cash to pay for it.
Of course, wedding band styles are not confined to the above. But they are the most common. In fact, if you know of a jeweler who can work on styles, you can have your wedding band personalized.
There are only two common wedding band profiles: domed or flat, and mostly applied to the Classic style of wedding band.
- Domed profile wedding bands have a curved cross-section—like a “D.” It’s thick and looks best on men with thick fingers.
- A flat profile is, of course, wedding bands with a flat cross-section. It looks very contemporary, with a minimalist, modern feel. Younger people opt for this ring profile.
Above are the range of the best metals for men’s wedding bands and the things that could drive your buying decision. Yes, they are overwhelming, even confusing, if taken as a whole. Fortunately, this article does not intend to give you a headache. So before you buy, consider these factors:
The ring must be tough and hard.
Wedding bands are meant to be worn daily. So you want a metal that won’t easily get scratched, chipped, or break.
This means how its luster and color appeals to you. This is a very personal thing.
In general, wedding band metals come in these colors: yellow, white, rose, black, and gray. Choose one that appeals to your deepest emotions most.
As a rough rule, most alternative and industrial metals are affordable while the traditional metals are a bit pricey. But then, it’s your wedding. You can either make it special, and pull the plugs on the expense, or make it a minimalist wedding.
All metals for wedding rings need some degree of maintenance. While some need a visit to the jeweler, others can be cleaned at home. The degree of maintenance is related to durability. The more durable the metal is, the less maintenance it needs.
This is very important if you want to have a customized wedding band. Some metals are easy to work on by a jeweler.
You can have it fashioned and beautifully designed, with engraving and other stylish elements. Others, however, are difficult to work with, like Cobalt. Metals like this limit your design options. And they are difficult to resize, too, should future circumstances need it.
Buying a wedding band is more of an afterthought. A lot of people think that it can easily be procured by spending a few minutes surfing online. And they can be right.
But wedding bands are not something that you wear and forget or even discard. They are meant to last a lifetime; they represent your undying commitment to someone you love. Enough diligence, time, and effort must be spent in picking the kind of wedding band that epitomizes the purpose of wearing it.
Now that you’ve learned a lot about the best metal for men’s rings, you should check out our guide “Finding Your Beau’s Band: A Guide To Buying Men’s Wedding Rings,” and get the perfect wedding ring for him.