When it comes time to purchase your wedding rings, the process can be overwhelming. There are so many things you need to think about before you buy a ring that you will be wearing for life.
But, one of the very first things you should consider before buying your ring is the types of wedding ring metals that will work for you and your significant other. Not all wedding ring metals should be treated equal. Each metal type has its own unique characteristics that could make a big difference.
The metal chosen for your wedding rings can be picked for fashion reasons or can be based on lifestyle and desired durability. Some are more expensive, but the metals will last longer. Some cannot be resized or easily cut off your finger.
These are all important factors to consider when deciding on the type of metal that makes sense for you and your lifestyle and budget. So, before you make the decision to splurge on your wedding ring, here is a breakdown of each metal and its relative pros and cons:
Platinum is a precious silvery-white metal that has very recently become a very popular choice for all types of jewelry. Platinum has for a long time been known as the best metal out there for wedding and engagement rings. It's extremely durable and will last someone a lifetime.
Platinum is also one of the most expensive metals because of its rarity and density. While it may be expensive to invest in a platinum wedding ring upfront, you'll be happy that you rarely ever have to go to get your ring fixed or polished again in the future. It's also the best way to protect diamonds in your ring. That's why a lot of people love this metal.
Yellow gold is one of the most classic metals used for wedding bands, and it happens to be the most popular choice for men's and ladies wedding rings. When you go to buy a yellow gold wedding ring, you need to consider how many "karats" the gold is. These aren't the same as the carats used to measure diamonds.
Basically, pure gold is too soft to be used for wedding rings. So, gold is mixed with other metals to form the ring. Karats measure the proportion of gold that is actually used in the ring, expressed as parts of 24. So, an 18K yellow gold ring is actually 18/24 or 75% pure gold.
Yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with alloy metals such as zinc and copper to get the yellow color.
Just like yellow gold, white gold is not 100% pure gold. White gold occurs when you mix pure gold with some white metals such as palladium and silver. This achieves a silver color as opposed to a yellow color. One very important thing to know about white gold, however, is that it will yellow over time.
Unlike platinum that you can just wear forever without worry, you will have to think about the color "yellowing" over time when you buy a white gold ring. You'll have to get the ring rhodium plated (or "dipped") every few years by a jeweler to get it back to looking bright white. While this is fine for some people, other people may not want to have to worry about this, especially if they work with their hands all day, like a nurse or teacher. You could need to rhodium plate the ring as often as every 6-12 months to keep it looking like new.
The costs associated with rhodium plating a white gold ring really add up over the years. So, while a white gold ring may seem much cheaper upfront, you'll need to think about the long term costs of having it plated.
Palladium is a white metal and is very durable, like platinum, and it is starting to become a very popular choice especially for men's bands. It is also a much lighter-weight metal than platinum because it has a low density so it doesn't feel quite as substantial as platinum or gold. Palladium has only become popular in jewelry over the last decade but experts believe that palladium rings will last for a lifetime because it is a very durable product.
Titanium is a hard silver-gray metal that is extremely durable. You can easily wear a titanium wedding ring in the ocean or pool without having to worry. It is actually known as the hardest metal in the world, and it is very strong. Titanium is three times the strength of steel and much stronger than silver, gold and platinum. Titanium is also very light weight with its low density. This strong and light metal is also scratch-resistant.
So, you might be thinking, why doesn't everyone get a titanium ring? Well, for starters, most jewelers don't offer many titanium ring choices because it is a metal that is very hard to work with. It would be difficult to resize or repair your wedding ring if anything were to happen to it in the future. Also, it's not a traditional precious metal, like platinum or yellow gold, and in essence it is a commercially used metal.
Tungsten is the ring of choice if you want a darker metal wedding ring. It's a completely different look than any of the other metals that we've covered here, and it offers a very contemporary look that is sleek and often reasonably priced. Tungsten has a high melting point and is extremely durable and somewhat rare.
Wedding rings that are made out of tungsten are not made out of pure tungsten. They are made out of tungsten carbide so that its easier to work with.
Tungsten can be a good option if you are really looking for something that is a little bit different. But, there are a few drawbacks that you have to consider. Tungsten is a very heavy metal that cannot be resized. That means, if you ever gain or lose any weight in your fingers, you'll have to get a completely new ring. Also, tungsten rings are difficult to cut off of your finger during emergency situations and cannot be repaired once broken or cracked. Additionally, tungsten is one of the only wedding ring metals that can conduct heat and electricity, making it a safety risk at times.
Want to know some of the other important factors to buying your wedding band? Check out this free guide with everything you'll ever need to know: