When choosing a men’s wedding band, metal selection can be vast. Why do men have so many metal choices for their wedding bands? Many men choose not to wear an engagement ring (which is typically comprised of more expensive metals like platinum and gold), so they don’t have to worry about matching their wedding band matching. Men have a seemingly unlimited amount of choices for the materials used to craft their bands, and the variety can be a bit overwhelming…especially for men who aren’t expecting such a large selection.
While the selection for men’s wedding bands metal choices may seem never ending, some metals are more popular than others. The most popular metals for men’s wedding bands are gold (white, yellow or rose), platinum, palladium, tungsten, titanium and silver. Each metal has its own strengths, so choosing the ideal metal type depends on your man’s personality and lifestyle.
Gold is the reigning champion of men’s wedding band metals. Yellow gold is considered a classic choice, compared to white gold’s cool, contemporary look. A touch of copper creates rose gold’s warmth and vintage appeal.
Gold bands are all marked to denote their purity—measured in karats. All gold is mixed with other metal alloys for additional strength, because pure gold (24 karat) is extremely soft and unsuitable for daily wear. Most fine jewelry—including wedding bands—should be purchased in 14 karat or 18 karat gold. Any piece of jewelry below 14 karat gold means that the purity is less than 50 percent gold. Gold in all high purities will scratch and bend, so rings crafted from gold will need to be polished or have scratches buffed out during their lifetime.
Platinum is the most expensive metal on the list, as well as the strongest. This white, mirror-like metal was at one time an extremely popular metal for jewelry. However, it was later rationed for war time. When platinum could no longer be used for jewelry, white gold was created as a less expensive equivalent. Since the late 90s, however, platinum once again emerged as one of the leading wedding band metals.
A “pure platinum” band has at least 95% platinum, and should be stamped to indicate it’s purity, typically in the form of a parts-per-thousand number. For example, a piece with 90% platinum and 10% alloys would be marked “900” or “900PLT,” to indicate 900 parts platinum out of a 1000.
Its high cost and durability make it a luxe choice. Platinum also doesn’t tarnish, it doesn’t need to be polished, and it rarely scratches. If your ring is going to take a lot of wear and tear, platinum is an ideal (and practical) investment.
A close relative to platinum, palladium also features a similar white hue and high shine. Although this metal isn’t quite as durable, it is less expensive. For men who want the look of platinum and a similar durability, palladium is a fantastic choice.
Rings crafted from palladium can feature diamonds, gemstones or engraved details. This metal is also extremely versatile and can take the wear of an active lifestyle.
Think of tungsten as a bargain dupe of platinum and palladium. Tungsten features a similar white sheen, but isn’t quite as durable.
This metal also isn’t the ideal setting choice for expensive gemstones, but tungsten is the perfect metal for creative inlays like wood and colorful opal. Tungsten bands can also incorporate imprints, laser engravings and other personalized details.
In the past few decades, titanium has become incredibly popular for men’s wedding bands. Titanium is incredibly durable and can be used to incorporate different inlays, etchings and other details. But one of the most unique features of this metal is that it can also be found in a blackened hue.
Grooms seeking an alternative to the sleek white metal, can differentiate their style with black titanium.
Almost everyone is familiar with silver—and jewelry made from this metal is typically noted as sterling silver. This is the most inexpensive choice for men’s wedding bands, but it also requires a lot of upkeep. Silver tarnishes over time and scratches very easily. Daily wear will take its toll on a silver ring. However, if you are on a very tight budget, this metal is very low-cost.
While there are numerous metal choices for men’s wedding bands, the ideal metal should suit his personality and lifestyle. All metals have strengths and weaknesses, but they can all create the ideal ring. The metal that you select for his perfect ring should fit his hand, his life—and, most importantly, your budget.