Until death do us part. Ideally, you would like your wedding band to last as long as your marriage. But with so many options available on the market, choosing the best wedding ring can be a challenge.
When selecting a ring necessary aspects to take into consideration are shape, style, price, and material.
So what are men's wedding bands made of. Men's bands can be made of gold, platinum, palladium, titanium, tungsten, stainless steel, sterling silver, silicone or wood. The most common of these is Tungsten and stainless steel because they are affordable and tough.
To ensure your ring will last and look as polished as the day your betrothed slid it onto your finger, you will need to select the best wedding band material. Factor in such considerations as your lifestyle and career, the desired style and finish of the ring, how much maintenance it requires and your budget.
We can’t say for sure which ring you should go with, as many variables come into play, but hopefully, we can provide some insight into the best material overall and the best material for the money.
In this guide, we will cover each of the components to a great wedding band.
Here’s what we will cover to make sure you find the best men's wedding ring for you.
- The types of metals and materials that bands can be comprised of
- How your band can reflect your personality and style
- Sticking to your budget
- Care and maintenance
Traditionally, men did not wear wedding bands. Wedding rings were historically only worn by women, but in the early 20th century that all changed. Soldiers going off to battle searched for a wearable memento that would remind them of their wives back home.
And so, men’s wedding rings were created. After the Korean war, the rings became less of a tool for remembrance and more symbolic of a union. Band style and material became increasingly important.
Choosing the Best Metal or Material
You may not be wearing your wedding band into a battle zone, but you should still want it to last you a lifetime. There are many materials available from which to craft your band. It goes beyond just metal; today, silicon is even an option for those looking for comfort and versatility.
Types of Metals
- Yellow Gold
Yellow gold is the most traditional and commonly seen metal used for wedding bands. Usually, bands are not one-hundred percent gold, as these would be quite soft and damage easily. There are other metals added to the gold for stability; the metal is then referred to as an alloy.
The composition and quality of the gold are referred to in karats (with a “K”, carats with a “C” refers to diamond purity). One karat is actually equal to 1/24, as gold is measured in parts of 24. This explains why you can find 14kt gold, 18kt gold, and so on. An 18kt gold ring is only 75% gold, or 18/24’s, a 24kt gold ring is considered “pure gold”.
Yellow gold is thought of as somewhat rare, so bands comprising this metal are valuable. Falling from popularity in the late 20th century for being “old-fashioned”, this classic style ring is now considered traditional and timeless.
- Rose Gold
Rose Gold is a warmer take on the standard gold wedding band. Gold is combined with copper and occasionally small amounts of silver to create a champagne-colored ring. Rose gold has become more popular as of late and is referred to as red gold or pink gold.
Originally developed in Russia around the 1800s, jewelry made of rose gold peaked in the 1920s, then saw a decline in popularity until recently. The amount of copper added to the gold changes the hue of the ring. The karat value is still determined by the amount of gold in the band.
Unlike yellow gold, this metal is not considered a naturally occurring rare metal. Due to the addition of copper, rose gold tends to be more durable than a solid yellow gold band. Don’t let the color dissuade you, it is considered a stylish option for men and often can be found as part of a matching his and hers set.
- White Gold
White gold is also an alloy composed of gold and “white” metals such as nickel or silver and a rhodium plating. Bear in mind, nickel is a common allergy, so check the composition of your ring carefully. The rhodium plating finish gives the ring a look similar to platinum.
Without the plating, the finish is a yellowish-white hue. The plating requires maintenance, having to be refinished or dipped anywhere from every six months to every few years depending on the rings sustained wear and tear. White gold is less expensive than platinum and is a popular option for men.
Platinum rings are one of the best choices for a wedding band. Platinum is a very durable, strong metal, resisting fading and corrosion. Platinum is quite rare and is considered one of the whitest metals.
Platinum rings do not require rhodium plating and will not lose their glow over time. As it is almost pure metal, in most cases only mixed with less than 5% of other materials, platinum wedding bands are hypoallergenic. However, platinum’s stellar benefits come with a lofty price tag.
Palladium resembles platinum in appearance but does not have platinum’s strength or exorbitant cost. Sometimes referred to as “the poor’s mans platinum” palladium is a tiny bit duller than the white sheen of platinum. However, this ring does not have to be plated and like platinum will develop a patina over time, meaning less maintenance.
Palladium is actually more durable than platinum, not stronger, but more scratch resistant. Good news, because like other “modern metals” palladium rings can be difficult to have serviced. Without the proper tools and equipment, jewelers cannot easily resize or repair modern metal rings.
Titanium rings are dark grey or charcoal. This metal is also very resilient to scratches and scuffs but does develop an oxide layer with time. A jeweler will be able to polish your ring but as with palladium, it is near impossible to alter the size. Titanium is affordable and has been frequently selected for wedding bands in the past decade.
Tungsten or tungsten carbide is the most durable of wedding band metals. It is extremely resistant to scratching or bending. If enough pressure is applied the ring can shatter, but hopefully you will not experience anywhere near enough pressure in daily use.
Tungsten has similar benefits to the aforementioned metals. It is affordable, hypoallergenic and has a nice weightiness. As a modern metal, it cannot be resized, only exchanged.
- Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is both durable and affordable. While stainless isn't as durable as Tungsten, it is still pretty tough and is a little easier on the budget.
The best ting about stianless steel is, you can find more designs and colors due to their popularity and affordable price.
Be sure to see our great selection of personalized stainless steel men's rings here.
- Sterling Silver
Sterling silver wedding bands are not very common and are sometimes considered a “placeholder ring” until your budget matches your ring aspirations. Silver, like gold, is very soft in its pure form. An extremely malleable wedding ring is not a good thing, so they alloy silver with copper to make sterling silver.
Like white gold, the outside of the sterling silver band is treated with “fine” silver, a more pure derivation of the metal, to give it a nice luster. This plating is not very durable and the ring can become slightly discolored and scratched. Sterling silver is not as strong as some other metals either. Still, sterling silver is very affordable and comes in many styles.
Men that lead a very active or rigorous life may want to consider a metal alternative. Silicone rings were created for safety and versatility. These rubber rings are made to tear away if significant force is applied, preventing a variety of finger injuries.
Additionally, they are ideal for those who are active, travel (silicone is less valuable), or work in an environment that is not conducive to wearing metal. The silicone bands are waterproof, heat resistant, and non-conductive. Even if a silicone band isn’t your ceremonial ring, it would make a great daily piece of jewelry.
Interestingly, wooden wedding bands have become trendy for couples wanting an eco-friendly option. These bands are hypoallergenic (aside from any finish) and are safe as they do not conduct heat or electricity.
Wooden bands are relatively inexpensive as well. But durable they are not. Regular maintenance and special care are required for the upkeep of wooden rings. Like modern metals, these bands cannot be resized.
Hardwoods such as oak or maple are more enduring options. Wood can also be inlaid in a metal band to increase its strength and durability.
A Top-Notch Ring Matches Your Personality and Style
The good news is, you have hopefully already selected an engagement ring. After agonizing over designs, cuts, and stones, you settled on the perfect ring for the proposal. Now, you will probably want a ring to match hers.
Couples rings can coordinate in many ways. Whether that be a shared shape or design, common metals or stones, or even an engraving. Your and your bride’s rings don’t have to be exact replicas, but modern tradition dictates that they should complement one another.
If tradition is your thing, you may want to consider a gold ring. As mentioned, this can be yellow gold, white gold or rose gold. Rose gold gives off a very vintage vibe, while yellow gold is the epitome of classic. White gold is the customary choice for a traditional man that favors cooler silver tones over warmer yellow ones.
Thinking about forsaking tradition and forging a new path with your wife? Modern metals or metal alternatives can suit an avant-garde and interesting personality. If you are bold, choose a silicone ring with a funky pattern or a black tungsten carbide band. Environmentally conscious individuals might like to sport a wooden band.
Simple, classic, and basic bands were once the zeitgeist of men's wedding rings. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a no-frills, understated solid band; especially if it is an heirloom.
However, in the 21st century, more men are opting for more creative and intricate bands. The finish of your band can be polished with a high shine or a trendy matte. Textured hammered designs elicit a ruggedness associated with historically forged rings.
Designs and engravings can also be a striking addition to a solid band. Inscriptions, your spouse’s fingerprint or an image are all symbolic and meaningful engraving options. Modern gents may also favor bands fashioned with scrolls, braids, or even a color inlay.
Aside from the surface of your ring, the metal can be cut and shaped into different styles and thicknesses.
- Court Band
Also known as comfort fit, these rings are curved on the outside and minimally on the inside. The ring hugs the finger and is less likely to dig into the skin or get caught on clothing or other objects.
- Flat Band
A flat band is flat on every side. It is very geometric and modern looking. However, this ring is more prone to tugging at your finger and catching on objects.
- Flat Court
Flat court is a happy medium between a flat band and a court band. The outside appearance is still flat, but the inside is curved. This is a comfortable compromise for those who like the trendy look of the flat but are novice ring wearers.
- D-Shape Band
A D-shaped band was once the prominent style. It features a flat inside and a curved outside. This band is similar to the comfort fit but offers a very pronounced curvature on the external surface.
Width is also essential to the style and comfort of your ring. Bands can range from narrow, 4mm, to wide at around 8mm.
Not subtracting from your masculinity, narrow bands are typically more suited to slender fingers. Buying a ring that is too wide will ultimately feel uncomfortable and may look awkward. What's more, a wider band will be costly as it requires more metal.
Try on a variety of ring widths to find what suits you best. Remember, your finger size changes with temperature so it would be wise to try on rings when your body is at different degrees.
Feeling fancy? Men’s wedding bands can also receive an upgrade in the way of diamonds or gemstones. Rings with onyx, precious gems like emeralds, or standard diamond embellishments are handsome and definitely make an impression.
If you like to think outside the box spring for a band edged with colorful and multifaceted gems. If you are unabashed by diamonds, men's bands can come encrusted. A little “boy bling” never hurt anyone.
Best Band for Your Buck
There have been many ways listed to customize your ring. With all the options available, by the time you are finished making a selection in each category your band might be on a par with some of the most expensive pieces of Cartier.
Your (and your future wife’s!) budget cannot be overlooked. Rare metals are more costly than their modern metal counterparts. Metal alternative rings are usually the least damaging to your bottom line. Customization and intricacy will also affect the price tag.
Platinum rings often can cost into the thousands, as can diamond-encrusted bands. On the other hand, no pun intended, silicone bands can be as affordable as thirty dollars apiece.
You can even get personalized titanium ($24.99) and stainless steel bands ($19.99) right here at ThinkEngraved.
Care and Maintenance of Your Wedding Band
All wedding bands will require some level of care to stay looking polished, even though they are crafted to last a lifetime.
Being conscious of activities that could damage your ring and taking care to remove it beforehand can save you a lot in the way of repairs. If lifting uncoated dumbbells, hauling rocks, or cleaning with abrasive chemicals, it would be best to take off your band.
Occasional cleaning, whether by you or a jeweler, will keep your ring looking as new as the day you said: “I do”. Special ring cleaning solutions, made for each type of metal or material, are sold in stores. Warm water and soap will also do the trick.
When you purchase your ring, some jewelers offer a period in which you can return to the store annually or every six months for a free cleaning. If your band sustains any major damage, it would be wise to have a jeweler look it over.
Some metals and materials are stronger and more durable than others. If you plan to be exceptionally rough on your ring or abhor cleaning, select your wedding band material accordingly.
Be sure to check out this article we wrote on cleaning jewelry. Click here
Tips and Tricks for Selecting the Best Ring
This is a great deal of information to take in, likely more information than you ever thought possible on the topic of men’s wedding bands. Here are a few tips and tricks to select the best overall band for your personality, lifestyle, and budget:
- Select your bride's ring first. She will probably be a lot more invested in selecting the elements of her band, but will appreciate your opinion. Once her ring is chosen it will be easier to hone in on a band that will compliment hers.
- Visit a jeweler. Even if you are not purchasing your ring from a brick and mortar store, don’t leave sizing to chance. Some materials cannot be resized, so get professionally fitted.
- Peruse many catalogs, online stores, and jewelry cases. Like the dating adage, “there are many fish in the sea,” there are many wedding band options available.
- Start early! Don’t let your wedding band be an afterthought.
Now that you are familiar with all the nuances of selecting a men’s wedding band, you can make an informed decision about which band overall is best for you and your budget. Ideally, like your wife, you will have your band as your companion forever.
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