Let’s face it: you’ve probably spent less time browsing through jewelry store selections than you have discussing the merits of bubble baths with your future father-in-law. Sooner or later, though, you’ll have a decision to make about the only accessory you’ll be wearing every day for the rest of your life. The wedding band. Needless to say, you’re going to want a wedding band that blends as seamlessly with your fashion sense as it does with your lifestyle. Check out the following guide for tips on how to make it happen.
First thing to consider: your skin. Are you allergic to nickel or any other metals, or have reason to think you might be? If so, you might want to schedule a visit with your physician or an allergy specialist to help you determine if it’s necessary to avoid certain materials or composites. Alternatively, you could commit to choosing a ring made from material that’s hypoallergenic, like platinum, stainless steel, titanium, or zirconium. After all, you don’t want to find your long-awaited honeymoon interrupted by an irritating, uncomfortable rash.
Second, how much can you afford to spend? For the high rollers out there this is a non-issue. For most of us, though, affordable options that don’t require a compromise on looks or quality are a priority. Here’s a quick, general look at how prices stack up:
Platinum, palladium, and mokume-gane rings are within your price range if your price range has no ceiling. Starting around $1,000 and going up, up, up, rings made from these materials carry a premium price mainly due to their looks and high levels of purity.
More affordable, but still not really for some of us, is gold. Most gold rings are in the $700 and up range, although price can vary considerably based on whether you’re talking 9, 14, or 18 carats.
Rings made from Damascus steel can look pretty darn cool, but carry a much heftier price tag than their stainless steel brethren, coming in at $400 and up. Classy black zirconium bands are similar in price, but tend to run just a bit cheaper.
Ceramic, carbon fiber, titanium, stainless steel, cobalt chrome, tungsten carbide, and wood are your allies when money is an object. The good news is that rings made from these materials can be just as durable, versatile, and sexy, if not more so, than their more expensive counterparts.
Now, how often will you take it off? Depending on your job or your hobbies, removing your ring might be an everyday occurrence. However, if you’re expecting to keep that precious piece of craftsmanship on at all times, like many men do, you’ll want to consider hardness and durability.
In these categories, the gold does not go to gold. Although a traditional and popular choice, gold is about as soft as it gets where rings are concerned, meaning it’s easily scratched, scraped, and bent. White-collar workers with indoor hobbies, this is you.
Tungsten carbide rings represent the opposite side of the spectrum. Almost totally scratch-proof, this composite material has another added benefit known as “permanent polish,” a phrase that speaks for itself. Ceramic rings are known for having only slightly less hardness and durability than tungsten. If you work or play outdoors on a daily basis, going with ceramics or tungsten can help ease your mind about the inevitable abuse your ring will endure.
In between the extremes of gold and tungsten carbide lies the abundance of other options, including, from softest to hardest, platinum, palladium, titanium, and stainless steel.
Last but certainly not least, looks. Maybe you’re the down-to-earth type who would feel most at home in a wooden wedding band, maybe you crave the unmistakable glimmer of white platinum, or maybe you just want something a little unique. In that case, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of styles, shapes, and colors to go around.
Zirconium rings are popular for their textured look, and come in many shades ranging from glossy black to matte charcoal.
If exotic colors are more your style, you’ll want to check out the rainbow palate of titanium rings on the market.
Damascus steel has a remarkable and provocative appearance that is a product of hammer-welding and hand-forging.
Even if you decide to go with traditional gold, looks aren’t limited, since your options include rings of white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold.
Of course, if finding something a little off the beaten path still doesn’t satisfy your appetite for the unique, you can always have your ring personalized even further, since all of these materials can be engraved. Contact a ring designer to help you create a wedding band uniquely for you.
Picking out a wedding band is a big decision, but can be easier if you go into the process with a little knowledge and some patience. In the end, you want a ring that is comfortable and that makes you feel at home while wearing it. Don’t be afraid to try on every type of ring in your size that you can find before making your final choice, because remember, every groom’s “I do” should have a nice ring to it.