So you’re on the lookout for some wedding bands for the big day but you’re not sure what to go for. Well regardless of whether you’ve already purchased the engagement ring the following applies to any precious metal ring you’re ever likely to buy.
There are several types of material on the market when it comes to rings including silver, gold, platinum, palladium, titanium to name the most popular. Titanium is a really lightweight material and so comes in handy for guys as the bands tend to be far wider than a female ring. Guys rings usually start from 3mm width all the way to a couple of centimetres. It really depends on preference, taste and budget. With this in mind titanium is really cheap compared to it’s heavy counterparts and you can expect to pick up a male wedding band from just £15. Expect to take the ring off often though as the rings are usually poorly finished and can feel uncomfortable for long periods of wear and also can suffer from a green copper like stain when your hands get sweaty or wet. This is because the ring is actually an alloy and not just pure titanium. An all titanium band is available for a little more and is very hard wearing (even harder than platinum) and very lightweight.
Silver is sometimes sold just as cheaply as titanium for wedding bands but it is almost always an alloy. Sterling silver (or sometimes just sold as silver) is not 100% pure silver. Although it’s harder than gold, pure silver is very soft and so it is almost always alloyed with copper. The percentage is usually 92.5% silver and the rest copper. This can lead to skin stains when the silver is wet or it can lead to your ring looking well tarnished if your hands get anywhere near certain chemicals eg. sulphur lakes turn silver black. Rings are very rarely made in pure silver as they can’t hold their shape very well. If you do source one then it probably isn’t worth buying.
Gold is a precious metal and is very very soft. Jewellery made with gold is usually always an alloy, although pure gold rings are often found in Asia as it is seen as a classier purchase. When buying gold make sure you look on the inside of the ring and look for the purity stamp. Purity is measured as a percentage of the purest carat of that metal. The highest carat for gold is 24 carat which will bear the number 9999 somewhere on the jewellery. The 24 carat stamp is not the usual though, the purity number is usually out of 1000, so 750 denotes 18k (carat), a stamp of 500 denotes 12k and a 250 stamp means that it’s 9 carat gold. I’ve seen some 24k gold rings and they look horrid when they’re old! They are so soft that they pick up millions of dents and divots and totally lose shape. I find the colour a bit off-putting too. 18k is a better choice and the other 250 parts of the ring affect the look of the finished ring. If the 750 parts of gold are plated with 250 parts silver, palladium or rhodium then the yellow gold miraculously turns a shiny silvery-white colour and is known as white gold. More expensive 18k white gold may be alloyed with rhodium. Rhodium is a non irritating and very hard metal that gives a really nice shine to wedding rings and is also found to coat platinum. Rhodium is part of the platinum family and is totally resistant to acid erosion. For almost any other 18k gold mix, the metal will usually appear yellow.
Palladium is a metal that is part of the platinum family but is less dense. It shares many of the characteristics of Platinum but at a much lower cost. It’s not as hard as platinum but harder than gold and it’s naturally silvery white and easily sourced. It’s usually found as a by product when mining for gold or platinum and can even be a product of spent nuclear fuel!
Platinum is the top of the metal tree when it comes to wedding bands and is super dense, super hard, super durable and super expensive! As it’s so hard the platinum mix with an alloy of rhodium can be as high as 950 parts to 50 rhodium (to make the 1000). Rhodium is the alloy of choice for Platinum wedding bands as it is relatively cheap and easy to replate and also not much is required to keep up the natural colour of the Platinum underneath or to strengthen the shape. Ruthenium and cobalt are also often used to alloy as alternatives to Rhodium and both serve well, however avoid Iridium alloys as the metal is easily dulled and scratched.
So that’s the metal side of things covered, well how about the shape? Well for guys, go for something wider than 3mm up to any width of your preference and/or budget. Shapes differ dependant on the material and some come with detail, stuff inside/on the ring or just plain. If you’re not used to wearing a ring then make sure you try on plenty of different styles and shapes of wedding bands as some may be a lot more comfortable than others. Flat style rings eg. flat court rings, tend to be more comfortable than raised and rounded rings which hinder the ability to close a fist properly.
For the brides wedding band , go for a shape that compliments the shape of your engagement ring. A matching width looks great and more importantly the rings should sit together easily so that there’s not a massive gap between them. If the engagement ring has a diamond on it then usually it will sit high up on the ring to allow the wedding band to sit flush next to it. If it doesn’t, then consider getting your wedding band custom made from a jewellery maker. If your engagement ring has no diamond or stone on it then consider having a diamond or diamonds in your bridal wedding ring. There are many styles of diamond wedding bands from a single small diamond set in the ring, a semi pavé of diamonds (a series of diamonds positioned next to each other to fill half a ring) or a full pavé of diamonds (a series of diamonds positioned next to each other to fill the whole ring).
To discuss this article further click here for wedding bands for the bride and click here for wedding bands for the groom
For more information on diamond engagement rings click here
For more help with selecting your wedding band see the following videos: