Choosing the best metal for a men’s wedding ring is no easy task. In this article, we hope to explain the history of wedding bands, the different metals and their properties. The best metal for a man’s wedding band may depend on personal preferences, allergies, and budget. We hope this article helps to make your decision easier.
History of Wedding Rings
According to Ancient Egyptian documentation, rings symbolized an everlasting love with no end and no beginning. The couple to be married would exchange rings made from braided strands of hemp or reeds that grew along the Nile river. As these materials deteriorated rather quickly, the couple would often replace these bands with ones made from bone, ivory, or leather dependent on what they could afford. In Ancient Rome, grooms would often present their bride with a ring made of Iron. This is where the modern tradition of metal wedding bands began. Iron is a durable metal, and it was seen as a symbol of strength and resilience. The Romans are also said to have been the first people to engrave their rings with personal messages.
There are several theories as to why the wedding band is mainly worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The people of Ancient Greece and Rome believed that this finger contained the “vein of love” or Vena Amoris, and thus was the appropriate finger to place the ring. According to Christian teachings on marriage, the priest would recite the unifying prayer while touching his thumb, forefinger, and middle finger together to represent The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After this prayer was offered, the priest would place the wedding rings on the hands of the couple to seal their union. Some people believe that placing the ring on the left hand is nothing more than convenience. Most people are right handed, and keeping the ring on the less dominant hand means it will likely receive less damage over the course of time.
Prior to the start of WWII, wedding rings were traditionally worn only by women. This changed during the war as many servicemen wore simple metal bands as a way to remember their wives back home. Wedding ring sets become increasingly popular among the civilian population ever since. In modern culture, wedding rings are worn as a sign of commitment and undying love for your spouse. Often worn by both parties, wedding rings are a stylish way for couples to outwardly display their commitment.
Gold Wedding Bands
Considered the traditional form of men’s wedding ring, gold wedding bands are a timeless classic. Although the term gold most commonly refers to yellow gold, its is available in numerous colors like rose gold and white gold. The classic gold wedding ring is quite aesthetically pleasing, no matter what color and it is a common choice for weddings. As gold is a high demand material for making jewelry, it is worth significantly more per ounce than silver. Gold rings are slightly more scratch resistant than silver, but it can still get blemishes. It is important to maintain your ring by keeping it clean and polished. This precious metal is quite lightweight and perfect for daily wear.
Gold is known for being a non-allergenic metal, which means that having an allergy to it is highly unlikely. However, rings cannot be made of solid gold, as they would be too soft to wear. To make the gold firm enough to use in jewelry, other metals alloys like nickel are added in small quantities. Many people have allergies to nickel. If you have an allergy to nickel, it might be in your best interest to try an alternative material like silver or platinum.
Silver Wedding Bands
Silver wedding rings are substantially cheaper than its gold and platinum counterparts, and the chances of having an allergy to silver is slim to none. Like gold, a pure form of silver is too soft to use in jewelry making and must be paired with other metal alloys. Sterling silver is often alloyed with minute amounts of copper or rhodium, and very occasionally nickel. Unless there is a severe allergy to these alloys, the likelihood of a reaction to sterling silver jewelry is rare.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly wedding ring without trading practicality or aesthetic, silver is the perfect choice. As naturally white metals, it is brighter than white gold and will not yellow with age as a white gold ring will. Silver rings will tarnish over time but are easily brought back to their original vibrance with a good polish. It is an ideal metal for everyday wear as it will effortlessly compliment any outfit.
Platinum Wedding Bands
Platinum is one of the most costly materials used to create a ring. Though gold and platinum are priced similarly per gram, platinum is denser and more of it is required to make a piece of jewelry. This makes the rings cost and weigh more. This heavy metal is more durable than both gold and silver, though it scratches rather easily. This is not entirely a bad thing, as it takes on a new look called a patina finish. Having a ring with a patina finish is very high in demand as it makes the ring look well loved and antique. If the antique look is not what you desire, then simply giving the ring a good polish will restore its original beauty. If you prefer the polished look, consider finding a platinum ring that is made with palladium. Getting a platinum palladium ring will ensure that scratches won’t occur as easily.
Like silver, platinum is a naturally white metal that will not yellow or fade. It is very unlikely to get broken or damaged even with aggressive wear and tear. Platinum is also nickel-free which is perfect for the many people who suffer from nickel allergies. While definitely not a budget-friendly option, purchasing a platinum ring is a worthy investment if you have the funds to do so. They look stunning whether polished or patina, the choice is all yours.
There are many decisions involved in choosing your perfect wedding or engagement ring. With so many materials out there, it can be hard to pick the one that is best for your lifestyle. If none of the materials on this list are quite what you are looking for, we recommend doing some research into alternative materials to use. Some non-traditional wedding rings are made from metals like cobalt chrome, tungsten carbide, stainless steel, copper, or bronze. More recently, there has been an interest in non-metal wedding ring materials like silicone, wood, and resin. These alternatives are often chosen because they are cost effective, practical, or even just aesthetically pleasing.