Wedding bands symbolize a couple’s commitment to each other and the family they are about to start. In Ancient Egypt, only the brides wore wedding rings made of braided reeds or papyrus to show eternal devotion to the betrothed.
It wasn’t until the 20th century when grooms were given rings of their own in Christian wedding ceremonies. Since then, groom wedding bands have evolved from simple metal rings to bands with pieces of lab-grown diamond jewelry.
Today, the importance of men’s wedding bands is equal to that of their brides’. As such, the selection process has also evolved into a more complex process to ensure that the ring not only looks good but also fits the personality and lifestyle of its wearer.
Here, you’ll learn the three best practices when choosing a wedding band for the groom:
1. Know the available metal options.
There are plenty of metals used for wedding bands. The most popular ones are precious metals, while others are alloys.
When choosing one for yourself, make sure you consider five important factors: the metal’s intrinsic value, purity, hypo-allergenic quality, and surface strength.
Below are the most common metal options you’ll find in jewelry shops and their unique traits:
Gold is one of the first choices of metal for making wedding bands. Jewellers measure its value in karats (the higher the karat, the purer the gold).
Higher-purity gold rings are softer and can lose their shape over time, especially if subjected to extreme measure and force. This makes yellow gold rings a terrible choice if you plan to wear your wedding band while doing manual work.
However, the good thing about gold being so malleable is that it can easily be engraved or resized. Just steer clear of 24K pure gold rings as they can become misshapen earlier than you expect.
Yellow gold can also be more prone to scratches and may lose its luster without periodic polishing.
Considered a more popular metal choice for wedding bands, white gold is an alloy of yellow gold mixed with whitish metals like silver and palladium. The ring is also plated with a coat of rhodium.
White gold is an ideal metal for wedding sets, especially since it can be used in engagement rings as well. It is quite versatile and offers relatively higher precious metal value than other metals of the same color.
The only downside to this metal alloy is that it requires replating after a few years to maintain its white sheen.
Known for its durability and strength, platinum is an excellent alternative to white gold for men who engage in manual labor or sports.
Platinum is easy to work with and comfortable to wear. It also gives off a softer sheen, though it can develop a patina over time. The good news is that you can restore its luster with the help of professional polish. One possible downside of platinum is that it is more expensive than most types of metals.
Having a similar appearance to platinum, palladium is another great metal to use in wedding bands.
However, it has become quite pricey of late, even overtaking platinum in terms of value at certain times. Palladium can also be more scratch-resistant and durable than platinum, which may explain the price.
As a pure metal, it doesn’t need rhodium plating to shine like white gold. This makes maintaining this palladium so much easier.
The only clincher here is that palladium is extremely rare, which means very few jewelry makers can get their hands on this type of metal.
Silver – a better-known metal around the world – is also a good choice for wedding bands. Sometimes called sterling silver, the most significant selling point of this jewelry-making material is its affordability.
However, it comes with several drawbacks, including the following:
- High maintenance – needs regular cleaning and polishing to avoid tarnishing.
- Scratches easily – shows signs of wear and tear sooner than other metals.
Tungsten is the hardest metal ever to be used in wedding bands. It ranks a whopping nine on the Mohs scale – just one band lower than diamonds.
This metal also comes in a broader range of colors, including white, grey, and black. It can also be plated with more unique hues, like purple or green.
The best part is that tungsten’s durability and luster come with a meager price tag and its being ideal for wedding rings.
One of the few disadvantages of tungsten is its weight, making it the worst choice if you’re looking for lightweight bands. It can also be a bit brittle and difficult to resize or engrave.
Though not as hard as tungsten, titanium still ranks high in strength and durability (scoring six on the Mohs scale – an impressive number compared to gold’s 2.5).
Titanium also doesn’t get scratched or tarnished very easily, making it a suitable wedding band choice for people with active lifestyles.
Plus, it doesn’t have the heaviness of tungsten, which means you can wear titanium rings without feeling like you’re actually wearing a wedding band all the time.
Titanium has a relatively lower price range, too, though its hardness also makes it challenging to resize or engrave.
2. Assess your lifestyle.
Now that you’ve learned about the potential metals for your wedding band, the next step is to assess how they will fit into your lifestyle.
Though most traditions dictate that wedding bands should be made from precious metals, alternative metals with lower prices but higher durability scores can also be used.
Because of the difference in quality, you must determine your priorities by assessing how you live your life.
Here are some guide questions you may find helpful:
- Will you be wearing your wedding band at work? Some jobs forbid wearing any jewelry because of safety concerns (i.e., people who work with heavy machinery). If you are removing it at work anyway, you can go with precious metals like gold since your ring won’t be particularly at risk of deformation.
- Do you do manual work regularly? Some people who do manual labor – whether as a hobby or for work – may not want to remove their rings while working. If this is the case, you should think about your metal and style decisions more thoroughly to suit your unique needs.
- Are you an athlete or into sports? Some sports activities may involve specific requirements that can affect your wedding ring choice. Make sure you consider how the wedding band you wear can affect your safety and performance in these activities.
3. Don’t compromise comfort over style.
Many men play it safe with plain wedding bands, but the style still depends on each individual’s personal choice.
Some men prefer certain metals, while others want rings made from a combination of two or more metals. Some prefer wearing a band that matches their bride’s wedding ring, whether it is elaborately designed with lab-grown diamonds or other precious stones, or a plain wedding band.
Just remember that a wedding ring is supposed to be worn, so you need to make sure you’re comfortable with its design.
The key is to check all the available styles online and see what the wedding band would look like using a ring builder before finalizing the purchase. Even better if you can shop around with your beloved and try to find a match for her wedding and engagement rings.
Pick out the perfect ring
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to wedding rings, both literally and figuratively.
To pick out the best one for you, make sure you check all the available metal and design options and determine how they fit into your lifestyle.