The Pros and Cons of Popular Wedding Ring Metals

A pair of gold wedding bands on a branch with small green leaves.

There are plenty of unique wedding ring materials out there, but in most cases the band itself is made out of metal. Now, most newlyweds don’t think too much about the metal itself, outside from aesthetics and cost, but it may be worth it to examine the different options available.

The most common metals for wedding bands include gold, silver, platinum, palladium, tungsten, and titanium. Occasionally, you might find cobalt or chromium, too. Aside from metal, you can also get non-metal materials such as wood, silicone, or ceramic. Nevertheless, metals are often the go-to choice, so let’s examine the pros and cons of the most popular choices.

Platinum

Platinum wedding rings are the epitome of luxury. This rare metal is considered one of the strongest in the world and requires little to no maintenance during its lifetime. It’s light silver color and shine assure a high-end appearance. The downside of platinum is that it is the most expensive of all options. However, it’s guaranteed to hold its value for generations.

Tungsten

Tungsten is a common metal used in male wedding bands. It’s extremely strong and low-maintenance, like platinum. On the hardness scale, it ranks just below a diamond. In addition, you won’t have to worry about tarnishing or scratches. It’s an ideal choice for those who work with their hands a lot.

In comparison to platinum, it’s rather light on the wallet. Unlike platinum, tungsten comes in many different shades, ranging from platinum-like light silver to a statement-making dark grey.

One of the downsides of tungsten is that while the metal is strong, it is also very brittle. However, unless you’re planning on hitting your ring against hard surfaces, you might not have to worry about it. The other major downside is that it cannot be resized.

Titanium

Two male hands wearing titanium wedding bands.

Titanium shares many similarities with tungsten and is even less costly. While it is slightly less durable than titanium, it’s more lightweight and easy to wear. Lower-quality versions will be prone to scratches, so rings of higher quality are worth the extra cost. Like tungsten, titanium rings are generally not resizable, and mainly found in male wedding bands. In addition, it also can be found in a variety of shades, ranging from light silver to nearly black grey.

Cobalt

A newer addition to the jewelry market, cobalt may not be commonly found at your local ring shop. It’s sometimes compared to platinum in its appearance and strength, however, it’s easier to scratch. Cobalt is a good option for those on a budget, but it’s not a metal that’s considered valuable. Fortunately, this one can be resized, but only up to half a size.

Gold

A gold and diamond wedding band on a wood surface.

Gold is a classic choice and comes in many varieties from standard yellow gold and sophisticated white gold to romantic rose gold. Each has its unique advantages and all are known to hold their value.

Although gold is one of the softest metals, jewelry made from it is generally durable enough for the average wearer. Rings classified as 24k, although 100% gold, are highly malleable and prone to scratches and damage. Gold rings can also get discoloured if they are exposed to certain chemicals, such as bleach. Hence, gold alloys, such as those ranging from 14-18 carats, are usually recommended as they are more durable.

The downside of gold alloys is that they often contain metals that people are often allergic to, such as nickel or copper. If that is of concern to you, it is always best to double-check what other metals are in the mix. In addition, all gold, especially white gold, requires occasional maintenance. You might need to polish or replate your ring after a decade or so of wear.

Palladium

Those in love with the look of platinum but who lack the funds for it might want to consider palladium instead. It’s a more wallet-friendly choice that doesn’t compromise on quality too much. In most cases, it’s indistinguishable from platinum to the eye. Palladium, however, is slightly softer and less durable, but also much more lightweight. Like platinum, it’s resistant to tarnishing, making it a great alternative. Don’t think this metal is any less luxurious, as palladium is often the alloy of choice for white gold.

Silver

A bride holding a bouquet of greenery wearing a pair of silver wedding bands.

If you’re on a budget, you might be tempted to go for a silver (or sterling silver) ring. Some pieces can even resemble platinum, so it’s a great option for those who want an expensive look for less. For rings that are made from high-quality metal, a silver wedding ring may not be a bad idea. However, you should keep in mind that this option requires the most upkeep. If not taken care of, silver jewelry tends to scratch and tarnish easily. People who are low-maintenance should opt for a more durable metal.

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