Over 2 million couples tie the knot each year in the United States. For most, that means buying at least one engagement ring and two wedding bands.
Selecting the rings for your engagement and marriage can feel a bit daunting. How do you know what style you’re going to love for the rest of your life? Equally as important, how do you know the best metal for rings that will last a lifetime?
When it comes to style, that’s always going to be up to you and your other half. Style is completely subjective and no one can tell you what’s “right” or “wrong” in the aesthetic department.
Choosing a metal, however, isn’t quite as subjective. There are some options that are hands down the best on the market. Read on to learn more about the best metal for rings and find the perfect ring in your budget.
Why Is the Metal Important?
Choosing the metal for your engagement and wedding rings is an important step because not all metals are ideal. For example, have you ever had a ring turn your finger green? Chances are that ring was made from copper and the green color is an almost unavoidable chemical reaction.
If the ring you give to your beloved turns their finger green, they’re not going to be very happy. First of all, it’s a sign that you didn’t put much effort (or money) into finding a suitable ring. Second of all, it means that the metal probably isn’t built to last.
When looking for the right metal, you want a few different things. The first is durability, meaning that the ring will hold its shape and stand up to things like water and basic wear and tear. The second is quality, meaning that the ring won’t lose its sheen or become tarnished beyond repair.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to fork out thousands of dollars to meet these criteria. There are plenty of metals that are both durable and high in quality that work for every budget. Let’s take a look at what those metals are and how to make the right choice for you.
What Is the Best Metal for Rings?
There are a few key things to remember when purchasing a ring and one of the biggest is that the engagement ring and wedding band should match. The best way to ensure that they look good together is to pick two rings that are made of the same metal. Some couples like both wedding bands to match, as well, although this isn’t as crucial.
With this in mind, let’s dive into the different kinds of metal you can choose from.
Let’s start with the most timeless option out there: gold.
When we talk about classic gold, we’re generally talking about yellow gold. However, that does not make yellow gold (or any kind of gold, for that matter) “pure” gold. Yellow gold is made of a combination of gold, copper, and zinc.
Alternatively, you can choose white or rose gold, both of which are growing in popularity.
White gold consists of gold as well as nickel, silver, and/or palladium. The only disadvantage of purchasing white gold is that it needs to be treated with a rhodium coating every few years in order to maintain its color and shine.
Rose gold consists of gold, copper, and silver, making rose gold the most affordable of the bunch. Rose gold is both elegant and feminine, pairing well with diamonds, pearls, and opals.
When purchasing gold rings, you’re going to hear the term “karat.” This describes how much pure gold was used to craft the ring.
The lowest you want to go on an engagement or wedding ring is 14K, which is about 58% pure gold and unlikely to bend or crack. Anything below 14K is too low in pure gold to last a lifetime.
Silver is another classic choice for engagement and wedding rings. Silver is highly versatile, as you can see from these rings for women. If your partner wears a lot of silver jewelry on a day-to-day basis, it may be ideal to make sure that their engagement and wedding rings match.
Silver is often more affordable than gold, although it is fairly comparable in quality. When it comes to silver, the main thing you should watch out for is tarnishing, although it is extremely easy to eliminate silver tarnish. In fact, you can get rid of tarnish with household items like vinegar, toothpaste, and even salt.
Platinum is white in color and, unlike white gold, does not need a coating of rhodium to maintain that whiteness. Rings that are made of platinum are almost 100% platinum, making platinum the most expensive metal for rings on our list. It is often reserved for what are considered luxury rings.
Platinum is a very dense metal, which gives an added weight to platinum rings. It is considered one of the most durable metals as a result, making it a good option for anyone who does a lot of work with their hands. However, if a luxury ring is not in your budget, it may not be worth the extra expense.
If you’re looking for a highly durable ring that won’t break the bank, you may want to take a look at tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is made from tungsten and carbon and, like platinum, is dense and heavy.
One upside of tungsten carbide is that it is scratch-resistant. They also don’t need to be repolished at any point, as they have a permanent polish. Tungsten carbide is not going to bend or crack no matter what wear and tear they go through.
The downside of tungsten carbide is that you cannot cut it and resolder it, either. It’s not uncommon for a ring to need resizing when you’re planning to wear it for the rest of your life. If your tungsten carbide ring no longer fits, your only option is to buy a new one.
Tungsten carbide comes in black as well as charcoal or grey, making it a good alternative for anyone who isn’t a fan of gold or silver.
Titanium is an interesting choice that we’re seeing more of in the wedding band market, especially for men. Titanium is another durable metal. In fact, it is the strongest natural metal that you can find on the planet and will not scratch, bend, or crack.
Unlike platinum, titanium is lightweight. Between its durability and its lightness, it is a popular option for anyone who does manual labor like construction or woodwork.
The only downside is that, like tungsten carbide, no jeweler can cut through and resolder titanium. Once again, that means that you can’t have a titanium ring resized and would have to purchase a new one in order to get one that fits.
One noteworthy quality of titanium is that it is 100% hypoallergenic. Some people may experience reactions when wearing other metals such as gold and silver. If you’ve had bad luck with other jewelry, try titanium.
Like platinum, palladium is on the higher end of the price spectrum and is reserved for luxury engagement and wedding rings. In fact, it is part of the platinum family.
Palladium is white by nature and will not undergo discoloration at any point. Because it doesn’t need any treatment or plating to achieve that white color, most palladium jewelry is 95% pure palladium. Palladium is one of the rarest metals on the planet, which contributes largely to its cost.
Because palladium is so rare and expensive, you’re not going to find a ton of casual-wear jewelry made of palladium. For the most part, palladium is reserved for engagement and wedding rings. While this makes a palladium ring special, it also makes it difficult to find casual-wear jewelry that will match–although white gold may do the trick.
Find the Best Metal for Your Engagement and Wedding Rings
In the United States, thousands of couples are tying the knot every single day. In order to prepare for a life of happiness, it is important to find engagement and wedding rings that will last a lifetime. Our guide to the best metal for rings will make your job of selecting the perfect ring smooth and easy!
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