Wedding rings, They’re not just gold anymore
The wedding ring is a traditional symbol of the commitment between two people to spend the rest of their lives together. Wedding rings today are a billion-dollar sentiment, but their perfect, circular shape symbolized eternity in many ancient cultures. The hole in the center of the ring also had significance – it was considered a gateway to a future that was both predictable and mysterious.
If you intend to honor the use of this ceremonial symbol of marriage, you can choose wedding bands made from a number of traditional materials – including silver, gold or platinum. But it’s also true that many people are choosing less traditional materials these days, such as wood or even meteorite. From traditional to the seemingly outrageous, you’ll find many options.
Gold has long been considered the most traditional and elegant option when it comes to wedding bands. Because of its versatility, malleability and unmatched lustrous color, gold has been used to make jewelry for thousands of years. The gold used in modern wedding bands is available in a variety of designs, colors, styles and karat grades.
Lower karat wedding bands contain less gold, while higher karat bands contain a higher percentage of gold. Obviously, the latter are more expensive than the former. You should also keep in mind that the more gold you have in a wedding band, the less durable it will be. Pure gold is extremely soft and virtually never used in jewelry. Most wedding bands usually range between 10 and 18 karats, while 24 karat is pure gold.
If you have your heart set on a white metal wedding band and can’t afford white gold or platinum, sterling silver makes a good alternative. The malleability of sterling silver allows it to be used in many different jewelry-making techniques, such as a setting for diamonds or other gemstones. Sterling silver is easy to clean (although it is not entirely oxidation resistant). Higher grades of sterling silver provide superior durability.
Much rarer than other materials used for jewelry, platinum is luxurious and expensive. In addition to its lustrous white appearance, platinum’s physical properties also make it desirable as a wedding band. It’s very dense, meaning it’s highly resistant to damage and corrosion. While the price for platinum bands can be quite high, many people consider it worth the cost to have the best.
Palladium offers you a modern material with a classic appearance. While it was originally used simply as an alloy for gold, during the gold and platinum shortage of World War II, it became commonly used as a primary material for making wedding bands. It’s often seen as an excellent alternative to white gold or platinum, since it has a similar white hue and high durability. However, it costs less than either platinum or gold.
More often used for men’s wedding bands than women’s, tungsten is a popular choice for those who want high durability in their bands. Tungsten rings are an alloy of carbon and tungsten (tungsten carbide). Only slightly less hard than diamond, tungsten bands are durable, heavy and scratch resistant and have the distinct advantage of being quite affordable. They’re available in a variety of shades ranging from black and white to a light silver. By the way, it’s a myth that tungsten rings cannot be removed if they’re stuck fast on your finger – they can be broken if necessary.
Another popular wedding band choice for men is titanium. If you don’t want a heavy wedding band, titanium gives you a ring that’s lightweight and durable at the same time. While in its natural state, titanium is a metallic gray color, it can also be formulated into a rich, dark black. Titanium is relatively inexpensive and highly resistant to damage or cracks, which may be one of the reasons it’s so often used in aircraft manufacturing. If you have sensitive skin or allergy problems, titanium is ideal because it’s also chemically inert.
These rings are relatively new to the wedding jewelry market, but they’re rapidly becoming a hit, thanks to low cost, durability and a surprising look of quality. This metal is lightweight, scratch-resistant and able to withstand moisture without tarnish or corrosion. One style of stainless steel wedding band growing in popularity features a smooth leather band or braided leather rope inlaid around the center of the ring.
Ceramic wedding bands are lightweight and extremely durable. They’re just as scratch resistant as tungsten wedding bands, but the color of a ceramic ring isn’t a coating, so it won’t show a different color, no matter how badly it’s scratched. This makes them ideal for those who don’t want to worry about re-plating their rings periodically. Ceramic bands are available in a veritable rainbow of colors, although black bands have become popular, in both polished and matte finishes.
The earth contains thousands of different stones, many found only in very small deposits across the globe. Some are considered more precious than others, but most of them can be worked into striking and unusual wedding bands. No matter which stone you choose, from deep black granite to creamy prairie agate or gleaming white quartz – with or without metal inlays – stone wedding bands are eye-catching.
This example of a “stone” ring is one we made not too long ago out of Jade with a white gold insert. These types of custom rings can look amazing but they can also be incredibly delicate. So it’s important to understand the risks involved and the care you will need to exhibit while wearing a ring like this.
Many people who prefer non-metal alternatives to wedding bands often prefer wooden rings. Wood is a wonderful, eco-friendly alternative to precious or non-precious metals and is quite affordable. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, a wooden wedding band can be particularly appropriate. Wooden wedding rings are a beautiful option for men and women – they can be simple, highly polished bands or intricately carved and decorated, often inlaid with other precious or non-precious materials.
Choosing concrete for your wedding band material actually carries a powerful symbolism, allowing you to express your belief in the solidity of your relationship. Concrete only gets stronger and better over time – it takes many years for concrete to reach its true strength. Like your long-term relationship, your concrete wedding band becomes a reflection of the history of your marriage as it endures over time.
Whether your wedding rings, like your wedding, will exude tradition or whether you wish to seal your commitment to each other in a more free-spirited style, there’s obviously no shortage of materials from which to choose when it comes to finding or designing the perfect wedding band for you or your mate.