When choosing a wedding band for the groom, there are often practical considerations that go beyond appearance. Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before purchasing.
1. Which metal does he prefer?
Many men think they like plain gold bands best. But that is often because they don’t know how many choices there are available.
There was a time when gold, silver, and platinum were the only choices for wedding bands. And you still cannot go wrong with these traditional alloy rings.
Gold rings come in yellow, white, and rose. Because the metal is soft on it’s own, and to give it the desired color, gold is mixed with other, stronger ores (nickel, zinc, or silver, for example). For this reason, gold jewelry has karat designations to indicate how much gold the piece contains. 10K, 14K, and 18K are common. The higher the karat, the softer—and generally more expensive—the ring.
Silver is another common, and relatively soft, metal (compared to some others). It is typically mixed with copper to increase the durability of the ring. You are probably familiar with the term “sterling silver,” which means it is at least 92.5% silver; it is also the most popular balance of quality and durability.
Platinum is both durable and lightweight, making it a coveted ring material. Also, platinum is naturally white whereas gold is naturally yellow. So, unlike white gold, a platinum ring’s color will hold up over time. Because it is relatively rare, platinum is also the priciest ring metal.
Contemporary Metals and Alloys
Today, designers have the technology available to craft rings from more durable materials. These alternative options tend to be popular with men who use their hands often or simply want a more industrial look. It is important to note that because these rings are all harder than the traditional metals, they are generally not pliable enough for resizing. (The exception is cobalt, which has some give. This may allow for resizing.) Therefore, it is important to order the correct size. That said, most merchants allow exchanges if the band does not fit.
Happily, these rings all tend to be affordable.
Tungsten carbide–black or steel grey in color–is a strong, high-tech metal. If a scratch-free finish is important, you will be happy to know that tungsten is considered to be the strongest natural metal on earth.
Titanium is also very strong and is more flexible than tungsten, making it less likely to crack or break if sharply struck. On the other hand, titanium does scratch, so some polishing can be required over time.
Stainless Steel is the ultimate if you are looking for lowest prices and durability. While styles with diamonds can be pricey, you can also purchase steel wedding bands for under $30.
Cobalt and cobalt chrome rings are relative newcomers to the scene and are attractive because, like platinum, the metal is naturally white. This gives them the whiter finish of platinum or white gold without the corresponding cost.
Rings Top to Bottom, Left to Right: 1. Tungsten Carbide Black and White Diamond, Titanium Kay, 2. Cobalt XF Chrome 8MM Italian Di Seta Finish, Titanium Kay, 3. Black Titanium Domed Hammer Finished, Apples of Gold, 4. Titanium and Steel Mesh, Apples of Gold, 5. Black Tungsten Carbide with 3 Grooves, Titanium Kay, 6. Stainless Steel Top-Engraved, Limoges Jewelry
Note: Links go to sister site My Online Wedding Help, where I have agreements with several retailers to bring you a broader selection of styles. I will be paid a commission if you click and purchase a ring.
2. Does he have a style preference?
Another way to diverge from a plain gold band is through design. There are various styles that can make a ring unique and more visually interesting.
The addition of an unexpected material, such as riverstone, wood, or cable tremendously increases the textures on and uniqueness of the band.
Customized fingerprints are another innovative way to add texture.
Etched designs or meaningful symbols add depth to a wedding band design.
Two tone metals—white and yellow gold; black and silver tungsten; or other combination of alloys—creates a look unlike any other.
Rings Top to Bottom, Left to Right: 1. Tungsten Carbide Earth Riverstone Inlay, Titanium Kay, 2. 18K White Gold D-Shape Fingerprint, Serendipity Diamonds, 3. Rose Gold Tungsten with Wood Inlay, Cem Cem Designz, 4. 14K Two-Tone Gold Square Hammered, Apples of Gold, 5. Sterling Silver Celtic Trinity Knot Engraved, Limoges Jewelry, 6. Sterling Silver and Copper, Eternita Preziosa
3. Does he want diamonds or other gemstones?
It is perfectly acceptable for the man’s ring to include gemstones. Again, it is a question of style, taste, personality, and the kind of work and play he does. A ring with stones need not be overstated at all. In fact, it can be tasteful and elegant. The most popular are diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.
4. Will it feel right on his hand?
Most men rate comfort high on their list of requirements for a wedding band. There are two factors affecting how the ring feels: the edges of the band and its width.
Smooth edges: Most rings have a somewhat smooth edge, but there are ways designers build in even more comfort. Find these rings by look for a “comfort fit” or similar designation.
Band width: If he is a big guy, his hands are large, or he has long fingers, he can handle a wider ring than someone smaller. Choose an average-width or slightly wider band. If his hands are small or fingers are slender, stick with a narrower band. The most popular widths for men are around 7 mm. If he wants one wider than 7mm, bear in mind that very wide bands may not be as comfortable and may feel tighter because they cover more area on the finger. So, go up 1/2 size when ordering a wider ring.
5. Will it be compatible with his work and play activities?
What does he like to do? Pick up basketball games with the guys or quiet evenings at home? Weight training enthusiast or TV aficionado? There are no right or wrong answers; there are only his answers, which have a direct bearing on the choice of the ring. If he is active and wants to wear a wedding band at all times, sturdy is a good choice. Less active? A gold ring may be more to his liking.
Situations Requiring More Durable Rings
Does he engage in rough and tumble sports, such as rock climbing, football, soccer, ice hockey, or surfing? Any of them can play havoc with his ring, especially if it has gemstones or can easily slip off his finger. Or, what about hobbies? Do they involve gardening, soldering, sanding, cutting, or other kinds of tools that could damage a nice piece of jewelry?
Does he work with his hands, with machinery or some other type of equipment that could become caught on a ring? Or does he have a job that could be rough on jewelry in some way—rubbing off the finish, denting the metal, or loosening a stone?
It is good to be aware of all of these so he can plan to remove the wedding band during these activities or choose one of the alternate materials mentioned earlier.
6. Will it reflect who he is inside?
When women make choices about rings and other elements of their weddings, they consider their personalities. You should do that, as well. It’s important to find a match between this very important fashion accessory and who he is. Is he no frills, conservative, and consistent? A plain-band ring may be to his liking. If he is flamboyant, flashy, and mercurial a ring with a lot of etching or other style elements may be the way to go.
Also, keep in mind long-term preferences and do not be lured into a passing fad simply because it’s “the in thing”; he is going to be wearing this ring for a long time.
7. Does he want his ring to match his spouse’s?
It’s romantic to wear matching wedding rings. At first blush, it may seem seem difficult, but there are options. Many wedding bands are made in a wide range of sizes (often size four or five through 13 or 14), making it possible to buy a completely matched set. Otherwise, look for rings with similar features (such as a cross or other religious symbol, for example).
8. Will this wedding band fit within the budget?
Obviously, men’s wedding bands are going to vary widely in price. Every element changes the cost—metals, materials, width, gemstones, style, design, and labor required to make the ring, to name just a few.
You know what you or your fiancé can afford. Don’t allow yourself to be talked into something you will regret later. Another point to keep in mind is that, just as he pays for yours, you will most likely pay for his. Then, the question becomes will it fit within your budget? If you are on a tight budget, there are attractive discount bands here.
Category: Fashion & Bling