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When choosing your wedding band metal, you’ll come across a bewildering variety of traditional and modern metals, each with a range of pros and cons. Narrowing down the list to pick out the one that suits you can be time-consuming.
That’s exactly what we’ve done.
We outline the pros and cons and reveal the best metal for men’s wedding bands.
What to Consider Before You Buy
Before you choose the right metal, you’ll need to consider the following factors which will help you choose your wedding band metal.
Types of Wedding Ring Metals
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at the top 12 men’s wedding band metals out there.
Platinum is the most valuable metal used in making wedding bands (although palladium has overtaken it in value a few times in recent years). It’s always been associated with wealth, prestige and luxury.
Platinum is comfortable to wear, highly durable and easy to work with. Over time, platinum bands develop a patina, but the luster can be restored with a professional polish. It symbolizes integrity, everlasting love and purity.
An excellent choice if budget isn’t a concern and you want a traditional, classy look.
White gold came into being as an excellent alternative for platinum. It resembles platinum but it comes at a lower price point. White gold is made by alloying yellow gold with other whitish metals, such as palladium or silver and then coating the end result with a plating of rhodium. This is what makes the metal lustrous and reflective. White gold is one of the most popular metals for men’s wedding bands, but it requires periodic replating as the rhodium can flake off or wear away.
Affordable alternative to platinum but valuable in its own right.
The natural color of gold, yellow gold is the traditional choice for wedding bands and dates back thousands of years. Yellow gold is classic and symbolic of wealth and prosperity. Yellow gold comes varying levels of purity, but 14K and 18K are most common in men’s wedding bands, but anything over 18K can be too soft for daily wear. The metal is easy to work with and can easily be resized or engraved. Over time, scratches can dull the luster of the metal so a professional polish might be needed periodically.
The most traditional choice and one with an ancient history.
More delicate in appearance, rose gold is increasing in popularity in men’s wedding bands due to its subtle yet solid hue. It’s somewhat more durable than other gold alloys due to the metals used to create rose gold alloys. However, due to its copper content, it’s not considered hypoallergenic. Design options may be limited as it’s not as popular as white or yellow gold so you may need to look around to find your perfect wedding ring.
Verdict: A unique and trendy option for those who like something different
Very similar in appearance to platinum, palladium has been an excellent alternative. However, of late, its prices have shot up and it’s even overtaken platinum in value at times. Palladium is a precious metal, a status signified by its hallmarks made mandatory in 2010. Palladium is somewhat more durable and scratch resistant than platinum. One main benefit palladium has over white gold is it doesn’t need rhodium plating as its luster and hue is natural and maintaining it is easier. However, palladium is extremely rare and men’s palladium wedding band options are quite limited.
Verdict: Get the platinum-look without the white gold maintenance
The hardest metal in use for wedding bands, tungsten ranks at a mind-boggling 9 on the Mohs scale (diamonds are just one band higher at 10). Tungsten comes in a variety of colors such as black, white and gray, and it can also be plated into unique colors like green or purple. Tungsten is very affordable, lustrous and durable, all qualities that are ideal for any wedding ring. It can be quite heavy however, so it’s not the best choice if you want a lightweight ring. What’s more, tungsten is very brittle which means that it’s not very workable and engraving and resizing can be nearly impossible.
Verdict: Affordable choice for active lifestyles and low maintenance
Titanium isn’t as hard as tungsten, but it still ranks 6 (compare that to pure gold’s 2.5) which is very strong for a wedding band metal. Titanium doesn’t tarnish or acquire scratches easily, which makes it great for someone who leads an active lifestyle. In addition, it’s extremely, even eerily, lightweight, making it perfect if you don’t want to feel like you’re wearing a ring all the time. Titanium is also very affordable but like tungsten, resizing a titanium ring can be difficult too.
Verdict: Perfect if you’re looking for a lightweight yet strong
Cobalt is the closes in appearance to white gold and it comes at a much lower price point. Cobalt wedding bands are highly reflective and lustrous, perfect if you’re going for the platinum look. Black cobalt rings are also very popular and in high demand. Cobalt is ideal for daily wear as it’s highly resistant to scratching, tarnishing and doesn’t require any special maintenance like replating to maintain its color. Cobalt is also safe to wear and is hypoallergenic, making it a great option for those with metal sensitivities. However, as with all hard metals, cobalt is difficult to resize and as a result, there are limited designs.
Verdict: Get cobalt if you want white gold without the maintenance
Technically not a metal, carbon fiber is made of tightly interwoven fibers that create a tough fabric akin to metal. However, when you wear a carbon fiber ring, you’ll notice that it’s a bit different to standard metals. Carbon fiber is among the strongest metals used in wedding rings and can withstand any pressure. It’s also extremely light weight (3 times lighter than titanium), hypoallergenic and highly versatile in jewelry use. This means that unique designs can be crafted using carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a space age material, ideal for a modern choice. However, most carbon fiber rings are black and color options are limited. In addition, it can be difficult to resize rings made of this material.
Verdict: Perfect if you want to get off the beaten path and into the space age
Yes, meteorite rings are a thing, made from the debris of space. If you though carbon fiber was special, well meteorite rings are literally out of this world. Meteorite rings have natural etchings and patterns that can be very intriguing. However, due to the high iron content, these rings can rust over time and require specific care and a strict maintenance regime to keep them shining.
Verdict: Perfect for an out-of-this-world wedding band
Tantalum is an industrial metal that’s grayish and a little darker than platinum. However, it classifies as a white metal and has a very shiny and reflective luster. Tantalum is extremely durable, and resistant to scratches, meaning that maintenance is minimal. It also doesn’t tarnish easily nor does it conduct heat. However, tantalum is very scarce and there’s some controversy about how its mined in certain countries, making it a conflict resource. It’s malleable and hypoallergenic, and while it’s not the cheapest metal out there, it’s reasonably priced.
Verdict: Perfect if you want a scarce, special metal that’s bound to run out in the not too distant future
Damascus steel has been used in making weapons and rings since ancient times but is only an iron and stainless-steel alloy (not an element in itself). Because it’s made of steel and iron, Damascus steel is relatively inexpensive. The metal is valued for its natural and intriguing patterns, which make each Damascus steel ring unique. It’s highly durable and lustrous, requiring minimal maintenance and high-quality rings of this metal don’t rust. Whether Damascus steel is hypoallergenic depends on the quality of the alloy.
Verdict: If you want a stylish option where the metal grabs attention rather than the design
Which is the Best Metal for Men’s Wedding Bands?
So, coming back to the question about the best metal for men’s wedding bands, it should be clear by now that there isn’t a single answer to this question. The word best is subjective and depends on what you view as best – is it affordability, prestige, durability or uniqueness? Or something else altogether?
Once you’ve zeroed in on what you mean by best, then you can pick out the ring that suits you.
Below we’ve outlined the best ring metal based on the category it’s judged in:
We hope this guide makes it easier for you to go out and pick the wedding ring that suits you best. If you’re looking to purchase your ring online, we recommend the following stores: