No longer just the plain band of the past, men's wedding bands today are often fashionable, with gems, braids, symbols, millegrain or coin detailing, and mixed metals. Men today add gems to their wedding bands to make the style more unique or to link the style to a spouse's ring. Diamond ruby and sapphire are the most durable gems if you work with your hands. You may want to consider a setting that protects the gems if you are hard on your rings.
When choosing a wedding band, consider your lifestyle. You will be wearing your wedding band every day, so it's important that it will stand up to your daily tasks.
The most important factor in the durability of your band is the metal. The most popular choices are 14k gold, 18k gold, platinum, titanium, and tungsten carbide.
The traditional wedding band metal is 14k gold or 18k gold, which are precious enough to symbolize your union and durable enough to take years of heavy wear. White gold is alloyed with other metals to make it as close to white as possible then plated with rhodium, a platinum group metal to make it bright white. As the rhodium wears away over the years, the yellower gold underneath may show through. You can repolish and replate your ring to restore its finish.
Platinum is a popular choice for men's wedding bands because it is the most precious metal, naturally white and also hypoallergenic. Platinum is 95% pure, compared to 58% for 14k gold and 75% for 18k gold. Although platinum does scratch, its strength means that it doesn't wear away. When a platinum band is repolished, the metal can be moved back into place. Platinum also holds gems very securely.
Although they are not precious metals, titanium and tungsten carbide have become popular choices for men's wedding bands over the last decade. Both are very hard metals and wear very well. However they can't be sized so if your finger or knuckle gets larger over the years you will have to replace your band. Both don't bend so are not a good choice if you work with machinery. Titanium is very light, which some men find comfortable. Tungsten is very hard, so hard it can't be cut: it's actually a ceramic. This means that in rare cases, it can shatter when dropped or hit.
Gemvara also offers wedding bands in sterling silver. We use Argentium 960, the most durable silver alloy which resists tarnish without the need for rhodium plating. However, silver will show more wear over the years than other metals and is not as strong for setting gems.
Don't wait until the last minute! You should start shopping for wedding bands at least two months before the wedding.
Don't forget the engraving! Keep it secret until you exchange rings at the ceremony itself so you'll remember that moment each time you see the inscription.
To care for your wedding band, clean with mild dish soap: soak and gently brush to remove any dust. Rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.
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