When exploring men's wedding ring options beyond the traditional band, attitudes and potential materials could scarcely have changed more over the years. In this guide, the team here at Bejouled have put together their list of wedding ring options, both traditional and modern, along with some helpful thoughts and tips on each and any other sage advice to guide you on your own ring-choosing journey.
The shifting cultural significance of wedding rings
Around the world, there are few more traditional ceremonies than the exchanging of wedding rings at the culmination of any wedding ceremony. This, and the fact the recipients are never meant to take them off again makes choosing a rather important, often intimidating purchase. But traditions fade and can be adjusted to fit modern times and the choices available are now huge in comparison to a few short years ago. Materials and styles are no longer set in stone and allow for real creativity and personal expression with some knowledge of the properties of each material, a good imagination, and a desire to be different.
A wedding ring is one of the most significant items of jewelry most people will ever own and its value is not purely sentimental. Countless millions have been on wedding bands based purely on the cost of the precious materials alone, but this practice may not necessarily be the dominant one for much longer. As some of the snobbery surrounding people's choices of wedding rings and their materials wanes, the onus is shifting more towards the spiritual, romantic ideal they represent.
Choosing wedding rings for men
The sentimental significance of a man's wedding band is no less than that of a woman's, but there are other practical differences to consider. As a general rule, women are much more used to wearing rings of all kings daily and will think nothing of adding another on that coveted ring finger of the left hand. But men might not be so familiar with the sensation, and it can take some getting used to, especially if the ring itself is poorly chosen and inappropriate for the activities and lifestyle it will be subjected to.
A wedding ring is going to be worn everyday and must be a seamless addition to the hand, not a burden or hindrance that will negatively affect the wearer. For example, a ring that is ill-fitting or overly heavy will be an unnecessary agitation that could have been avoided with some forethought and attention to detail.
Types of wedding band
Before we turn to the subject of materials, the first thing to consider is the type of wedding band you think will suit you the best, both practically and stylistically. The options are:
The most traditional, simplest of all wedding bands, classic rings are plain and unadorned with a sleek, unassuming style. Still, a perfectly functional, practical men's wedding band that will be very comfortable if well-fitted and complements most styles.
A carved men’s wedding band is a variation of the classic that takes an additional step and adds some design element. This is typically in the form of some bevelling and etching at the edges and gives a more eye-catching appearance to the ring while retaining most of its other properties and reasonably-understated look.
Perhaps the fastest-growing sector of the men’s wedding band market is that of the gemstone-encrusted ring. Diamond wedding bands are a particularly popular choice, and there is a trend towards using unpolished stones for a more rugged look. But there is no shortage of other options when it comes to gemstones available, it all depends on personal taste.
Although not a common choice, signet rings are already popular and there is no reason they cannot be used as alternative men’s wedding rings. It is a rather unique approach and offers the added bonus of being easy to engrave onto if a romantic personal message or partner’s name is desired.
As a relatively rare element, gold became the precious metal most coveted throughout the history of mankind. Its roots in the cultural and historical heritage of many societies run deep and make it the most traditional and obvious of all wedding ring materials. Not to be confused with ‘carats’ which denote the weight of a diamond, the karat rating of gold refers to its purity, as follows:
Each karat represents 1/24th or 4.167% of the total amount.
- 24K = 100%
- 18K = 75%
- 14K = 58%
While higher karat rings are undoubtedly more valuable, they require higher maintenance in the long run, as purer, softer gold gets scratched and requires buffing from time to time. The truth is, most people cannot tell the difference and a lower karat gold wedding band can be a good option, especially financially.
When we talk about a ‘gold wedding band’, there are some variations in meaning, for example:
The traditional, classic wedding band metal, yellow gold remains a firm favourite, but its grip on the men’s wedding ring industry is certainly not what it once was.
This is gold which is plated on the outside with rhodium (Rh), a soft metal found in the palladium family. The plating process can also use nickel, silver, or palladium on occasion.
White gold, as the name suggests, always has bright white colouring but this tends to fade after a decade or so, and re-plating is the only way to restore the original lustre and colour.
An attractive mixture of gold, copper, and silver in varying amounts affects the overall appearance and can look distinctly pink with the right recipe.
Being one of the rarest elements found on Earth, platinum became the ultimate status symbol when it comes to wedding rings. It has a white/silver appearance and some nice properties, particularly its hypoallergenic nature, making it highly unlikely to cause rashes or skin irritation.
A member of the platinum family, palladium looks and feels very similar to its more expensive cousin. It too is silver-white and relatively soft and pliable whilst remaining reasonably strong and hard-wearing. Palladium has attracted the moniker of 'poor man's platinum,' but this is just another example of the snobbery we discussed earlier and is simply because palladium is cheaper than platinum.
Another popular choice among men over the last few years has been the titanium wedding band. Titanium is only found naturally as an oxide that produces a shiny transition metal with exceptional strength and resistance to corrosion.
A word of caution, however: Titanium is famed for its incredible strength and durability, but these are not always the most desirable qualities in rings. There have been cases of accidents or other medical situations where a ring needs to be removed by firefighters or paramedics. The problem is titanium is too strong to be easily snipped off the finger using standard tools, and this can exacerbate emergencies as the ring cannot be quickly and painlessly removed.
When it comes to the vast gamut of materials rings can be made from, there are certainly plenty of non-traditional ones to choose from. They have varying levels of durability and cost, but it may be that a non-traditional attitude stylistically means rings can be replaced over time and hold the same significance. Some examples of alternative materials we have encountered include:
One of those alternative choices, silicone, is actually a fast-growing, exceedingly practical choice that still looks the part. Medical-grade silicone is perfect for those with active lifestyles because they create a very secure, comfortable fit and will never snag on clothing or other objects. Gloves can be worn without having to take the ring off, but they can be easily removed in an emergency. They are growing in popularity among firefighters and police officers or workers in other ‘hands-on’ industries like food management.
Size and fit
When it comes to the fit of your men’s wedding band, there are two recognised options:
- Standard fit, flat on the inside
- Comfort fit, rounded on the inside.
This tends to mean the comfort fit provides a more naturally comfortable sensation but it is important to try one of each and see which you prefer before making any final decision as every finger is different.
As for sizing, the most effective way to find your exact size is to visit a jewellery store in person and have them measure your finger. Bodies expand and contract, as do metals and other materials, so it is important to have the right size to begin with or risk facing trouble in the future. Online sizing tools do exist and can be useful/accurate to a point but will never replace an actual ring on your finger to see if it is your size.
The width of the band affects the price of the ring, especially if you choose one of the precious metals, but there are other things to consider. Comfort is chief among them, remember you will be wearing this ring if not all of the time, certainly most of it and comfort is essential. Choose the ring that feels the best to wear and try not to be driven by appearance alone.
If you have any questions or comments about the finer details of buying wedding rings for men, please get in touch with us here at Bejouled today. Our team are extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the industry and can book you in for a bespoke consultation session to go through all your options at your convenience.