A Guide to Wedding Ring Metal Types
A symbolic gesture of enduring love and a fundamental element of wedding rituals the world over, for many people a wedding ring is the most important piece of jewellery they will ever wear. Whilst other pieces come and go your wedding ring will stay on your finger through thick and thin, through the washing up as well as the dinner parties, meaning it has to be as special, enduring and unique as your marriage. This begs one important question… which metal should you choose?
One of the world’s most rare and desirable precious metals, it is easy to see why platinum is a sought-after choice for wedding rings. It’s bright, silvery finish needs no plating and is naturally resistant to corrosion and scratching. Many other metal types listed here are preferred merely for their resemblance to this covetable metal, so if you have a top-end budget and a taste for the finer things then platinum is the choice for you!
Traditional Yellow Gold
Yellow gold is the proud leader of tradition in the wedding ring family. If you want something classic and regal then go for gold, but sadly the decisions don’t end there. Gold rings vary greatly depending on the carat (meaning the purity of the metal,) but confusingly a higher carat does not necessarily mean a better ring. A 22 carat ring is purer and stronger in colour, but a 9 carat ring has much more strength due to being mixed with other metals. Your personal preferences should determine the best balance for you between purity, colour, and durability.
White gold is a beautiful, classic choice of wedding ring, and remains very popular due to its close resemblance to platinum. Because gold is naturally yellow, these rings are plated with the whiter coloured rhodium, which has the upside of protecting your ring from daily wear. If the colour fades over time, which can happen with white gold, it can always be sent for re-plating!
A precious metal certainly as long standing as gold, silver makes for a beautiful and inexpensive wedding ring. However, it is also soft and temperamental. Exposure to the elements - even the natural acidity levels of your skin - can cause it to tarnish, so if silver is your preference it can be a good idea to get your ring rhodium plated to give it more longevity and make it less likely to stain your skin!
Romantic Rose Gold
Popular in the Victorian era, rose gold is a classic romantic choice. As with other gold rings the higher the carat the softer the ring, but it is also worth remembering that with a higher carat the less pink your ring will be (due to the absence of other metal traces such as copper.) If you want a ring with real vintage style you can do no better than rose gold!
A popular alternative to platinum, palladium is a rare metal with the same silvery white colour and a similar resistance to wear. The big difference is the lower density, making it much more lightweight and affordable. If you are looking for a ring with the splendour of platinum but you have a smaller budget, palladium is a good choice.
Heavy and substantial, tungsten rings are very popular for their lustrous shine and extreme resilience to scratching. However, because the metal is so hard it is also brittle, this means your ring could potentially shatter or fracture if dropped! Make sure your tungsten ring fits snugly enough to reduce this risk.
Extremely strong and lightweight, Titanium is a naturally grey metal perfect for those with sensitive skin due to its compatibility with the human body. Titanium is much stronger and more resilient than gold, so if you want something affordable and durable, and you don’t mind a less traditional colour, consider Titanium.
Zirconium is another metal perfect for those with skin sensitivity. Though different colours are available, black zirconium is very popular in jewellery as it can be polished to a glassy shine that is highly scratch-resistant. If want a hard wearing ring with a strong contemporary edge, zirconium is a great choice.
Of the contemporary metals stainless steel is admired for its bright white colour, so if you want something modern and budget-friendly but a little more traditional looking, stainless steel could be the one for you.
Though ceramic has been used in countless ways throughout the centuries, more modern forms, such as titanium carbide, make for contemporary and exciting wedding rings. A ceramic ring is fairly brittle, but its scratch-resistant and shining surface makes it an increasingly popular choice for those with a small budget!