When it comes to wedding rings, the type of metal you choose is important, both for its style and longevity. It is likely that you’ve heard of the precious metals: gold, silver, platinum and palladium, which all carry their own benefits and pitfalls. Alternative metals such as tungsten and titanium also have their pros and cons.
Yellow gold rings are a very popular and traditional choice and are probably the easiest and most practical to wear and repair. Pure gold (24 carat) is too soft to be crafted into jewellery so it is combined with stronger metals. 22ct yellow gold has 91.6 percent pure gold and is still soft but is durable enough to be used for wedding bands. However, given the amount of time you plan on wearing the ring, 18ct gold and 9ct gold rings contain 75 percent and 37.5 percent pure gold respectively; both make strong wedding bands and can be crafted to make detailed rings in a variety of settings.
White gold rings are made with yellow gold, alloyed with other ‘white’ metals, such as nickel or zinc to give it its silvery white colour. It’s usually plated with rhodium to give it a hard, reflective surface with extra shine, but it will need to be re-plated when it shows signs of wear, but despite this, it continues to be fashionable and popular.
Rose gold wedding rings are becoming more and more popular and are becoming an increasingly fashionable choice. Rose gold contains copper to give it its rich, warm hue. A mix of two or more gold tones in the same band is also a popular choice, such as a tradition Russian wedding ring.
Platinum rings are the most expensive of the commonly used noble metals because of its rarity. With its soft, satin-like finish, platinum holds natural hypoallergenic properties, which is great for people with sensitive skin. It is hard, heavy and durable, and many enjoy the heaviness of a platinum band or engagement ring.
Palladium is from the same family as platinum but is more affordable. They both share the same silvery, polished look and hypoallergenic properties.
Sterling silver is an affordable white metal and holds more of a grey tone than platinum but is just as beautiful. Like gold, pure silver is too soft to be crafted in jewellery, so it’s alloyed with copper or other metals to increase its durability. Sterling silver jewellery is typically 92.5% pure silver and is often marked “925,” which means 925 parts per thousand are silver.
As well as precious metals, there are some other modern, durable metals that have become fashionable for wedding rings. These alternative metals offer contemporary looks to wedding bands.
Titanium rings are wonderfully lightweight, with a lustrous grey tone and is particularly favoured for men’s wedding rings. Although it is lightweight, it is extremely durable meaning it will hold its shape; however its strength means it’s harder to cut and resize so bear this in mind before purchasing.
Tungsten rings is a steel coloured grey metal with non-scratch, non-tarnish properties and offers a long-lasting shine. Similarly to titanium, it is very strong so it’ll keep its shape but cannot be resized. Tungsten is particularly popular for men’s wedding rings.
Cobalt bands are a newer type of alloys, which are completely solid, naturally white, incredibly strong and resistant to corrosion and wear. This metal is heavier than titanium and tungsten so it’s ideal for those who prefer a little more weight to their ring. It is four times harder than platinum, so cobalt ring are also likely to last for a very long time.
For more information on metals, read our metals guide, but whichever you choose, your wedding ring will carry special meaning and last a lifetime.