Wedding Rings come in an assortment of metals. This includes gold, platinum, palladium, tungsten, titanium, and sterling silver. Each metal has its own unique characteristics and pricing.
Gold Wedding Rings
Gold is the most popular metal that is used to create wedding rings. It is also considered the most "traditional" metal for a wedding ring. When referring to gold, the quality of the gold is indicated by using the letter "k", which stands for "karat", followed by a number (e.g. 10k, 14k, 18k and 24k).
The use of gold goes back thousands of years, and it is ideal for jewelry making because it is quite malleable, making it easy for jewelers to shape it creatively. 18k gold alloys are very commonly used in the crafting of wedding rings because of their rich hue, high concentration of gold, and because they are easy work to with.
Many people wonder how gold can still be "real," but come in colors other than yellow, like white, rose, or green gold. The answer is that colored gold is created by the utilization of alloys, which is the combining of two or more metals to create a blended substance that has different characteristics than the originals. 24 karat gold is pure, 100% gold, so other karat amounts represent the quantity of pure gold that is present in an alloy. 22k gold is 22 parts gold, and 2 parts some other metal. 18k gold is 18 parts gold, and 6 parts another metal. 14k gold is 14 parts gold, and ten parts another metal, and so on down the line.
Nickel is often added to pure gold to create white gold alloys, but it is not uncommon for people to be allergic to nickel. Palladium is more expensive than nickel, but it too is used to create white gold, and it is less prone to causing an allergic reaction. Copper is used in traditional gold colored alloys, but pink and rose colored alloys are made by adding additional quantities of copper to pure gold. Green hues of gold are created by adding silver to the original gold.
There is a movement toward eco-gold in the jewelry business these days. The practices of many mining companies have come under scrutiny, and issues such as the mistreatment of workers and negative environmental impact have surfaced. As a result, many jewelers are using recycled gold or gold that comes from mining companies that have agreed to maintain highly ethical best practices.
24k gold is the most expensive version of all golds. However, 24k is very soft and considered very difficult to work with to create wedding rings. So you will not find many wedding rings made of 24k gold.
Silver Wedding Rings
Silver has always been a popular choice as a wedding ring metal. It is versatile, durable and affordable, making it quite appealing to people who do not have an unlimited budget. Well polished silver looks very much like white gold, and that unique silver shine is a natural complement to a bright, glistening diamond. Jewelers usually use sterling silver, which is comprised of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of metals such as zinc, nickel, or copper to add strength while maintaining the natural beauty of the silver.
Platinum Wedding Rings
Platinum is a silvery-white precious metal that is a very popular wedding ring choice. It is lustrous and malleable enough for jewelers to work with effectively, but it is harder than gold so a platinum ring is somewhat heavier than a gold ring of the same size. The substantial nature of platinum makes it more durable than a gold ring.
Platinum is more precious than gold. It represents the most expensive metal that you will find in wedding rings. This higher cost is due to a combination of scarcity as well as production issues. It is quite common for a wedding ring manufacturer to have to scrap production on platinum wedding rings as they have a tendency to very easily become flawed during the production process.
Platinum has had resurgence in popularity within the past decade primarily due to wedding and engagement ring designers such as Scott Kay.
Palladium Wedding Rings
Palladium is growing in popularity as a wedding ring metal as it has become more affordable. People who like the look of platinum, white gold or silver often choose palladium because it is actually whiter than silver or white gold, is just about as lightweight as silver, and costs less than platinum. Palladium is a choice fine as a stand-alone wedding ring metal, but it is worthwhile to note that white gold is often alloyed with palladium.
Titanium Wedding Rings
Within the last decade, "alternative" metals have become quite popular with titanium and tungsten leading the way. Their popularity is due to a few reasons including low cost and scratch resistance. Both metals are also considered "hypoallergenic".
Titanium wedding rings are a good choice for people who are willing to try something a little out of the ordinary. Titanium has a natural silver appearance and when it is polished and finished it is absolutely brilliant. However, it can also be colored, so if you want to step out of the conventional and select an unusual color for your wedding ring, Titanium may be the right choice for you. Titanium is lightweight, durable, relatively inexpensive, and hypo-allergenic.
Tungsten Wedding Rings
Tungsten wedding rings are possibly the hottest type of wedding ring at the time of this writing. Its low cost and extreme durability made it very popular among men who have a tight budget and also work with their hands a lot.
If you are looking for a low maintenance wedding ring with a lustrous shine that shows virtually no wear over time, a tungsten ring may be right for you. Tungsten is very hard (ten times harder than gold) so it is rugged and durable, but its polished shine is stunning, and it lends itself well to a wide variety of designs and finishes. Tungsten wedding rings are cutting edge statements of the permanence of true commitment, and they should certainly be explored by anyone who is considering the purchase of a wedding ring.